Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Gump Group

Not too long ago, the Coyote and I made a trip on Highway 50, often titled"The Lonliest Highway in America".  It was a return trip from out East and we had decided to pick up Highway 50 just outside of Salt Lake City then stay on it all the way to Sacramento. 

In that roughly 600-mile stretch of road we saw some remarkable scenery, a few small towns and what I call the four Forrests. Not trees mind you, but the Gump type– you know, like in “Gump. Forrest Gump.”  The first one we saw was a biker, as in bicycle, who was out in the middle of a 50-mile stretch of nowhere.  Next we saw a solitary jogger in a similar situation.

Then we were heading through some foothills into a valley and along the side of the road was another solitary figure.  He had two large garbage bags full of something lying next to him and he was sitting cross-legged staring out into the valley below.  Finally we were a few miles out of a little town and there was a guy clad in shorts and shoes only, heading for what looked like nowhere.

Now as I recollect these guys all had some things in common.  They all looked fairly old.  They all had gray hair and beards and they all were thin.  So what the hell does that mean?  Maybe it is this:  If you want to get old, turn gray and get thin, head for the loneliest highway in America, Highway 50.

That night we settled in at an old mining town named Austin, Nevada. Austin had a handful of stores and three tiny motels.  The rooms were cheap at $35 and clean to boot.  We moseyed (That is what you do in an old mining town, right? You mosey!) up the street to the town restaurant and bar and had a couple hamburger steaks with fries backed up by a couple damn fine longnecks and turned in early in preparation for the last leg home the next day.

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