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Out of Salt Lake by 9:30am, across the city and out into the void, I-80, headed West towards the Utah border.

434. “Flatness.”
435. “Looking north.”
436. “Bonneville.”
437. “Where the land meets salt.”
438. “Looking north again.”

Crossing over into Nevada, we got our Richmond Fontaine Nevada mix cued and let ‘er rip. For so many years now, I’ve been listening to Willy and his songs about Nevada, and Reno, and the motel life, and sadness, and despair, and crime, and heat. It was about time I saw some of these towns from these sad, beautiful songs.

439. “Wendover Will greeted us.”

Into Wells. I skipped up to “Wagonwheel Motel” off 1997’s Safety and slowly cruised the gut…

440. “The Lone Star.”
441. “Sorry.”

From “Wagonwheel Motel”…

Blinded in the red lights of his room, no telephone or TV
he’s got naked girl pictures, hanging on the walls
and pre-made cocktails that lay, in a cooler on the floor
his sister and me come out from Reno, NV
to clogged drains and the pale green walls
of the Wagonwheel Motel in Wells, NV

443. “Wagonwheel Motel sign, no.01.”
444. “Wagonwheel Motel sign, no.02.”
445. “The El Rancho Motel, downtown Wells.”
446. “Suddenly found myself in 1967.”
447. “A wall that prodded me to try my luck.”

Out of Wells, back on to the interstate, and over to Elko.

448. “The Old West Inn.”
449. “Club Silver Dollar.”

And over to Battle Mountain…

450. “The State.”
451. “Where Arlo met Marie.”
452. “We’re walking along the railroad tracks, five in the morning.”
453. “Bell Court Motel.”
454. “Nevada Hotel.”

Then into Winnemucca. Skipped up to “Winner’s Casino” off 2002’s Winnemucca

Drop me off, you can leave me there alone
in Winnemucca
I don’t need anyone else around
and I don’t need to know anyone from town
just put my heart in Gasoline
and some money in my pocket
leave me at Winner’s Casino, and let me disappear
for awhile.

455. “Winner’s Casino.”
456. “Scott Shady Court.”
457. “Scott Shady Court.”
458. “The Motel Life.”
459. “Good cookin’: The Griddle.”

Foudn Highway 95 and left Winnemucca, going north into the nothingness of Northern Nevada.

460. “Trouble ahead.”
461. “Why we drive.”

And into McDermitt, on the Nevada/Oregon bar. Skipped up to “McDermitt” off 1997’s Miles From.

I stare out the window here
at a closed down Texaco gas station
and a kid plays in the highway
in McDermitt at the White Horse bar
waiting for you to get well
less than $90 we have left

462. “The White Horse Bar.”
463. “Looking up.”
464. “Junior’s living in an abandoned house…”
465. “Leaving McDermitt.”

And then we were back in Oregon, racing north into the night, along Highway 95 up to Highway 78 towards the high desert town of Burns.

466. “The Desert Theater.”
467. “Ponderosa Village.”

Out of Burns, we raced West on Highway 20 to Bend. High desert. Rolling berms. Driving like a maniac, high on bad coffee from a gas station, listening to the Flaming Lips epic Clouds Taste Metallic and high volumes. Kept me awake. Rolled through Bend, took a spin downtown, and through those old neighborhoods and got the hell out just as quick. That run up to Portland, I know it well. Probably my thousandth time over the years. Bend > Redmond > Terrebonne > Madras > Warm Springs > The Forest > Hood > Gov’t Camp > Zig Zag > Rhododendron > Sandy > Gresham > Home. A blur. Real late.

There Are 4 Comments

Holy shit. As a big Richmond Fontaine fan (who has never properly been “out West”) this post hit me like a ton of bricks. Jesus Christ, what beautiful and sad images. Brings the songs crashing home that much more. Really wish I could’ve been with you to breathe some of that lonely desert air. Man. As Mark Borchardt once said, “We’re in America today, and we’re ready to roll.”

Thanks very much for an epic post with so many great photos, your site continues to be a huge source of inspiration to many of us out here in internetland.

Posted by: PJ Chmiel on 04/24/07 at 6:16 PM

Welcome Home!

Posted by: Chuck on 04/25/07 at 8:16 AM

i grew up in winnemucca (or as we call it The Muc) and am all too familiar with this leg of the trip.. good to see willy and the boys served you well as a travel guide soundtrack.. (their new album is due out soon and i know i’m excited..) great to see some photos of this part of the country and travel safe!

Posted by: .sara on 04/25/07 at 7:00 PM

I am Joe White Buffalo. I own the White Horse Inn. Looking for tech help to promote the restoration of this ghostly White Horse !!! The Oregon + Nevada border runs thru my hotel. I am trying to make it a refuge for disabled veterans. Check out U-Tube for White Horse Project Take care my friends .

Posted by: Joe White Buffalo on 03/30/16 at 5:33 PM
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