Camp at Willow Creek. copyright Bernadette Mae 2019.
We woke up early at Willow Creek and most o four fellow campers were already gone. We packed up camp, said so-long to our new friend and headed to our next destination. In a few hours we were in Winnemucca NV and stopped for gas, water and ice. By the time we were about to get back on the road a dust storm hit. One of the locals said it was a normal occurrence, but to be careful on the highway. We decided to wait it out in a truck stop parking lot. Luckily it only took about an hour for the visibility to improve and we were back on the road.
Our next excursions were on the rout south, right next to Austin NV. As we approached another set of snow capped mountains Sherm asked if we had to go over them. “No,” I said, “we’ll go between them.” Boy was I wrong- we really to to get a topographical map! We chugged along up the mountains through Austin. Soon we were in the snow looking down onto the town. We may not of had anything to smoke on April 20th, but we sure got the bus high - 7484 ft above sea level (I had to though that pun in). Even though the bus is tuned for sea level we made it up - slowly - and then back down into the valley. Before the sun set we made it to Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area and set up camp.
Hiking in Nevada. copyright Bernadette Mae 2019
It sprinkled a little the next morning after breakfast, but it was nothing by Pacific Northwest standards so we walked up the trail to see the petroglyphs. I know there are some in the Columbia River Gorge, but since moving down from Seattle to go back to school all my focus has been on my studies so I don't get out of the studio much. This trip has made me realize that getting in to nature is so important to my work. I was introduced to studio art through life drawing but ever since living in a city my work has been influenced more by industry.
The first petroglyph was a few lines carved into a beautiful rock formation. A little further down there were half circles on a horizontal line resembling a landscape. It was wonderful to see marks lefts by ancient people, especially since searching for patterns in landscapes on this journey.
Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area. copyright Bernadette Mae 2019
It started to sprinkle again when we got back to camp so we buggied a small tarp from the bus to the picnic shelter. I was all about constructing an awning before we left, but Sherm was took busy shaking down the bus. Good thing we brought that small tarp, its come in handy many times this trip. Plus I get a chuckle out of the fact that it is camouflage since the bus is such bright colors.
While we waited for the rain to pass I finally had some time to record some of our journey in my sketchbook. I intended to blog on a regular basis like I did on our last cross country trip, but this trip has been more about getting into nature than finding wifi.
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. copyright Bernadette Mae 2019
The clouds broke in the afternoon and we were off to find the next hot springs. Down an unmarked road we turned off the highway. As soon as we slowed down Bucky stuck his head out the window and barked his “Hello!” bark to any wildlife that may be in the vicinity. This wildlife bark is a new thing to us on this trip.
These springs were different than the first one we visited. The water was so hot where is come out of the ground so there were protective screens over them and the water was piped to a cow trough. The one we camped near had tiers of pools dug into the hill as the water overflowed out of the trough.
As we walked Bucky around to (unsuccessfully) sniff out a jackrabbit he saw on the way in, a traveler came up the road. We exchanged stories as we soaked. He was moving from the midwest and said “I haven’t found home yet.” That is exactly how we felt when we first moved across the country six years ago. This trip is different having a home to go back to. Before the sun set we scavenged some firewood from the vacant campsites. This valley was cold after three days in 80 degree weather in southeast Oregon.
After one last soak in the morning we headed south again, this time to Death Valley National Park. I didn’t originally plan to go there, but our friends just went on there recent road trip and told us it was definitely worth seeing - and man it was!
BLM camping. copyright Bernadette Mae 2019