25-Sep-2004 -- Beware of twin tire tracks passing as “roads” that simply vanish into the desert.
This confluence lies in the Little Smoky Valley south of Eureka, NV. Our approach would be from the north. Southbound on US-50 until NV-379, then south again at N39 16.128 W115 57.074 onto what started out as a fairly good dirt road. It soon became two parallel tracks becoming overgrown with and then disappearing into the scrub brush. This was about two and a half miles after choosing the right (incorrect) fork of two parallel paths. This could happen to you anywhere out there with many roads to choose from. We were at a decision point: back track or simply drive 100 meters across the scrub to the much more defined path - where we needed to be.
There were no rocks or other obstacles in my way except for the bushes. The Tahoe easily made it to the other set of tracks heading south and almost resembling a single lane dirt road. From here we averaged 45mph as the road gradually became much better.
Our confluence dance involved only shifting from drive to reverse with a little bit of steering to achieve all zeroes. We parked just off road centerline – and on the confluence - just as the TerraServer imagery depicted.
Picture #1 looks north and shows the dirt road leading to the confluence. If you can manage to stay on the correct roads, 95% of your journey to and from this confluence will be on roads as good or better than shown here. Picture #2 looks north over the sparse desert. Picture #3 looks east across more desert. Picture #4 looks south. Picture #5 looks west with the Park Range in the foreground and the Moody Range aft and to the north. Picture #6 shows our GPS readings midway between where each receiver displayed all zeroes. Picture #7 shows Sam’s GPS with all zeroes.
We had reached our fourth confluence of the day and each time our vehicle was within 100 meters. It was still early in the day and with only one planned confluence remaining, we started wondering if we could reach two more confluences before sunset. We continued southbound, rejoining NV-379 at Duckwater.
Onward to 39°N 115°W!