This began as a Facebook post that started to run on a bit, and I decided to simply turn it into a blog post.
I originally began by saying (in my little Facebook voice!), “So, I’ve been researching stop off points for our upcoming trip to Yellowstone. We will have to stay in Nevada and rather than do the run-of-the-mill Reno or Vegas thing, I was looking at stopping in a town called Tonopah. It looks like it’s completely in the middle of nowhere (just the way I like it!) But having just read Stephen King’s book Desperation set in a (fictional – I hope) forgotten Nevada town…”
Well that’s when I screeched to a halt and realized that this all really began when I read Desperation!
And that it needed to be a blog…
Cue new beginning.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Wild West, the empty spaces, the lonely barrenness in the landscape and the tumble weed (which is actually not even native to that area! It’s Russian thistle brought in from Eastern Europe/Russia in a bag of grass seed!) When I mention driving through Nevada to my American friends many of them pull a face of disgust like, who’d want to do that? But when you were brought up on a tiny lush island with winding roads, the Nevada-scape is exotic by comparison. There’s just something about those long, straight roads disappearing into a pinoint on the horizon that awe me to almost speechlessness. Almost, not completely but even so, it might be why My Husband finds those road trips appealing too!
Even reading Desperation didn’t put me off, though I sure hope I don’t get pulled over by a cop on highway 50. The stretch through Nevada is known as “The Loneliest Road in America”! I thought it prudent to stay away from Highway 50 altogether, and with the help of Google maps, I discovered Tonopah. What really cemented the deal for this stop was that it will be a great jumping off point for State Route 375. Why this road? Well, here’s what it says in Wikipedia about it…
“The top-secret Area 51 government base is near SR 375 and many travelers have reported UFO observations and other strange alien activity along this road. Such stories prompted the state to officially designate the route as the Extraterrestrial Highway in 1996. The small town of Rachel, located near the center of the highway, caters to tourists and UFO seekers with alien-themed businesses. Although the area receives some tourism due to alleged extraterrestrial activity, SR 375 remains a lightly traveled route.”
At least it’s not lonely, right? You know, especially not with all those aliens…
So okay, Tonopah… the pictures aren’t very inspiring on Bing Images, so I had a look at the town website which conveniently has a lodging section. All very well and good, until I noticed the second one down – The Clown Motel! As if staying in a tiny town in the middle of Nevada wasn’t scary enough they have a Clown Motel as in horror-movie-creepy-ass clowns!
|This picture of Clown Motel from the Town of Tonopah website
Upon further investigation, I came across this blog, Atlas Obscura (what a find by the way!) only to discover that if the clowns weren’t freaky enough for you, that the motel is sited beside an old miners cemetry! Go read this short blog – I’m just bummed they got there before me, but I’m not one to reinvent the wheel – they’ve written pretty much what I would have.
And while I’m directing you around the inter-web-thinggy, check out the comments on Trip Advisor about this place – hilarious!
Comments like, “…The clowns in the office were a bit scary…” and another said, “…Gotta admit, the clowns scared me….” and my favorite, “…I was here alone for a ghost hunt in a nearby town…” Like, seriously? Alone? For a ghost hunt and staying in a freaky Clown Motel? Fair play to ya mate – it takes all sorts, and I’m guessing we’ll meet most of them on this upcoming trip!
So will we stay here? You’ll just have to read the next installment in a few of week when we hit the road. But here’s a clue…My Husband says “NO way!” This is the man who wouldn’t buy a house near railroad tracks because he saw an episode of Criminal Minds that had a serial killer traveling on freight trains and murdering people who lived near the tracks!
We intend to hit up some of the big parks in Utah (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands and more if possible) before heading north for Yellowstone. I have a vague intention of posting daily…That is if the Big Cop from Desperation, the ailens and the clowns don’t get us first!
1 reply to Stranger than fiction
I love your travel posts! A daily-as-you-go post would be such fun. Please do it!
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