Our vacation this year involved a lot of time on the road. We began by driving from Oakland to Denver in 3 days. The scenery was nice, because for this trip you don't take the infamous Highway 80. We took California route 88 over Carson Pass.
Our trip to Carson Pass went through the Delta, always very pretty, and up into the Sierras, where there was still snow under trees and on north facing slopes above about 6,000 feet. It looked like this:
More photos of Carson Pass are available at my SmugMug site. The problem with all this snowy beauty, we discovered when we stopped to take these pictures, was that the only public loo in the entire pass was still buried under 7 feet of snow. We couldn't even get back to the vista point where it sits. Fortunately it wasn't that far to the Kirkwood resort, which is open year round and has public bathrooms.
We had lunch at Caples Lake, which was just beginning to thaw - it's at 7,800 feet.
You come off Carson Pass into the Carson Valley, go up to Carson City where you pick up U.S. Highway 50 to Fallon, then east on Highway 50 across southern Nevada - "the Loneliest Road in America." There are signs all along the road that say so, if you define "all along" as "in the 3 inhabited areas you pass between Fallon and Ely." We've driven Highway 50 before, it's about as desolate as you can imagine. Normally, the irrigated pastures outside Fallon would be the last green green we'd see for quite a while; Highway 50 is desert, unmitigated. But this year all the deserts were very green.
I'm always fascinated by the unmarked dirt roads that lead away from the highway into the distant hills - who goes there, anyway? I'll talk more about the desert later, when I have some more photos up.