Guys and Gals, it’s been a while since I posted a letter but thought I would share with you a trip I took recently. I am a member of the American Truck Historical Society, check them out on the web, you can also subscribe to the magazine Wheels Of Time. It’s great. The website for the magazine is seen at https://aths.org/wheels-of-time and www.aths.org for American Truck Historical Society Website, FOR MUCH INFO ALSO! It is a non-profit Organization preserving the history of old trucks, and the industry for future generations.
I flew into Las Vegas Nevada and rented a Ford F150 pickup truck at Alamo, for more room for my 6’ Foot 5” frame. After spending a night at the South Pointe Casino, 6 miles from the airport I met with some friends from Ohio that also flew in. We hopped into the ole’ Ford F150 and headed up HWY 95 out of Vegas for the National ATHS show being held in Reno Nevada this year. The national show moves around the country from year to year so everyone has an easier chance to bring their antique trucks out for some fun! Next year it will be in Springfield Illinois.
I have been in all 48 states over the years, however I have never been on Nevada Hwy 95. It is a site to behold. It is wide open for about 400 miles through the desert. Most of the road is 2 lane and has a posted speed limit of 70 MPH, but nobody drives 70. It is a wide road with the berms actually forming a whole lane themselves in spots. Truck traffic was fairly light. Most trucks were running anywhere from 64 MPH to 80 MPH depending on whether they were governed down or not. Passing was very easy, and for the most part you could see 10 miles in front of you and behind you. Driving on this road, it was mandatory to turn your headlamps on because you could get lost in a mirage very easily with the heat coming off the highway. There were many people not turning their lights on for safety and you couldn’t see them in the distance as they were hidden. It’s really something to experience.
I took it easy going to Reno because I didn’t want to scare my passengers. I held it down to under 105 MPH and actually that’s where the computer shut her off! Now I am not saying I kept it there at 105 all the way, but when passing you just pull out and go.
There were 7 small towns to go through in 400 miles, Beatty, Goldfield, Tonopah, Luning, Hawthorne, and Silver Springs. Each town had a speed limit of 15 to 20 MPH. they also had some small museums, and many old cars sitting around. It was very cool to see these, it was like going back in time. Anyone that wants to take a great scenic trip it is a great drive. This is one of the only places I have been to that you don’t have to worry about texting drivers because half the time there is no signal on your phones! Goldfield was my favorite on Hwy.95 because sitting under a canopy at an old gas station sat an unmolested original paint 1959 Lincoln 2 door that just looked amazing! There was also an antique store there that had several 1950’s truck cabs sitting out front for sale in perfect condition wearing mostly original paint. In those towns were small mom and pop sandwich shops and restaurants. At one point a sign said last gas for 110 miles, so watch your gauge!
After rolling along we stopped in Virginia City just south of Reno on Hwy 341 for the night. It sits at 6,150 feet above sea level. We got rooms in a 1877 built Saloon that had rooms overlooking the street on the second floor. We were told that in the 2 rooms we had that we could see 10 miles across the way. After paying for our rooms we headed upstairs on a very, very narrow and leaning to the left stairway. When we arrived at our rooms the door was already opened on my room, and it looked like a scene from an episode of Gunsmoke. It looked like it had the same bed that Matt Dillon slept in 150 years ago. What a shit hole place. No TV, no phone, no A/C, no anything except bugs and empty beer cans. My 2 friends’ room was no better. It was just as appalling. The shower in their room sort of looked like someone had degreased an old 265 motor out of a 1955 Chevy in it, just nasty! The 10 mile view out our window? Well you might see that far if you had a putty knife to scrape the scum off the windows. No doubt the scum on the windows could have come from Festus and his chewing tobacco years earlier? Well it was built in 1877 and never fixed up since.
We got our money back and hopped back into the ole’ F-150 and headed over to Carson City. We found nothing we liked so we kept going another hour and behold, we stopped in Lake Tahoe. Now that’s a sight to behold! Absolutely stunning scenery but quite chilly early the next morning, right down to 38 degrees, yikes. I guess its not as bad as it sounds as it warms right back up as the day goes on. There is still a lot of snow in the higher area here. As we got up that morning we stopped at Heidi’s Pancake House and had a great breakfast, I would recommend that place to anyone it was sensational. We then headed up California Hwy 89 through Emerald Bay, Tahoma, and over to Tahoe City. You talk about some beautiful views, we stopped and looked out across that lake, it was on the WOW factor for me! We then stayed on Hwy 89 to Truckee, California which sits on I-80 and Hwy 89. Then we slid on down the Mountain into Reno to our destination at the Grand Sierra Resort Hotel which hosted this year’s annual ATHS Show and conference. Approx. 1500 antique trucks showed up from the early 1900’s to the 1990’s. You name the make and it was there! Some trucks are original right down to the paint, and others are full custom jobs! There was even a Peterbilt truck pontoon boat you have got to see the phots on it. There are several sets of photos to look at in the photo album area.
It was fun and games the whole time we were there. All 3 days there was something going on. We were not particularly impressed with downtown Reno though. We were down there during the day and thought it was kind of dirty looking, and we saw many homeless people, and drug addicts everywhere, unbelievable! They are just spaced out walking around in a daze.
On the trip back, my friends flew back to Ohio from Reno. They said the airport in Reno was fabulous. I on the other hand headed back to Las Vegas for another trip down Hwy 95. Only this time I went east to exit 32 on I-80 to Hwy 439 ( it’s called the USA Highway) and dropped south bound there into a town called Silver Springs and then on down to Yerington. Now before getting to Yerington NV. I was on that road for about one hour at 45 MPH due to the wild horses that graze there. I started speeding up to 65 because it was so wide open. All of the sudden I couldn’t believe there would be several hundred horses all over the road, and in the middle of a desert! It is an unreal sight to see as those animals would stop right in front of you, as to say, HEY we own this road! I did not know this was still something that even existed? Well worth the trip! As I made it into Yerington NV. it was a very well-groomed town of about 3000 people. It was mostly all farmers that lived there. It was time for breakfast at a little Casino there. All the towns big or small have casino’s in them. As I walked inside the casino it was very clean and nice. As I headed toward the restaurant, a couple Wheel of Fortune machines sat there twinkling and dinging, I took the bait, and put a single dollar bill in her. BANG…….. I just won $55.00 dollars with a single pull of the lever. I cashed out. Now my breakfast and gasoline was free to head back to Las Vegas! Breakfast was also very good at this casino called the Branding Iron Inn and Steak House.
Without my passengers I was able to keep my speeds up a little more on my way back to Vegas. It was a Sunday morning so there was much less traffic. It was fun and a very beautiful at the same time. Just looking at those snowcapped mountains glowing in the sun just put you in a good mood. At one point I was idling along at about 85 or 90 Mph and I kept seeing this vehicle coming in my rearview for at least 5 or 6 miles. As it got closer it was a bright red car. It was a late model Corvette and when he passed me it just about sucked my Ford into the other lane. He had to be going 150 MPH.,. I just love Nevada!
The next day a friend of mine that was a State Trooper in Nevada (Now Retired) took me around town and we went to the Neon Sign Boneyard on the North end of the strip. Coming back from there we stopped at The World famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. (Pawn Stars TV Show) The “Old Man” is gone now (RIP) but it was sort of cool to see. After that it was back to South Pointe Casino for a good steak. It was fun.
Well it was time to board the plane back to Charlotte at 5:49 AM YAWN! One thing I noted was the enormous amount of flooding in the Midwest states. Even at 32,000 feet you could see flooding for 200 to 300 miles in each direction!
Well till next month keep on Cruisin, see you somewhere. Bear out!