Trip Reports – NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network http://nevadagram.com Telling Nevada's story 365, 24/7 Wed, 23 May 2018 19:34:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 NevadaGram #202 – Rural RoundUp in Tonopah, Big Spike in Boulder City, Reno Night on the Town http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-202-rural-roundup-nevada-southern-railway/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-202-rural-roundup-nevada-southern-railway/#comments Tue, 01 May 2018 00:40:30 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=33224 Peter Barton and Gernor Brian Sandoval at dedication of the new NSRy bridge to Henderson

Rural RoundUp, the annual grand conclave of tourism workers from all around rural Nevada, was held this year in Tonopah. The speakers were insightful and entertaining, the workshops apt and informative, the meals ambitious and delicious and the schmoozing pleasant and productive . . . but what we most remember is the wind.

The bitterly cold, furiously battering wind that blew without letup, disturbed our hair, chilled our bones and drove us indoors.

We were greeted at the Opening Reception by Fred and Nancy Cline on the ground floor of the Belvada building. The Clines' arrival in Tonopah was like a heart transplant for the old city. They restored and reopened the Mizpah Hotel in 2011.

They've since opened the Tonopah Brewery and rib house up the street and the Mizpah Club across the small parking lot on the north side of the Mizpah, and now they're rehabbing the Belvada.

Belvada Building, Tonopah Nevada
Belvada Building, Tonopah Nevada

This was the toniest business address in the brash young city in 1910; but after the boom, as the air went out of the economy in the 1920s and the professional class departed, it became apartments, at first desirable and then less so. By the time the Clines acquired it from Nye County, which had acquired it for nonpayment of taxes, it had been looted of even its windows and interior doors. It will be — guess what? — another hotel. Thus are the Clines restoring Tonopah's grandeur piece by piece. What an amazing gift!

Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

My posse was down to one when we arrived in Laughlin. I don't know where the other one went. Much of life is a mystery to me, actually, but as long as I have a full belly and a warm place to sleep I don't worry about it.
Shorty the Wonder Dog at Harrahs LaughlinWe checked into Harrah's for two busy days of photo shoots and research. I conduct research by nose, up close and personal, so we were up early the next morning. Even in May the days get hot; early mornings and early evenings are the best times to explore the North Reach Trail to Davis Dam.

There's a fascination to the river, even for a little yellow dog. It's perfectly stationary, and yet it's constantly moving. That is, it flows past but it stays just where it is. It's a puzzlement.

I have to admit I'm a little miffed that the posse has absconded with one of the very nice bowls the Harrah's people included in my Doggy Swagbag when we checked in. They use it as a candy dish and think they're very funny.

Tailwags,
S H O R T Y
The Wonder Dog

Larry Friedman's absence was deplored and three of tourism's silverbacks were paid tribute — Ed Spear of Ely, Bob Perchetti of Tonopah and Jim Marsh, who is at home all over Central Nevada.

We left after the Awards Banquet Thursday night and drove south to Pahrump where we took a space at Camp Wal-Mart for what was left of the night, and hurried on at dawn to Boulder City and the Nevada State Railroad Museum, home of the Nevada Southern Railway.

The little depot on Yucca Street was just coming to life when we arrived, not with choo- choos but with railbikes. These are industrial grade quadricycles-built-for-two that run on railroad tracks when pedaled, and they can be joined together so that whole groups can travel as one, all pedaling . . . gently at first, and then going like mad. Great fun!

Their adventure takes them west on track originally laid in 1931 to connect the UPRR from Las Vegas to Black Canyon and the Boulder Dam construction site, ending just northwest of the Railroad Pass Hotel/Casino at the US 93/95 Freeway. This has also been the end of the line for the weekend excursion trains since they began in 2002.

But on this day that would change in a big way. A special train was waiting to carry invited guests to a ceremony at the opening of a new bridge carrying the rails across the new Freeway to Henderson.

Celebrities arrived one by one and two by two; Governor Sandoval, Senator Heller and 40 or 50 people representing constituencies, contributors and participants in the project. And at 11 o'clock we got on board the two coaches, a dining car, an open-sided observation car (all acquired from Utah's "Heber Creeper" in 1992) and the VIP Caboose and a vintage diesel pulled us gently to the bridge.

In 1985 the Union Pacific Railroad sold its Las Vegas-Henderson spur to the City of Henderson with an agreement that the city would maintain the rails and the UP would continue 5-days-a-week service to the city's industrial businesses. Beyond Henderson the line was unused, and in 1988 NDOT paved over the rails that crossed the highway.

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By 2000 the State Railroad Museum consisted of the track, the big shop across Yucca Street, the shaded platform and the fully rehabbed equipment from Utah. All of this was accomplished by the sole employee on site, Greg Corbin, working with contractors.

All that was lacking was running trains, so in 2002 Museums Administrator Peter Barton contacted southern Nevada members of the National Railroad Historical Society and asked if in addition to loving railroads they'd like to run one. It turned out they would, and they formed the Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway to fire up the locomotives and carry 2000 riders on the run to Railroad Pass the first year.

Annual ridership is now about 37,000 on the weekend runs plus the Special Trains — during December the Holiday trains all sell out, and carry some 10,000 passengers.

Preparations for the advent of Interstate 11 have had a big impact on the operation of the NSRy, starting with the redesign of US 93 and US 95 at Railroad Pass. When those plans were announced, Corbin reminded NDOT that the original rails had been paved over 20 years before, even though the right-of-way, despite being unused at the time, had never legally been abandoned. As a consequence the bridge we'd gathered to inaugurate was added to the highway realignment plans and constructed by NDOT. The small bridge a little farther west carries the bike trail.

Another consequence of I-11 was that Boulder City officials realized that rerouting highway traffic around the city would hurt local business. They came to the Railroad Museum wondering if it could be expanded to become a more significant attraction.

Governor Sandoval drives spike spike at new bridge over US 93/95 FreewayThat, of course, is up to the Legislature and it's

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anticipated that funding the three phases of development will take a mix of public and private financing. A federal grant is being sought to develop and maintain the biking/hiking trails, and the museum itself will be a mix of State bonds and private money. Phase One is a $15 million Visitor Center/Passenger Depot at the now undeveloped east end of the property. Phase 2 is to be development of the access drive from Yucca Street into a landscaped greenbelt roadway, and phase 3 fills in the gap between the current platform and the new Visitor Center with more exhibits.

Oh but that's just the beginning. After the ceremony by the bridge (after hearing that Governor Stanford went 0 for 3 when trying to drive the Golden Spike at Promontory Point in 1869, Governor Sandoval practically got onto his knees to tap-tap-tap the Silver Spike carefully into place) we reboarded the train and made the first passenger run to Henderson.

The tracks don't extend very far beyond the highway crossing yet but preliminary plans suggest that an operating agreement now being negotiated with the City of Henderson will extend the run on a regular basis by about a mile, to the end of current UPRR directed freight service. An anticipated operating agreement between the City, the Museum and Union Pacific would allow Special trains to a Henderson passenger platform where the tracks run near to Water Street, the original downtown, and ultimately to the area of the Fiesta Casino, about seven miles west of the bridge.

Tourist trains back and forth between the two cities are a natural; there are even giddy thoughts of establishing daily commuter trains from Boulder City all the way to Las Vegas.

Hurry up with it, ladies and gents. We want to ride that train too.

She came out dancing

I’ve never seen Tina Turner perform, and I don’t know that I’ve ever heard her on the radio or tv, so when Stephanya came skipping out from the wings at Sammy’s Showroom in Harrah’s Reno and announced that this would be a Rock and Roll night, not a Sinatra night, I was a little bit disappointed. I like Sinatra.

But along with her there were four dancers, two back-up singers and a five-piece band wailing away in the antic sprays of color spiraling down from the lights spinning and doing cartwheels on the ceiling.

And in out there in the middle of it all was Tina, head shaking, teeth flashing, singing loud and nonstop:

We don’t need another Hero!
We don’t need another Waco! (Can that be right?)

And then a surprise! In came a man in a pink dinner jacket, prancing in time to the tumultuous music and flinging himself — OMG! It’s Mork!

It wasn’t though, it was Rod Stewart, singing his heart out at the top of his lungs:

I want your hind legs!
Hind legs and saddle shoes!

That doesn’t sound right either, but it didn’t seem to matter at all in the endless flood of music, the audience and the performers alike iridescent in the lights sparkling down from above, Tina back on stage, standing in the spotlight but not standing still: arms up, arms out, head back, voice enveloping the room, high energy buoyed up by high spirits.

What’s love got to do with it?

And then Rod was back with a sob in his throat:

Maggie I really tried!

And he waded into the flood, pulling the audience in behind him:

He sang: I wish                    We sang: I’d never seen your face
He sang: Forever Young      We clap-clap-clapped

And throughout it all the dancers danced, the singers sang, and the musicians each (except the drummer) stepped forward for a showcase solo that suggested a wider repertoire than allowed by the relentless, urgent, ecstatic drive of tonight's playbook.

If Tina Turner was as good as Stephanya it's no wonder she was so popular.

That effervescent show was the high point of our night on the town, but there were a couple of other events that made it perfect.

Before the show we had the Friday/Saturday night Steak and Seafood buffet at Carvings. The experienced buffet browser understands the difficulty of keeping food both warm and fresh indefinitely, and deploys his tongs accordingly. The rare roast beef makes every other offering on display into a side dish; choose the ones you see as they arrive from the kitchen. The desserts are excellent.

After the show and a nightcap in the Sapphire Room we returned to the dog-friendly 4th floor where we'd left Jones and Mojito watching Fox News in one of the recently renovated pet-friendly rooms.

Pet-friendliness seems to consist most obviously of tile floors replacing carpet for the sake of cleanliness. Unlike, say, Bert Woywod's Prospector Casino/Hotel in Ely, there's no big dogbed in the corner for Pooch to spread out on. Still, with a walk on the rainy streets of Reno, and a visit to the postage stamp size poop zone on 2nd Street the dogs were quite content, and so were we.

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And speaking of downtown Reno hotels, there's one — the Whitney Peak — that's included in a list of the World's 12 Coolest. Not the World's 12 Coolest Hotels, although it is a very cool hotel, but the World's 12 Coolest Climbing Gyms.

Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno NevadaSay what?

"The popularity of indoor climbing has skyrocketed in recent years, and so have the number of gyms," says the Travel Channel. "We looked all over the world to find some of the coolest, many of which have saved historic buildings from being demolished. Pack your climbing shoes next time you travel. You'll want to see these places first-hand."

First on the list is CityROCK in Colorado Springs, Colorado, followed by fabulous-verging-on-astonishing climbing venues in Spain, Scotland, Germany, even Canada. And then, #6:

Fifteen Years Ago
in the NevadaGram

One of the unforgettable images I carry around in my mind is from the Carson City Rendezvous a few years back. Participants are intensely committed to practicing the lifeways of the frontier, each striking his own chord in this mad mix of historical moments. The men wear extravagant whiskers, the women are subdued. I was strolling past an Indian village in a crowd sprinkled with civil war soldiers, Scottish clansmen and gun-toting desperados of every colorful kind when I noticed a couple walking toward me through the turbulence.

They were splendidly made up as Mountain Man and Mountain Woman in dressed hides and furs. Their breeches were decorated with conchos and fringes, and they both wore big knives in their belts. Maybe they were on their way back to their booth, but they cut a majestic figure as they promenaded along together, accouterments ajingle. and as they passed me I turned to watch them go. And saw that their breeches were seatless — chaps, really — and that these two large people were butt-naked at the back-end of all their finery. Their butts were big and dead white, refrigerator white, huge beacons of brilliance reflecting the early summer sun, the King and Queen of Authenticity on parade. You’ve gotta like that.
Overheard at The Stockmen’s in Elko: “So I asked this Swiss guy, ‘How come you’re so docile about paying such high taxes?’ and he said, ‘What’s it worth to live in a country with no homelessness, no hunger, where everybody has access to health care and a good education?'”

Basecamp at Whitney Peak Hotel, Reno, Nevada

It probably does not surprise you that the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall is at a hotel in Reno, Nevada — little Vegas. It’s worth a visit. The 164-foot-tall climbing wall at Basecamp scales the side of the posh Whitney Peak Hotel. If that’s a little too tall for your liking, you’ll also find 40-foot auto-belay routes alongside the big one and a 3,200-square-foot bouldering gym indoors.

Don't let the dismissive silliness of that "Little Vegas" remark start a fight; most people outside Nevada are ignorant about our cities, even the famous ones. (An article about the hotel in the Huffington Post had this notice at the bottom: "CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post stated Reno was “not far” from Las Vegas. If you plan to hit Sin City after your climbing adventure, be advised that Las Vegas is about a seven-hour drive away.")

But these guys do know Climbing Gyms, and the Whitney Peak may be the only one you can rent a room inside of. It is indeed posh, but not in a way you've seen before. Everything about it seems ultra new, already halfway into tomorrow. As such, it's the opposite of Harrah's (see above) which is all about nostalgia, from the superlative Steak House to the international buffet to Sammy's Showroom itself, all still reliably top of the line as they've been since Bill Harrah's day.

We enjoyed the contrast between the two and recommend you visit them both in either direction during your next night on the town in Reno.

A Foodie Find in Las Vegas:
The International Marketplace at 5000 Decatur in Las Vegas is a great food shopping experience with thousands of products from all over the world.  You could easily spend an hour or more just going down the aisles to see what’s available. It’s a huge store, more like a warehouse than a standard grocery store.

Lots of canned and packaged goods as well as fresh produce and fresh and frozen seafood.  The fresh seafood is beyond anything you’ll see in traditional food stores.  Some fish are even raised on site and you can see them in the huge tanks.

The produce was interesting with unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. There is also Asian kitchen equipment, accessories and dinnerware.  We purchased some products we were familiar with like haggis, assorted pates and dolmas.  And we purchased many that we had never seen before or even knew what to do with, like some soy bean pastes from South Korea, which we’ll experiment with for flavor additions.

The one thing we didn’t find was lamb bouillon which I brought back from Scotland many years ago and have never been able to find again.

— Robin Cobbey

Parting Shot —

The post NevadaGram #202 – Rural RoundUp in Tonopah, Big Spike in Boulder City, Reno Night on the Town appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

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NevadaGram #201 – Art, Skiing, Driving Old Lonely, the April Calendar http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-201-art-driving-april-events/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-201-art-driving-april-events/#respond Sun, 01 Apr 2018 16:41:07 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=32388

Skiing in Nevada

by Curtis Fong “The Guy From Tahoe”

Miracle March? March Madness? During this past month the Storm Door finally opened and Mother Nature brought winter back to northern Nevada… Gotta hand it to Punxsutawney Phil!

And, as I write on this first full day of Spring, a Winter Storm Warning is posted with the caveat that this system includes an Atmospheric River (i.e. Pineapple Express) to bring much needed rain to our valleys and snow at higher elevations. How much more snow before the end of the month? Stay tuned, as it’s not over until it’s over or until the Fat Skis sing! . . .

Read More

Art and Artists in Northern Nevada

by Dana Nollsch

ana NollschHere's how April is shaping up in Northern Nevada.

Carson City
Carson City has a very positive arts community with many summertime events and art galleries as well as the Nevada State Museum.

Next month we will come back for a closer look at the art happening Carson City.

In the meantime, check out an artist reception at one of my favorite Carson City art galleries, Artsy Fartsy.

(Also Ely, Fallon, Reno and Sparks) . . . Read More

 

Robin and I drove east along The Loneliest Road and made our first stop in Fallon. This old farm town has become surprisingly well-known for its eminent cultural presence at the Oats Park Art Center, and now — even more surprisingly — it's known for its food. We count half a dozen excellent sources of deliciosity in Fallon. And the Churchill County Museum has some interesting quirks.

