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The Loneliest Road in America truly sums up the stretch of U.S. Route 50 through central Nevada. I had no idea Nevada had so many desert valleys until I drove this national highway. You get over one mountain range and voila! It's deja vu—another endless valley floor with a mountain range staring from afar.
In the late 1980s, the First Husband and I decided to drive cross-country, from San Francisco to New York. However, the first day of our adventure began with a dental emergency and a pain that would eventually make itself known as cancer for the First Husband. After several days of checking with doctors, we got in our red Mazda pick-up truck and headed east, with an open mind that we would turn back at Denver if the First Husband did not feel well.
I don't remember how we decided to take U.S. 50 rather than the more direct U.S. 80 through Nevada to Utah. Most likely it was the romantic notion of driving the Pony Express Route. Those poor fellows. Miles of dust behind them and miles of dust before them. Still, if I had lived during that era, I would've wanted to have been a Pony Express rider. As it was, I did imagine myself a modern one as I drove us through eastern central Nevada. Instead of the U.S. mail, I was delivering the First Husband to several places in the United States where we could research the life of his father, a first generation Korean American who had dedicated himself to Korean independence from Japanese rule, as well as to spreading the Christian word. But, that's a tale for another day.
As we approached the Utah border in the Great Basin desert, the First Husband was napping in the passenger seat. Not too long after passing the sign welcoming us to Utah, I saw two huge birds standing in the lane up ahead. As we got closer, I saw that they were nipping at a carcass on the ground. One bird glanced up at our advancing truck.
"Husband! Husband!" I slowed down, but continued driving forward. They were bold and handsome eagles. Young ones, I think. I was almost upon them as they positioned themselves for take off.
One eagle opened its wingspan. It seemed to be as long as the width of the front of the truck.
The First Husband woke up in time to see us driving between two gliding eagles before they soared upwards into the sky.