Caliente may be only 25 miles from Pioche, but these two towns are worlds apart. While Pioche grew thanks to the mines, Caliente built up around the railroad. The result is two towns that look and feel completely different.
For starters, Caliente has a row of downtown businesses that looks more like a strip mall than a downtown. All the businesses face the railroad tracks.
US 93 curves here, then runs parallel with the railroad tracks.
The second-most interesting building in town is Carl’s Burgers. But it looks like Carl hasn’t been making sandwiches in a very long time.
Down the railroad tracks from “downtown”…
… you find Caliente’s beautiful old railroad station. I looked in some windows, and it now appears that the building is used for government offices.
And that was it for Caliente. My visit lasted just a few minutes.
US 93 is a very, very long road. After you leave Caliente, there’s virtually no sign of life until you hit Interstate 15, just a half-hour north of Las Vegas. I only stopped once, for a look at a small forest of Joshua trees.
After traveling west for a while, the road turns south, and for at least 50 miles, you travel in a nearly straight line, with arid, post-apocalyptic looking mountains in the distance on both sides of the road, and absolutely no way to tell that you’re actually going anywhere. Finally, the road curves, and US 93 passes between some hills, finally revealing the presence of Interstate 15.
I had timed my day perfectly. I arrived back in Las Vegas with just enough spare time to enjoy my traditional end-of-vacation bowl of chile verde at Garduño’s at the Palms, then head to the airport for the flight home.
Note: This trip was first published in 2007.