The plan was to high-tail back to Mike and Linda's. Mike had said that the big mine, that we had visited in the morning, was about 2 1/2 hours away from their place. But we were a little further afield, going back the long way, and would probably stop more; so I was estimating about 3 1/2 hours. It took us more than four hours. But there was lots to see on the way: clumps of rye grass and mallows, Indian paintbrush with some very delicate pink flowers, morning glories, more antelopes, vistas, more road.
An aside. The Applegate is the southern route of the Oregon Trail where the first wagon train came through in 1846. It became a busy road with 3500 settlers passing through in 1853. Sixteen years later, it was mote. The country was connected by railroad the continent could be crossed in five or six days – sitting down. Twenty nine years later, my grandparents came to the United States from Europe, and kept going until they got to San Francisco.
Finally we came to the Blackrock Desert, the biggest playa of all, and
we knew we were getting close to having a beer in Mike and Linda's
backyard with a great view of the Smoke Creek playa.
We had alot of road to travel, so we said our goodbyes and drove south through the darkening desert complaining about the lousy light. At the very souther end of the Smoke Creek, as we were going over the pass, the sun finally came out to give us a farewell display. (Like all wide formate shots, double clickable.)