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    Another time zone oddity [long]
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2004 Nov 9, 22:40 -0700

    The boundary between the Mountain and Pacific time zones generally follows
    state boundaries, e.g., the Utah/Nevada border is one such dividing line,
    but in the Idaho/Oregon area, there is something quite puzzling...
    
    Drive north from Winnemucca Nevada up into Oregon on highway 95.  When you
    cross the NV/OR border at McDermitt, the time zone is still Pacific time,
    like all of Nevada.  In fact most of Oregon is in the Pacific time zone.
    Continue on into Oregon travelling north.  This is an amazing stretch of
    country.  It is like America's Outback.
    
    Let me describe what it is like: in a word, desolate.  Many valleys are
    untouched except for skinny highway 95, a two lane road, one lane each way.
    There are no power lines, no telephone lines, no dirt roads off to small
    ranches and the like, all of which are common in the rest of the Western US.
    This area would actually look today about what it would have looked like
    thousands of years ago.  Totally unspoiled and unchanged.  Scrub, dirt,
    rocks, sand, and volcanic rock is about all there is.  There is very little
    wildlife, except for perhaps reptiles.
    
    Incidentally, highway 95 and this SE corner of Oregon are considered to be
    the most remote part of the Lower 48 states by National Geographic, as
    considered by this measure: the farthest distance from an Interstate
    highway.  My metric is this: SE Oregon is 8 hours of driving without a
    McDonalds!  (McDonalds are in Winnemucca NV to the south, John Day OR to the
    north, Ontario OR to the east, and Bend OR to the west.)  Within this area
    is a lot of nothing.  The only real town of any consequence is Burns OR,
    population 3064.
    
    Now as we drive through this open land we hit a VOR/DME station called the
    Rome VOR station.  It is about 28 miles from the actual place known as Rome
    OR, which is too small to show up on the year 2000 census.  Anyway, the road
    is all by itself until you are surprised by a white "milk bottle" shaped
    radio station out in such remote country.  (VORs are for traditional
    aircraft navigation - there I got in traditional nav! ;-)
    
    This VOR reminds you of civilization, and then there is a road sign stating
    that you are now entering the Mountain time zone!  One continues driving
    north about 20 miles with very little around, until the road divides at
    Burns Junction.  One would think a store is at Burns Junction, but one would
    be wrong.  One or two old abandoned homes and that is it.  It is basically a
    place for highway 78 and highway 95 to join.
    
    Highway 95 makes a right hand turn to the east, but we continue on highway
    78 NW toward huge Malheur Lake.  One drives for miles without seeing
    anything other than scrub and volcanic rocks.  And then, one sees a new road
    sign: "Pacific time zone".
    
    WHAT?  The time zone changes back and forth in the space of about 40 miles.
    For no one!  One drives into the time zone and then back out, and in that
    space of road there is not a single occupied dwelling, not a single
    establishment of any kind.  And yet the time zone changes!  It is quite a
    puzzle indeed.
    
    It appears that the northern four fifths of Oregon's Malheur County is in
    the Mountain time zone, but not the whole county.  All of the rest of
    Oregon, including Burns, is in the Pacific zone.
    
    WHY would they change the time zone for 40 miles of highway driving?
    
    Anyway, if you want to see some wide open untouched places, try Southeast
    Oregon.  Bring lots of food and water with you, and a full tank of gas.
    
    Dan Allen
    
    
    

       
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