Yucca Mountain, 28 May 2002

This trip is over. Here is the final trip report.

I need to visit Yucca Mountain and I don't know why. [I butcher Neil Young: Oh to live on Yucca Mountain.]

On Tuesday, 28 May 2002, I turn 45 years old. Physically, as of 25 May 2002, I feel 45, but otherwise I feel it is almost prime time. I don't have birthday parties, but this year I am going to celebrate my birthday by taking a road trip to Yucca Mountain.

I was going to spend my birthday doing an exhaustive one-day airport trip (get to the airport, hang out at the airport, fly to Las Vegas, get a rental car, drive around Yucca Mountain [assume 400 miles], turn in rental car, hang out at airport, fly to Phoenix, and drive home). I concluded that this was Yuck.

I simplified by making it a four three day/three two night outing that includes a day on Route 66. [I was going to spend a day to hike Supai Falls, but once again that will have to be saved for another time. Supai Falls requires time.]

Day One gets us to Pahrump, Nevada via Parker, Arizona.

   I-10 west to Quartzsite (130 miles)
   Hwy-95 north to Hwy-72 (25 miles)
   Hwy-72 northwest into Parker (15 miles)
   Enter California via Hwy-62 (15 miles)
   Hwy-62 west to US-95 north (20 miles)

   *** Detour 60 miles to the Tamarisk Shoe Tree 
   *** located on the south side of Hwy-62.
   *** I am going to replace the Arti I left
   *** and I am going to pick up the trash.

   Hwy-95 north to Needles, CA at I-40 (70 miles)
   I-40 west to Hwy-95 north (15 miles)
   Hwy-95 north to US-93 near Boulder City, NV (75 miles)
   US-93 east to I-515 east (5 miles)
   I-515 east to I-15 south (5 miles)
   I-15 south to Hwy-160 east (1 miles)
   Hwy-160 east to Pahrump (55 miles)

   day miles: 440

Day Two is spent doing the Yucca Mountain loop. The eastern side of the Yucca Mountain loop has us driving Nevada State Highway 375 which is also called the The Extraterrestrial Highway. This designation came in 1996 as part of a tourism campaign to hype the highway's connection to UFO sightings and proximity to the top-secret Area 51. Sadly, at the loop's end, it will be necessary to drive the Las Vegas freeways. After a long drive, this sucks, but Mother Nature makes us work for our rewards. Resting spot is Kingman, Arizona. It is a short rest because at next sunlight (day three) we begin getting our kicks on Route 66.

   Leave Pahrump on Hwy-160 east/north to US-95 north (30 miles)
   US-95 north to Amargosa Valley (17 miles)

   *** This is as close to Yucca Mountain I can get.
   *** Yucca Mountain is north/northeast of Amargosa Valley.

   US-95 north to Death Valley junction at Beatty (30 miles)
   US-95 north to Death Valley Scotty's junction (35 miles)
   US-95 north to Goldfield (a living ghost town) (15 miles)
   US-95 north to Tonopah at US-6 (25 miles)
   US-6 east to Hwy-375 south (50 miles)
   Hwy-375 south to US-93 south (90 miles)

   *** Hwy-375 is the Extraterrestrial Highway.
   *** Drive south through Area 51.
   *** See the eastern side of Yucca Mountain.

   US-93 south to I-15 south (90 miles)
   I-15 south to Las Vegas (20 miles)

   *** Drive through Las Vegas non-stop.

   I-15 south to I-515 east/south to Hwy-93 south (15 miles)
   Hwy-93 south to the Hoover Dam into Arizona (5 miles)
   Hwy-93 south to Kingman (70 miles)

   day miles:  500 (940 total)

What a better time to take a journey through the past with Mother Nature providing scenic pleasures. A long detour is taken to hike Supai Falls. Night number three is spent in Seligman, Arizona. I will eat at the Copper Cart restaurant.

   Route 66 east Kingman to Seligman (110 miles)
   Route 66 east to I-40 east (15 miles)
   I-40 east to Hwy-89 south (6 miles)
   Hwy-89 south to Prescott (50 miles)
   Hwy-69 east to I-17 south (35 miles)
   I-17 south to Tempe (110 miles)

   day miles:  320 miles (1,260 total)

On Day Four I drive home to Tempe. Road trip decremented by one due to work schedule.

Sorry Neil, but oh to live on Yucca Mountain.

The Public Citizen is against the Yucca Mountain Project.
Update: 25 May 2002

Today's Arizona Republic had a long article on Yucca Mountain. The article's title was A Nuclear Mountain of Controversy having the sub-title Bush pushes OK of atomic dump site.

According to the article, the Energy Department says Yucca Mountain will start receiving nuclear waste by late-year 2010. [This estimate is considered optimistic; others say 2012.]

Google Search for Yucca Mountain

Author: G.D.Thurman [thurmunit@inficad.com]
Created: 05 May 2002