Day Five – Lots O’ driving, not many sights

We woke up in Lakeview, Oregon, with the whole country spreading out in front of us. The question was, which way to go? One option was to go south into California, then cross back over to the California coast. The would let us see many of the places we love, like Monterrey, Carmel, Santa Clara, etc. But, that was part of the problem – we’ve been to those places, and the places south of there, a number of times. This trip is about experiencing the new. So, we headed south into northern California, then cut east toward Nevada.

Our first stop of the day was in the Modoc National Wildlife Preserve, just south of Alturas, California. Modoc is a 7,000 acre preserve designed for migratory birds. It was a lovely spot, with geese, ducks, hawks, and egrets. Here is a shot I grabbed of some small ducks swimming in front of a flock of geese:


We kept our eyes peeled for museums or historical markers, but we came up pretty empty, except for this one, along California Highway 193:


There is an actual trail that leads off into the hills and eventually mountains. If that was the easy route, I can’t imagine the hard route.

In the end, we traveled 500 miles, which is the farthest we’ve gone on this trip by more than 100 miles. This is what happens when the scenery is essentially unchanged for a few hundred miles – we can focus on moving, instead of gawking.

By the end of the day, we reached Tonopah, Nevada. It’s a small town that most people have never heard of, I realize, but we came here for one reason: to stay at the world famous (?) Clown Motel. You might think I am kidding, but here is evidence:


Depending on how you feel about clowns, this is either a lark, or a descent into an inner circle of hell. Oh, and there’s an ostensibly haunted graveyard right next door. Dawn and I are on the “lark” side of the equation, as you might have guessed. when we check out in the morning, I will take a shot or two of the interior of the office, which has 500+ clowns in it.

In pop culture discussions today, Dawn decided that Boz Scaggs sounds a lot like Cleveland from Family Guy, and I countered a few miles later with the observation that Alan Wilson of Canned Heat sounded a lot like Kermit the Frog when he sang. It was a slow music day for us, too. πŸ™‚

Tomorrow, we are going to hit a mining museum, and hope to check out a bottle house and a former gold rush town. In a few days, Arches National Park in Utah is in our sights. Cheers!



  1. If you do go to Arches, please try to fit Grand Staircase Escalante and Capitol Reef National Park into your plans. Those are two lesser-traveled places that are absolutely fabulous. Happy and safe travels! ❀


  2. I have heard of Tonopah. I think my husband stayed there on one of many business trips. Nevada has many little interesting towns, some miles from anything. It seems like you had another interesting day. I do enjoy your missives. You need to make them into a book.


  3. Sounds like another great day except for the music of course.

    I have heard the same thing about Capital Reef and Canyonlands(I think) being the better of the two places instead of arches from a lot of photographers. They all say its too crowded but you won’t know until you get there. Wow that almost sounds like a Yogi Berra quote.


  4. I have thought that about Alan Wilson too! Ha! Excellent parallel on Dawn’s Boz twin – I won’t be able to unhear that now πŸ˜‰

    I absolutely love Arches. I hope the day is cool enough that you can do some hiking without dying – Arches has some fine treasures off the main path. I wish we’d done Canyonlands too, especially since they are so close, but we had to be back in Grand Junction by the end of the day that day …i just see it as a good excuse to go back … but i digress.

    I don’t know what route you are taking but that main highway through southern Utah in and of itself is a wonderful trip. The landscape changes in frequent and extraordinary ways. Enjoy!


  5. The interior of the office had 500+ clowns in it?? Were you one of them? Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Seriously though, what a bargain, Dawn was charged only $2.50 extra as the second person in the room! Continued good weather and safe travels!


  6. Sounds horrific to me..the clowns that is. Love the haunted graveyard though! Thanks for letting us come along on your journey. Safe travels


  7. My granddaughter and I stayed in Tonopah one night last fall. We were taking the long way back from San Francisco, circling south and then coming up the eastern side of the Sierras. No clown motel though.


      • We didn’t know for sure where we would be stopping for the night, so when Ipulled into Tonopoh well after dark and knew I better stop for the night all I was looking for was a reasonably acceptable place to crash that had a vacancy. If I’m in the neighborhood again I’ll check out the BBQ. πŸ™‚


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