We got a late start from home. Since it was Tuesday, we were tending the two little boys and then Alyssa had a dentist appointment so we waited a little longer to watch Everett, since he was taking a nap. We also had to get everything packed, and that took a little longer than planned.
We left home at 3:30 pm and went south through Utah County to Nephi and then headed west through Leamington to Delta. We topped off the gas tank and headed out into the Great Basin desert. By 6:30 pm we found a place to camp near the Utah/Nevada border. There was a turnoff that we took on the north side of the highway and drove out about a mile to a nice spot in the sand and cedar trees.
For dinner Eva tried her new 3 quart InstaPot. She cooked barbecue chicken and it took about 25 minutes. It also used about 20% of our battery power, but that should be made up in the morning with a few hours of the Nevada sun.
It was a very warm night so after eating we sat outside and looked at the stars. This area has not cities or houses close by, so there is no light pollution and so you could see a lot of stars. It was also a great night to sleep in our van. We opened all the windows on the top and had a nice cool breeze all night long. I think I had my best night sleep in the van.
The next morning we were up with the rising sun. We ate breakfast and cleaned up camp. The drive to Great Basin National Park was about 30-40 minutes. The park headquarters are in Baker, Nevada. We stopped at the visitors center and learned a little bit about the park. We had a Lehman Cave tour at 1 pm, so we had some time to explore before the tour.
We drove the Wheeler Peak Scenic drive. This is an 18 mile drive that starts at 6000’ elevation and ends at 10,300’. We stopped at the scenic overlooks and campgrounds on the way up. Coming back down the road we stopped at the Upper Lehman Creek Campground and ate sandwiches for lunch.
We met at the Lehman Cave Visitors Center 15 minutes before the tour and had an orientation meeting. The cave tour is about 0.4 miles long and takes about 1-1/2 hour. It was interesting and our tour guide was pretty entertaining. The cave was discovered about 130 years ago and for many years people would break off the formations to take home. The motto was “If you can break it, you can take it.”
Once the government took over, better protections were put in place and the cave was better developed and controlled. There were man-made entrance and exit tunnels created to allow better access. The cave tour took you through 4-5 rooms that are open for public access.
The cave really didn’t have all the colors that you see in the pictures, but the came out that way in the pictures.
After the tour we worked our way out of the park and started the drive to Ely. It was about 60 miles from the park to Ely. At Ely we filled up with gas and the found the LDS church. We expect this will be our best access to WIFI while on our trip. They have a smaller, older chapel, but we found a place to park where we could get some WIFI access. We didn’t stay long, we just wanted to test it.
From Ely we drove about 40 miles west and camped at a free campground overlooking Illipah Reservoir. It was another very nice evening with warm temperatures and not many bugs. As soon as it was dark the coyotes started howling. There were dozens of them all around the reservoir. They started howling several times through the night.