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Off Pavement

« on: July 20, 2013, 09:30:10 AM »

Our 7 vehicle group got to start our day with a 90 mile sprint to Beatty, Nevada.  This is an old railroad and mining town, and a key access area for Death Valley to the west.  On the way we passed the Area 51 Travel Plaza.  The reason I mention this is it's a brothel as well as a travel stop, but the billboard on the highway says "souvenirs" and I have to admit I wonder what kind of souvenir you get at a brothel? 

We stopped at the local Beatty bakery then headed further north until we found the road we had planned on exploring.  After going through a gate onto BLM public land, the two track road headed west toward Strozzi Ranch.  This is now the end of the road and some old cattle ranch buildings in the mountains to east of Death Valley itself.

The road to Strozzi Ranch...

Strozzi Ranch...


There is a camping area at the ranch, but no sign of use in years other than the initials carved in the picnic tables.  We ate there...

After leaving the ranch area, we headed back on a bypass road that paralleled our original route to the ranch and headed to our exit route...

The remainder of our trip was on the old Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad right of way.  On the old railroad right of way, one cut was sluffed in by rock slides, but there was a go-around. The same can be said about the numerous washouts at some of the  grade fills. There are one or two off camber (sidehill) sections in cuts that are filled with rocks to negotiate, and the right of way is narrow in a couple spots where the roadbed has been washed some.

A couple of the shallow cuts we were through...

The railroad wound it's way to the historic mining ghost town of Rhyolite which is just a few miles from Beatty. At it's peak Rhyolite is reported to have had between 3500 and 5000 folks.  The mine tailings pile is huge and visible for miles.

We made the 90 mile sprint home in time for supper.
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