Sunday, August 28, 2016

Saturday road trip (Sierra Army Depot and Reno car museum)

You're going to get cars, geopolitics, travel, and food with this post.

Sometimes, my work takes me to some remote places. Yesterday, it took me to Herlong, California. Population 298. It is on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is so remote, in fact, that I had to drive to Reno, Nevada, and then turn back into California.

The town of Herlong and the Sierra Army Depot were founded during World War II by the American military to store and hide munitions from the Japanese. It was far enough inland from the California coast and very dry. After the war, nuclear warheads were stored there. And after the Iraq war, tens of thousands of tanks and vehicles were stored there.

I took the Acura and left at 6:30 in the morning. After passing Reno, I took Highway 395 north. I stopped at Bordertown Casino for breakfast. It was tiny, old, and smelled of cigarette smoke. The only person of color I saw was an Asian lady in the restaurant's kitchen.

Casinos in Nevada attract people with cheap food. I saw a billboard for $4.99 steak and eggs at Cal-Neva casino. The plate that I got was $11.99. A princely sum. It was okay.

The last half hour before Herlong was pretty scenic, in a desolate sort of way.

Just ahead is the turn off to Herlong. To the right is the Sierra Army Depot and a federal prison.

I drove up to the Depot's gate and was immediately turned back. I wonder if they ever anticipate ISIS attacking this place. Outsiders (like me) are easy to spot by the locals. I learned that the Symbionese Liberation Army (of Patty Hearst fame) tried to steal nukes here in the 1970s.

This display was just outside the entrance.

On the way home, I stopped by the National Automobile Museum in Reno. I've been there three or four times already. The visit was more to break up my long drive than anything else.

1937 Airmobile.

At first, I thought this 1966 Studebaker Wagonaire was a Volga.

Some import off-roaders.

This Cadillac was gifted to Elvis's karate teacher, Mr. Rhee.

Fiat 600 Berlinetta.

Frank Sinatra's Chrysler Ghia.

I was just 40 minutes from home when I was dying of exhaustion. So I went to this Japanese restaurant next to Travis Air Force Base. Travis handles more military cargo and passengers than any other base in the country. I found this restaurant years ago and though it's out of the way, it serves consistently great food. Most of the airmen on the base have been stationed in Japan so this restaurant can't get away with subpar products. The portions, as you can see, are huge. The pork was thick, juicy, and flavorful-- not like the paper-thin cutlets they sell at many Chinese-run "Japanese restaurants".


Ripituc said...

Interesting. So there was no way of getting into the Depot, guided tours some other day or the like? Is the first coupé a Dart? Really cool vehicles! And the food looks tasty too. My favourite are the Studebaker and the Fiat 600 Berlinetta. Those never-produced Studebaker were going to look good :(

Maxichamp said...

@Ripituc: You can visit from Monday to Thursday.