Interstate Highway 80
Our 2nd stop on our 2019 Road trip was Elko, Nevada leaving Grass Valley, California on Interstate Highway 80 thru Donner Mountain, Truckee and Reno. Reno to Elko is all desert, 100 degree weather but a well-groomed 4-lane flat highway with a speed limit of 75-80 mph. This freeway is a major route connecting California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming then on to Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.
Shoshone, Battle, Sheep Creek Mountains
Three mountain ranges are thru this section on highway 80: Shoshone Range to the south, Battle Mountain Range and Sheep Creek Range to the north. Once you get to Elko, there is more vegetation and the town is located at the base of the Ruby Mountains.
Gold and Mining Production
Northeastern Nevada is the center for operations in mining, minerals, and manufacturing, and transportation. This area is the largest producer of gold in the nation, ranking the fourth largest in the world and as a result house the largest mining companies in the world.
Elko means “Noble”
In 1868, Elko was the end of the tracks laid from the west by the Central Pacific Railroad. When CPRR tracklayers moved east to meet construction crews of the Union Pacific Railroad, they left a small tent town on the banks of the Humboldt River. The meaning of the name Elko is “Noble”. Elko is was named by Charles Crocker, a superintendent of the Central Pacific Railroad. He was fond of animal names and added the letter “o” to Elk. Elko was officially incorporated as a city in 1917. Population today is approximate 20,000.
Elko County, located in the northeast corner of Nevada, is the fourth largest county in the continental United States. Miles and miles of sagebrush give way to scenic spots, such as Lamoille Canyon and the Ruby Mountains, and locals are proud of this ruggedly beautiful land. Although the county’s area is vast, there are only 2.5 people per square mile, and almost 90 percent of the land is owned by the federal government.
Elko’s Giant Cowboy Boots
Located 65 miles south of Elko is Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge with natural marshes, ponds, wet meadows and grassy uploads. Limited waterfowl hunting is permitted in season and the refuge is open for large-mouth bass and trout fishing year round.