I didn’t want to come to Nevada but I’m staying two nights in the Clown Motel in Tonopah. There are clowns everywhere – in the motel office, on the doors, on the walls and, yes probably, as guests.
All I knew about Nevada was that Las Vegas was in Nevada – a rather popular but pointless place where people quickly get married or divorced and indulge in mindless gambling.
However, Nevada carried on where Utah left off so I am now a lot keener on Nevada. It has more desert and semi-desert. But the hills are different. Gone are the red sandstone bluffs and cliffs. Now we have rounded hills sticking out of a flat matrix. It’s rather like a dry version of Caithness and Sutherland – the hills are very similar. There are some like Scaraben, Ben Loyal, Ben Hope, Ben Griams, Maiden Pap and, more distantly, the Arkles, Canisps and Suilvens appear.
I half expected a greenshank to fly across the road but instead a coyote crossed about a quarter mile ahead of me and I couldn’t find it when I got there. And a pronghorn, not a red deer, was grazing in the mid distance.
I ate at the local Mexican restaurant (two veggie days in a row!) and people stared at me. It might have been because I am taller, it seems, than anyone else in town. Or it might be that i am a stranger in town – but I think there are a few of them. Maybe I look foreign? I was certainly one of the few men in town not wearing a baseball cap. Maybe it was because I was walking – quite possible. The two men in the rooms next to mine drove the two blocks to the restaurant whereas I walked – that’s enough to make anyone stare in most of America. Walking is done by people who are tired from jogging or people with dogs. And I was carrying a book in the streets (Sibley’s field guide) and that is odd too. I think it may have been the combination that made people stare – a tall foreigner without a cap walking in the street with a book!
Today I have written. This place is cheap and the internet works. All that time in the car gives one plenty of ideas and i am getting them down as fast as I can. This isn’t a holiday you know!
Tomorrow – Yosemite for a few days. And then on to San Francisco for an appointment with an extinct insect.