So, we start on odometer count 94185, with 233 pictures taken today.
Downtown Ely, named for Smith Ely, a copper speculator for whom Ely, NV was
city to be named for him -- the first was by his petition of the
Vermont state government to change Vershire, VT to Ely in 1865. He was
apparently a poorer businessman than a public figure, and when his mines
declined and ravaged the local economy the town wanted
to be changed back in 1882. Nevada's Ely, however, was simply an oversight
-- miner Frederick Thomas seemed unaware that the town was originally
called Murry Creek (see yesterday) and
asked for the post office to be called Ely as Smith Ely happened to
own nearby land at the time. It was duly granted in 1878; no one
challenged it and the name stuck.
Modern US 6 does not pass through downtown Ely, although old US 6 probably did.
US 50 continues to do so, however, and picks up US 93 on the eastern edge to
exit south as Great Basin Blvd and later Great Basin Hwy towards Great Basin
National Park which is, of course, in the Great Basin.
All three routes meet here. Note how all roads seem to lead to Las Vegas (ahead
via US 93, and back along US 6 to US 95). The local casinos can't be too
happy about that.
US 6, US 50 and US 93 then all travel together as the Great Basin Highway
down a steep grade into Spring Valley. A possible old alignment of the
highway wends its way at the bottom with dismally maintained asphalt. This
is looking back at the modern alignment as it descends.
US 93 then separates for Las Vegas, leaving us to continue as US 6/US 50
for a prolonged period into Utah. Is that US 6/US 50 snaking straight up
the mountain, you ask? Ah ah ah! Gotta wait for the full essay for the
Wheeler Peak, Nevada's second highest point at 13,065', and the centrepiece
of Great Basin National Park. Part of the Snake Range, it is a more
spectacular mountain in many respects than Boundary Peak despite Boundary
Peak being taller; in particular, it has an active rock glacier, several
impressive moraines (with ancient bristlecone pines atop them) and a large
series of limestone caverns in its base. Wheeler Peak is named for Lt. George
Montague Wheeler, an Army surveyor who was the first to accurately measure
the mountain's height. There is also a Wheeler Peak in New Mexico.
The national park is about 15 miles off US 6/US 50.
One of the
second third-year residents told me I should take a picture
of myself to prove I was really there. Here you go, Dr Tsai!
Argh! I just lost an hour of photography!
As we cross into Utah and Mountain time, we also enter Millard county which was
named for Millard Fillmore, 13th US President, by Brigham Young.
Naturally, the county seat
is Fillmore; its estimated 2005 population is 12,284 with the largest city
Delta, which we will pass through. One of its interesting local exports are
fossils, which are relatively common in the shales west of Delta.
there is a gas station here and I suggest you use it. The next gas is in
Hinckley, 83 miles away.
But along the way you can marvel at these amazing rock formations US 6/US 50
wends through on their way into the great Utah desert.
I posted this instead of the retake because of the bee. There are insects
everywhere and it made photography annoying and (if they were stinging
insects) hazardous. No wonder Utah uses a beehive as their highway shield.
Downtown Delta, population 3,209 , a town that passed through several
names before ending up with this one. Nearby Oasis and Hinckley were some
of the first settlements in the area (1860 and 1876 respectively), but while
the level land of modern Delta was attractive to settlers, the fact it was
desert wasn't. Initial drilling for water was done in 1903, but the eventual
irrigation plan centered on the Sevier River and a local company established
1906. Originally named Burtner with the establishment of the local post office
in 1908, the town was renamed Delta (due to the Sevier River delta it
nestles in) by settler John E. Steele.
For its part, Sevier is a corruption of the Paiute name for the river,
A little something for the roadgeeks as we enter Juab county (the name coming
from a local Indian word for 'valley' or 'parched valley'; population 9,113
[2005 est.]; county seat and largest city being Nephi)
is this tiny county route shield, attached to a mile post at the
Little Sahara Rec'n Area turnoff.
Eureka, a withering mining town on the northern edge of Juab in the old
Tintic Mining District. The Tintic region was named for a Ute chief, who
also lends his name to the local Tintic wars of the late 1850s. Although
some mining still continues, the bulk was cancelled by government order
in the 1940s, and its several-thousand occupants mostly left. Today there
are only 766 .
North of Eureka, we cross into Utah county, named for the local Ute Indians
(of which the state is also named), an English corruption of the Spanish
corruption of their name ("yuta"). Utah county has 443,738 residents
[2005 est.], with its seat at Provo, the largest city (105,166 ).
For its part, Provo was originally established as Fort Utah but renamed for
local 1820s trapper Etienne Provost in 1850.
No relation to the cat Eberta. Do drink the water (it's approved).
Modern US 6 hitches a ride with I-15 up north to not-quite-Provo. We'll look
at this briefly tomorrow.
The old alignment through Payson and Spanish Fork, however, survives as
UT 198. I-15 diverges off to the left; old US 6/UT 198 diverges right.
Through Payson on old US 6/UT 198, named for Mormon settler James Pace.
Its population is 12,716 ; the road is quite busy and so my
photography along this stretch was very hurried. I wonder why it doesn't
have a Business 15 or Business 6 designation.
Rejoining US 6 after its ride with I-15. We'll see this tomorrow when the
Interstate isn't quite as cramped.