2014 Roadtrip: Provo, UT to Ely, NV

When we left Provo at 10:45 a.m. it was 46° and sunny (on April 29th). The snow covered mountains around Provo and in Uinta Nat Forest were gorgeous. We took the I-15 south to Hwy 132 and then Hwy 6 + 50 west. All along the way, in the towns there were flowering trees in full bloom. On the I-15 the speed limit was 80 mph; I think that is a first for us in the USA. To the west of the I-15 were pastures and rolling green hills. On Hwy 132 the speed limit was 70 mph. The great basin is a flat, high desert surrounded by mountains that were snow capped. When we were going 70 mph we were getting 28 mpg—very good for our Subaru Outback.

When we stopped for our lunch at 1 p.m. it was really windy and 58°--definitely not warm. We had a mountain view beyond the high desert landscape of sagebrush. Dimitri had leftover chicken with the tikka masala sauce and rice from Banana Leaf Restaurant in Provo. Audre ate her normal roadtrip lunch of crudités and fruit.

On the Hwy 6 + 50 we passed by Sevier Lake and it looked like a mirage. We started climbing and reached 6200’ and gorgeous big mountain vistas west of us. On the Nevada side of the border, the foothills of the mountains were green, like there was plenty of water coming from the snow capped peaks. We got to Sacramento Pass at 7154’ and then Commons Pass  at 7726’ where there were lots of Pinyon and Juniper trees—classic high desert flora. Then we started down to the Steptoe Valley where Ely is located.

Ely is a small town with the Great Basin National Park and lots of BLM land. We came to mountain bike but we learned that the blustery wind is normal. We didn’t think it would be pleasant to bike in the kind of wind we were experiencing combined with the 50° temperature. We went to the BLM office in Ely to get mountain biking information notwithstanding. They were helpful. We went to the tourist information office at the Chamber of Commerce and asked about restaurants. It didn't seem as if there was much choice for us. None of the American restaurants were to our liking so we decided to go to Happy Garden Cantonese Chinese for dinner (it looked cute).

As we were driving around we decided that this town, particularly if we couldn't mountain bike, was a "one night kind of town." So we started making arrangements for our next stop. Dimitri telephoned 3 hotels in Tonopah but they were all fully booked for Wednesday night. We decided to drive 5 hours to Bishop, CA on Wednesday. Dimitri booked one night at a hotel outside of Bishop recommended by the Matlons.


Dimitri had booked a king, executive suite room at the La Quinta Inn and Suites, 1591 Great Basin Blvd., Ely, NV 89301, tel. 775-289-8833 for $133.87. It overlooked the supermarket next door but had a mountain view in the distance beyond. The Internet was not high speed as advertised but kind of slow speed. The room was long with a window at one end, with a large arm chair and ottoman and the desk at that end. The TV was in front of the bed, not in front of the sofa and coffee table at the other end of the room. Across from the sofa, was a table and two chairs. There was a small mini fridge, microwave, sink and coffee maker near the bathroom end of the room. The bathroom was okay but the noisy fan automatically when on when you turned on the light. This room was a one night stay kind of room. So our decision to move on to Bishop on Wednesday was the right one.

After we were in bed we heard the person above us walking (actually clomping) around. We heard it again in the morning too. Not good sound-proofing. The curtains didn’t close and we had to use a clip of our own to, sort of, keep out the light. The lighting in the room was not bright enough for us. We didn’t use the Jacuzzi because it wasn’t hot enough or appealing enough or the fitness or business center. The breakfast was okay and had fresh bananas, oranges and apples. Dimitri had the eggs and sausage and pronounced them okay. All in all, it was an okay hotel but certainly not worth $133.87. Something has changed in the La Quinta chain since the last time we stayed in one in 2012 and, based on our experience at the La Quinta in Ely, NV,  we don’t like the brand anymore. (In 2012, we stayed in the Greenwood Village, La Quinta Tech Center, 7077 S. Clinton St., Greenwood Village, CO 80112,tel. 303-649-9969 for $102.60 for king suite #208.)