 

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Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

The signature scene that remains in my mind from Rural Round Up 2013 took place in a hallway leading off the casino floor past the poker room and the big bingo parlor to the meeting rooms, where it makes a right-hand turn to get to the bowling alley.

It’s not a particularly wide hallway, although it widens out after the turn, and Jack Sanders was set up in the narrow part with a long table from which he and three assistants were pouring tastes of the wine they make at the Sanders Family Winery. Right at the corner was the cash bar.

Rural Roundup, Pahrump 2013So at six o’clock when the corks were popped and the tasting began, the hallway was jammed with people. Eventually they all had tastes, some more than one, and after priming their pumps with these thimblefuls of bottled sunshine, graduated to the bar for bigger glasses of lesser stuff. As they did, the wider part of the hallway at the entrance to the bowling alley slowly filled up with people from around the state happily babbling together.

I was a part of it, immersed in a conversation with a couple of guys about the nature of life, humanity and civilization, and back around the corner the corridor was still jam-packed at the tasting table. The hallway was buzzing like a hive full of bees.

Rural RoundUp in Elko 2017Which is when the bowlers arrived for Thursday Night league play, two, three, four at a time, pulling little carts full of accouterments and pushing silently into the mass of chatter. The crowd of eagerly conversing wine tasters parted before the silent advance of the bowlers, and closed back up again behind them until the next little cluster came pushing through. This went on for a semi-surreal five minutes, so zany it could have come from Jacques Tati or the Marx Brothers.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

I am talking about the Photo Booth which sometimes travels with museum Director Dan Ingram to public events, where it quickly becomes the center of attention.Photo booth at the Churchill County Museum Fallon Nevada It's not really a booth — i would call it a funny-looking gizmo — but it does what a photo booth does, which is to accept a $1 bill and snap a picture of whatever is in front of it. If that's you, when the photo appears it shows you standing in front of a hallowed Fallon landmark! It's hard to snap just one!

History Sox at the Churchill County Museum Fallon NevadaIn the Gift Shop, along with History Socks at $10 a pair there are lots of Nevada books . . . pus a collection of head-scratchers. "Cool Comfort: America's Romance with the Air-Conditioner" was one, along with "Jesus & Gin", "Toothpick: Technology & Culture", "Footnotes on Shoes", and "Eating for Beginners". This oddly charming agglomeration of strange books lends a mite of whimsy to the atmosphere.

More fun: Tours of Hidden Cave are offered on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month (excluding federal holiday weekends). On these days the museum opens at 9 am, the BLM guide arrives at 9:30, and at 10 participants caravan out to the cave site.

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Fallon is the jumping off point from the solid ground of modern civilization into the shock of the desert. The deeply rooted havens of Middlegate and Cold Springs Stations cater to the travelers on the Lonely Road.

Through Austin, over the Toiyabes, down the other side and out again into the sagebrush. Finally, at the last rise before Eureka — we see . . . a mirage.

Not the shimmering dazzle across the pavement ahead that we see on a sweltering afternoon, but — a Supermarket!

Out here?

Raine's Market was a tradition on Main Street since the Raine family bought it from the Kitchen family about three generations back, and began decorating the walls above the shelves in the high-ceilinged old building with taxidermy. They seemed to stock all of life's necessities on the jam-packed shelves and could help you find them. "Wax paper is right below the moose head over there." The Raine's met the needs of the community with graceful efficiency but increasing difficulty because of the old structure's limitations and stricter health codes.

Raines Market in Eureka Nevada

This big new store — it's no mirage — contains a Nevada State Bank and an Ace Hardware as well as a cornucopia of groceries and a full-service deli. It is spacious and open and sparkling new, a striking contrast with the old store's maze of narrow aisles and oiled wood floors. This would be a very nice store anywhere. Out here it is spectacular.

Customer service at Raine's Market in Eureka NevadaIt's good to see the old city looking busy again. The closing of the Ruby Hill Mine just uphill to the west and the Pancake Mine east of town had sucked some of the energy out of this happily remote community. Without those jobs, For Sale signs sprouted in dispiriting profusion.

And now the profusion is of white pickup trucks, most of them mud-spattered with red banners flying, cruising in and out of town. Mining has come awake again, and Eureka is waking up with it.180 N.Main Street in Eureka Nevada The Gold Bar Project on the southwest slope of Roberts Mountain — formerly the Atlas Mine — is expected to put about 200 people to work in construction, and 150 to operate it once it's built. The Tonkin site around the mountain on its northwest side is also being evaluated. To the east the Pan Mine is being prepared to go back into production and the word on the street is that a second pit is being considered there as well. Rentals are scarce and the For Sale signs are coming down.

Baskets at Eureka Restoration EnterpriseThere is no Visitors Center in Eureka, but out-of-towners are welcome to bring their curiosity about Eureka County, food and lodgings included, to the Court House where the staff is glad to answer your questions during business hours. On weekends during spring and summer the Eureka Restoration Enterprise, a local organization devoted to to helping create a more inviting community (thus the murals beginning to appear around town) opens its doors at 180 N. Main to offer regional art and homemade Nevada products. The volunteers are happy to help you find your way around.

The Owl Club has been at the center of the action for visitors to Eureka since Ted Carrion bought it in 1981 and his son Ron came from Lake Tahoe to manage it in his convivial style. Now Ron's daughter Eleny Mentaberry runs it with her husband Scooter. The tone that Ron established for his restaurant has been retained, with a full bar adjacent and a big room used for banquets and dances just past the bar.

Rich McKay grew up here, and in 1983 he confronted the career options facing every graduate from Eureka High: #1) live and work on the ranch (if you have one, which Rich's family did), #2) go to work at the mine (if the mines were running (which they were in '83), or #3) go to work for the County. Rich took Option #4) which is to leave, and went off to college in Idaho. That became his springboard to a career in high-tech in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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He didn't have any thoughts about coming home until he had kids, and then he did, more and more. So when Aunt Margie's Sundown Motel across Main Street (US 50) from the Owl Club became available, Rich came home. With his nephew Giovani Minolete, he bought it, along with the Chevron station at the uphill corner and the Eureka Hotel/Cafe at the downhill corner. Now it's likely to be his wife Crystal who checks you in at the motel while Rich is stocking the shelves at the gas station,  or working on the hotel rooms he's renovating above the Eureka Cafe. This was a Chinese cafe for more than 50 years beginning in the 1940s. It's not ready to reopen yet, but the Eureka Saloon is going strong, just a few steps up the block.

Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

CMI drill rigs poisoning the air in Gold Hill

Stayed home to resist the destruction of the Virginia City National Historic District by Comstock Mining Inc.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin Cobbey

One of the town's great treasures is underneath that Cafe: an intersection of elaborate brick tunnels built to connect various buildings in town to facilitate moving around in the frozen winter. One tunnel connected the home of Governor-to-be Reinhold Sadler to his store on Main Street so he could walk between them without concern about the weather. Or to avoid talking with his neighbors, as another story has it.

Rich is thinking about how to conduct tours of this underground wonderworld, but he is pretty sure it wasn't wasn't built by Chinese workers. "At the time the tunnels were built the Chinese were relegated to menial tasks and trades and it's doubtful there were skilled Chinese bricklayers available for a job this big. The style suggests a European tradition, and I'm guessing the tunnels were built by English or Italian workmen who were here in large numbers."

I was struck by Ely's plan to beautify 12 downtown blocks by way of an NDOT grant. Add that to the murals already on so many walls, and to the Cuchine Collection Art Show, an exhibit of nearly 200 pieces from Wally Cuchine's fabled collection of Nevada art. At this rate we will have tourists from all over the world visiting Ely and descending eagerly into the basement gallery beneath the Garnet Mercantile.

The Opening will be April 1 with a reception for Wally from 2-4 pm.

But that's not all the excitement in Ely. Mark Bassett, Director of the Nevada Northern Railway says that last year was the best for revenue in the lt 30 years, and this year is shaping up to be even better.

"We hit the Trifecta of publicity last year!" he told me.

First, he said, the New York Times included the railroad's "Be the Engineer" program in a December article about unusual Christmas gifts and they sold lot of 'lifelong memories'.

Then, on Christmas morning CBS broadcast a special on the railroad's Star Train and the phone immediately began to ring. "We had to break away from Christmas and come to the office and book orders. The Star Train schedule was sold out for the year before it even started!"

Then in February the photographer who manages the traditional Winter Photo Shoot phoned to say that the railroad was featured on "The Big Bang Theory" in an episode all about Sheldon getting a "Be the Engineer" ticket on the Nevada Northern!

And finally (check my math, but I think this makes it a Quadrifecta), there is an Iron Rule that engine crews are to be on hand and ready to roll 45 minutes before the scheduled departure. One morning as Mark was checking the railroad's Facebook page he was horrified to see a that video had been posted showing the engine crew cooking bacon on a shovel in the locomotive's firebox. Mark sprang for the telephone.

"David!" he cried when he reached the volunteer who'd posted the video. "Get that video down! That's a clear violation of the rules! We can't have that up there!"

And as he waited he noticed that the video, posted two hours before, had already been viewed 20,000 times.

As Mark watched, the video was deleted.  He sprang for the phone and called the volunteer again.

"David!" he cried. "Put the video back!"

The restored post accumulated clicks at the rate of 20,000 an hour and eventually totalled 1,200,000 hits.

And on September 2nd this year the NNRy will host the first Iron Horse Cook-Off at the depot in East Ely.


Upcoming Events

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Click Here to browse the Nevada Events Calendar

Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Laughlin is a great place for having fun and I am a big Fats Waller fan, so I’m snapping my fingers and strutting on down to the Ramada Express where Ain’t Misbehavin’ is playing for 10 days. So unless your feet’s too big, bring your honeysuckle rose and get there, because the joint will be jumpin’. Across the street at the Flamingo The Comedy Stop is performing two shows nightly, 3 comedians each show, with new comedians changing out each Monday. Laughlin NevadaThe following weekend is Laughlin River Days, a citywide boat racing spectacular with a Beach Boys concert.

David Walley’s Resort about 1.3 miles from downtown Genoa (oldest settlement in Nevada) is welcoming guests for a Memorial Day Weekend of peace and quiet in the bubbling hot springs pools with their beautiful views of the surrounding valley and majestic mountains.

Walley's Hot Springs pool, Genoa NevadaIt’s delightful and serene with lots of amenities: restaurant and deli, massages in a full spa, swimming pool. They have time shares they also use as a hotel open to the public, Yep, that’s the event, peace and quiet. A little slice of heaven.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

[caption id="attachment_32947" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Truth is Beauty at Burning Man in Nevada
Parting Shot
'Truth is Beauty' by Marco Cochrane, photo by Eleanor Preger, in the New York Times
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The post NevadaGram #201 – Art, Skiing, Driving Old Lonely, the April Calendar appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

]]> 0 NevadaGram #200 – Skiing the Rubies, A Foodie in Vegas, Shopping in Winnemucca http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-200-skiing-the-rubies/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-200-skiing-the-rubies/#comments Fri, 02 Feb 2018 14:49:18 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=31259 Ruby Mountain summits near Elko

Introducing a new section of the NevadaGram, Let's Go Outside with Curtis Fong.Ruby Mountain Heli-Experience

Curtis Fong"I remember the guide telling us what line he was going to ski and indicating a stop point at the bottom and with specific instructions to ski to the right of his line only. As he skied down below us, my heart was beating faster with excitement and hoping that I don’t blow this and do cartwheels down this face. I dropped and remember making the first 3 turns and feeling the skis slide through the snow as the powder flowed over my boot tops and up and over my knees, feeling each turn and flowing in rhythm, attempting to keep the same radius turns as the guide, and, also trying to remember to breathe.

"Helicopter skiing is almost a religious experience — I was chanting “OMG” with every turn — more like an out-of-body experience, because I could imagine myself making each turn in a slow motion segment of a Warren Miller movie. RIP Warren Miller!" Read it all here


Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

When Tom Sanders ran away from home at 13, he was taken in by an Indian couple and for most of the rest of his life he lived among the Indian people of Nevada.
This is one of the recordings Tom made for The Gold Hill NEWS. He would sometimes stop by with a handful of new stories on cassettes, other times he would take a chair out behind World Headquarters and tell a story into the recorder.
Ideally you are seated in a comfortable chair with a refreshment at hand, mind prepared to cast the modern moment aside and drift into a different world as you punch the Play button and Tom tells the story he called “Pullin’ Teeth”:

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Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

In last month's NevadaGram (near the bottom) I mentioned the new hotels blossoming near the freeway offramp on Elko's east side and elsewhere. Our own preference is downtown above the DLC Gallery & the Gallery Bar, next door to Capriola's.

Once upon a time this was the Clifton Hotel, a haven for nine old men who lived above the smoke trap called Jack's Bar. Now the upstairs rooms are being being refurbished and remade with two bathrooms and a shared kitchen, in preparation for listing them with Air b&b, HomeAway and similar services.

Among the amenities is the south facing deck at the end of the upstairs hall. It overlooks the lawned and leafy backyard. Weddings are held there in good weather, and when a visiting band brings a crowd, the bar's customers spill out here on warm summer evenings. In the morning, the deck is a perfect place to settle down with a self-made latte from the kitchen and watch the sun rise over the Rubies. And the stuff across the alley too.

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Downstairs it's Jacques' bar now, with a superb wine list and Nick behind the bar. The name derives from the art on its walls and spilling in from the gallery in the next room — paintings, ceramics, photographs and more from local area artists.

Coffee Mug restaurant Elko NevadaBut the main attraction is what's outside: downtown Elko.

Down the block to the right is the Coffee Mug Family Rrestaurant, an Elko favorite now at its third location over the years, and the recently opened Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum. Originally built for the Garcia Harness and Saddle Shop on Silver Street, the building was later moved to its present location and served as offices for the Elko-Lamoille Power Co. and NV Energy until 2016.

The Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum's recently restored building at 542 Commercial Street was built in 1907 by master craftsman G.S. Garcia to house his saddle, harness and tack shop.The gleaming pressed tin façade restores the building's brand new 1907 appearance. Inside, Garcia’s shop has been replicated from photographs provided by the Wright family, proprietors of Capriola's, which is next door to the Inn, at the corner of Fifth Street.

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This is the modern descendant of the hallowed Garcia Saddle Shop and a reliable source of boots, hats and other western goods, including the heirloom-quality leather and silver work.

A visiting journalist wrote in admiration in the New York Times some years ago that Capriola's "sells everything for the cowboy and his horse, from a box of horseshoe nails to a $3,500 saddle." A hand-made saddle crafted to a classic design might cost a little more nowadays, but they are still made right here, along with the other leather goods and the tack that account for most of Capriola's world-wide business.

Luciano's, Elko NevaaMachi's, one of our faves, is just across 5th street and the venerable Stockmen's Hotel, with its very nice $10 prime rib, is another block west. A block south on Silver Street is the Star Hotel, the hallowed Basque restaurant, and Luciano's Italian dinner house, both very popular.

North across the enormous parking lots that were once the noisy, disruptive and dangerous railroad switching yard and are now a huge convenience: plenty of free parking in the center of the city, is the Western Folklife Center, the organization that stages the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering. The gift shop is excellent, and the adjacent gallery is always worth a visit.

A little farther north on Fifth stop for a refreshment at the Stray Dog, a latte at Cowboy Joe's or something delicious at McAdoo's. Idaho Street, Elko's main drag, is just beyond, presided over by the exquisitely anachronistic Anacabe's Elko Mercantile, opened in 1936 and going strong. A block east is Roy's Market for the things you forgot to bring, or treats to take back to your room.

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Gallery Bar, Elko NevadaAs for Night Life, did I mention that the Gallery Bar is right downstairs?

Now that I've spelled it out like this I realize we have (almost) everything here we'd have at a Las Vegas Strip mega-resort, just not in-house. Plus plenty of free parking.

