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Author Topic: Driving Route 50 across the US  (Read 1461 times)

Stephen Girimont

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Driving Route 50 across the US
« on: March 11, 2018, 08:20:00 PM »

I'm have reason to be in Arizona in early May (I live in Northern Virginia) and am planning to drive out there. I have 6 days to get there and was thinking of taking Route 50 all the way out to eastern Utah before heading south. Does anyone here have experience with this drive? Any recommendations for must-see locations along the way?

HSakols

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Re: Driving Route 50 across the US
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 07:12:25 PM »

I worked at Great Basin National Park back in 1994.  I thought Lehman's Cave, the bristlecone pines, and Wheeler Peak to be amazing.  There are also many other hidden gems in this area.  There is a beauty to the remoteness of the Great Basin.  Also make sure to read Basin and Range by John McPhee. 
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Two23

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Re: Driving Route 50 across the US
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2018, 09:41:46 PM »

I lived in Kansas for a couple of decades.  There's a lot of interesting little towns scattered along the highway.  Few people from the East seem to have a concept of how much space there is on the Great Plains.  Western KS seems endless.   North of Dodge City KS is the Chalk Pyramids.  They're kind of cool when shot at night.  On the Missouri side, what isn't crop land is heavy forest.  My wife was born in Sedalia, MO and lived her first 18 years about two blocks from U.S. 50.


Kent in SD
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MattBurt

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Re: Driving Route 50 across the US
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2018, 12:37:27 PM »

I live four blocks from US 50 in Gunnison, Colorado. We definitely have some nice landscapes around here and Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP is 50 Miles West and is pretty good for a quick visit. You'll pass right by the turn on the way to Montrose from here.
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Camerajim

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Re: Driving Route 50 across the US
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2018, 11:59:40 AM »

We made this drive five years ago, starting in Winchester, VA and going all the way to SF. You will have to take Interstates at times, but the existing old sections of Route 50 are the real draw. There are big landmarks along the way (like the NPs in Utah), but the journey is the reward.

It's the almost-accidental finds I found most rewarding, like an abandoned house in the desert or a flooded river in Illinois. It's a great drive, with more photo opps than you can handle in 6 days (we took two weeks to do that drive).
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VincentDJohnson

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Re: Driving Route 50 across the US
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2018, 04:46:36 PM »

One of my favorite photos is on route 50, just east of Dodge City, KS (Ardell, KS). It's the first image on my home page of a grain elevator http://www.lostamericana.com.

About 100 miles north of there is Monument rock (might be worth the drive if you have the time and you're getting clear skies for sunset & night photos).
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vincentjohnson/2267148720/in/album-72157603346855148/

Dodge City has a new whiskey distillery called Boot Hill Distillery. If you're into that.

The drive from Lamar to LaJunta, CO. is beautiful. Make sure you have gas, long way between stops. If you find a dirt road going north through open range fields without any "no trespassing" signs, take a drive off the main road. The quite of the wind there when you get out of your car is almost zen like.  Lodging in that area consider Garden City, KS, or Pueblo, CO. However there is a nice KOA (with cabins) in Cotopaxi, CO, right on the Arkansas river (good rafting nearby).

Hit Sweeties Sandwich shop up in Salida, CO.
https://goo.gl/maps/JVMpcXDMAAF2

If you have an SUV with clearance and 4x4 try the drive over Tin Cup pass starting at St. Elmo ghost town.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vincentjohnson/14835844425/in/album-72157603346855148/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmGKODUBp7c
https://goo.gl/maps/q7NmNwNfx6C2

Gunnison has a old school steakhouse called Ol Miner's, try them, then try the brewery right next store.
https://goo.gl/maps/efAF8maq3xM2
I had good luck staying at the ABC Motel there. https://goo.gl/maps/HU2AgBbn9BQ2

When you get to Montrose, CO. if you have time, take 550 south to at least Ouray, or Silverton. You also aren't going to be that far from Masa Verde & the Four Corners at the point. Might be worth the detour and then head back north on 191.

Sadly I know little about route 50 in my own state of Illinois.

Good luck on your travels.

Cheers,
Vincent
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VincentDJohnson

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Re: Driving Route 50 across the US
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2018, 04:53:07 PM »

Sorry, forgot about looking east.

Gormania, WV has the real cool stretch of building on Route 50 that haven't changed since like the late 1800s. Worth a stop. Bunch of old historical photos in the gas station across the street.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BhkSznWjx2j/?taken-by=lostamericana

Also, I expect you to get farther than this on your first day, but Marietta, OH has a cool classic hotel on the river. Not to mention a great little candy store just north on the same street. https://goo.gl/maps/xmFYf7Nr8qN2 (it is not on route 50, but not far north of Parkersburg).

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Stephen Girimont

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Re: Driving Route 50 across the US
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2018, 08:31:58 AM »

Thanks everyone! I start my trip today, but, as they say, no plan survives contact with the enemy.

The enemy in this instance appears to be my father who wanted to come along with me on the way out, so I will first be heading down to North Carolina to pick him up. That messes up my Route 50 plans for the first part of the trip. I'm still going to stay off the highways, just different routes.

I may do Route 50 on the way back east, however. (Going to slow down enough to kick Dad out at the airport in Albuquerque before arriving in Chinle), so I'm free to choose my route on the way back.

One really cool thing that worked out with this trip's timing is the opening of a new Sedona Taphouse restaurant in Nashville, TN. This chain of restaurants uses my southwest images as their decor package. I'll be in Nashville Saturday night which happens to be their pre-opening "Family and Friends" night and the owner invited me and my father to join them, so that will be a nice way to kick off the trip. Always nice to see my work up in public.
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