The Nevada portion of US Highway 50 is known as 'The Loneliest Road in America'. I have driven it several times, and find it to be scenic, peaceful, and interesting. There are good reasonably priced accommodations near each end of the Loneliest Road.
The Nevada Commission for Tourism has a fun and interesting promotion based on a 'Hwy 50 Survival Guide'. It is focused on the 285 mile portion of the road between Fernley and Ely Nevada, and if you get a validation in each of 5 towns you can send for an official 'I survived Hwy 50' certificate (and souvenir). This portion of the road is about 5 hours of driving time, but you should allow about 8 hours so that you can stop for photos and lunch.
If you are at all interested in motorcycles or dune buggies, you will want to venture off the main road about a mile to see the action at Sand Mountain (you can't miss it!). Another "Can't Miss" is the Shoe Tree 48 miles east of Fallon (bring an old pair of shoes to join in the fun)!
Logically, the Loneliest Road is popular with sports car and motorcycle enthusiasts, and I have seen a few bicyclists along the way (but the elevation is high and conditions can change quickly so don't do this without adequate planning and preparation). The road surface is generally pretty good - be particularly careful about posted speed limits in the handful of towns along the way (Fernley, Fallon, Austin, Eureka, and Ely).
In Ely, you will find the 'Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall' (see my review for more information). This is a good place to spend the night - they are friendly, have great prices on their website, have a decent restaurant, give you a couple of free drinks, and also have free WiFi.
Highway 50 in Nevada is a great place to take a several day trip from Northern California.