Bruce on the loose

I spent last week in the wilds of Elko county, getting lost on some of the most beautiful desert back roads in this state. Here are highlights.

Middlegate Roadhouse is just east of Fallon on lonely Highway 50. Lots of people there on a Saturday afternoon. The word is obviously out about them Middlegate burgers. We waited forever to get ours, which gave me time to go out into their swingin’ yard and shoot some baskets. I Stef out and splashed four straight free throws. Finally, the burger. Still quite good!

Big Creek in the Toiyabes. Tremendous desert mountain scenery, with its own special and very vertical character. The creek, positively gushing with water. Summertime and primetime.

East to Elko, via Highway 278, the state highway that connects Eureka to Carlin. This road turns out to be a pleasant scenic surprise, filled with large gorgeous pastures of creek-fed fescues and wild native grasses. Vital. Healthy. Picturesque.

They say Lamoille Canyon is Yosemite without the people. And you know what? That’s a great call. If you like majestic awesomeness, put glacial Lamoille Canyon, 25 miles south of Elko, on your list. Yosemite comparisons are totally apt.

Thomas Canyon Campground on Lamoille Creek is dynamite. If you’re camping, a spot at this spot is a no brainer. And just down the road from this place is the Pine Lodge, the well established and super yummy steakhouse/seafood restaurant in “downtown” Lamoille. Yes, eat here. As often as you can. If they eat meat in heaven, they might well serve this filet.

The drive to incredibly remote and delightfully exotic Jarbidge (Watch it! Only ’Fornians and lameasses call it Jar-bridge! Ain’t no second R in the name!) over utterly amazing Coon Creek Summit and eyeball-boggling Bear Creek Summit is one of the greatest visual experiences you will ever enjoy on this planet. It’s Nevada at its ultimate and most stunningly beautiful. You’ll never forget your afternoon on this road.

Jarbidge, the village of trilling hummingbirds dashing and streaking about (so many feeders!) was in perfect form. The always enjoyable Outdoor Inn in downtown J-town was firing on all cylinders. The food was great. The bar was excellent. The ambiance superb. How superb? They had a stuffed phukar in there, pronounced “fucker,” a mutant game bird of a pheasant head sewed on to a chukar body. This phukar had one foot upraised, with the middle talon of that upraised foot also upraised, delivering his unmistakable message to humanity. It was about as perfect as shit gets.