Nestled along a stretch Highway 50 in Nevada is Ely, a “remote mountain town of 4,000.” Founded as a stagecoach station along the Pony Express, Ely saw its boom when copper was discovered in 1906.
We spent several days in Ely at the KOA campground attending a Family Motor Coach Association rally. This was a small rally by most standards – a gathering of a portion of the Vegas Blackjacks chapter. It was our first time with this group, and we really had fun. It was great to get to know fellow RVers from the Las Vegas, Mesquite and Pahrump areas.
The Loneliest Road in America
Driving into Ely we got a laugh when the GPS informed us “in two miles, turn left on the loneliest road in America, Highway 50.” We’ve never heard of 50 being referred to that way, so we did a little research. Apparently “The Nevada portion of the route, named ‘The Loneliest Road in America’ by travelers, evokes the feeling of loneliness. You find miles and miles of little more than mountains, sand, and blue sky.” Made us chuckle.
Cave Lake State Park
We took a short drive to Cave Lake State Park. It was a beautiful day for a hike, and we wanted to take advantage of the weather. The lake was small, but it was a nice park overall. There were plenty of picnic areas around the perimeter of the lake.
Ward Charcoal Ovens
From there we continued on to see the Ward Charcoal Ovens at a state park bearing their name. These are beehive shaped charcoal ovens used to help process silver ore in the late 1800s.
The ovens were used to produce charcoal from wood. The charcoal was necessary for the purification of the silver ore. It was a faster process using these beehive shapes than the traditional method. But it used a lot of lumber. One oven required six acres of trees to create 50 bushels of coal in 12 days.
The ovens were later used as shelters for passing travelers. There is even a legend that they were used as a hideout for stagecoach robbers.
They were pretty interesting to explore.
On our drive back to our campground, we were slightly delayed…
Fun several days. Now on to the next stop – West Wendover, NV.