Ruminations From the Western Slope

Ruminations From the Western Slope
Colorado River near Moab, Utah

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Breakfast at Bella's

There isn't much happening at 5:30am in Wells, Nevada but for a hearty breakfast, check out Bella's Cafe. That's what the campground host at Angel Creek Campground told me. I had left Grand Junction the day before and driven 470 miles to this rather lonely outpost on the northernmost slopes of the Ruby Mountains. I had caught the first light of dawn on the Bookcliffs near Thompson, Utah; skirted the urban mess of Provo and Salt Lake; and finally reached true Great Basin terrain at this little Forest Service Campground.

I needed to get an early start to continue my trip westward and Bella's was the only game in town. I was their first customer that morning, greeted by a cheery dark waitress who looked like she might have native american/hispanic roots. Black hair. Black t-shirt. Pushing 40 maybe. Difficult to say how hard her life might be in Wells.

From the outside, Bella's looks like any other dive you might see by the side of an Interstate. Inside the same. Tacky gift shop. Free shoppers guide at the entrance. The usual suspects.

But Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was piping out from the radio when I got my hearty breakfast of over-easy eggs with some homemade green chile sauce on the side; sausage links; and real home fried potatoes. And lots of them. Plus home made apple butter, not the gelatinized, tasteless stuff that comes in those little square plastic containers. And, damn, if the coffee wasn't excellent! I felt I had discovered something special in an otherwise ordinary little burg.

One wonders how folks get by in these isolated little towns. The interstate traffic keeps them going somehow. People like me, weary from the road, and looking for a good solid meal. That one breakfast kept me going for another 600 miles, through Winnemucca and the volcanic tablelands of northern Nevada and southern Oregon; into the Cascade region and that first breathtaking glimpse of Mt. Shasta, into the hot heart of California's Central Valley at Redding. I'm not sure I could have done it without Bella's. The next time you're in Wells, Nevada, check it out!