Overheard at Bakker's Brew in Battle Mountain: If you had to choose a time period to be born into, but you didn’t get to choose what race, gender, income level, social status, country/location, etc. you were born into, when would you choose to be born?

On a recent afternoon Diamond Jack Bulavsky, one of our prize-winning Las Vegas Correspondents, joined a group of foodies from New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin to enjoy the showcase dishes at four top restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. Here is his dispatch.

I had joined a 'Lip Smacking Foodie Tour' that would introduce me to some of Las Vegas' most highly regarded and glamorous restaurants.

Right up my alley in other words.

Donald Contursi, president of the company, had invited me to join him and share the experience. I was delighted to accept.

Aria Las Vegas"We have afternoon and evening tours and the afternoon tour is great for those going to a show later in the evening," he said. “We operate daily with tours on the Strip and Downtown. Each one takes up to three hours and guests are given the VIP treatment. At the same time, tour guides are talking about the city, its history, and describing point of interest along the way as they walk from one restaurant to another. It’s a unique and informative Las Vegas experience.”

Javiers at the Aria Las VegasThe out-of-town foodies were thrilled to meet Diamond Jack as I introduced myself and explained who I was, but contained their excitement somehow. We started the afternoon at Javier’s at the Aria for fine Mexican food. Other restaurants on the schedule that day included Estiatorio Milos at Cosmopolitan, Momofuku at Cosmopolitan, and Cucina by Wolfgang Puck inside Crystals. Another tour might feature Bardot Brasserie from Michael Mina at Aria, Sage from Sean McLain at Cosmopolitan, and Scarpetta from Scott Conant at Cosmopolitan.

As we neared Javier’s, we were immediately greeted like Vegas VIPs and escorted to a selected area in the main dining room. carving steakFresh tortilla chips were waiting for us along with Javier’s three signature salsas: Javier’s House, Roasted Tomato, and Roasted Green Tomatillo. Then came two enchiladas: one was filled with shrimp, Dungeness crab, garlic and onion in a tomatillo sauce covered with melted Monterey Jack cheese and garnished with avocado slices and sour cream; the second enchilada, stuffed with chicken, was layered with Guajillo sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, avocado slices and sour cream.

We yelled “ole!” except for the couple from Texas who found the enchiladas too rich.

After Javier's, we took a short stroll to Milos in the Cosmopolitan for some internationally-acclaimed Mediterranean seafood. On the way I chatted with the couple from Wisconsin. “What fun!” they enthused. “This is our second trip to Las Vegas and our second Foodie tour. We enjoy the commentary as we walk between restaurants as much as the food.”

At Milos we started with a Greek salad accented with vine-ripened tomatoes, virgin olive oil and barrel-aged feta cheese. Then sushi quality, grilled Mediterranean octopus accompanied with lightly-fried zucchini, eggplant tzatziki and kefalograviera cheese.

seafood at Estiatorio_MilosZorba the Greek never had it this good but the Wisconsin couple left the octopus on their plates.

Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

On the anniversary of The Great 1908 New York to Paris Auto Race Robin and I put on our goggles and dashed south to join in the festivities. Saturday March 22 was devoted to a re-enactment of the exciting day a hundred years ago when the Thomas Flyer came careening through the sagebrush into Tonopah, well ahead of its European rivals, paused briefly and then sped off to Goldfield.

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The Thomas Flyer was photographed in Tonopah on March 22, 1908 on its way to Goldfield, San Francisco, Siberia and Paris.

The car had been churning through the sagebrush on its muddy way from Ely when six teeth broke off the drive pinion and the transmission case cracked. The driver, George Schuster, rented a horse at the ranch and headed off in the dark for Tonopah, 75 miles away. There he solved the parts problem in the good old Nevada way: “From a doctor’s Thomas we borrowed the parts to repair ours,” he wrote in his memoir of the race, “and drove it onto Tonopah at 11 pm that night. Everybody in town waited up and rang fire bells.”

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A parade of Tonopah cars escorted the Flyer to Goldfield, then the leading city of the state, where “there was a riotous welcome with cowboys and miners firing pistols. The street was jammed with people when we arrived, and it was a crowd such as could only be found in a western mining town. After a banquet we were on our way again toward Rhyolite.”

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

Momofuku and Cucina were just as tasty with the finale being a colorful and delicious dessert from the kitchen of Wolfgang Puck.

It was the first Foodie tour for the couple from New Mexico and they were impressed by the architectural beauty of the restaurants and the varied art contained within City Center.

“We knew these restaurants were going to be nicer than truck stops, but this is much more than we expected,” they said. “And when we walked in, it really was VIP treatment from our private table to the food being served within minutes of our arrival. It was a real Las Vegas experience.”

There are several tours available and the most unique and extravagant is “Savory Bites & Neon Lights.” The evening begins with a VIP gourmet experience at five distinguished restaurants followed by a helicopter tour of the Strip’s famous shimmering lights via Maverick Helicopters.

“Our mission is to introduce visitors and locals alike to the best signature dishes and exciting adventures that make Las Vegas, well, Las Vegas,” said Contursi. “The local newspaper has voted us ‘Best Tour’, ‘Best Fine Dining’, and ‘Best Brunch.’ Those are honors we take seriously.” — Diamond Jack


Jack and Elaine Jacobs, berry farmers in Gardnerville NevadaWith retirement in mind, Jack and Diane Jacobs bought the historic Lampe family home in Gardnerville in 2002. Now retired and living there, they have transformed the core of the old Lampe ranch into a unique attraction. blackberry at Jacobs Family Berry FarmThey grow berries and keep bees, host weddings, family reunions and other events on the Jacobs Family Farm.

We have it on our calendar to visit Carson Valley in late July when the berry harvest begins in earnest and a visit here can be the centerpiece of a lovely day in Carson Valley. In the meantime you're welcome to stop in for honey, berry jam and essence. Call ahead in the off-season to make sure someone's here to serve you: 775-525-0450


Save American Poetry, Read A Cowboy

The Elko Convention Center looks like just about any convention center in small-town America: It has harsh fluorescent lights, ghastly cream-colored walls, and a beige-and-gray carpet that seems especially effective at masking stains.

On this winter morning, however, the center is alive with an unusual scene, even for rural Nevada: a sea of about 8,000 bobbing cowboy hats. At this moment, several hats are gathered around Paul Zarzyski, a 66-year-old man with a bristly handlebar mustache that covers his upper lip and extends down to his jowls. He looks like someone who's spent years of his life working the rodeo circuit—which he has. Now, he's talking excitedly about meter and onomatopoeia and synesthesia and other poetic devices. Read More

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Little Spoken Truths of Three Generations at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Upon first arriving in Elko, Nevada, for the 34th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, I experienced something unsettling there that I also experienced in Reno just the week prior.

The Friday before the gathering, I attended a talk on Bertsolaritza, Basque improvised and sung poetry, and how women rose through the ranks of the once male-dominated art form. Upon conclusion of the presentation, Q&A proceeded. A man attending the talk re-explained the main points in different words for about three consecutive minutes. The encounter struck me in the moment, but I chose not to call attention to it.

Then on Tuesday, the first talk I attended at the poetry gathering was on a similar subject: female bertsolaris, the Basque poets, and their push to redefine themselves as speakers and not things to which men refer. To my surprise and muted dismay, the same longwinded guy from Friday was at the Tuesday talk. Read More

Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Johnny Quick's plaqueIn your newsletter of November 2001, you mention a man named Johnny Quick, who claims to have been a member of Bill Haley and the Comets. Extensive research — including interviews with members of the Comets and Haley’s family — have failed to uncover any evidence that a Johnny Quick was ever a member of the Comets. He certainly was not in any way involved with the recording of Rock Around the Clock. The drummer on that record died in 1995.Clearly Mr. Quick qualifies as a “local character,” but his claims should be taken with a grain of salt.
For more information, I direct you to my Bill Haley’s Who’s Who.
Cheers!
Alex Frazer-Harrison
A proud member of Bill Haley Central

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

There’s lots of good shopping and browsing in Winnemucca, especially for the ladies.  Clothing, kitchen, wellness, antiques and junk.  Here are some of the places where I spent some time and money the last time I was in town.

Weezies, Winnemucca Nevada1. Weezies Kitchen Gadgets 1063 W 4th Street just east of Ridley's

A lot more than gadgets in this fully stocked, fun to peruse, kitchen store.  Cooking, baking, entertaining, serving, preparing, small appliances --  and a lot of cool gadgets.  Best kitchen store on I-80, including Reno

Cat's Meow, Winnemucca Nevada2. Cat’s Meow 310 S Bridge St

This is an antique and “junque” store that you can spend a lot of time browsing because there’s such an assortment of items and some very unique “art”.

Tapestry, Winnemucca Nevada3. Tapestry 45 W. Winnemucca Boulevard

This women’s clothing store may be the largest in Winnemucca, with big selection and some unique styles – definitely au courant.  There are also accessories, handbags, jewelry and a small line of foundations.  I bought a nice sweater here.

Welless, Winnemucca Nevada4. Essential Oils and More, 337 S. Bridge Street

This store is going through a bit of a change as the focus has broadened to all around wellness. You’ll find the oils but also supplements for health, skin care, body lotions and clever natural home made treats for pets (including "French fries"!).  The name of the establishment will change shortly to reflect the broader focus on health and wellness.

There are many more interesting shopping options in Winnemucca, most of them right downtown in walking distance from the Visitors Center on Winnemucca Boulevard. — Robin Cobbey


2108 Reno-Tahoe EventsThe 2018 Reno Tahoe Events & Festivals brochure is now available and you can click the image to see it online. The brochures will be distributed in visitor centers and chambers throughout Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Virginia City, Fernley, Fallon and Minden/Gardnerville.  For a complete listing of all events and entertainment in the Reno Tahoe area, click here or click here for our statewide Calendar of Events.
Let's do 80 on 80. The Nevada Department of Transportation has raised the speed limit from 75 to 80 mph on a 30 mile section of Interstate 80 in eastern Elko County between Wendover and Oasis. In May 2017 the speed limit was increased to 80 mph between Fernley and Winnemucca, except for a section through Lovelock.

But not in a bus. Five Nevada communities on I-80 have been pruned from the Greyhound bus schedule. The company no longer offers bus services from Salt Lake City to Wendover, Elko, Battle Mountain, Lovelock, Winnemucca, and Reno.

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You can still buy bus tickets in Reno, just not for the affected cities. An Interline partnership with Amtrak allows its customers to use tickets booked through Greyhound on the train service. Amtrak provides service to Elko, Winnemucca and Salt Lake City.

Wendover is hoping Congressman Mark Amodei will put back on track the Amtrak station/stop discussed a few years ago in Wendover, but that will take a lot of hoping before it comes true. For now in Lovelock, Battle Mountain and Wendover there is no near-term solution in sight.

Parting Shot —

Boulder on US 50 between Carson City an Lake Tahoe

Welcome to Nevada: Boulder on US 50 between Carson City and Lake Tahoe

The post NevadaGram #200 – Skiing the Rubies, A Foodie in Vegas, Shopping in Winnemucca appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

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NevadaGram #199 – Skiing in Nevada, yep http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-199-skiing-in-nevada/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-199-skiing-in-nevada/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 21:42:38 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=30337

Curtis Fong, "The Guy from Tahoe"

Our Guest Author this month is Curtis Fong, “The Guy From Tahoe”. He has been a familiar figure on the ski slopes of Lake Tahoe, on the tv screen and on the radio, for years. He has also created several of the most prestigious bicycling events in the state: Bike The West, America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, Tour de Tahoe-Bike Big Blue, and OATBRAN (One Awesome Tour Bike Ride Across Nevada).

Starting next month Curtis will cover Skiing and Bicycling in a new section of the NevadaGram we're calling "Let's Go OUTSIDE in Nevada". We will add ATVing, Hunting and fishing, Hiking and Climbing, all the outdoor activities available throughout the public lands — sunbathing? lollygagging? — as opportunities permit. His look at Nevada skiing is a preview of what's to come.

by Curtis Fong
“The Guy From Tahoe”

When anyone asks, “Where are you Skiing?”, most people respond with the obvious names of well known resorts — Heavenly, Vail, Park City, Killington — or a geographic location such as Tahoe, Colorado, British Columbia. Others describe their skiing by Mountain Ranges: the Sierra Nevada, Rockies, Wasatch, Cascade or Bugaboos.

Skiing in powder at Heavenly Valley Lake Tahoe NevadaNobody ever says Nevada when it comes to winter sports, but there are several resorts in Nevada where skiing & snowboarding are prime — and they are not in the Sierra Nevada.

Heavenly Mountain Resort has many of its lifts and runs on the Nevada side at Stateline on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. Heavenly North, as it is referred to, has two base lodge facilities that skiers and riders can start from: Boulder Lodge and Stagecoach Lodge, both located off of Tramway Drive at the top of Kingsbury Grade (Nevada 207).

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Nine lifts & tows (out of a total of 28) are accessed out of these two lodges serving terrain on Heavenly’s Nevada side, and there are 52 named trails (out of a total of 97) on the Nevada side. One can ski back and forth from Nevada to California and vice versa, from the top of either side of the resort when there is a normal winter snow pack. This winter has started off slow and if it were not for their snowmaking system, there would be very few lifts and runs open at Heavenly Mountain.

Snowmaker, Diamond Peak Ski, Incline Village Lake TahoeHeavenly has one of the largest snowmaking systems in the west and has been known to lay down as much snow, equal to 6” deep, overnight, on a full football field, when conditions and overnight temperatures permit. With this year’s slow start to winter, their snowmaking system allowed them to open the top of the Nevada side with Dipper Express on November 21. Comet Express was opened the next day, and by December 8 they were able to open Stagecoach Lodge and fire up Stagecoach Express to access the Upper Nevada side of the mountain.

Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Shorty's Paw-tograph PartyMy paw-tograph Party in Elko was so much fun! Dogs and their posses came and they brought scrumptious home-made treats — it was like a pot-luck buffet for dogs.
Shorty signs his paw-tographI signed book after book and I ate a lot of treats I had never tasted before. My new fave: banana and peanut butter! Who knew?
Minka was there, and Dino. Sadie, Jake and Tallulah came, and Lexi-Lu.
When the party was over, each dog got a Doggy-Bag full of treats to take home. I’m still eating mine because the posse won’t give them to me all at once, which I really prefer.
Tailwags,
S H O R T Y  The Wonder Dog

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

The Nevada side of Heavenly also has some of the steepest and most challenging terrain of all the Tahoe resorts, with both Mott & Killebrew Canyons, steep and narrow avalanche chutes with no room for errors. I recall when the Mott Canyon Lift was built, I toured this area with their mountain manager and skied “The Y” and “Bill’s Run”. It was steep and narrow, and you had to set up every turn through the bumps and hope you didn’t blow an edge or get too far forward or back on your skis.

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When it snows big time, all the way down with snow in the Carson Valley, many adventure skiers and riders ski down this backside to base of Kingsbury Grade with a little bush-wacking and skirting private property lines. On these days you can see skiers putting their thumbs out looking to hitch-hike back up. Nowadays there is a ride-share parking lot and a bus stop at the bottom of Kingsbury with shuttle bus service between Gardnerville and Stateline.

Gondola Base at South Shore Lake Tahoe just west of Stateline NevadaIn the 1970-80’s, Heavenly hosted International World Cup Events, and the Nevada side of the mountain had a fully homologated FIS Women’s Downhill Course, still called “Olympic Downhill”. This run started at the top of their Olympic Lift on the mid mountain and ran straight down the Nevada side with a steep drop to the finish. The finish area was served by its own lift, the Wells Fargo, which was removed many years ago and the run closed off. Most skiershave no idea this run ever existed, but its re-vegetated footprint is visible from Nevada 207 (Kingsbury Grade) at the top of Daggett Pass.

Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

The Border Inn, Baker NevadaIn 2004, Denys Koyle had the best idea of her life. Denys operates The Border Inn, about 5 miles from Baker on US 6/50 at the Utah line. Baker is the enchanted village at the entrance to Great Basin National Park. As she was reflecting on the great popularity of Elko’s Cowboy Poetry Gathering, she thought, “What about a party for sheepherders?”

Denys Koyle at the Border Inn, Baker NevadaAnd so she threw one.

She thought 40 or 50 people might show up for the supper of lamb stew, fried spuds and baking powder biscuits. Ninety came, most of them from the southern Idaho, western Utah, eastern Nevada region where the dwindling sheep industry still survives.

Sourdough SlimThe popularity of the event has drawn more participants each year, and Denys is expanding her main building in large part to accommodate the party. But as enjoyable as the party is, there are fewer and fewer sheepherders to enjoy it.

“The last of the Basque sheepherders working around here left the range in 1977,” she says. “After that it was Scotsmen and then Navajos; they’re all Peruvians now. And where I used to have 30 or 40 of them in here on a Saturday night, I might get 8 or 9 now.

Old Sheepherders Party, Baker Nevada“So when people say to me, ‘Your party will be as big as the Cowboy Poetry Gathering before long,’ I say, ‘No it won’t.’ But I’m not doing this to build a big event. I’m doing this to make some old men happy.”

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

Although nothing beats sliding on real snow, their machine made snow, when it’s machine packed & groomed is a satisfying surface for any skier or snowboarder and most welcomed when Mother Nature doesn’t deliver the goods in a timely fashion. The investment in snowmaking has proven to be extremely beneficial for Lake Tahoe resorts to provide a product when Mother Nature takes a break.


Diamond Peak in Incline Village was the first resort to invest in snowmaking in the West. Originally known as Ski Incline, this resort installed snow making when it was opened in 1966. Here is an excerpt from Diamond Peak's History:

"Art Wood, an entrepreneur from Oklahoma, and his associate Harold Tiller envisioned the creation of Incline Village -- a master-planned vacation resort community on the northeastern shore of Lake Tahoe. Ski Incline, now known as Diamond Peak Ski Resort, was one of Art Wood's cornerstone recreation amenities in his master-planned "Pebble Beach of the Sierra." In 1966, Luggi Foeger, a renowned Austrian-born ski resort consultant, was hired to design and build the resort.

Diamonid Peak Ski Resort, Incline Village"Art Wood put his faith in Foeger and committed $2 million to build Ski Incline. While everyone in the ski industry predicted failure, Foeger's vision turned out to be even more profound, since his new ski area was designed to include the first snowmaking equipment in the western United States. With the installation of snowmaking technology, Ski Incline became the first resort in the West to employ this insurance policy against Mother Nature's stinginess. Time and again, during drought and late-snow years, these systems have enabled the resort to create a top-quality ski experience. Soon many other Tahoe area resorts followed suit."

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When Ski Incline opened on November 19 1966, just four months after construction began, it featured three chair lifts, a T-bar surface lift, and snowmaking equipment.

In 1985, Ski Incline got approval to install the mile-long Crystal Quad Chair to the top of the peak and expand the lift system and snowmaking capacity. With this steeper and more advanced terrain, the resort changed its name to Diamond Peak at Ski Incline… to reflect Black Diamond Terrain… Since then, “Diamond Peak” stuck and “Ski Incline” was retired.

With Diamond Peak’s snowmaking system, they were able to get open for top to bottom skiing and riding on December 14. Although only a few runs were opened, snowmaking was the difference, as it has been in other low snow years.


Mount Rose Ski Tahoe is another great Nevada resort. When I first started to ski in the Tahoe area, in the mid to late 60’s, there were two different resorts at the top of Hwy 431, Slide Mountain Ski Area and Mount Rose Ski Area, and there was a fence dividing the resorts between their lifts and runs at the top of the mountain.

Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Maryjane Sisters at the International Hotel, Austin NevadaMeet the MaryJane Sisters, Mary and Jane, whose idea of a dream vacation is to travel together around Nevada and enjoy the local flavors: "You know how people tell you "you can't get there from here?" Mary asked me. Or was it Jane?

"Well it's not like that in Nevada. You can get almost anywhere from anywhere in Nevada. The network of unpaved roads will take you on a journey through the real Nevada, which can't be seen from the highway. You may even go back in time as you trek the desert valleys and mountain canyons.

The Maryjane Sisters on the road in Nevada"We like to have a tentative itinerary subject to modification as we go," she said. And so it was that the Sisters were dancing with some cowboys in Elko one night when somebody mentioned the two-headed calf at the Jiggs Bar. "He said the Jiggs Bar was the best place in town, not to mention the only place in town. Besides, his uncle owned the Jiggs Bar.

"Jiggs isn't exactly a town but it definitely has the two important buildings any town in Nevada should have: the town saloon, and across the road, the garage for the volunteer fire department. Now that's a well-planned town.

"The Jiggs Bar was old. We walked in and said we were looking for the 2-headed calf. I felt like I walked in off the desert but we got lucky. 2-headed calf in the bar at Jiggs NevadaNot only was the two-headed calf on the wall, there was a boar, deer, jackalope and numerous antlers and a white porcupine in a glass display case. There was a pool table but no juke box. A donation to the VFD earned us souvenir hats.

"We asked the proprietor and his patrons for advice about the route to Eureka and we were given detailed directions regarding the 50 miles of unpaved roads ahead. We were told, "don't make any left turns until you get through the valley."

On the road to Eureka Nevada"The county road was easy to drive and the scenery was awesome. The sky was clear and the Ruby Mountains were subtly radiant in shades of blue and gold in the late afternoon sun. We were the only ones on the road, which made our journey even more exciting. The feeling of freedom that comes with traveling Nevada's open roads is hard to beat."

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

I recall driving up from Sacramento and passing Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Ski Incline, Mt. Rose and skiing more times at Slide Mountain. It was wide open and there were no crowds and I helped organize my college ski club to spend new years ski trips staying in Reno and skiing at Slide Mountain. I recall one of the best things after skiing was heading to downtown Reno and stuffing my face at the El Dorado Casino Buffet — for a mere $1.85, well worth the big money then, when lift tickets were $6 and gas was 20 cents a gallon.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is steeped in history and the two resorts combined in 1987/88 under one ownership and has continued to develop as a modern, efficient resort. Mount Rose Ski Resort, NevadaMt. Rose on one side and Slide Bowl on the other and connected with upgraded lifts at the top, more runs, more grooming machines, snowmaking and most recently, the additional to some of the steepest and challenging terrain offered anywhere. In 2004/5 they opened the Chuter Lift and skier/rider access to “The Chutes”.

In the new Nevada Magazine

Nevada MagazineIn the small eastern town of Ely you can take a vacation back in time. The Nevada Northern Railway National Historic Landmark offers touchable history that can completely immerse you in the past. Time appears to have stopped at the museum; it’s as if the workers went to lunch and never came back. Continue Reading

These are a series of gated, full-on avalanche chutes that are controlled by their Professional Ski Patrol (Snow Safety, Controlled avalanche blasting & mitigation) before they are open for skier & riders to take the plunge.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe’s high base elevation continues to receive snow as global warming affects snow levels at lower altitude resorts. They do have snowmaking gear and use it when necessary, and they received enough natural snow to be the first resort to open this year on November 8. Since then, while other resorts are depending on snowmaking, Mt. Rose has received enough natural snow to open both sides of the mountain with all lifts & trails accessible, minus the Chutes.

These 3 resorts — Heavenly, Diamond Peak and Mt. Rose — are in the Carson Range, not the Sierra Nevada. Now that’s something to ponder.

There is skiing in other parts of Nevada as well, and next time I will visit with Ruby Mountain Heli-Skiing and Elko Snobowl. Heck, I might as well cover What Happens in Las Vegas - Stays in Las Vegas as not too many skiers and riders know about Ski Las Vegas – Lee Canyon Resort. Tune in next month.


Home2 Suites under construction at Elko NevadaTravelers to Elko find a lot of new hotels to choose from these days. The new Hampton Inn added 80 rooms and Ledgestone added 84. A 107-room Home2 Suites by Hilton is under construction on East Jennings Way and a 98-room Holiday Inn is being built on Ruby Vista Drive. Completion of these projects will provide 2,385 rooms awaiting travelers in Elko.

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The existing Holiday Inn Express on Idaho Street will become a Sheraton 4 Points franchise. And that's not all. The Oak Tree Inn, has become a Baymont Inn and Suites, and the hallowed Stockmen’s on Railroad Street is now The Stockmen’s Casino and Ramada Hotel.

Can't wait to try one? Book a Room in Elko (Or anywhere in the world)

Parting Shot

John Arant demonstrates a perfect Picon Punch at the Martin Hotel in Winnemucca.

The post NevadaGram #199 – Skiing in Nevada, yep appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

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NevadaGram #198 – Must See-Must Do, Hot Spring Getaway http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-198-must-see-must-do-hot-spring-getaway/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-198-must-see-must-do-hot-spring-getaway/#comments Mon, 04 Dec 2017 16:07:00 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=29221 China Camp, near Tecopa

It is traditional for us to unlimber our Nevada 'Must-See Must Do' list in this first edition of the New Year. In the past Robin and I (and once, Shorty — he loved the dog-friendly Harrah's in Laughlin!) have made each selection. This year, though, many of them have been submitted by our Correspondents around the state — no-one knows what's happening better than a savvy local. And we've made it a point to include more restaurants than before, as food can be the highlight — or the downfall — of any journey. Our purpose isn't to make a list of Bests — always subjective — but to call attention to some of the excellence occurring daily in Nevada that doesn't always get the attention it deserves.


Nevada Restaurants of the Year

2018 Nevada Restaurants of the Year

BAKER

Kerouac's, Baker NevadaThe Lectrolux Cafe, named for the spaceship Bill Rountree made from a vacuum cleaner and a chandelier and mounted on the roof above the door is now Kerouac’s, with new owners from New York City. Home of the Best. Pancake. Breakfast. Ever. as served on Saturday morning at Snake Valley Days. The re-do of the interior is moderne to the max without going over the top, a harmonious urban vibe. Yes, but it’s a 6-hour drive from everywhere but Ely! (and it closes for the winter)

Max Winthrop, Upper Lehman Creek Campground

ELY

Clean and comfortable, Happy Garden provides reliable service and consistent, delicious dishes. Menu includes soups based on homemade broths, crisp spring rolls, and a wide-range of entrees to satisfy any palate. Steaming plates of bright-colored fresh vegetables and crispy tofu please vegans among us. Open daily 11 - 9

Alexa Mergen, Ely

Metro Pizza, Henderson NevadaHENDERSON

Metro Pizza (four more in Las Vegas) is a family-run business with fantastic pizzas and fresh, delicious sauces for their spaghetti, fettuccini and huge ravioli and their chicken or eggplant parmigiana, baked ziti, calzones and stromboli. Lunch specials Monday - Friday, 11 am - 2 pm. Try different types of pizzas 50% off Monday through Thursday 2:30 to 4:30 pm.

Pauline Cimoch, Las Vegas Valley

Mr T's Rotisserie, Incline eillage NevadaLAKE TAHOE NORTH SHORE

As a family-owned business for more than 25 years, T’s Mesquite Rotisserie is a small yet popular Mexican food joint that offers perfectly skewered chicken, beef, and vegetarian options to enjoy right there or to go. Open from 11am-8pm daily, T’s can get really busy during lunch hour, yet the line moves fast.

Kayla Anderson, Incline Village

Latin Soul at the Lakeside Inn and Casino, South Shore Lake TahoeLAKE TAHOE SOUTH SHORE

On the bottom level of the Lakeside Inn and Casino is the hole-in-the-wall joint called Latin Soul. Breakfast includes traditional Huevos Rancheros or French Toast Toirijas with strawberry butter. Specialty dinners include scallops wrapped in bacon with espazote brown butter and chile Serrano salsa. You won't be disappointed.

Brendan Packer, Zephyr Cove

Bacchanal buffet, Caesar's Palace Las VegasLAS VEGAS

No visit to Las Vegas is complete without experiencing a buffet and the best in Las Vegas is Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace. Why?: truffle deviled eggs, avocado toast, wagyu beef, dim sum, char-grilled lamb t-bones, Osso Buco, Japanese noodles, bone marrow with wild mushrooms, and made-to-order chocolate lava cakes.

Diamond Jack Bulavsky, Las Vegas

Mom's, Pahrump NevadaPAHRUMP

Mom's Diner, a small place at 1240 State St (off the main highway in the middle of the town) has the best customer service in the valley. The Chumley family takes great pride in the food and excellent service, and people come away with being one of the family. Recommended: chicken fried steak, homemade pie, ham steak and eggs.

Vern Hee, Pahrump

M&M's Sparks NevadaSPARKS

You may not think to find good ‘ole Southern food in Northern Nevada, but M&M’s Southern Café two doors down from Perfect Peace Community Church is all about feeding souls as well as bellies with authentic dishes such as frog legs, fried okra, chitterlings, hush puppies, and black-eyed peas. End the night with beignets and you won’t be disappointed.

Kayla Anderson, Sparks

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And All the Rest . . . .

2018 Nevada ity of the YearNevada City of the Year

LAS VEGAS

Las Vegas is the greatest boomtown in history and the best-known city in the world, the youngest and brightest urban center in the American Southwest. The Las Vegas Strip is as familiar an American landmark as the Statue of Liberty, and the valley's population is now measured in the millions.
Las Vegas is one of the great man-made wonders of the modern world, an unofficial InterNational Park, privately owned and paid for by the direct, voluntary financial support of citizens from every nation on earth.

2018 Nevada Attraction of the YearRuby Mountains in Elko County Nevada

Nevada Attraction of the Year

RUBY MOUNTAINS

This mighty range in Elko County is a geographical and historical Nevada landmark. It is not only beautiful to see pressed up against the sky, it is a vast realm devoted to outdoor recreation: hunting, fishing, hiking — the Ruby Crest Trail runs 40 miles along its back — camping, skiing, offroading, and the luxury of the Ruby 360 Lodge.

2018 Nevada Event of the YearRace the Rails at Nevada Northern Railway, Ely Nevada

Nevada Event of the Year

RACE THE RAILS, NNRy

This is not a race against time or your fellow riders, you're racing a steam locomotive! When the train whistle sounds, mountain bikers and road bikers race on separate courses to get back to the depot before the train. Mountain bikers take a 10-mile course through the mountains surrounding Ely; road bikers take a 25-mile course along roads and highways,

2018 Nevada Hotel of the YearCosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Nevada Hotel of the Year

The COSMOPOLITAN of LAS VEGAS

This luxurious property opened in 2010 and has already remodeled all its rooms, which are just gorgeous! Enhanced by art, and the Art-O-Mat which dispenses small treasures made by artists, the Wicked Spoon buffet, Secret Pizza (hidden, so find it!) and drinks at the Chandelier Bar, you needn't ever leave.

2018 NThe Wally Cuchine Nevada Art Collection show — Wally World in Ely Nevada

Nevada Hidden Treasure of the Year

WALLY'S WORLD, ELY

It won't open until April 1st, but this superb fragment of the fabled Wally Cuchine collection of more than 2,000 pieces of Nevada Art is certain to be a grand occasion. With this show the Garnet Mercantile basement goes onto everyone's Ely to-do list. When the entire collection arrives, this basement will be Nevada's Louvre, thanks to Wally and the Ely Renaissance Society.


TECOPA GETAWAY

[sc name="CCVB 800x200"]Here's a woman intent on getting away from the grind and finding a hot spring to soak in. She found it at Tecopa. Introducing the first in a series about Finding It in Nevada.

by Evangeline Elston

Though I am a hot springs enthusiast, I had never even heard of Tecopa Hot Spring before I spotted it on a map in September. A trip to Tecopa for me was a two-day drive coming and going.

