Nevada is mostly desert: empty, lonely desert. The lack of water forces people to settle only where some water can be found. Places like Las Vegas, Reno, Elko for instance. Those few settlements are connected with a few lonely roads. Highway 395 (partly 95) runs along the western boundary of the state. It connects Reno with Las Vegas and runs farther North into Idaho. I have driven that road several times.

To give you an idea of the vast distances in Nevada, it takes about twelve hours of hard driving to get from Las Vegas to Reno. And you will still find yourself in Nevada. And in between are only a few hardscrabble small towns fighting for survival. Mining towns that are mostly abandoned because the mines petered out years ago. Places such as Tonopah, Goldfield and Fernley. Several counties in Nevada count their population in the hundreds. I am speaking of counties that are sometimes larger than some Eastern states. Lander county is larger than Rhode Island, Mineral County which has a population of about 350 is also larger than Rhode Island. So is the Nevada Test Site. Esmeralda county has almost no population at all. And the center of the state is almost totally deserted.

Then there is that infamous “Loneliest Highway in America,” Interstate I- 50 which runs East to West across the center of the state. Hundreds of miles of nothing. No towns, no buildings, no gas stations. Or take Route 93, the Great Basin Highway, along the Eastern line of the state. Some small, desolate towns such as Alamo, Ash Springs, Caliente, Panaca, Pioche Ely, McGill and Jackpot. and a lot of jackrabbits. Six of the eight towns I mentioned have a population of less than 500 each. We are talking about almost 500 miles of road. And that is all there is.

Travel advisories mention extra water and warm clothes. We are talking high desert here. Elevations of between 2,500 ft and 5,000 ft. Here and there a ranch perhaps. But mostly empty space that is owned by the Federal Government. And no services to speak of. About 85% of all land belongs to the Feds. Those three routes, together with I-80 which runs East from Reno are about all the major roads in the state.

Another feature of those roads: they are mostly not fenced in. So, driving can be hazardous, especially at night. I don’t even try it. Too many animals running around. Incidentally from Ash Springs take the E.T (Extraterrestial) Highway about 20 miles to Rachel. From there you can watch mysterious things like flying saucers and Area 51.