The Route: Rock Springs to Reno

Pilots flying the mail cross-country in 1921 followed these directions to find landmarks along the way.

A Varney Air Lines Swallow outside the airmail hangar at Elko, Nevada in April 1926. (NASM (SI-85-6459))

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130. Shafter—At the junction of the Nevada Northern and Western Pacific Railroads. Opposite the Western Pacific station at Shafter there is a stretch of ground 1,200 feet wide and unlimited in extent the long way, that may be used for emergency landings. There is a scattering of sagebrush on this field.

145. The Western Pacific Railroad is crossed, running northwest-southeast, after it makes a loop to the south just beyond Shafter. The railroad veers to the north until it is 20 miles north of the course.

157. Snow Water Lake—An oblong body of water 3 miles south of the course. The long way of the lake extends parallel to the course.

170.  Secret Pass in the East Humboldt Range—The only pass in this range for many miles. Some peaks in this range attain an altitude of more than 12,000 feet. The northern extremity of the Ruby Range extending north and south lies a few miles south of the course and is next seen. Then three branches of Tamoville Creek flowing north to the east fork of the Humboldt River are crossed at short intervals. The Southern Pacific and Western Pacific Railroads follow the course of the east fork of the Humboldt River and gradually converge on the course where all four join at Elko.

204. Elko—Lies in the Humboldt Valley. The air mail field is 1 mile west of the city, with the main runway east and west. Landings may be made from any direction, although it is advisable to land east and west. There is a ditch at the east end of the field. Follow the general direction of the railroad tracks out of Elko, as they run parallel with the course for several miles.

224. Carlin—Between the Western Pacific and the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, 1 mile south of the course.

238. Harney—Six miles south of the course, midway between the cities of Palisade and Beowawe on the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific Railroads. South of the railroad tracks here is an emergency field 1,500 by 900 feet, with a shallow ditch in the center running across. Landings can be made safely across this ditch. There is a ranch house in one corner of the field. A narrow gauge railroad runs south from Palisade, a town 7 miles east of Harney.

246. The course crosses the Western Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroad tracks. Up to this time the railroad tracks have been on the south of the course, but from now on the two railroads are to the north.

268. Battle Mountain—At the junction of the Southern Pacific and the Nevada Central Railroads, 8 miles north of the course. Battle Mountain lies in a valley surrounded on the east and west by high ranges. Here will be found an excellent landing field laid out in the form of an ellipse, marked with a T and a wind-indicator. The field lies directly west of town. All types of supplies for servicing may be found here. From this point the railroads turn north and west and leave the course almost at right angles.

278. The Nevada Central Railroad is crossed 12 miles southwest of Battle Mountain. From here on for the next 100 miles the course lies over uninhabited and desert country.

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