Day 1

Mizpah Hotel, Tobopah NevadaI took Highway 50 east from my place in Carson City and then Highway 95 south to Tonopah, where I spent the first night at the historic Mizpah Hotel: antique fixtures, claw foot bathtubs, high quality bedding and coffee served on each floor early each morning. The restaurant in the hotel, the Pitmann Cafe, is said to be one of the best in rural Nevada.

Also on Main Street is Whitney's Bookshelf, a favorite used bookstore. I rarely find a title I'm looking for, but I always find a book I want to buy. Larry Whitney, the store’s owner, is full of insight and a very interesting person to talk to. Whitney's Bookshelf, Tonopah NevadaThis visit I picked up Laughing Boy by Oliver LaFarge and Last Go ‘Round by Ken Kesey. With a few exceptions hard covers are $2.50 and paperbacks are $1.

The Tonopah Brewing Company, a couple of blocks uphill from the hotel, serves a variety of beers brewed on site, and BBQ. I liked the Mucker Irish Red Ale.

Tonopah has always had a weird vibe to me. It's an old mining town that has known booms and busts and it shows in the contrast between the old run-down houses and storefronts and the grand Mizpah Hotel and some of the new and thriving businesses. I always have the feeling that the next time I'm through I might find half the town boarded up again. But, at least for now, Tonopah seems to be thriving.
US 95 in Nevada

Day 2

This drive to Tecopa is full of childhood memories, interesting history, stunning views and solitude which I adore. Growing up, my folks would take us on winter camping trips to Death Valley for a break in the wintry weather and to see the wildflowers blossom in February.

It took me all day to drive down to Tecopa by way of Pahrump with many photo stops and an easy driving pace. Tecopa Hot Springs is made up of three small camping resorts, Tecopa Hot Springs Campground and Pools, Tecopa Hot Springs Resort and Delight’s Hot Spring Resort.

Tecopa hot springThe Tecopa Hot Springs Resort offers RV and tent camping, a few cabins and a small motel with private mineral pools for the rooms. I stayed here the first night. I enjoyed the private tub and the room was clean but not fancy.

The Tecopa Hot Springs Campground pools are wonderful, very clean with a low key, relaxing atmosphere. The men’s and women’s pools are separate and bathing suits are not allowed. The women’s area has two large tubs or small pools. The first tub is open to the air and the second has a roof. There are showers, toilets and benches throughout the small bathing area.

Delight’s Hot Spring Resort seemed to be the nicest of the three RV parks because it’s off the main road and has wonderful views on the desert to the east. I only went by it on my runs and didn’t investigate it.

Tecopa hot springI used these pools in the morning and evening each day. It was so calming and deeply relaxing. Other users keep their conversations quiet and everyone spends a lot of time in silence. I learned that many of the visitors who come regularly are retired Japanese folks from the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas. It makes sense given the popularity of hot springs in Japan.

Day 3

I woke up early, made some coffee on the picnic table outside my room and sat for an hour watching the morning light change on the colorful desert.

Shoshone storeIn the afternoon I drove the seven miles to the town of Shoshone. I needed an extra jug of water and I needed to get on the internet if I could find a connection. There is no cell phone coverage in the Tecopa area at all. In Shoshone I found a small grocery store with high prices and a lot of tourist stuff related to Death Valley. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Shoshone Museum across the Highway from the market. It has a bit of everything, settlement and mining history, native American culture as well as some paleontology with a dinosaur bone display.

The woman working at the museum asked my if I would watch the desk for her while she ran to the post office and I gladly obliged. There is a Wi-Fi hotspot at the museum, so while I was in charge I sat on the bench out in front and checked my work email.

Day 4

Tecopa hot springI started the day again with a run, to a good sized marshy hot pool called The Dip where at 8:00 am there were already happy folks soaking.

I went on up the trail to an area called the Mud Hills, a gorgeous five-mile round trip run followed by another soak at Tecopa Hot Spring.

China Ranch is about nine miles from the Tecopa hot spring resort area. Take Old Spanish Trail a couple of miles and turn right on China Ranch Road which becomes narrow and steep and feels very remote, which it is. The most common vehicle traffic is the off-roaders.

China Camp, near TecopaThe landscape is barren. The canyon is made of dramatically eroding, sparsely vegetated buttes and hills of white, cream, orange and brown. It’s reminiscent of Death Valley and the views around Zabriskie Point. China Ranch Date Farm is a family-owned working date farm located on the Amargosa River. The river is famous for running mostly underground, but the narrow valley through which it flows here is green, in lush contrast to the surrounding barren desert.

China Camp Date Farm near TecopaeI hiked to the top of a ridge where I was able to get views of the farm and much of the canyon. It was stunning: a lush date farm tucked out of sight in the middle of the harsh, mountainous desert. The orchards are planted in sections according to the date varietal and country of origin. The bakery serves date milkshakes, breads, cookies and muffins and sells dates grown on the farm. I sat in the shade outside and ate some date bread — which was delicious. The folks enjoying milkshakes looked very happy too.

Villa Anita, near TecopaeFrom the farm I drove back toward Tecopa to the Villa Anita, an ever-evolving art installation created by David Aaron Smith and Carlo Roncancio. It is a sprawling two-acre labyrinth of rooms, gardens, sculpture, works in progress. I spent a fascinating hour with artist David Aaron Smith. All the rooms in the “villa” are covered with his original art, paintings and sculpture, vintage and modern one of a kind furniture, found art, plants, flowers and trees and the fashion photography of Carlo Roncancio.

He explained that he uses plastic and glass recyclables to insulate the floors and walls and that the temperatures inside during the summer are pleasant when outside it can be 120 degrees. You can visit Villa Anita for the tour and the tea, or you can stay there and experience the art in total immersion; it operates as an Air B-and-B as well. And if you are an artist or find yourself drawn even further into the work, you can volunteer and arrange to stay for a time to help add to the vision.

Death Valley Brewing, TecopaI stopped in Tecopa at Death Valley Brewing. One of the owners was working the bar and served me an IPA. It was cold and good, and the atmosphere was casual and friendly.

It was my final evening at the hot spring and there was live music at the outdoor stage. I was curious so I headed there. It turned out to be the Executive director of the Hot Spring Conservancy who I’d met when I arrived, on drums, the gal who works in the camp store and gift shop singing and playing guitar and her husband also singing and playing. About 50 people gathered for the music, all sitting on hay bales or at picnic tables drinking their own beer and wine. They were locals and people from the campground. It was a very pleasant evening.

Day 5

Amargosa Opera House, Death Valley JunctionAnother repeat of my run and soak morning routine, followed by packing up to head back north toward home. I pulled out of Tecopa on Highway 127 toward Death Valley Junction. My Dad had taken my sister and me to the Amargosa Opera House when were maybe nine and ten years old. Amargosa Opera House, Death Valley JunctionMy sister was interested in ballet at the time and an eccentric artist and dancer named Marta Becket had been living in Death Valley Junction and performing ballet in the old opera house. She had also painted murals of audiences for the shows on the inside walls. It was odd and a little spooky and the memory of has never left us.

Driving north on Highway 95 it was wind with puffy white clouds and bright sunshine. The White Mountains to the west were dramatic with snow covering their peaks against the crisp blue sky. I made several stops to take photos and just watch as the clouds ran by. My destination was again Tonopah, where I spent my final night in luxury.

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Day 6

Wilson Canyon, Lyon County NevadaI continued north on Highway 95 back to Yerington but took Highway 208 through Smith and along the West Walker River to meet up with Highway 395 at Holbrook Junction. The river canyon gets very narrow and steep outside of Smith. It has tall rocky walls jutting straight up out of the water and the banks are covered with willows and cottonwoods. It’s a beautiful place to stop, stretch and poke around or have a picnic lunch.

I drove back into Carson Valley at dusk. It was cold, and the air was clear. Jobs Peak, Jobs Sister and Freel stood watch as always over the ranches and communities of Minden, Genoa and Gardnerville, their peaks dusted with snow. As I often do ending an adventure on the open road, I felt a melancholy yearning to keep going . . . maybe never stop.

Evangeline ElstonEvangeline Elston grew up in Silver City, directs the Valhalla Art, Music & Theatre Festival at Lake Tahoe and spends free time rediscovering Nevada.

Yes, we are aware that maps show Tecopa across the line in California. But have you ever seen that line? No. No-one has. It's not real. Tecopa, Shoshone and environs are firmly within Far Western Nevada which extends all the way to the ridge line of the Sierra and includes all of Owens Valley among many other interesting and enjoyable places. Far Eastern Nevada includes the Grand Canyon. Far Northern Nevada: Boise.


If you have a personal Nevada Adventure to share, please reply to this email with a brief description + video/3 sample pix.

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Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Gary Fly tending bar in Austin NevadaLas Vegas has celebrity chefs, but rural Nevada has celebrity bartenders, and none stands higher among this colorful collection of keepers of the long board than Gary Fly. He has mixed and served drinks and poured beer in saloons all over the state. I have personally been served by Fly in Gold Hill, Virginia City, Austin and Ione, but I didn't recognize him when I bellied up to the bar at the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah.

Gary Fly tending bar at the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah Nevada

His luxuriant whiskers were gone, and he was bareheaded. I'd never seen him in that condition before, and it wasn't until he spoke that I knew him. A drink at the bar at the Mizpah is always an occasion; prepared by Fly it is an occasion of state.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

Governor's Global Tourism Summit:

My most enduring recollection of this annual gathering of Nevada's Tourism professionals is of the High Roller. High Roller, Las VegasThis immense Ferris Wheel — 550 feet high, tallest in the world — seems to overtop everything in the increasingly high-rising Las Vegas Valley except the Stratosphere Tower. It takes most of an hour to make its rock-steady rise into the sky and back down again, and the views of the sprawling city are stupendous.

View from the High Roller, Las VegasFrom up here the phrase Global Tourism Summit seems quite apt, the golden city spreading out for miles, gleaming bright as day in the dark night, like a poster for the event. But it's at the Media and Tour Operator Marketplaces where the work gets done. There and over cocktails at the nearby bars.

Our experience of the High Roller was enhanced by a pair of fellow passengers who were determined to have some fun being silly and striking saucy poses, and who succeeded brilliantly.

I think of this marvel as a tribute to George W. G. Ferris, Jr., who invented the Ferris Wheel, and unveiled the first one at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, famous as the Chicago World’s fair. eeeeeeeeeeeEEAs every schoolchild knows, he was inspired by a water wheel at Cradlebaugh Bridge over the Carson River in Carson Valley.

Suffice it to say that the ride on the High Roller was the high point of the Summit for us.

Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Eagles and Agriculture in the Carson Valley

if you still think birdwatching is for pantywaists, try this: Carson Valley‘s Eagles and Agriculture

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On Wednesday morning participants will have a group tour of area ranches and can observe and photograph birds of prey up close as they gorge themselves on the nutrient-rich afterbirths during the winter calving season.

On Friday evening, a Birds of Prey Lecture and Cocktail Reception will feature a wildlife biologist with his live falcon, a local falconer with his live Northern Goshawk, and another falconer with his live Ornate Hawk Eagle. And on Saturday a second group tour of area ranches will be followed by a buffet lunch and group discussion on sightings. After that, there’s an Owl Prowl (visits to nearby barns and owl habitat) & Live Bird Field Demonstration.

Silver City Guard at the Governor's Mansion, Carson City NevadaThe Silver City Guard was called out for emergency duty in Carson City early in December, when Dayton artist Steven Saylor needed models for a painting at the Governor’s Mansion. Saylor is painting a representation of the 1909 dedication of the historic structure for its centennial in 2009.

The Guard, formed in 1860 and wiped out by Indians at the Battle of Pyramid Lake, is Nevada’s oldest military unit still under arms. Designated as Armed Rabble, its signature maneuver is the Tactical Withdrawal. It has received unit commendations for Graceful Disengagement, and is second to none when it comes to Pell Mell Retreat and the even more demanding Running For Their Lives. The modern Guard is best known for capturing the BiCentennial Wagon Train on its approach to Silver City in 1976.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

Overheard on board the High Roller while looking down on Las Vegas: "Oh, Charlie, I've never been able to figure out just what a feminist is exactly. But it's what people call me whenever I say something that sets me apart from a doormat."


Is Eli Kerr a name to conjure with? (Wait, Where'd He Go?)

Harrah's thinks it is. The hallowed Reno hotel has booked Eli to perform magic on the Sammy's Showroom stage through the winter. Robin and I were night-clubbing at Harrah's the other night and caught his mystifying act. With three assistants, two of them gorgeous, a cheerful non-stop patter and unobtrusive mind control, Eli Kerr demonstrated one impossibility after another.

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Eli Kerr performs magic at Harrah's RenoWe watched closely and as carefully as he snipped a piece of cotton clothesline into bits and then shook the bits out of his hand as one intact length of rope again. We watched, but we did not see. We watched as he slithered and shimmied his way out of a straitjacket, came popping out of a locked trunk — and that thing with the bowling ball! We only saw what he wanted us to see, and he made us laugh while he did it.

Enjoy dinner at one of the excellent downtown restaurants — including some right here at Harrah's — for a "special" Reno night out and then add Sammy's Showroom to make it "extra-special".


Black Rock City's Bikeageddon of 2017

This year, 3,754 bikes were abandoned by participants with no regard for the principles of being a Black Rock City citizen. Bikeageddon at Black Rock City NevadaPeople either dropped the bikes carelessly, or they left them unlocked to be stolen and abandoned. This created tons of work for other Burners just like them, who spent days cleaning them up and getting them hauled off playa. We’re sharing this story of how they pulled it off so Burners can realize the impact of their actions on their fellow participants, plan accordingly, and pack out everything they bring — including bikes.

Continue reading


Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Fisherman at Pyramid Lake Nevada

Fishing is hot at Pyramid Lake right now. Go to the south end of the nets (near Sutcliffe), or the area around the Block House at the south end of the lake, or the very south end of the lake below Popcorn Rock. You’ll need a sinking line, 10 ft 8 w rod, shooting head, or teeny type 4 line. Woolly worms or foam beetles. Eggs RothchildYou can tie the beetle on behind the woolly worm.

Jim Seagrave at The Stardust in Las Vegas writes: “Thank you for spreading the fame of ‘Eggs’ Rothschild in NevadaGram #17. Clams MarinaraAs you suspected, he’s one of the original Stardust owners, along with the infamous ‘Chicken’ Cacciatore and the sinister ‘Clams’ Marinara.”

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

Michael Jackson (the beer enthusiast, not the Thriller man) said "One of my favorite flavored beers is made in the town of Sparks which adjoins Reno, Nevada. The dry, herbal High Desert Harvest Ale, from the Great Basin brewery, contains pinon nuts, juniper berries and sagebrush, the latter a very bitter ingredient." I will add that my own flavored beer couldn't be farther away: the light and floral Delerium Tremens (from Belgium). Favorite Porter: Ruby Mountain!

That outburst was prompted by a conversation I had with Tom Young about specialty beer — the Harvest Ale is a good example of a seasonal style — what it is, how something like 'Maya or Maya Not' is selected for production, and what happens if it makes it to market.


Overheard on board the High Roller while looking down on Las Vegas: "Oh, Charlie, I've never been able to figure out just what a feminist is exactly. But that's what people call me whenever I say something that sets me apart from a doormat."


Happy/Sad News from Herb Robbins in Gold Point. He has turned in his badge as Sheriff Stone and Red Dog Lil is just Sandy Johnson again:

After 35 years for me and 25 years for Sandy taking care of guests here in Gold Point it is time to announce our retirement!!

Herb Robbins, Nevada Travel Hero of the Year 2016Before going any farther please note that our e-mail address will change to herbandsandra7 gmail.com which you can start using now as it is ready to go so please update your list if you wish to communicate with us via e-mail. Our phone number, 775-482-4653, will remain the same.

