The new, the old, and the dry.

I’m a little more than halfway from Tucson to Portland tonight, staying overnight in Fallon, NV. Interestingly, I have heard of this town before but didn’t make a connection until I drove into town and saw a sign for “Naval Air Station” – of course! NAS Fallon! D’oh! Naturally, I can’t remember *where* I have heard, or read, about NAS Fallon, but it has been kicking around in my memory for quite some time. [Mileage today was 811 in about 14 1/2 hours – some of which was a stop in Phoenix to drop off some tools at Ali’s house and to pick up some supplies for our drive down the Pacific Coast in a week or so.]

I have just one thing to say about Nevada: IT. IS. DRY. I thought Arizona was dry, but at least it has some green. From the moment I crossed the bridge into Nevada at the Hoover Dam until it got too dark for me to see anything tonight, the predominant ground colors were grey, brown, and black. I *did* see some water, but aside from Lake Mead (seen here in the truck’s mirror after entering NV), it was all leftover puddles from the rain the other day. Oh, and Walker Lake – but I couldn’t see what color that was because I approached it at dusk and then it got dark.


I also saw this sign – well, actually, I saw two of them. The first one was on US 93, just north of Wickenburg, AZ, but I didn’t take a picture of it because I thought, “Oh, there’ll be others.” But there weren’t, until I saw this one on US 93 just north of Kingman.


Our local paper carried a small article about the signs going up ( You may remember I ruminated (or fulminated) about the I-74 corridor in the East when I was there in July. This isn’t as bad; at least there isn’t a US-11 right next to it, and it *is* west of I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff. But it’s *east* of I-15. I know, I know – there aren’t any odd numbers between 15 and 17, but still…

But what I got to thinking about was the changes that will occur along that corridor (US 93 from Winkelman to Nevada, and US 95 from the Nevada line to Las Vegas) as the 11 is built. There are some segments of the current highways that can probably be upgraded to Interstate standards relatively easily (mostly by building under- or overpasses for the local farm / ranch roads), but some places won’t be so easy – like where US 93 necks down to 2 lanes and goes through Wikieup. Segments like that will require a wholly new alignment, and I wonder what effect the new highway will have on the towns and the places in between.

I’ve always been a fan of “then and now” photographs – seeing what an object or location looked like many years ago and what the same object or location looks like now. If I had the money, I’d commission an aerial video of the corridor as it exists today, and then do another one decades from now when the 11 is all done. I think the comparison between the two would be amazing to see. Likewise, I’d like to commission a road-level video and/or photo series – for the photos, pick some readily-identifiable vantage points and take multiple photos over the years to document the changes as they occur.

And, of course, there are the abandoned structures – those that exist now, and those that will be abandoned in the future (as well as those that will no longer exist at all). I drove past a group of half a dozen abandoned buildings along a curve in the road somewhere in Nevada this afternoon. Obviously I didn’t stop to investigate, but I *did* wonder why they were there to begin with, when they were abandoned, and how long they might stay standing. I also saw a group of abandoned homes somewhere along US 93 in AZ – I think they were some of the victims of the housing bubble from a few years back. They’re already falling down. In fact, they looked to be in worse shape than the group of buildings in Nevada – which appeared to be much older.

I also saw several attractions (like the Nevada Railroad Museum) that I wanted to visit, but I’ll have to save those for another trip. *sigh* So much to see, so little time.

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