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Nevada...It's Time to Join the Modern World!

Updated on January 15, 2017

Windmill Ridge- Alamo, Nevada

One of the cabins at Windmill Ridge. The staff was kind enough to let us rest here for a few hours.
One of the cabins at Windmill Ridge. The staff was kind enough to let us rest here for a few hours. | Source

Equal Rights for the Whole State

Last week I got to see far more of Nevada than I ever wanted. My son needed to move up to Washington to play hockey, and we decided to drive his car there. He thought he could do it alone, but I realized that if something were to happen, he might just need his mom there. We headed down the highway at 8am with the goal of arriving in Boise by dinner. Everything was great until his car lost all power a few miles north of Alamo, Nevada. For those of you outside of Nevada, Alamo is about 100 miles north of Las Vegas, on the highway that goes through the Great Basin National Park. It was 9:20 a.m., 105 degrees, blazing sun, and a two-lane road filled with cars who didn’t care to stop and help a stranded motorist and his mom. So, we started walking…and walking…and walking. It was hotter than hell (And I am serious). We had no water, no cell signal, no help. We walked about three miles and finally arrived at a very nice business called Windmill Ridge. As I entered the door, my face beet-red and melted off, the staff rushed over to us and gave us water. It seems only Verizon works in rural Nevada, which is partly what this blog post is about. I am not a Verizon customer, nor was this information available prior to our travels.

We were trapped in Alamo. I had to wait hours for a car hauler that never materialized, and had it not been for the great people at Windmill Ridge, we would probably be the remains of some vulture’s dinner. My husband drove up to Alamo from Las Vegas, and we had to drive 140 miles north to the misfortunate town of Ely, Nevada, to get the car hauler. As we headed up US-318 I noticed few cars, one gas station in 140 miles, and NO call boxes. The temperatures in the summer reach well above 110 degrees, and if your car breaks down, basically, you will either need to hitchhike or die. No one stopped or even slowed down to help us. I can imagine what it is like at 1:00 a.m. when the car sputters along the road, and all a poor soul has to look at is dirt, broken bottles, and a whole lot of darkness. Highway 318 eventually turns into Highway 6, which eventually delivers you to Ely. We picked up our car hauler (another ugly story for another time), headed back down 140 miles to Alamo, got the car, headed right back up Highway 318, and made our very behind-schedule way to Washington.

Ah yes, the point of my story…Why don’t we have emergency call boxes on Nevada highways? Had I been with someone elderly, or even young children, there would have been no way they could have made the trek down the road in the Nevada summer heat. I watched every inch of roadway we traveled up and down in Nevada, never seeing an emergency call box. Like an idiot, I believed I would have a cell signal…WRONG. The only thing that would have saved us would have been a CB radio (Breaker-Breaker 19…) but who the heck has those other than truckers? I feel like it is the responsibility of Nevada to protect people who drive its lonesome highways. We need to fix this.

Next gripe…why don’t we have rest areas? Utah has beautiful rest areas. Idaho has spotless rest areas. Nevada…well, I saw one with a picnic table. Do we assume people all fly only to Las Vegas and/or Reno? Isn’t there anything in between the two cities??? Why do we ignore the people in the middle of our state? The people in Alamo were nicer than any human being I have ever met in Vegas. They gave us their phones to use, and one waitress even loaned us her Mustang so we could drive to my son’s broken down car and get some belongings.

As I sat in my husband’s truck driving home from Washington, all I thought about was how disappointing Nevada was. We are the laughingstock of the West. We are a good time sister, and nothing more. We don’t care about the people who live here, or the people who visit. People are unfriendly…well, rude is more accurate. No one offers to help. I am ashamed. My son was so surprised to watch the cars and trucks speeding by us as we dragged our bodies down the burning highway back to Alamo. He didn’t understand why no one would even check to see if we were ok. After all, it isn’t every day you see a teenage boy and his mom walking down a highway literally in the middle of nowhere. I’m not sure what the solution is. We seem too wrapped up in our crappy economy and foreclosures to care about what kind of state we are. I’m so tired of living in a selfish, egomaniacal place. I just thought I would share this with everyone because it makes me sick to call myself a Nevadan.

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      elygirl 4 years ago

      Poor you. I am a woman, from Nevada, and have driven the roads of this great state more times than I can count. It helps to not only carry those items you might need in case of an emergency, but common sense goes a long way. A couple of things I've learned that I'll share with you... Switch to Verizon. Everyone here who travels knows that's the only way to go. Don't drive a car you're not confident in, because, well, duh. Don't expect help unless you are doing all you can to help yourself. Whining isn't the way to go. And lastly, toughen up or move out. Nevada is a great state, and the people of Ely in particular are some of the kindest I know. You get on return what you put out. You're problem isn't the state, it's your attitude.