SandyEffective the last day of this year Sandy and I will no longer be involved in cooking and taking care of large groups.

But don’t despair!! Walt said he wishes to continue with his friend Victor. Walt’s phone number is 775-482-4635.

So the both of them will take care of renting cabins and cooking food.

Sandy and I will still have the rv park and our 3 little cabins available but will not be advertising anywhere.

It’s been a lot of fun and we have a lot of great memories of all those years and we thank everyone for visiting and hope you’ll still come by and say howdy.

Happy Trails and Sunsets, Herb and Sandy


Parting Shot —

Cemetery, Gold Hill NevadaView from the office window by Robin Cobbey, Gold Hill

The post NevadaGram #198 – Must See-Must Do, Hot Spring Getaway appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

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NevadaGram #197 — Virginia City at Christmastime http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-197/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-197/#respond Sun, 03 Dec 2017 22:51:33 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=28533

Virginia City is what's left of the Richest Place on Earth, and a major attraction for visitors in Nevada. It's a wonderful place to visit any time, but if you really want to catch the vibe, come in winter. Without the crowds of summer the old city stands out more clearly for what it is, and what it was.

Saturday December 2 is a red letter day on the Virginia City Calendar. You can truly call it fun-filled.

You can start early at the Virginia City Senior Center, a long block down 6-Mile Canyon Road where the Holiday Craft & Bake Sale opens at 9 am "until Sold Out". Enjoy the festive crafts with their creators. Bring the kids to meet the Christmas Care Bear from 2 to 3 pm. Call 775-847-0957.

St. Mary's Art Center, farther down 6-Mile Canyon Road, turn right at the stop sign on R Street, is hosting its third Annual Holiday Faire from 10 am to 4 pm. The works of exemplary artists and artisans from the region are displayed for sale.

The V&T Railroad's Candy Cane Express is running on December 2nd and 3rd, and again on December 9th & 10th. Check here to see if there are still tickets available. It's always fun to ride on the V&T's vintage, heated coaches and travel along the historic route to Gold Hill.

Parade of Lights, Virginia City NevadaCheck-in begins at 10:30 at the Visitors Center at C and Taylor Streets for another Virginia City favorite, a Saloon Crawl;  this one is "The Grinch Made Me Do It" and it starts at 11 am. It involves getting tipsy at as many of the C Street refreshment parlors as possible between 11 am and 5 pm carrying a cup that costs $20. Designated drivers are encouraged and should be required.

Virginia City loves a parade and happily launches at least one almost every month of the year. December's is the Parade of Lights which begins just as the saloon crawling spree ends at 5 pm. It's a rolling light show — or is it an art show? — along festive C Street.

David John & the Comstock Cowboys perform their traditional Christmas in the Sierra concert before a traditionally enthusiastic audience at Piper’s Opera House. doors open at 6:30 pm.

Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Elko’s Festival of Trees represents for us the whole spectrum of Christmas activities around Nevada: a community event based on creativity and generosity that is also an art show and a holiday feast that has become an integral part of Elko. We wish you warmth and comfort at Christmas, pleasure and satisfaction in the new year.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

And that's just one day! The Candy Cane Express also operates the next weekend — December 9th and 10th — and St. Mary's Art Center offers its "Imagination" program for kids on December 9th.

Also on the busy weekend of December 9 and 10 the Piper's Opera House Players present Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas at the historic Piper's Opera House. I'd tell you more, but the show is sold out.

Old Corner Bar, Virginia City Nevada

And by the way there's a highly popular barroom at Piper's, operated in classic Comstock style: the Old Corner Bar, where Mark Twain, Dan DeQuille and the boys from the back shop stopped in for an aftershifter or two when they'd put the Enterprise to bed.

At some point in your visit you'll get to wondering about food. Here is a list of the restaurants in Virginia City. Each of them is somebody's favorite — you can browse here so as to know what to look for, and make your selection when you get to town.

Cafe Del Rio, Canvas, Delta Saloon, Cider Factory, Red Dog Saloon, Mark Twain Saloon, Palace Restaurant, Firehouse BBQ, Virginia City Jerky Company, Silver Spoon

And what is Christmas without shopping?

Shopping in Virginia City NevadaShopping in Virginia City NevadaWhen Virginia City was awakened to its new life as a tourist destination by the stunning success of "Bonanza" on television — Virginia City as Sleeping Beauty and the Cartwrights, father and sons, as Prince(s) Charming — it was a bit clumsy in the shopping department. I remember rubber tomahawks and coonskin caps crowding the shelves.

Since then, though, it has recognized the benefit of a more sophisticated approach and the shops are now considerably more inviting. Anyone living within 50 miles of Virginia City should take a day, or at least a long afternoon, to do some Christmas shopping here — it's more fun than any mall.

Hatmaker Pascal Baboulin at the Pioneer Emporium, Virginia City NevadaAntiques, jewelry, clothing — every doorway something different, and not a single chain store. Jan, at Primrose Lane Antiques, has been in business for 30 years, the Old Red Garter has the most complete stock of boots and hats of any store I ever saw, and the Silver Stope is a biker's delight for its stock of leathers for men and women.

And of all things, there's a hat-maker! Pascal Baboulin is French and he makes hats by hand — everything from a fedora to a derby to a ten-gallon buckaroo model — to order and perfectly fitted at The Pioneer Emporium on South C Street. Is he the only one in Nevada?

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The Nevada Calendar: Virginia City Events in December

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Tom Sanders, 1974"Squaw Tom Speaks", 34 Stories of Old NevadaSquaw Tom Sanders was a working stiff, and he lived with Indians most of his life. Over the years he became a story-teller, and in 1974 we began publishing some of his tales in The Gold Hill NEWS. Since then 34 of them have been published as a book.

Tom was literally a story-teller. He could read and write, but with difficulty, and he told his stories into a tape recorder for us to transcribe. In 1976 he was named Best Columnist in a Weekly newspaper.

This nontraditional Christmas story is one of my favorites.


In 1922 I worked on this ranch, and they had a man out there worked with sheep. He was a Basko, his name was Jesus. He was born on Christmas Eve, and the Baskos, they give him the name Jesus.

He was blue-eyed and had blond hair — by God, he even looked like Jesus. But he was a Basko and he herded sheep.

I got to be a very good friend of his. And I worked for this outfit quite a while and one day I quit. And this sheep tender, he left too. I never seen him anymore for about ten years. I asked the camp tenders where he was and they said, “Well, he went to Colorado.”

Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Battle Mountain Santa

Season’s Greetings from the Battle Mountain Santa Claus and all of us at the Nevada Travel Network

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

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Well after ten years I come back and worked on this ranch again and here was this same Jesus. Well when he was up in Colorado herding sheep for ten years, he made a lot a money. And one day, when his birthday was gittin’ close, gittin’ close to Christmas Eve, he quit and went to Reno, to a Basko hotel there.

Every sheepherder, they carried a little strongbox with ‘em. They was about the size of a cigar box. Some of ‘em would make ‘em out of wood; some of ‘em would buy ‘em and put a lock on it. And of course this strong box had a key too all of its own, but he put a padlock on it too, you know.

He’d brought his bedroll over too, and his suitcase and he had a lot of money in a big roll in his strong box. And he had checks in there too from this big sheep outfit. And big rolls of $20 bills.

Well, he asked this Basko hotel what it would cost if he’d throw a big party, have a big turkey dinner for everybody on Christmas Eve. And then invite a lot of people to eat. And the wine too, ya know. Well they figured out how much they charge him, so much a head, and so much for the bottles of wine.

What They're Saying About Us

black bearThe San Francisco Chronicle reports that black bears are making their way east from the Sierra Nevada into the Great Basin of Nevada where the species disappeared about 80 years ago. More than 500 of the animals have returned to parts of their historic range.

So one day he invited me to the party. He said he was havin’ a big party in Reno. At the Basko hotel on Christmas Eve. That was in 1932.

I was invited to go up, and I went up.

And ol’ Jesus, he threw a heck of a big party.

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And man did he get drunk. And he’d go outside and holler, give a big sheepherder yell, and yell at all these hoboes.

“Come on boys!” he hollered. “It’s Jesus’ birthday! Everybody eats and drinks on Jesus’ birthday.” And he’d give a big sheepherder yell inside that hotel and boarding house, and man, that table was full.

Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Horace Greeley liked it, you will too.

Very quietly the Carson Valley has become a travel destination of considerable appeal, with good food and lodging, a pleasant sparkle after dark, and sublime surroundings. “I had previously seen some beautiful valleys,” Horace Greeley wrote in 1859, “but I place none of these ahead of Carson.”

He had just bounced across Nevada in a stagecoach, and hated it. “The Humboldt, all things considered, is the meanest river of its length on earth,” he wrote, and went on and on. But he loved the Carson Valley.
Genoa Golf Course“This valley, originally a grand meadow, the home of the deer and the antelope, is nearly inclosed by high mountains, down which, especially from the north and west, come innumerable rivulets, leaping and dancing their way to form or join the Carson.”

He predicted the flourishing agriculture which gave the valley its character for most of the following century. Gardnerville was a ranching center in the 1860s, Minden was created a mile to the north in 1905 when the V&T Railroad started hauling farm produce to Carson City and Reno.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

He kept that up all day. He’d get up and go out and give another sheepherder yell and boy; these hoboes come flockin’ in.

There was hoboes and Baskos and Mexicans, Indians – everybody. He’d go out in the street and holler – “Come on boys! It’s Jesus birthday!”

Man, he was havin’ a ball.

Well pretty soon the party was getting’ over. And the guy in the hotel comes over and says, “Hey, you’re runnin’ a pretty big bill here.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he says. “Jesus has got lots of money.”

They knew he had quite a bankroll in that strongbox, $20 bills strapped to the outside, but they set a bunch of guys to watchin’ him and followin’ him around so he couldn’t get away.

And pretty soon he says, “Well, I’ve got to go to the bathroom,” and he went on back there. And those Baskos and Frenchmen they was a-watchin’ him pretty close. So he went out of the window. Closed the window and locked it.

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And he got a taxi, took him to the airport. He must of had it timed just right to get an airplane out.

And by God, pretty soon old Jesus was missin’.

The owner of that hotel he was lookin’ everywhere for Jesus and couldn’t find him. Finally they went to every bootleggin’ place and all over, but he couldn’t hear any sheepherder yells anyplace.

Some feller told them he’d seen him get in this taxi and head off to Sparks. He said, “I’ll be back.” Steered him on the wrong track see.

They looked all over Reno until it was Christmas morning, but they never could find Jesus anymore.

So they pried open Jesus’ strongbox and they looked inside. They found three big rolls of bills with $20s on the outside, but inside the roll they was all ones. And those checks, they was no good. And the bedroll had just about had it — he was plannin’ on buying a new bedroll anyway. All there was in his suitcase was a bunch of old sheepherder’s shoes, looked about like sled runners. They’d about had it too.

Old Jesus, he was long gone. He went back to the Old Country.

I think at one time they snoomered him out of some money, beat him out of a lot of money. Well, he got back at ‘em.


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What Happens in Wendover

Makes the Paper

This letter appeared recently in the High Desert Advocate in Wendover:

I recently accompanied my son and his family to Wendover to help with his antelope hunt. My main job was to provide a four wheel drive pickup to traverse the desert and transport the fruits of the hunt home.

My son drove his passenger car to Wendover and we stayed in one of your nice hotels. After a successful hunt my

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son left his car with me and took his antelope and family back home to Tooele in my pickup. My wife and I had a room for one additional night and we stayed to enjoy your nice buffets. My favorite saying is that “the best buffet in Utah is at West Wendover Nevada.”

While getting ready for dinner my son called from Tooele and said he had a puddle of oil in his driveway, that he had recently had his oil changed and that I should check the oil level in his car. The car in fact had no oil in the engine and it was late on a Saturday night. I walked to a local convenience store and purchased four quarts of oil.

A friendly taxicab driver asked if I needed a ride and I told her my predicament. A few minutes later she contacted me again and said that she had called the new Grease Monkey shop which was closed, but the owner had agreed to wait for me to see where the oil was leaking from and help me out.

After adding all four quarts of oil I barely made it to the shop. Mike Spillman and his brother were waiting for me. They were extremely friendly and accommodating. The foreign car need a special tool and Mike went back to his home to retrieve it.

The oil filter had not been installed correctly and was leaking oil. I was only charged a nominal fee for work that went well after closing hours and after the regular staff had gone home. I would like to thank the taxi driver that went out of her way to help out and the Spillmans for their help with a stranded traveler. Wendover is a great place and has friendly residents, which is getting to be a rare commodity in our modern age.
Ron Elton, Tooele Utah


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Atmospheric River Fills Lake Tahoe

The Snow King reports November's Atmospheric River unloaded so much rain, Lake Tahoe's water level rose about 4 inches in less than 48 hours.

The Mount Rose Meadows area at around 8,800' picked up a solid 3 feet of wet snow with a 5-inch dusting of powder on top for added bonus. The high elevation means snow when it rains at the lake.

The meadows are very popular with Reno and North Tahoe families for sledding, snowmobiling, x-c skiing and snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is the fastest growing winter sport for women.

Read the whole thing here

Dennis Parks' Ceramic Art for Sale in Wiegand Gallery

Dennis Parks sculptureThe Western Folklife Center is pleased to host "Land, Language and Clay", an exhibition of the ceramic artwork of internationally known Nevada ceramist Dennis Parks. Selected pieces from this exhibition are available for your collection. Click here for the individual photos and sales list. Please contact our Gift Shop at 888-880-5885 or 775-738-7508, extension 243 for purchasing assistance. Dennis Parks is perhaps Nevada’s best-known ceramist. He moved to Tuscarora, NV, in 1966, where he established the Tuscarora Pottery School. Parks pioneered a process of making ceramics using native clays that are single-fired in kilns fueled with recycled crankcase oil. Read more about Dennis Parks and the exhibition. Dennis' son Ben Parks carries on his father’s legacy of ceramic artwork and a few of his pieces are also on display and for sale through the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop.

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Overheard at The Roasting House in Virginia City "If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated."

The post NevadaGram #197 — Virginia City at Christmastime appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

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NevadaGram #196 – Following Mark Twain around Paris http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-196-following-mark-twain-around-paris/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-196-following-mark-twain-around-paris/#comments Mon, 30 Oct 2017 16:41:18 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=27695

On the 4th of July 1867, Sam Clemens was 32 years old and had acquired the beginnings of a reputation and a career by becoming Mark Twain. He had embarked on a 5-month tour of Europe and the Holy Land with a contract to produce 50 letters for the Alta California in San Francisco and a few more for some newspapers in New York.

The Quaker CityOn that Independence Day 150 years ago the sidewheel steamer Quaker City arrived at Marseilles after brief visits to the Azores and Gibraltar, and the passengers went ashore to the Grand Hotel du Louvre et de la Paix to await the next day’s train to Paris.

I decided to follow them.

I'm not the first to follow Sam around Paris

Paula Harrington was a Fulbright scholar in Paris for six months, trying to figure out why "our most famous American writer came to loathe the place that so many other famous writers have loved."

Here's her blog and here's the book she's since co-authored on the topic.


I've tinkered modestly with the the text to fit it into this package; you can read 'Innocents Abroad' online here; the visit to Paris is in Chapter 02.

There is an unfortunate scarcity of sidewheelers making the Atlantic crossing these days, so I made the first of many concessions to modern times by flying directly to Paris. In so doing I missed the chance to compare his unsatisfying experience on the French chemins de fer of the middle 1860s with today’s bullet trains that make the journey between Marseilles and Paris at 160 mph.

“It is hard to make railroading pleasant in any country,” he grumbled. “It is too tedious. Stagecoaching is infinitely more delightful." He then launched into a song of praise about his stagecoach ride to Carson City six years before.

