In the last post I mentioned an array of satellite dishes located beside Route 93 in American Truck Sim’s Nevada. It’s a bit of an oddity within the map because it doesn’t seem to exist in real life and that’s unusual for structures you pass as you drive along the road. Every other prominent structure that I’ve passed usually has a real life equivalent. To give a nearby example – just after you pass Primm on I15 and cross into California you will see the Nipton Solar Project on your right. When the tragic events in Las Vegas unfolded I immediately recognised the location because I’ve driven past the Mandalay Bay on numerous occasions (It’s Mandela Bay in the game but it is instantly recognisable). The pattern is replicated throughout ATS and also in Europe where I can usually find the structures along the road on real life Google or Bing maps. That array stands out as an anomaly and it’s not the only one.

I decided to retrace my steps of the previous drive and return to Elko but I didn’t really want to start from Kingman. Fortunately, in my main profile, Nightshade was parked up in Las Vegas so I fired up that account and took her to the local maintenance place to get her proper paint job restored after the Halloween drives. Then I picked up a 21t load of Office Supplies to take north. That was a 53ft Swift trailer that you’ll see in a minute, but first here’s an early morning shot of our mystery array……and here is where it appears on the map……right by the blue triangle just south of the junction with Route 375 otherwise known as the Extraterrestrial Highway.

North of Pioche and on the run in to Ely we pick up Route 50 and pass through an area of high ground close to Taylor Peak. Often there are objects here passing low overhead at high speed – not aircraft I think as we get to see F35’s further south on the route and these things are smaller and much faster! So that’s a bit of a mystery that I need to investigate further. This is the section of road I’m talking about……That strange patterning on top of the trailer is a rendering effect and not an alien artefact 😉

So, we arrived in Elko with our hours almost exhausted – you note that I covered the distance without a stop because Nightshade was able to maintain 55mph along most of the route despite the load. We dropped off the supplies and made our way to our Elko Garage which is my ‘Ladies’ Garage. A chance to catch up with the team – in my imagination at least 🙂…I do have female employees in other Garages but Elko became Ladies only and they were the first employees to get sleeper cabs because there’s a lot of open country in Nevada and I want them to feel safe. In Euro Truck, Birmingham (UK) is a Ladies only Garage too. In Nevada I’d like to think that these guys are looking after my Ladies……and that doesn’t mean giving them tickets!

In the early hours of the morning I headed back out with a load of cars bound for Barstow. Let me show you another Nevada mystery……Mazany Creek! On the 1:20 map this town should be Caliente so why is it given a different name? Rumour from the forum is that Mazany was a developer with SCS but I’ve never seen it confirmed. There is one of the SCS ‘easter eggs’ in Mazany Creek – Rubber Ducks that bounce up and down beyond a wall at the truck stop. In the real world I can’t see a truck park in Caliente so it looks like a bit of a fudge has happened here.

Driving on and I can show you a daytime shot of the Antenna Array……Not the sort of thing that you wouldn’t find on Google or Bing if it was there 😉 It’s an anomaly that perhaps will resolve itself with a forthcoming update.

There are other Nevada anomalies – you can drive up to Rachel on Route 375 and experience some unusual activity in the form of strange lights in the sky. Something for another post perhaps? Nightshade and I continued down through Las Vegas and on via Primm to Barstow. We achieved 624 miles within our driving hours limit although we were pushing it a bit 😉 Load safely delivered I parked up for a break and contemplated what may or may not be real in Nevada!

After the fun of Halloween it was back to driving in a professional manner for our Lone Star project in Midnight Cruiser. A run from Camp Verde with a load of vegetables on October 30th left us parked up in Elko. A while back I reported that I was trying to clear a couple of Heavy Haul achievements in American Truck Sim that were reliant on getting a transformer as cargo. Just before starting this project Rolled Gold had finally picked one up from Elko going to Santa Maria. That should have cleared both the achievements as the Transformer was the last Heavy Cargo type that I needed for the full set and if I was called into a weigh station the I would be over the required weight for the ‘How Heavy Am I’ achievement. Well, we were called into a weigh station but for reasons that I can’t explain the achievement remained locked although I did clear the ‘I thought this was supposed to be heavy’ achievement for hauling all the cargo types. Frustrating…

So here we are in Elko again but now we’re in Midnight Cruiser with 475 rather than 625 horses and sure enough there’s a Transformer in the available loads! It’s going down to Kingman which means climbing up to the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge over Black Canyon just downstream from the Hoover Dam. But there’s also quite a few sharp climbs on the Nevada sections of Route 93 even before we get there! I pondered long about taking the load but with an 18 speed gearbox I should have the flexibility to get us over the climbs so I signed up for the challenge 🙂

The climbs started with the crawl up the slip road onto Interstate 80 – 3rd gear with the engine waking up the neighbors. We had just about wound her up to 50mph when we were called into the weigh station. Bingo! – this time the achievement unlocked 🙂 From there we got going again but one of the steeper sections on I80 dragged us down to just over 20mph with our hazards on to warn following traffic that we were going slow – goddamn place needs a crawler lane!

We picked up Route 93 from Wells and headed south. I don’t think we ever succeeded in getting above 40mph as we tackled the hills and were very careful round the tighter corners. I had hoped to get to Pioche before taking my drivers break but had to park up in Ely instead. We left Ely on Route 50 through the hills beside Taylor Peak before picking up Route 93 again at Majors Place. Now we were able to make better speed pushing up to 55mph on the long straight stretches before easing back for the Pioche bypass and again to pass through Caliente. We also passed an antenna array along the way which I can’t find on the real world map – I wonder if the map dev’s have mistaken Coyote Springs for the VLA which should be in the New Mexico expansion when that comes out? Does anyone among my readers know of a radio telescope or similar array alongside the Route 93 in Nevada? If you do, please tell me what it’s called in the comments 🙂

Finally there was the slow crawl through Las Vegas before tackling the climb up to the Hoover Dam which was actually quite easy compared with some that had gone before. We dropped down towards Kingman only to get called into the weigh station by the Arizona Police. The truck must have been considerably lighter by this time because we were almost running on fumes 😉 Overall we barely scraped 4mpg on the run and I had to refuel after delivering the load – putting 268 gallons into ‘Cruiser’s 300gal tank. Then I was off to bed with my driving hours spent.
Here’s a shot of Midnight Cruiser on the Pioche Bypass – those cars are going to have to wait for a straight stretch to overtake me…