Commentary by Samuel Strait - October 19, 2022 It has been nearly a year now since I've had the opportunity to take an extended trip in this Country without the constant nagging from members of the Church of Covid Hysteria. Great to be on the byways and highways of rural America, for a thirty day trip to the Atlantic Coast with as few miles on the Nation's Interstate Freeways as possible. The first day out was a rousing success of nearly four hundred and fifty miles of travel on back country roads, only resorting to thirty miles on the interstate. Up Highway 199 to Grants Pass, then to Medford, before leaving Interstate Five for a scenic trip over the mountains to Klamath Falls then Lakeview, Oregon. Completed the day with a late afternoon in the majestic scenery of Northeastern California, before ending outside of the sparkling lights of Reno, Nevada. I had forgotten the luxury of a trip without a firm destination and the ability to stop on a whim when ever the urge takes you. Small towns along two lane roads that haven't changed much in years. Store fronts from a half a century or more down the main streets of towns named Likely, Pine Creek, and Madeline. All spaced with miles of scenic beauty on both sides of the road, rugged barren peaks, huge lakes, and miles of cattle ranches many displaying their patriotism by flying the American Flag. Roads straight as an arrow through broad valleys for miles that open often and unfailing when following the crest of a mountain pass, only for the valley to narrow down in anticipation of the climb to the next mountain pass. If you are expecting tall and majestic trees, you are in the wrong place, as the vegetation tends toward scrub and spindly short pine trees at best, still a different kind of beauty is all around, that has made the trip more than worth it. As the sun was setting, pink hued mountains filled the skyline on both side of the road as we approached the lights of the City, Reno, our final destination of the day. Reno will be but a night time stop before heading further south and Las Vegas. Highway Ninety Five with a detour to the Highway of the Extraterrestrials, got to visit the tin foil hat crowd after all, and the mailbox, as well as pick up a few alien artifacts, then on to Vegas, maybe? Day Two to follow shortly. As I said at the beginning of this odyssey, plans can change on a dime. The internet connection was abysmal at the hotel last night, so day two has merged with day one and plans have changed. We learned that Reno, Nevada is home to the National Automobile Museum, and the lure was irresistible being only blocks from the hotel. Two hours at the start of day two was spent viewing over two hundred vintage cars. Ranging from the start of automobile development in the mid 1890's to the 1970's, a car enthusiast's smorgasbord of vintage autos was on display. A must see for all those afflicted with the love of automobiles. Gambling not being our "thing", lunch was had and Las Vegas was in front of us. Reno to Fallon, then south on Highway 95. High desert, sage brush, and more arrow straight roads until the breath taking beauty of Walker Lake appeared before us. Pink Mountains enclosing the lake on all sides, before entering the Native American Station of Walker Lake. No Casino graced the station and decay every where was evident. Should make our local tribes grateful for the resource of the casinos that they have and be happy that the federal and state governments have invested millions of dollars to further their life style in Del Norte County. No such luck for the Walker River Tribe. Further down the road to Vegas is Hawthorne, Nevada, home to a massive army weapons depot. Acres and acres of munitions bunkers and the support facilities covered the area around Hawthorne. Luing, Mina, and Coaldale stations, mainly former mining towns that are bare remnants of their former glory. With Las Vegas still three hundred miles away and the dinner hour lurking we elected Tonopah, another hundred miles down the road to be the end of the day. Tonopah is another century old mining town that has managed to survive in a cluster of hills before heading south towards Death Valley and Vegas, or the choice to detour east to the Extraterrestrial Highway. Three hundred more miles of two lane road with only the token traveled on Interstate 80 up near Reno. Aliens and Las Vegas await our travels in the morning before crossing into Arizona. See you at the end of day three.