But it wasn't Mark Twain who found the stagecoach ride so entrancing, it was Sam Clemens. That was in the summer of 1861 and Mark wasn't unveiled (in the Territorial Enterprise) until February 1863, and It seems to me that on this visit to the brightest and liveliest city in Europe Sam was seeking adventures suited to Mark's comic talent, and then handing him the pen. But sometimes, still so early in the game, the transition wasn't quite perfect.

We'll never know what Sam might have enjoyed on his own, but as Mark Twain he only liked two aspects of the train trip. He liked the conductor — "You are in the hands of officials who zealously study your welfare and your interest, instead of turning their talents to the invention of new methods of discommoding and snubbing you, as is very often the main employment of that exceedingly self-satisfied monarch, the railroad conductor of America" — and he liked the dinner stop at Dijon:

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"But the happiest regulation in French railway government is — thirty minutes to dinner! No five-minute boltings of flabby rolls, muddy coffee, questionable eggs, gutta-percha beef, and pies whose conception and execution are a dark and bloody mystery to all save the cook that created them! No, we sat calmly down and poured out rich Burgundian wines and munched calmly through a long table d'hote bill of fare, snail patties, delicious fruits and all, then paid the trifle it cost and stepped happily aboard the train again, without once cursing the railroad company. A rare experience and one to be treasured forever."

Hotel du Louvre, ParisOnce in Paris Sam and his fellow travelers took a carriage to the Grand Hotel du Louvre on the rue de Rivoli. Fortunately for me, our considerably less Grand Squat is within a block of the rue de Rivoli (via the exquisitely long and narrow Rue du Prévôt) and something less than a mile from his hotel across the boulevard from the Louvre.

I walked. And for all the changes that have transpired since his visit, a stroll along this teeming street is rich with interest: shops large and small in wild variety — my favorites for their names alone: 'Come On Eileen' and 'See U Soon'.

One of the more interesting changes since 1867 is that the Hotel du Louvre is now a Hyatt, with an elevator installed in the stairwell of the massive structure.

"We secured rooms at the hotel, or rather, we had three beds put into one room, so that we might be together, and then we went out to a restaurant, just after lamplighting, and ate a comfortable, satisfactory, lingering dinner. It was a pleasure to eat where everything was so tidy, the food so well cooked, the waiters so polite, and the coming and departing company so moustached, so frisky, so affable, so fearfully and wonderfully Frenchy!"

The moustaches are in shorter supply nowadays, but the Frenchiness abounds.

“All the surroundings were gay and enlivening. Two hundred people sat at little tables on the sidewalk, sipping wine and coffee; the streets were thronged with light vehicles and with joyous pleasure-seekers; there was music in the air, life and action all about us, and a conflagration of gaslight everywhere!"

It is the same today except for the gaslight. The great difference between Paris and our American cities is the vibrant life on the streets. Restaurants aren't behind closed doors, they spill out onto the sidewalks.

"After dinner we felt like seeing such Parisian specialties as we might see without distressing exertion, and so we sauntered through the brilliant streets and looked at the dainty trifles in variety stores and jewelry shops. Occasionally, merely for the pleasure of being cruel, we put unoffending Frenchmen on the rack with questions framed in the incomprehensible jargon of their native language, and while they writhed we impaled them, we peppered them, we scarified them, with their own vile verbs and participles.”

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I do this daily, with the same result.

Mark Twain gets a shave in ParisWasn't it Sam who struggled with French and Mark who wrote it up afterward?

And then Sam sought out a barber, which turned out to be another trial for Mark Twain to write about. "The incipient assassin held a basin of water under my chin and slopped its contents over my face, and into my bosom, and down the back of my neck, with a mean pretense of washing away the soap and blood. He dried my features with a towel and was going to comb my hair, but I asked to be excused. I said, with withering irony, that it was sufficient to be skinned — I declined to be scalped." Learning from his experience (and not having shaved for more than 50 years) I skipped this adventure.

Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Robin went shopping, Shorty stayed in the room watching the Animal Channel, and I went over to Fallon's Oats Park Art Center where Lulo Reinhardt talked about his great-uncle Django and the music — now called Gypsy Jazz — that he made famous. Lulo lives in Germany, but his music derives from the Hot Club de France.

Lulo Reinhardt at the Oats Park Art Center, Fallon NevadaLulo’s band was one of the three groups performing that evening in a program called “In the Footsteps of Django”, each inspired by Django’s music and each taking off with it in different directions. He and guitarist Olivier Kikteff of ‘Les Doigts de L’Homme’ spent an hour talking about Django, his music and theirs.

Django and Stephane Grapelli

Les Doigts de L’Homme, “Medley Manouche”
For me the great revelation from that conversation was that Django originally played the banjo-guitar, a six string banjo with the neck of a guitar. It is tuned like a guitar but sounds like a banjo. We all know that he had suffered terrible burns to his left hand — his third and fourth fingers remained partially paralyzed and he relearned the guitar with only two useful fingers on his fret hand — in the process creating an entirely new style featuring minor chords and a hard driving percussive technique.

It’s a sound that has banjo all through it.

Lulo Reinhardt's Latin Swing Project, Mar y Sol.

We met up with the others in our group for an early dinner at The Slanted Porch, another of Fallon’s great restaurants, and after a promenade with Shorty we went back to the Arts Center for the evening’s performance. As planned, we arrived an hour before the

performance in order to meander through the galleries (major display: gas pumps from the early automotive era) and enjoy a refreshment at the Art Bar.

And then the music began, and I blissed out. Rather than attempt to describe it, I’ve embedded videos of their performances above so you can enjoy them directly, and easily find more. Thank you, Fallon.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

I also skipped billiards, which was next on Sam's agenda, and which Mark described: "The cushions were a good deal higher than the balls, and as the balls had a fashion of always stopping under the cushions, we accomplished very little in the way of caroms. The cushions were hard and unelastic, and the cues were so crooked that in making a shot you had to allow for the curve or you would infallibly put the 'English' on the wrong side of the hall.

"Dan was to mark while the doctor and I played. At the end of an hour neither of us had made a count, and so Dan was tired of keeping tally with nothing to tally, and we were heated and angry and disgusted. We paid the heavy bill—about six cents—and said we would call around sometime when we had a week to spend, and finish the game."

"Of course we visited the renowned International Exposition. All the world did that. We went there on our third day in Paris—and we stayed there nearly two hours. That was our first and last visit.

"To tell the truth, we saw at a glance that one would have to spend weeks — yea, even months — in that monstrous establishment to get an intelligible idea of it. It was a wonderful show, but the moving masses of people of all nations we saw there were a still more wonderful show. I discovered that if I were to stay there a month, I should still find myself looking at the people instead of the inanimate objects on exhibition."

Then they hurried to the Arc de l'Etoile where Napoleon III, Emperor of France and Abdul Aziz, Sultan of Turkey, were to review 25,000 troops.

"Presently there was a sound of distant music; in another minute a pillar of dust came moving slowly toward us; a moment more and then, with colors flying and a grand crash of military music, a gallant array of cavalrymen emerged from the dust and came down the street on a gentle trot. After them came a long line of artillery; then more cavalry, in splendid uniforms; and then their imperial majesties Napoleon III and Abdul Aziz. The vast concourse of people swung their hats and shouted — the windows and housetops in the wide vicinity burst into a snowstorm of waving handkerchiefs, and the wavers of the same mingled their cheers with those of the masses below. It was a stirring spectacle.

"But the two central figures claimed all my attention. Was ever such a contrast set up before a multitude till then?

"Napoleon in military uniform—a long-bodied, short-legged man, fiercely moustached, old, wrinkled, with eyes half closed, and such a deep, crafty, scheming expression about them!—Napoleon, bowing ever so gently to the loud plaudits, and watching everything and everybody with his cat eyes from under his depressed hat brim, as if to discover any sign that those cheers were not heartfelt and cordial.

"As for the Sultan, one could set a trap any where and catch a dozen abler men in a night."

Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

I was lucky enough to visit Tonopah at the height of that second boom.

Back then there were a dozen mines working within 50 miles of the old city, and the Air Force was constructing a major facility for testing and perfecting the Stealth bomber, so the Air Force leased entire motels for their men.

The population went from fewer than 2,500 to more than 4,000 in about a year, and very structure with a roof over it was rented. Every vacant lot that could accommodate a trailer was put to use, giving the tangle of old streets an incongruous look: a flamingo-pink aluminum cube stuck between a swaybacked old cottage on one side and a fitted stone mansion on the other.

Photo by Max Winthrop

Prime rental properties during the boom.

At Coleman’s, the only grocery store in town, the clerks worked steadily to restock the shelves with almost 6 tons of groceries every day.

The Mizpah Annex Cafe was a crush of men in Air Force fatigues or the flannel shirts and blue jeans of construction workers and miners. Waitresses raced from table to table with pots of coffee and platters of flapjacks. Fleets of buses hauled the men out of town to work — 900 of them were building the great new Anaconda molybdenum mine and mill, and hundreds more worked in a dozen gold and silver mines.

Photo Gold Hill NEWS archive

Construction workers at the Anaconda molybdenum mine had their own trailer park.

The rattle of hammers and the snarl of saws was heard everywhere in town, and anything with a roof could rent for $300 a month.

Local people marveled at the revival, but it wasn’t until there was an armed robbery in a Main Street parking lot that they acknowledged Tonopah had become a city again.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

This is the kindest thing he had to say about the Sultan. In fact I was somewhat discouraged to read Sam's disparagement of the non-European people he met along the way. He knew about Napoleon III well enough — his story had been in all the papers. But what did he know about Abdul Aziz? Only what his appearance suggested apparently:

"Abdul Aziz, absolute lord of the Ottoman empire — clad in dark green European clothes, almost without ornament or insignia of rank; a red Turkish fez on his head; a short, stout, dark man, black-bearded, black-eyed, stupid, unprepossessing — a man whose whole appearance somehow suggested that if he only had a cleaver in his hand and a white apron on, one would not be at all surprised to hear him say: "A mutton roast today, or will you have a nice porterhouse steak?"

Today's Wikipedia is better informed: "Apart from his passion for the Ottoman Navy, which had the world's third largest fleet in 1875 (after the British and French navies), the Sultan took an interest in documenting the Ottoman Empire. He was also interested in literature and was a talented classical music composer. Some of his compositions, together with those of the other members of the Ottoman dynasty, have been collected in the album "European Music at the Ottoman Court" by the London Academy of Ottoman Court Music."

"We went to see the Cathedral of Notre Dame. We had heard of it before. It surprises me sometimes to think how much we do know and how intelligent we are. . . .

"They say that a pagan temple stood where Notre Dame now stands . . . and that a Christian church took its place about A.D. 300; another took the place of that in A.D. 500; and that the foundations of the present cathedral were laid about A.D. 1100. The ground ought to be measurably sacred by this time, one would think. One portion of this noble old edifice is suggestive of the quaint fashions of ancient times. It was built by Jean Sans-Peur, Duke of Burgundy, to set his conscience at rest — he had assassinated the Duke of Orleans. Alas! Those good old times are gone when a murderer could wipe the stain from his name and soothe his troubles to sleep simply by getting out his bricks and mortar and building an addition to a church."

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Today the long line of visitors waiting to enter the famous place requires more patience than we had available and so we took his word about the rich stained-glass windows embellished with blue and yellow and crimson saints and martyrs, and the numberless great pictures in the chapels that he'd tried to admire.

"Next we went to visit the Morgue, that horrible receptacle for the dead who die mysteriously and leave the manner of their taking off a dismal secret. We stood before a grating and looked through into a room which was hung all about with the clothing of dead men; coarse blouses, water-soaked; the delicate garments of women and children; patrician vestments, hacked and stabbed and stained with red; a hat that was crushed and bloody."

The Paris Morgue"On a slanting stone lay a drowned man, naked, swollen, purple; clasping the fragment of a broken bush with a grip which death had so petrified that human strength could not unloose it — mute witness of the last despairing effort to save the life that was doomed beyond all help. A stream of water trickled ceaselessly over the hideous face. We knew that the body and the clothing were there for identification by friends, but still we wondered if anybody could love that repulsive object or grieve for its loss."

Here was Mark Twain emerging more fully onto the page. He was dazzled by the splendid spectacle and the pageantry of the military procession, but here in the morgue he delved deeper and darker.

"We grew meditative and wondered if, some forty years ago, when the mother of that ghastly thing was dandling it upon her knee, and kissing it and petting it and displaying it with satisfied pride to the passers-by, a prophetic vision of this dread ending ever flitted through her brain. I half feared that the mother, or the wife or a brother of the dead man might come while we stood there, but nothing of the kind occurred. Men and women came, and some looked eagerly in and pressed their faces against the bars; others glanced carelessly at the body and turned away with a disappointed look—people, I thought, who live upon strong excitements and who attend the exhibitions of the Morgue regularly, just as other people go to see theatrical spectacles every night. When one of these looked in and passed on, I could not help thinking —

Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram

The recent Governor’s Conference on Tourism focused on Nevada’s new slogan, “Bring It On”. Poster Boy for the new campaign (and speaker at the Tuesday luncheon) is Glen Plake, an extreme skier who goes right on over the edge. He grew up at South Lake Tahoe and resides today in the hills above Lake Lahontan, where he water skis and bounces down country roads between winters.You can get a copy of the Commission’s new Adventure guide “The Dirt” here.

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The effort to bring attention to Nevada’s uncrowded outdoor activities is being greeted warmly in rural Nevada. Folks there are gratified at getting recognition at last for their unique recreational resource: the 85% of the state that is public land. Accessible and user-friendly, this immense realm of almost-unspoiled landscapes is a national treasure of enormous value and can be a great economic resource for the state for generations — until the rest of the country gets uncrowded again.

As if to emphasize this new direction for the state, Reno has been selected to host the ESPN Great Outdoor Games July 10-13,

Taking aim at the Outdoor Games

Taking aim at the Outdoor Games

2003. The 2002 Games attracted 60,000 to Lake Placid NY, and were seen on TV. Events include archery, rifle and shotgun target shooting, bass and fly fishing, three sporting dog events and eight timber events, from Log Rolling to Tree Topping. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports will televise more than 19 hours from the Rancho Santa Fe Park, the Truckee River and other venues to be announced. More information here.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the whole thing here

"Now this don't afford you any satisfaction — a party with his head shot off is what you need."

Alas, the morgue is no longer open to public visitation, but there is a modern attraction that centers on the dead: the Catacombs. Unlike the morgue though, there isn't any personal drama here. Among the vast collection of skulls and bones so artistically arranged, there's no way to tell which one was Yorick.

The sightseeing continued with an antidote to the morgue — visits to the Jardin Mabile and a similar amusement park in the suburb of Asnieres where he saw "the famous Blondin" walk a tightrope:

"He balanced his pole and walked the length of his rope — two or three hundred feet; he came back and got a man and carried him across; he returned to the center and danced a jig; next he performed some gymnastic and balancing feats too perilous to afford a pleasant spectacle; and he finished by fastening to his person a thousand Roman candles, Catherine wheels, serpents and rockets of all manner of brilliant colors, setting them on fire all at once and walking and waltzing across his rope again in a blinding blaze of glory that lit up the garden and the people's faces like a great conflagration at midnight."

The Can-canAfter the tightrope performance the party moved indoors, where there was "a drinking saloon, and all around it was a broad circular platform for the dancers. Twenty sets formed, the music struck up, and then —

I placed my hands before my face for very shame. But I looked through my fingers.

They were dancing the renowned 'Can-can.'

"That is the can-can. The idea of it is to dance as wildly, as noisily, as furiously as you can; expose yourself as much as possible if you are a woman; and kick as high as you can, no matter which sex you belong to . . . I suppose French morality is not of that straight-laced description which is shocked at trifles.

