Well, we're here. We hit all the big name places: Murdo, SD; Lusk, WY; Jackson, WY (OK, I guess that one counts), and Pyramid Lake, NV.
Pyramid Lake is the largest desert lake in the US. It nestles in the brown hills of Nevada on an Indian reservation. We got there early and stopped by the local bar to get an overnight permit for $10. We found a campsite and then drove down to Reno for dinner.
One of the best things we did for the trip was order this book. The authors tracked down diners and restaurants around the country. We sampled Bob's in Sioux Falls (We loved it, especially the sweet corn), Yellowstone Drug in Wyoming (so-so) and Idle Isle in Brigham City, UT (nice pie, great 1920's style, ok food). Eating at local hangouts gave us a better sample of local people and local tastes. Sadly, in middle America, local tastes are frequently bland and fattening. We're enjoying the option of Asian noodles as 'fast food' here in California.
In contrast, the only restaurants listed in Nevada featured Basque food. We didn't understand until we went to Louie's Basque corner in Reno where we sat family style at a long table. It turned out the three women at the table were from Winnemuca, NV. Apparently large numbers of both Spanish and French Basque moved to Nevada in the 1800's as sheepherders. Every June at the Basque festival in Elko, NV they have a running of the bulls. We had a first course of beef tongue with an option of sweetbread for the entree. We opted for lamb and pork instead. We assumed the french fries were an Americanization of whatever Basques eat in Europe.
Back at the lake we had to revise our tent/dog experiment. As we drove into the campsite the noise of the car startled countless rabbits. Muttola pressed against the window whining and twisting her neck to watch them as they scurried away. We realized she would spend the whole night trying to chase them so we decided to spend the night in the car. Now, car sleeping is a great plan if you secretly want lots of opportunity to stare at the desert stars as you twist and turn in vain effort to get comfortable. I never knew that the Milky Way could get bright enough to dim the outlines of familiar constellations. As usual, as soon as one camps and has no easy access to a toilet, one develops an incessant need to go to the bathroom. In a tent, there's the sound of a quiet zipper. In a car... the light turns on, the door creaks, slams, and re-slams on re-entry. None of us slept much. But the stars were worth it.