On Sunday, July 10, we left Sparks in our rearview mirror and headed across the desert toward Elko, Nevada, with a quick stop in Lovelock for lunch. The courthouse parking lot gave us plenty of space for our rig in this quaint town.
A walk around the building to stretch our legs seemed like a good idea and what should we see but clusters of locks hooked to chains stretched between short pillars.
There must have been thousands, from old rusty locks to shiny new locks, engraved locks, and plain locks. Name a brand. I’m sure it’s represented somewhere in Lovers Lock Plaza. Had we brought along our own lock to add to the bunch, I’m not sure where it could have been clipped.
We pulled into Iron Horse RV Resort where we planned to stay for three or four nights. Iron Horse is unique in that customers also have access to the Hilton Garden Inn up the hill, including a discount for a hot breakfast. Although they advertise a pool at both the RV section and the hotel, they are not large enough to propel your body for more than one stroke. We did, however, make good use of the treadmills and dumbbells at the inn, using the walk up the steep hill to the Hilton as our warmup.
Let the sightseeing begin.
Anxious to start poking around, we packed a lunch and hit the road the next morning. A few minutes later, a check engine light flashed on the dash. Now what? A quick look in the manual revealed a possible problem with the deisel exhaust fluid (DEF) system, which is the equivalent of smog control for diesels. Great! The situation wasn’t critical so off we drove.
What a surprise to find an oasis like Lamoille Canyon after 290 miles of crossing the flat and rolling desert hills from Reno.
The geology, flora, and fauna of Lamoille Canyon reminded me of sights in Yosemite and Mammoth Lakes.
The canyon, twelve-miles long, is the largest valley in the Ruby Mountains and includes waterfalls, sparkling pools, snow-dotted peaks, campgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails. I felt sorry for all the travelers up on Interstate 80 missing this experience. It’s a perfect respite from the monotony of driving through the desert.
Large sections of tree stumps showed evidence that beavers had been hard at work.
Except in pictures and movies, I had never seen a pond built by beavers. This one reminded me of an infinity pool.
When driving through Elko, Nevada, the short detour through Lamoille Canyon is a great place to break up the monotony of freeway travel.
Back in town, it was time for a visit to the local GMC dealer. The service writer hooked up his diagnostic scanner and confirmed there was an issue with the DEF sensor(s). The fix usually results in pulling and replacing the reservoir. “The earliest we can get you in is next Monday. The worse that can happen is the truck will lose power.” What? That didn’t sound good. Losing power while pulling 8,000 pounds up a hill, was not something we wanted to tackle.
We were stuck in Elko for at least another week. Everyone we talked to before our trip had encouraged us to make reservations. We were glad we hadn’t listened. No reservations, no need to cancel. We prefer to keep our options open to explore a place in more depth, leave when we want, or pivot when complications arise beyond our control.
A week wasn’t so bad. We had more time to explore.