WHAT A SIGHT for sore eyes -- and sore feet! That cheerful figure is Wendover Will, a tall mechanical cowboy who greets travelers approaching West Wendover with a friendly wave while inviting them to stop, rest, and gamble. Just ahead lies the Nevada/Utah border, a milestone on my personal walking journey. It's here I finally say "Goodbye Nevada!" Since Wendover is the closest legal gambling spot to Salt Lake City (a two hour drive on I-80) it's no surprise there are several luxury casinos here, transforming this tiny remote town in the middle of nowhere into an exciting oasis. In addition, the Bonneville Salt Flats are just down the road -- so the town is a Mecca for fans who come to see land speed records and other racing events.
Wendover was originally established in 1907 as a railroad depot to replenish early steam engines with water from the nearby springs. The town prospered and gained notoriety when the first transcontinental telephone line was completed here in 1914. And when Nevada legalized gambling to recover from the Great Depression, the town's popularity soared as a gambling getaway, a reputation it holds to this day. You might say the town's secret to success is... location, location, location!
During World War II the Air Force built an airfield to test artillery and bombing development in the nearby desert. A small museum displays artifacts of probably the most renown warplane in world history, the Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber that was fitted to carry the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima Japan in 1945.
That's a lot of history for this tiny desert community, but there's another important milestone to acknowledge before leaving town: I've crossed into Mountain Standard Time and it's time to adjust my clock. But wait! My Apple watch has already done that. How clever!
Week 10, Miles 645