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Good stop for a Day - WY/UT along Rt 80
Old 08-17-2011, 11:38 AM   #1
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Good stop for a Day - WY/UT along Rt 80

We are driving to CA from Denver along Rt 80, which we join at Cheyenne WY.

Our current plan is to drive to SLC (8 1/2 hr drive), spend 2 nights, drive to Lake Tahoe (9 1/2) & spend 2 nights, and then continue to the bay area.

Are there other interesting towns/places along the way that would be worth visiting for a day?

We are quite happy with our return plan - Yosemite, Las Vegas, Zion, Arches and maybe some town in Western CO.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:20 PM   #2
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I just stumbled onto a web site that lists the best 'small town gems' in the US. I've been to several of the recommended towns and I agree with them!

There are two recommended towns in Nevada, but only one got a gold star (the site will describe its rating system). The town is Virginia City. It is 15 miles north of Carson City and the website says it is one of the best preserved examples of an old west town. The entire town is an historic monument.

Here is the link to the gems: SmallTownGems, small town travel in America, best small towns: About Us

Once there, click on "Browse Towns" to find the gems in each state: Approved, candidate, disqualified USA small towns links by state: Browse Towns

Have fun!
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:29 PM   #3
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Thanks Lisa.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:30 PM   #4
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Wendover NV/UT is an interesting place. Bonneville Salt Flats, An old airport where they had training for the Enola Gay and other WW II crews,a mini museum at the airfield.

The Nevada side has some fun casinos and great hotels where the rates are very cheap. Wendover is about 2 hours west of SLC, so you might want to do one nite in SL and one in Wendover. The great Salt Lake is close to mid-way between the 2 and that deserves a visit as well.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:35 PM   #5
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Please let us know how the trip went; we'll be on the same routes soon.
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
I just stumbled onto a web site that lists the best 'small town gems' in the US. I've been to several of the recommended towns and I agree with them!

There are two recommended towns in Nevada, but only one got a gold star (the site will describe its rating system). The town is Virginia City. It is 15 miles north of Carson City and the website says it is one of the best preserved examples of an old west town. The entire town is an historic monument.

Here is the link to the gems: SmallTownGems, small town travel in America, best small towns: About Us

Once there, click on "Browse Towns" to find the gems in each state: Approved, candidate, disqualified USA small towns links by state: Browse Towns

Have fun!
nevada city in california on the other side of lake tahoe is a good gold/silver era town also. if i had to pick one i think i'd do nevada city as it's bigger than virginia city. virginia city might be a bit more interesting historically in a some ways but it's got more of the junky trinket shop aspect happening at the same time. I enjoyed staying overnight in nevada city. When i went through virginia city, spending a 2 or 3 hours was about my limit.
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Old 08-17-2011, 07:40 PM   #7
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I think that you are correct in focusing on Tahoe and SLC. There isn't that much between Reno and SLC unless you're interested in old mining towns.

Normally I would recommend a trip to Park City when you're in SLC but being from CO you may consider it just another ski town. Sort of Aspen lite. Your call on that one.

Somebody already mentioned the Salt Flats. They're worth a quick stop.

Regarding Nevada City (a gold rush town) and Virginia City (a silver town and home of the Comstock load), although the gold rush in CA and the silver rush in NV were only separated by 10 years I think that they're really from two different historical eras. Hit both of them if you're interested in history. A good book that discusses both is Men to Match my Mountains by Irving Stone.

Warning, long boring history info ahead. Skip it if you're not interested in the Donner Party.

One thing that I think about everyone once in a while on that drive (it's a pretty boring drive with almost no traffic and you have a lot of time to think) is what it was like for the Donner Party traveling that route 160 years ago. It takes us one day to do this drive. I think that it took them 2-3 months to go from east of the Wasatch to (almost to) the crest of the Sierra. I have a hard time envisioning how they got their wagons up the Wasatch and the Sierra.

They were incorrectly lead to believe that going through Utah was faster than the normal route through Idaho and then cutting south into eastern NV. A big mistake. They lost multiple days hauling their wagons over the Wasatch. Then they lost more days getting stuck in the Salt Flats but before they started up the Sierra they stopped and rested for a couple of days near present day Reno. Another big mistake.

It turns out that they missed getting over Donner Pass by about 8 hours. If they had continued through the night when it started snowing they would have made it over the top but they stopped and back tracked. Another big mistake. The snow was 6 feet deep by the time that it stopped snowing and as they say the rest is history.
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