    • BobMonger profile image

      BobMonger 4 years ago from Carlin, Nevada USA

      My mistake, excuse me-that's just an expression. But it has happened to me and to more than a few loved ones, both young and old-and in a lot more desolate places than the ones you describe. I, too, have lived here for over 3 decades; long enough to know that long road trips across this state do require planning and preparedness. To install the infrastructure you found so lacking would cost a fortune the state does not have so one must plan accordingly. That folks don't stop to help anymore is a sad sign of the times, but even the NHP advises against doing so unless there is a serious accident involved because of the number of crimes committed along our highways. As far as walking up to a ranch and asking for help-they're more than happy to do anything they can, they've been stuck out there before themselves. You were probably not more than an hour from rescue by either the Highway Patrol or County Sheriff who do patrol that stretch of road regularly. Thankfully this didn't happen to you, say, 50 miles north of Lages Junction or somewhere between Elko and Mountain Home, Idaho on the Owyhee desert. You might find yourself camped out there over night, or longer. City folks...

    • pampushky profile image
      Author

      Lori Orchow 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Bob, first I'm not a guy, I'm a woman. I've lived in Nevada most of my life and I'm certainly not an idiot. The point of my article is that on these large highway stretches there is no way to get help unless a passerby stops. In our case, none did, and we had to walk. It was not dark, it was not THAT far from humanity. But, had I been an elderly person unable to make the walk in that temperature it could have been worse. I don't have an over-inflated ego. I also wouldn't just trot up to some rancher's door. We had driven past the businesses so we walked back to the Windmill. Don't be so judgmental, try being helpful, and hope this doesn't happen to one of your loved ones my friend.

    • BobMonger profile image

      BobMonger 4 years ago from Carlin, Nevada USA

      You really were taking your life in your hands when you left your vehicle, that was very foolish of you. You had already driven a long, long ways across "The Big Empty," where did you think you were going to walk to? I get a lot of "poor pity me" out of your hub, how about taking some responsibility for your own unpreparedness. You brought no water with you, no extra clothing, no highway flares... My God, man! Did you even look at a map before you left home? Did you actually think a cell phone and your over-inflated ego would be enough to save you in an emergency? If you'd been paying attention to your surroundings you'd have seen the 3 ranches you walked past. Lucky for you it wasn't winter or you'd be dead for sure. City folks, sheesh!

    • pampushky profile image
      Author

      Lori Orchow 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I have to disagree that Nevada is full of thieves and beggars, and that actually has nothing to do with my article. This article focused on why our roads do not offer emergency services in remote areas. Believe it or not, I thought we were prepared by having cell phones, since Nevada isn't exactly off the beaten path. What I didn't expect was a monopoly on cell service by Verizon, which did not allow for an AT&T customer to call for help. I have lived in Nevada for over 30 years, I know all about the weather and climate conditions here. That doesn't mean Nevada shouldn't modernize its major highways across a state that is commonly traveled by tourists in cars.

    • profile image

      Ed is wrong 5 years ago

      Ed....California is not in a deficit. Read the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for California. It makes plenty of money that California's are never told about as it's not included in the budgets. Remember, a bubget is just a budget...it is not your total income/expenditures. California's have been had by their theiving politicians. However, now that I am in Las Vegas, California still makes Nevada look like puke...crappy city, crappy state and crappy people (California regets).

    • profile image

      Ed 5 years ago

      Sorry to hear you feel the "state" has to care for its people.....I'd prefer folks who want the state from cradle to grave go live in California where theres a 16 BILLION deficit for that very reason....Everybody wants the state to wipe its behind. next time you travel, be more prepared.

    • profile image

      Just saying 5 years ago

      It doesn't help matters when mostly beggars and thieves reside in Nevada. The state isn't interested in tourists and that is apparent. 85% of travel there is to Vegas or across I 80. It's unfortunate that a semi didn't stop to help. However most companies will fire a driver for picking up what they call unauthorized riders. It's stupid yes but it happens. And you never know who tour picking up when you do help. Best thing is to wait by your car and put up some kind of trouble signal.

    • Job Help profile image

      Job Help 6 years ago

      I agree Nevadians are very rude

    • pampushky profile image
      Author

      Lori Orchow 6 years ago from Las Vegas

      LLV...while I agree, it doesn't help you if you are stranded. There is still no way to contact help and that was the point of my article. Water might keep you alive, but it doesn't mean that with a broken down vehicle you will have any way to get help, especially at night.

    • profile image

      LLV 6 years ago

      Anyone who makes the massive error in judgement to set out across our highways without water shouldn't live here.

    • profile image

      Brady 7 years ago

      its a shame and an embarassment to an already embarassing state

    • profile image

      Bagel98 7 years ago

      wow...with all of the technology available, this should never have happened....there's no rest stops in NV?