Hohum's Summer road-trip 2023

Took most of the week off from work to relax and recharge.

Spent Sunday (08/13) morning and afternoon driving from central California thru Las Vegas to Mesquite NV (nice three-exit town/city close to the AZ border).
What’s in Mesquite?
Gambling, golf (though I don’t play) and an occasional weekend event.
Plenty of lodging options, including hotels at each of the four main casinos. One major reason I like staying in Mesquite hotels - no resort fees (Or at least, Casablanca, Eureka and Virgin River hotels, do not tack on a resort fee) and value-priced hotel rooms.

I usually stay at Virgin River Hotel - the rooms are in 5 multi-storied buildings detached from the main casino. As I think about it, that is a distinguishing feature about Virgin River Hotel and the three other Mesquite casino hotels. The are also a few other other non-casino hotels in the area. Basic room with bathroom, TV and free wifi. Plus, close access to one of two swimming pools. Another appeal is the onsite 24-hour cafe. But, on this trip, that appeal lost its shine.

Stay @ Virgin River Hotel, play (slots) @ CasaBlanca Hotel. The two hotels are owned by the same entity, Mesquite Gaming, and share similar features - same loyalty card, and similar perks. I just prefer the gaming ambiance (and now, the meal discounts at CasaBlanca). Swipe your loyalty card once a day and get some type of perk - this trip, each of my card swipes at either location was a meal perk. I seem to recall free slot play as a prior perk. I mentioned similar features - each location has a hot dog stand, pizza place (one size, 6 or 7 varieties), ice-cream parlor and a cafe. Each casino has a McDonald’s nearby - in the Virgin River Hotel case, just across the street from two casino entrances. CasaBlanca has a more expensive eating option, Katherine’s - with reservations recommended. CasaBlanca and owns/has access to two golf courses. Since I don’t golf, I have never explored the “stay & play” option - hotel stay & round of golf option. CasaBlanca used to host an MMA Octagon events on their property, The “big tent” has been removed.

On each of my days in Mesquite, triple digits during the day (although, on day four, it was 97 degrees to start, and 102 when I left). No problems with AC while in the room. Funny observation - although CasaBlanca is a more upscale hotel, most rooms don’t appear to have fridges. I make this comment after observing multiple guests toting different size coolers down the hallway that leads to the hotel rooms, or when entering the casino - funny thing, on each day they were all red coolers (wassup with dat?). I presume the ice machines work as well, or better, at CasaBlanca than they do at Virgin River Hotel (while only 1 of 2 ice machines worked in my building, it was hardly busy or crowded. Plus, the working machine was quite efficient). Mesquite Gaming were smart when they decided on the ice cream & sherbet angle. Very nice way to cool down, or take a break from the slot machines. Or both.

On day four, I left Mesquite and drove and drove. Instead of Mesquite NV - Ely NV, I got there via AZ and UT and only added about 8 additional miles to my trip! I have a new-to-me 2016 Prius C. A few months ago, I mentioned a story that included a segment of driving 49 mph on Hwy 49 for a few miles. Enroute to Ely on Hwy-93, … well, the Prius is a fast car :slight_smile: On Hwy-93 near Ely, one comes to a T junction. Right turn takes one to Great Basin NP. Left turn takes one into Ely. Made a left turn and headed into Ely for a gas fill-up. In and around Ely, there’s stuff to do and see - previously mentioned Great Basin NP, Ward Charcoal ovens, a Renaissance village, train stuff, etc. But, my main reason for going to Ely is because it is one endpoint of what Life magazine dubbed “the loneliest highway in America” (Hwy-50 in NV)

I created this on-the-fly experiment. Between Ely and Carson City, there aren’t many towns on that 300+ miles stretch of Hwy-50. Once I got about 3 or 4 miles outside Ely, I started counting the traffic zipping by me
40 min of driving to Eureka County line - 52 vehicles (51 vehicles, plus a FedEx van) and 2 motorbikes
Paused experiment while in Eureka, and resumed about 3 miles after I left Eureka
40 min of driving from Eureka town boundaries to Austin - 18 vehicles. Another expt pause. Again, resumed about 3 or 4 miles outside town boundary. Another 40 min span - 26 vehicles and a motorbike. Drove past the road that leads to NAS Fallon aka the Real Top Gun pilot training school. It was almost dark, and I didn’t want to test the protocols on visiting a Naval Air Station in the evening hours. NPR available until Eureka county line, then a regular buzz until I was outside the city of Fallon.
Experiment conclusion: Other than the middle stretch, not-so-lonely. Changes in elevation and landscape, and the sunset made it a pleasant drive.

Made my way through Fallon. On the edge of the small city, there was a road sign indicating
Reno 63
Carson City 61

I had been leaning towards the latter, but the deviation of path (with Carson City requiring a left side highway switch) crept up too quickly. Oh well!, to Reno and a longer route back home. In hindsight, with a little better planning, I would have gotten more out of this trip in a clockwise fashion. I would have spent a day or two in the Ely/Great Basin NP area before heading down to Mesquite.

Food, fuel and lodging - Around $250
Casino contributions to Mesquite - slightly more than $250