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Reno-Boulder-Reno Loop - 10.09

Started out as a visitation-tourist-collection trip, ended up dodging early-season monster snowstorms for a week across Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. Most of the early part of the trip was overcast, and the pictures somewhat washed-out.

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(left) Day 1, looking west and down on tiny town of Austin (elev. 6527'), which lies smack in the center of Nevada. Basin-n-Range country. One of 9 passes between 6500' and 7700' elevation along Hwy-50 east-to-west.

(right) Day 2, Notch Peak, distinctive rock in western Utah on Hwy-50 near Nevada border. Limestone cliffs in the House Range.

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(left) San Rafael Swell country, about 50 miles west of the town of Green River, on I-70. Grey and overcast, snowing to the north in Uintah mountain country.

(right) dramatic cut through tilted sedimentary layers.

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The chummy little Utah town of Green River [2] (elev. 4079') is really the only significant town on I-70 between the Wasatch Front and the Colorado border.

The sandstone country to the south, with 8 or 10 national parks and monuments, is the most scenic in america. See Moab, Capitol Reef Park, Canyonlands Park, Arches Monument, Glen Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon.

(left) near Grand Junction, not far from Utah border. Edge of the storm, for today.

(right) Day 3, coming up on the Gore Range near Vail.

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The best feature of Grand Junction [2] (elev. 4597') is being the gateway to the Utah deserts to the west.
(left) climbing up to the west entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel under the Continental Divide at 11,158'. Lots of snow last night, but only at the highest elevations.

(right) leaving the east entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel, looking up towards Loveland Pass. [internal reflections from windshield]

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(left) looking west towards the continental divide from the top of Lookout Mountain near Denver.

(right) looking northeast down into Golden from the top of Lookout Mountain. Bear + S.Boulder Peaks, above Boulder, seen on the horizon to the far left. Coors Brewery, big white building south of the flat-top mesa in Golden, not belching smoke today.

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(left) Day 7, crossing the Red Desert country in south-central Wyoming, on I-80. Long and flat, although it was snowing this morning, back in Laramie and for 100-miles along I-80 near the Medicine Bow mountain range.

(right) coming into Green River in southwestern Wyoming. Finally leaving all the storms behind. The next day, Cheyenne+Laramie in southeastern Wyoming got around 18-inches of snow.

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(left) Day 8, coming up on the scenic Ruby Mountains in eastern Nevada along I-80, just east of the town of Wells. Range extends for 80-miles to the south, with more than 20 summits over 10,000' and over half of those around 11,000'. Greys Peak, at 10,674', in the foreground. 340-miles to Reno.

(right) looking at the Ruby Mountains 30-miles to the south, from the outskirts of Elko.

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Wells [2] (elev. 5630', pop. 1400).

Elko [2] (elev. 5067'), about 18,000 population, is the largest town in northern Nevada.

(left) coming into Battle Mountain (elev. 4510') from the east on I-80. Much of central and northern Nevada looks like this, basin and range.

(right) looking down onto Winnemucca from Golconda Summit. Here I-80 turns north-south after 220-miles of east-west [in Nevada], and runs down the basins between the ranges, instead of over the top of the ranges.

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Basin and Range country - across the entire state of Nevada are many dozens of north-south oriented mountain ranges, separated by shallow, flat desert basins. I-80 in northern Nevada passes over 4 range summits, similar to Hwy-50 passing over 9 range summits in central Nevada.

I-80 runs roughly parallel to the Humbolt River, which passes near Wells, past Elko, Battle Mountain, Winnemuca, and Lovelock, before disappearing into the Humbolt Sink, just southwest of Lovelock.

Battle Mountain [2] (elev. 4510', pop. 2600) bills itself as the "Gateway to the Nevada Outback". 220-miles to Reno.

Winnemucca [2] (elev. 4320', pop. 7400), capitol of northwestern Nevada. 170-miles to Reno.

(left) Day 9, easy cruising heading south, a few miles south of Winnemucca.

(right) Nightingale Hot Springs, a small geothermal electricity-generation facility. 55-miles to Reno.

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(left) along the Truckee River valley, 11-miles east of Reno. Slide Mountain (elev. 9648') and Mt. Rose (elev. 10,776') apparent on the horizon center of picture.

(right) coming into Reno (elev. 4498'), with Mount Peavine (elev. 8260') right of center. After days of overcast and snow to the east, not a cloud anywheres in sight.

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©, updated Dec 2009