Flew into Las Vegas on a Friday morning, jumped into a rental car and drove off into the desert.

The famous sign. Thanks for the welcome, but I'm getting the heck out of town.

Traffic from McCarren Airport.

On the highway heading north out of town. This would be the last of the freeway I would be driving for three days.

I took a crapload of pictures of mountains. I'm going to try not to show all of them to you. But here is one.

Injuns! I don't know why there is a warning sign outside the Paiute reservation. I didn't have a permit so I could not enter. Then again, I didn't really want to.

The Nevada Test Site. From the historical marker:

Testing of devices for defense and for peaceful uses of nuclear explosives is conducted here. The nation's principal nuclear explosives testing laboratory is located within this 1,350 square mile geologically complex area in the isolated valleys of Jackass, Yucca, and Frenchman Flats. Selected as on-continent test site in 1950. The first test took place on Frenchman Flat in January 1951.

Archeological studies of the NTS area has revealed continuous occupation by prehistoric man from about 9,500 years ago. Several prehistoric cultures are represented. The last aboriginal group to occupy the site was the southern Paiute who foraged plant foods in season and occupied the area until the coming of the pioneers.

Hmm, I guess all that nuclear testing is what ticked off the Paiute so much that they put up that stern sign.

The town of Beatty. Come on down. There's free parking! At least that's what that sign says.
There were some "towns" on my map that did not exist except for old closed diners and gas stations. This town actually does exist. At just over 1000 people, it's practically a metropolis in these parts. This photo is an example of how most people in rural Nevada live. Lots of trailers and small broken down shacks. Actually these houses are nice compared to some I saw on my travels.

About the drive to Rhyolite: There's not much between Las Vegas and Rhyolite except Indian Springs, which seems to serve as a town for the nearby Nellis Air Force Range, and Beatty. Driving up U.S. 95, I got my first glimpse of the magnificent mountain scenery I would be seeing for the next several days. Having grown up in Florida, the snow-capped mountains were an unfamiliar sight to behold. These younger mountains make the old Appalachians look like foothills.