Finding the middle-of-nowhere, in the middle of nowhere!
During our quest to conquer all of Nevada's Historical Markers, Heather and I wanted to be the center of attention... literally. Obtaining the markers in Lander and Eureka Counties allowed us to take a quick diversion off of America's Loneliest Road in search of the exact geographic center of Nevada!
| Photo's location: US 50, 11 miles E of Belmont Rd.
We headed east out of Austin ("America's Loneliest Road") for 26 miles. In about 10 miles or so, the highway crosses the Big Smoky Valley, then skirts the Monitor Range at another 8 miles. The highway then cuts a straight path into the Monitor Valley (shown above).
At around Mile 26 from Austin, a sign on the right reads "Belmont". This my friends is the way to Nevada's Geographical Center. Keep in mind that despite its simple access, the geographical center is not marked. Now on a map, the center is shown to be somewhere in the northern part of Monitor Valley; others who have been to 'the center' have recorded its location via GPS... [N39° 19' 15.0" W116° 38' 18.9] Of course, in a society that can't figure out right from left at times, such is the case with 'the centers'. Many people have argued these coordinates; others have recorded new coordinates to 'the center'. In other words, GPS is an unreliable resource for finding Nevada's geographical center. The BLM and Forest Service has also included their own set of GPS coordinates and while these haven't been tested, who's to say the digits are or aren't right? Which way is left from right again?
| The road to Belmont. Photo location: 6 miles S of US 50.
Most people I've talked to claim this road to be "Four Wheel Drive". If that's so, I'd like to know what kind of road they've been driving on! The contrary is always a funny thing. The Belmont Road (also known as Old SR 82), is a delightful drive into the outback of central Nevada. We were stuck with borrowing a friend's Prius for this trip, so we were concerned what kind of conditions awaited us. Again, the contrary is always a funny thing. We soared down the road at 30MPH in a car designed for pavement driving only! However, a four-wheel-drive would be a necessary after a thunderstorm or during a snow shower. As delightful as it is, this is still no place to get stranded!
After 14.5 miles, 29 minutes, 6 cattle guards and 4 wash crossings later, we arrived at 'the center'... or what looked to be?
| Yes folks, the inconspicuous nature of Nevada continues. Marked by only a mound in the earth, this small patch of ground has been defined as the geographic center of Nevada.
To find 'the center' on our own, we cross-referenced many sources, GPS coordinates and other information we obtained from the BLM Eureka office as a rough guideline (although I think we did pretty good.) Now, I know what all of you logically gifted viewers and mathematicians are thinking -- "How does one define the precise geographical center in an irregularly shaped state like Nevada?" To put it bluntly, here is your answer: In a state like Nevada, nothing is ever based in stone! Just accept this little patch of earth as Nevada's Geographic Center.
Nevada's Geographic Center
Location: Junction with Belmont Road and Forest Road 004, the road into Wallace Canyon.
[N39° 19' 15.0" W116° 38' 18.9] -- (Lander County)
In the past, visitors erected a piece of rebar and a flag to mark Nevada's geographic center. Unfortunately, we saw nothing that day.
| Smile! You're at the center of Nevada!
We took a few minutes to soak in the atmosphere, breathing in the cool morning air and listened carefully to hear... nothing. The sound of pure nothing! The middle of nowhere never seemed more beautiful.
| Standing in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere. My Home.