Friday, September 27, 2013

No more Tonomah!

Thursday was a travel dayWe were done at the Truck Center by 10 AM with one small disappointment.  Freightliner had given Craig the wrong information when he called, so one of the upgrade parts was the wrong size.  No big deal.  We will get it straightened out and installed after Zion. It is not a safety  issue.

I had padded our travel time with an extra day in case there were any unexpected delays in the repair work.  Seems if I do that, all goes well!  If I don’t, I just add stress to my life.  One thing we have now is time.  I love it!

We drove across Nevada on I-80 some years ago when going to Salt Lake for a ski trip. I remember how desolate and barren the land seemed.  It was mid winter and I think we went for hours without seeing another vehicle or man made structure.

The landscape between Reno and Las Vegas along Hwy 95 is also open desert range.  We saw numerous warning signs along the way for cattle and horses, but saw none. Unlike I-80 there was no lack of traffic or small ranch outbuildings. The two-lane road was quite smooth in most places.

The open range land is balanced by the many mountains on the horizons. As an artist I am enchanted by the play of light and the dramatic cloud shadows rolling over them. I have always been interested in geology, and seeing the results of the millions of years of natural earth movements it took to shape them is exciting.

One thing I find very distressing in the West is the small towns. I doubt they were ever vibrant centers of civilization, but they all seem so run down I can’t understand why anyone would live there unless this was the end of the line for them, and yet I saw school busses and schools in some of the larger towns, so families must live there.

I know many people love the desert and the West. Al for one, but he has worked hard to fix up his Congress Arizona house and make it a nice place.  It’ all the old deteriorating mobile homes and shacks that I find disturbing. I would have taken some pictures, but that would be like taking pictures of the poor in a third world country. We just cannot comprehend.

As we left Sacramento I started looking into where we would stay overnight. We have not yet tried to use the BLM system, but I’m sure there would have been many places we could have boondocked for a night.  Checking through the Passport America book I found a listing for a place in Tonomah, Nevada, at total day’s drive of about 360 miles. It seemed OK on paper. I really didn’t have many choices, and as we drove along 95, I didn’t see anywhere else we would want to stop. 

I figured we would get there after five, so I called, and the man said, "yes" they had full hook-ups and asked if we wanted a pull thru.

All I can say is “What a place!” In the Passport America book it is called JoyLand RV Park. Once there, it was called Joyland RV Storage and Campground. 

I’m learning that for an overnight, if the place is reasonably quiet, once you pull the blinds down, you are home. Sleeping in your own bed and cooking in your own kitchen! But this place stretched this to its limit.

Starting with the office. There was a faded note with a cell phone number taped to the window. I didn’t have to call because the “manager” came out from behind the building when we arrived. The office was a sad room that I think started as a patio for the mobile home it was attached to. It was filthy. It smelled strongly of mold and rodents.  I could see droppings on the floor. The manager himself looked like someone out of a B horror movie. Creepy and missing a few front teeth.  I paid cash because I would never want to give him a credit card number!

I don’t know how to put this, but as he filled out the receipt with a stub of a pencil, he leered as me and asked if this was my real name. I try not to judge people by their appearance, but I definitely would not open a door to this one.

Our space? A gravel pull thru in a parking lot.  Although there were junky buildings all around, there wasn’t any trash in the lot. Only one other RV came in overnight.  The 50 amp and water hookups worked, and we were able to take morning showers in the Alfa. We could have done that if we were boondocking too.

Tonight (Friday) we are staying at Oasis RV Resort in Las Vegas. We have been here before. Nice pool, clean laundry, level pad, cable TV, good cell phone signal: the other side of the coin.

I do have one picture to include in this post: As we switch drivers so Craig can have some ice cream. The joy of having a Class A coach. Ice Cream on the road.


  1. I like to walk around and stretch my legs at the end of the day. I try to find an RV park that allows me to do that. Traveling solo, I probably would not have stayed at that park. I have gotten into the habit of using google earth or mapquest to see what else is around. Although PA has cheap rates, I have not been totally happy with the choices.

  2. We have always noticed those desolate little western towns as well in our travels. We see living conditions in the South West that we just never see here in southern Ontario. It was a bit shocking in our earlier years of travel & it took us awhile to adapt & accept what we were seeing. I have written about that in previous posts a few years ago. Our neighborhood in Congress goes all the way from squalid trailers nearby to a high end subdivision just down the road.

  3. We've experienced a few of those overnight spots that "look good on paper," but not so good in person. I don't think we've had one as bad as yours though. 360 miles in one day. Wow..

  4. We're traveling down from Reno to Las Vegas on 95 right now. We are parked at Walker Lake - for future reference. No hookups but gorgeous views, quiet and peaceful. $3 a night with Senior Pass. You guys cover a lot more ground than we do, we're going to take two more days to get to Las Vegas. But you're sure right about the towns. Most of them look really really sad.

  5. You just never know with PA. Sometimes they're good, and sometimes they're awful.

  6. Yes, boondocking once you are used to it is WAY better than a creepy campground. Kind of like a bathroom. Having worked outdoors for a thousand years, I would much rather pee behind a bush than in a dirty bathroom somewhere! Have fun and may the weather stay good for you!

  7. I didn't see anything in Tonapah that was exciting. We drove on past and found a little park out in the middle of nowhere that was actually quite nice. But like you say, once you pull the shades down, you're home.

  8. ALWAYS check RV park reviews.


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