Oasis in the desert

The Nevada-style deluxe Sunday drive occurs when you’re driving on a two-lane somewhere in the outer Basin, and you impulsively pull off and head down a secondary road for a place you know nothing about, but you feel like heading that way just because its name somehow hits you in a good spot, and you drive and you drive and the driving is easy because the quality of the dirt road is so good you can drive 60 mph with a fair amount of trust and a medium amount of dust.

And after a few miles, the road heads up to this kind of a ramshackle rest area with a few decent trees and a couple of garbage cans and it looks like a good place to get out, nose around, maybe allow your bladder to once again experience a feeling of nothingness. And once you get out, you notice there’s something liquid next to the cottonwoods, something that looks like a pool.

And that’s exactly what it is, it’s a pool, for cryin’ out loud, out here in the absolute middle of Zeroville, a big rectangle of cement filled with cool green water, and it’s obviously here for swimming, and if the air were about 20 degrees hotter that’s exactly what you would do, you would just jump in and flip, flop and frolic about in the cool green water, floating on your back and spitting water out toward the sun and rinsing the road out of your hair, but it’s sorta cool and breezy and really more of a hot tub day than a swimming pool day, so you keep your clothes on and look at the pool and appreciate its presence and promise to remember it about three months from now.

And as you turn to get back in your rig and move on, you see the two small tubs built into the hillside up from the pool. You investigate and find that they’ve been carefully crafted with brick and concrete, side by side, each with its own separate pipe for the constant inflow of water that keeps each filled to its brim. They’re simple and gorgeous little pieces of work and you’re hoping like hell that they somehow have hot water in them … you stick your hand in to feel … oh yeah. Oh, sweet Princess of the Desert … hot!

In fact, perfect. Clean, clear, hot water, set to a supremely righteous muscle-melting temperature by Thermalaqua herself, the goddess of natural hot springs, and this place is a gift from her to us dusty travelers who are in need of a serene oasis in which to soak our tired, scrunched-up, bucket-seat highway buns and drink our frosty, chilled-up, ice chest beers/sodas/bottled waters.

Beer is fetched, clothes peel off and buns are sunk, all at a pace best described as focused. And there you sit, giggling softly like a mellow madman and savoring juicy slices of time on a gleaming spring day during a deluxe Nevada-style Sunday drive.