Nevada long drive question

Am planning on a March trip to Vegas and we want to get out of town a few days. The plan is to drive Nevada 95 up to the intersection of Nevada 6, then to Crystal Springs, then Nevada 93 back to Vegas.

Looks like beautiful country side but desolate roads. Been reading in Wiki of some of the old ghost towns along the way.

Question is will I be able to find room accommodations. meals, and gas along the way so I can do that in a 2 to 3 days and take some time to explore around some ?

All of the bigger towns from Vegas to Tonopah along US95 have big hotel/casino things, so you’ll have no problem on that section. The section of your proposed drive from Tonopah pretty much back to Vegas is pretty desolate. Crystal Springs is basically a road junction with a funky truck stop. I say funky both in the “quirky off-beat” sense and the “gross” sense. Alamo is a wide spot in the road with some residents, but I’m not even sure if they have a motel there. (I think they’re Mormons.)

If I might propose a slight modification, if you don’t mind some gravel roads, if instead of turning south onto US93 at Crystal Springs, you keep heading east towards Caliente there’s a cool secondary highway that runs down a canyon south of there, but eventually turns into gravel and then meets back up with US93 fairly close to I-15. Caliente seems a more promising town lodging-wise than Alamo.

Google street view shows one at least.,-114.5196033,3a,90y,323.18h,89.72t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1st6ilRYkh0ruqOk8KhCtoRw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

I’ve never been, but the official Alamo website says that there are more than two dozen hotels within a mile of the Alamo complex.

Also, be sure to check out the basement!

Very interesting terrain: this is Basin & Range country - the mountains are said to resemble “a herd of caterpillars, crawling toward Mexico”.

Recommended reading: Basin & Range, by John McPhee.

One pointer.

If you are out west in the middle of fracking nowhere… gas the fuck up whenever you get a chance…like when you are a less than 3/4 full…those few gallons could make the difference between a nice drive and the day from hell or even worse the day you died.


The entire drive that you are taking about is only about 7 hours, non-stop. One tank of gas in any car could do that.

I came down part of that highway a couple of years ago on a motorcycle. It was a beautiful ride. Gassed up in Ely, then again in Alamo, and yes, there is a motel there.

If you have about three days, extend your trip from Tonopah up to Ely, maybe staying overnight in each place, then head south from Ely to Vegas. That would only be about 9 hours of driving.

93 is a pretty quiet highway, fairly straight and a goes through a couple of really small towns. Can’t even recall if I had to slow down for them, including Crystal Springs. Beautiful country though, and I would go back tomorrow.

Never got on to 95.

I travel that highway 93 every year, nice drive with stops about 130 miles apart. You do have to slow down for some of the towns as they are speed traps, they will nail you for 10 mph over just 50 feet inside the posted sign. If it says 30 mph go 30mph or you will get a ticket. I have done less than 1% of my life time driving in nevada but have gotten 90% of my tickets there.

Another thing we don’t really think about much these days is gas station hours. A lot of really rural gas stations might not have card readers and are only open regular business hours, including being closed on Sundays. Getting stuck somewhere and having to sleep in your car until the gas station opens up in the morning sucks. Although Nevada is a little better than the neighboring states in that regard because a lot of the one horse town gas stations are also 24 hour casinos.

Although Nevada also has the “rural speed” statute which is a holdover from the old $5 “wasting natural resources” ticket they used to have for violations of the federal 55 MPH speed limit. Highway tickets in unincorporated areas in rural counties these days are (IIRC) $25, but importantly they don’t report them to anyone, including the public records databases that the insurance companies use. But that wouldn’t apply to small-town speed traps, so definitely slow down for those.

Yes - in any small NV town you do well to assume that speed limits are:
[ul]lower than is typical elsewhere[/ul]
[ul]tightly enforced[/ul]

What about inbetween towns? You know, the long desert stretches you so often see pictures of?

I almost want to go there just to stay at that motel.

here’s an anecdote from 35 years ago, but it may still be relevant:
I was driving that area of Nevada, and pulled into the only gas station in town at about 3:00 in the afternoon on a Monday or Tuesday.
The gas station was closed.
But there was another car waiting there, with a couple of tourists from Europe. They told me they had found a local resident, who told them he would do them a favor and go into town to find the owner of the gas station.

A few minutes later, a different local resident pulled up,–and tried to extort us.
He had a pickup truck with an oil drum in the back, and a hose leading out of it.
He told us the drum had gas which he would be happy to sell us–for $10 a gallon. (Gas cost about $1 a gallon back then, I think).

I still had a half a tank of gas, so I said no thanks and drove off.
The tourists didn’t, so they paid the guy.

I only travel about 5 MPH over the speed limits and have never had a problem there. I rarely ever see the law inbetween those long stretches

I don’t recall seeing evidence of speed limit enforcement further than about 5 miles from a town. But I’m usually within spitting distance of the legal max, so may have escaped attention.

I have a few times been passed by exotic vehicles doing exotic speeds; never saw one pulled over.


I think you’ll find there’s a traffic cop hiding behind every tree. :slight_smile:

Usually on the really desolate stretches of highway, you’re lucky if you see another car every 10 miles let alone a police car. Although I did actually get one of those rural speed tickets I mentioned earlier. I was totally flabbergasted-- I was in the northwest corner of the state driving this section of secondary highway early in the morning and literally the only car I’d seen in about 40 miles was the cop car parked right below this one tiny hill. I think maybe there was a mine or something up there that had a shift change around then, because otherwise I have no idea how it could possibly be worth his time to sit there all day handing out $25 tickets to the maybe 5 or 10 cars per hour that passed there.

So that’s why I never saw any cops. There’s no trees.:smack:

Some background… I have lived in Nevada my whole life except for 12 years overseas. I have driven every paved highway in Nevada except one (highway 225 in the north east of the state).

If you are turning off of 6 and onto 375 at Warm Springs, there is a small hotel in Rachel with an Area 51 and Alien theme. The rooms are in trailers but are ok.

You could continue on 6 to 318 which is an interesting road that they run a race on periodically.

Once you leave Tonopah on 6 going east, there is little in the way of fuel or any other services until Ely. Have a full tank of gas when you leave Tonopah.

RE: The Cop Thing

Don’t panic folks! The truth is, there just aren’t that many cops out there in the middle of nowhere. NHP hangs around Beatty, Tonopah and Hawthorn. Also, to the best of my knowledge, NHP still uses “old school” X and K band radar, so you get a real nice heads-up when they are around.

I’ve been up and down 95 between Reno and Vegas once or twice a year at least for the last 10 years or so. (Mom likes to go down to see The Lettermen, kid liked to see Monster Jam) I drive like my hair is on fire and never have ticket problems. Just watch the towns, but out in the open you can haul ass.

Hell, I even did the trip two times in unregistered vehicles! :smiley:

Also, for what it’s worth, I think your time would be better spent at The Hoover Dam and Death Valley. No offense to Eddie World, but there is precious little between Vegas and Tonopah worth a damn. Unless you like to watch Air Force drones.