"I moved aside and took a general view of the can-can. Shouts, laughter, furious music, a bewildering chaos of darting and intermingling forms, stormy jerking and snatching of gay dresses, bobbing beads, flying arms, lightning flashes of white-stockinged calves and dainty slippers in the air, and then a grand final rush, riot, a terrific hubbub, and a wild stampede! Heavens!"

Can't Get to Paris?

Sage Room at Harveys Lake TahoeIf, for some reason, you are unable to visit Paris soon, head for Lake Tahoe's South Shore — not for a swim or a paddle, but for a birthday dinner: the Sage Room at Harveys is turning 70 and the party goes on for a year, in the form of a special prix fixe dinner ($70/person). I should add 'unforgettable' to the description because the meal is not merely served, it is hand-crafted at the table, a masterful performance involving an almost gymnastic combination of culinary sculpture and fire.

Robin and I attended a demonstration of this epic meal in the hallowed restaurant, and it was sensational. If you don't mind being the center of attention, put this on your agenda and add a happy memory to your collection.

Then the Louvre, which he didn't care for. "We looked at its miles of paintings by the old masters. Some of them were beautiful, but at the same time they carried such evidences about them of the cringing spirit of those great men that we found small pleasure in examining them. . . . But I will drop the subject, lest I say something about the old masters that might as well be left unsaid."

After that they visited the Bois de Boulogne, "that limitless park, with its forests, its lakes, its cascades, and its broad avenues. There were thousands upon thousands of vehicles abroad, and the scene was full of life and gaiety. There were . . . Dukes and Duchesses abroad, with gorgeous footmen perched behind, and equally gorgeous outriders perched on each of the six horses; there were blue and silver, and green and gold, and pink and black, and all sorts and descriptions of stunning and startling liveries out, and I almost yearned to be a flunkey myself, for the sake of the fine clothes.

"But presently the Emperor came along and he outshone them all. He was preceded by a bodyguard of gentlemen on horseback in showy uniforms, his carriage-horses (there appeared to be somewhere in the remote neighborhood of a thousand of them,) were bestridden by gallant-looking fellows, also in stylish uniforms, and after the carriage followed another detachment of bodyguards. Everybody got out of the way; everybody bowed to the Emperor and his friend the Sultan; and they went by on a swinging trot and disappeared."

He delighted in the spectacle of the Emperor's procession as much as he had deplored the paintings at the Louvre.

From there to Pere Lachaise, "the national burying-ground of France, the honored resting-place of some of her greatest and best children, the last home of scores of illustrious men and women who were born to no titles, but achieved fame by their own energy and their own genius.

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"This place is sacred to a nobler royalty — the royalty of heart and brain. Every faculty of mind, every noble trait of human nature, every high occupation which men engage in, seems represented by a famous name." Today the famous names are more recent and more familiar: Balzac is there, and Chopin; Jim Morrison, Yves Montand, Edith Piaf, Simone Signoret, Gertrude Stein — it's a long list, and at its head are Abelard and Heloise.

Abelard and Heloise"Yet who really knows the story of Abelard and Heloise? Precious few people. The names are perfectly familiar to every body, and that is about all. With infinite pains I have acquired a knowledge of that history, and I propose to narrate it here, partly for the honest information of the public and partly to show that public that they have been wasting a good deal of marketable sentiment very unnecessarily."

A long narrative of the story of the fabled lovers ensued, this passage earnestly written by Sam, not Mark.

Of Heloise he wrote, "I have not a word to say against the misused, faithful girl, and would not withhold from her grave a single one of those simple tributes which blighted youths and maidens offer to her memory. She was "pure-souled" and evinced a "noble, self-sacrificing love". But Pierre Abelard was a "cold-hearted villain", "unmanly" and "a dastardly seducer".

After Sam told their story in detail with such evident sincerity, Mark went for a drink.

American Drinks Artistically Prepared"We ferreted out another French imposition—a frequent sign to this effect: "ALL MANNER OF AMERICAN DRINKS ARTISTICALLY PREPARED HERE." We procured the services of a gentleman experienced in the nomenclature of the American bar, and moved upon the works of one of these impostors. A bowing, aproned Frenchman skipped forward and said:

"'Que voulez les messieurs?'

"Our general said, 'We will take a whiskey straight.'

"[A stare from the Frenchman.]

"'Well, if you don't know what that is, give us a champagne cocktail.'

"[A stare and a shrug.]

"'Well, then, give us a sherry cobbler.'

"The Frenchman was checkmated. This was all Greek to him.

"'Give us a brandy smash!'

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"The Frenchman began to back away, suspicious of the ominous vigor of the last order — began to back away, shrugging his shoulders and spreading his hands apologetically.

"The General followed him up and gained a complete victory. The uneducated foreigner could not even furnish a Santa Cruz Punch, an Eye-Opener, a Stone-Fence, or an Earthquake. It was plain that he was a wicked impostor.'

On their final day in Paris, the Quaker City passengers visited Versailles.

Versailles"VERSAILLES! It is wonderfully beautiful! You gaze and stare and try to understand that it is real, that it is on the earth, that it is not the Garden of Eden — but your brain grows giddy, stupefied by the world of beauty around you, and you half believe you are the dupe of an exquisite dream. The scene thrills one like military music! A noble palace, stretching its ornamented front, block upon block away, till it seemed that it would never end. . . ."

This is the only aspect of Paris that Mark — or was it Sam? — put in capital letters, and he went on and on about it, couldn't say enough about its perfections ("vast fountains whose great bronze effigies discharged rivers of sparkling water into the air and mingled a hundred curving jets together in forms of matchless beauty").

And then they got back on the train to Marseilles, went aboard the Quaker City and set off for Genoa.

Parting Shot —

Mark Twain's map of Paris

The post NevadaGram #196 – Following Mark Twain around Paris appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

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NevadaGram #195 – Incline Village, Crystal Bay and Coaldale http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-195-incline-village-crystal-bay-coaldale/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-195-incline-village-crystal-bay-coaldale/#comments Tue, 03 Oct 2017 16:05:32 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=26632 Incline Village Nevada

In all my years of exploring Nevada the most difficult place for me to get a handle on has been Incline Village. Incline Village NevadaI could never find the There there. Now with the help of Kayla Anderson (see below) I've learned there isn't one.

In most small Nevada towns, if you could get up on the roof of the tallest building, maybe 3 or 4 stories, which you'd find at the center of town, you'd see everything there is to see. Down all the streets, over the all the fences, into all the back yards.

Not Incline Village though. It's not just that the trees get in the way, although they do. It's that it was never a town in the usual sense, although it's trying to become one. Every other other burg in Nevada formed itself round some natural activity center — a railroad depot, a mine, a ford of the river, a crossroads. Incline Village formed around a golf course.

Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

We had a great time doing the things you do at Goldfield Days, starting with the the pancake breakfast at the Fire House and continuing through a warm sunny day with the parade, the property auction, hot food, cold drink, historic presentations in the Court House.

Ultralite plane at Goldfield Days 2012Radio Goldfield (89.1 fm) toured the town with an atv and big speakers spraying music into the air (including family favorite “My Ding-a-Ling”) and Alan Metscher presided over a highly enjoyable Bus Tour of the old city.

He showed a school bus full of visitors the path of the great flood of 1913 and the area burnt in the great fire ten years later. His tales sometimes began “Legend has it that. . . .” 2012 Goldfield Days ParadeThat is not a quibble, a place’s legends help to define it, I mention it to indicate that he did not permit the facts to stand naked and alone in his presentation, but coiffed them and shod them and put feathers in their hats to show them at their best.

2012 Goldfield DaysThe land auction was exciting to watch, and brought Esmeralda County some serious money.

Underneath these traditional enjoyments there was a subcurrent of anticipation throughout the day: the president of the Chamber of Commerce had promised to set a school bus on fire that night.

Read the whole thing here

But before we get to that, let's take a look around.

I like coming to the north shore of Lake Tahoe from Carson City via US 50 because it is a 4-lane highway built for cars, while the Mount Rose road Nevada 431) is a 2-lane paved-over wagon track zig-zagging up the east slope of the Sierra, built for 3 mph but driven at 50.

Turn north on Nevada 28 at Spooner Summit and start into the forest. You'll encounter one gem after another, starting just a few miles along at Spooner Lake, surrounded by aspens and by 12,000 acres of forest, part of Lake Tahoe State Park. You can access 50 miles of hiking, equestrian and mountain biking trails here; the 2-mile trail around the lake is an easy stroll with many small pleasures along the way. Cost is $10 in summer, $7 in other seasons.

Continuing north on 28 we might pass the entrance to Thunderbird Lodge on the left without noticing it. The yacht Thunderbird at Thunderbird Lodge, Lake Tahoe NevadaIt's just as well; this was the estate of George Whittell whose eccentricities were financed by the enormous wealth he'd pulled from the stock market in 1929 just before the crash. He lived a phenomenal life and built a phenomenal stone house to live it in. Beautifully restored and maintained it is available for tours which you can arrange at Sand Harbor or at the Visitors Center farther along. Highly recommended. Take the tour and descend the 600-foot tunnel from the house to the boat house — and what a boat! One of the rooms along its length was his pet lion's kennel, poker games were conducted in another.

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Back on the road. As you approach Sand Harbor you're passing above Clemens' Cove. Mark Twain wrote in "Roughing It" about making a timber claim here in 1861, involving construction of a brush lean-to and setting the forest on fire.

Sand Harbor State Park (8 am to one hour past sunset, 365 days a year. Drive in: $7 winter, $12/summer. Bike in: $2 Walk in $1) is almost magically beautiful. There's nothing prettier on a sunny summer's day than the creamy crescent of beach, sprinkled with bathers in and out of the water, and punctuated with pointillist dabs of red, white, orange, green and blue umbrellas, edging the big blue lake. There is a boat launch, a couple of short scenic hikes, and you can rent kayaks and paddleboards. There's a Visitor Center and even a bar & grill with a shaded deck. In winter the parking lots are kept clear of snow and you can take an unforgettable sleigh ride into the wintry woods. Do this.

The new East Shore Trail is being built from Lakeshore Drive in Incline Village to Sand Harbor, part of a planned 10-foot wide Lake Tahoe Bikeway that will go all around the Lake.

The Cartwrights of Ponderosa Ranch, NevadaFurther on we pass the hallowed grounds of the Ponderosa Ranch on the right, fabled home of the Cartwright Family in the hugely popular television series "Bonanza", broadcast by NBC in color at 9 o'clock on Sunday nights. The make-believe Ranch opened in 1967 and closed in 2004.

Incline Village Nevada Visitors CenterIf ever a town needed a Visitor Center, it's this one, and happily enough it has one, ahead on the left at the eastern edge of town, dispensing detailed information to out-of-towners about all the ways to enjoy the lake: hiking and biking trails from the Flume Trail to the Ale Trail; the food, three dozen dining choices when you include Crystal Bay three miles farther along; the drink from the elegant Lone Eagle Grille on the water to the beer-shrine The Alibi in the industrial district to the comfortable Crosby's in Christmas Tree Village; the nightlife — casinos at the Hyatt and at three more in Crystal Bay; and the lodging, the splendid Hyatt and both the Biltmore and the 9-room Border House in Crystal Bay. Highly recommended.

It's all just ahead and hugely enjoyable: so press on and enjoy it!

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Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Like every other sane person in this crazy world, I try to get to Laughlin four or five times a year.

Laughlin Nevada and the Colorado RiverIt provides just the right balance between Monaco and Mayberry. It’s a gambling resort with fishing privileges, a calm, friendly and undemanding place and every time I come I feel the urgency drain out of me and a sweet and tender lassitude take its place.

If there can be anything like a small town with 11 large casino resorts, this is it. Back in August, for example, the Aquarius Casino Resort collected four boxes of school supplies for Diamondback Elementary School across the river in Bullhead City.

River walk, Laughlin NevadaAt Halloween the Edgewater and Colorado Belle held a community- wide Safe Street Trick-or-Treat party, complete with a haunted house, a 900-lb carved pumpkin and candy for the kids. In the fall the River Palms sponsored a food drive with employees and the public encouraged to donate canned food and other non-perishables to benefit the area’s families in need. Next I expect that the Tropicana Express will be holding a Bake Sale for the Senior Citizens.

There was a time — 20 years ago Circus Circus made the Colorado Belle the most photogenic casino on the river — when Laughlin seemed destined to rival Las Vegas for splash and excitement.

It didn’t happen. By 1996, talk of overtaking Las Vegas had ended. In fact now Laughlin presents itself as a serene alternative to Las Vegas overload. Fishing node, Colorado River at LaughlinThe RiverWalk has now been extended upriver all the way to Davis Dam, and one of the recent improvements was the addition of a fishing platform. Does that say it all?

Not quite. The outlet mall that opened 10 years ago has new owners who have added three new stores and are bringing 28 new stores, more high-end than before.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the
whole thing here

In 1960 — one lifetime ago or less — there were only four houses where Incline Village is now, and the place didn't have a name yet. In winter the California Highway Department plowed the snow off the road on the Nevada side of the border so the school bus could get to the four kids who lived there. They rode to Truckee and back each day, an hour's drive via King's Beach and Tahoe City.

Then the Crystal Bay Development Company bought 9,000 acres from George Whittell and began to cut roads and develop beaches, a ski area and a Robert Trent Jones golf course. The "Chateau" at the golf course was the company offices as the golf course was created. As it became famous, some of the people who came to play fell under Tahoe's spell so that much of the early residential development was strips of second homes not far from the fairways.

The ghost of Mark Twain lingers at Incline Village in the person of McAvoy Layne, who has been a resident for 40 years. He described the demographics in that earlier time: "There was a saying in those days that anyone who lives at Incline Village has either two homes or two jobs. Now there are more families here, working people who are making it into a real community."

Community was not an issue in the 1880s when Incline's pioneers were all working people, cutting down trees and getting them over to the mines in Virginia City.

Sawmill at Sand Harbor, Lake TahoeThe Sierra Nevada Wood & Lumber Company built a sawmill at Sand Harbor in 1878 where logs were floated from around the lake and were sawed into lumber. From there the cut lumber and cordwood were hauled by narrow-gauge railway to the foot of "The Great Incline" and pulled up nearly to the summit of the Carson Range, a 20-minute ride up the 4,000-foot tramway, 1,400 feet above the lake. The cars were angled to keep the loads level as they traveled up the steep grade, and the system could deliver 300 cords of cordwood or 1,500 board feet of cut lumber day-in, day-out to the V-flume.

The great Incline, north shore Lake Tahoe about 1880The tramline was a minor miracle of engineering; a double-track of narrow-gauge rails, eighteen feet in overall width, with cross ties on a solid log bed supporting them. As four loaded cars were being hauled up on the endless cable by the steam engine at the top, four empties were let down the other pair of rails. Near the top of the Incline the rise was 8 feet in every 12, a 67 percent grade; the 8,000-foot cable weighed 7 tons.

At the top the wood was put piece by piece into the V-flume that carried it rapidly through the Virginia City Water Company's 4,000 foot tunnel and on down the steep east slope to Lakeview north of Carson City where it was loaded onto flatcars of the V&T and hauled to the Comstock.

Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram

My Wendover item last month was out of date before its electrons settled. Wendover WillThe Mississippi-based Isle of Capri company had bid $30 million, but Columbia Sussex Corp (Horizon, Lake Tahoe; Maxim, Las Vegas) upped the ante to $31 million for the Silver Smith and Stateline, the bankrupted Smith Family hotel casinos on the Utah border. As the High Desert Advocate reported, “Attorneys for the two battled like poker players from the old west. In counter bids ranging from one to two million they raised and counter-raised until the price climbed to $41 million.”

Peppermill Hotel Casino, Wendover NevadaAt that point, the Peppermill (which had abandoned an earlier offer for the properties) came back to the table with a partner called Generation 2000 and offered $42,500,000. Isle of Capri folded, but Columbia Sussex hung tough until the bidding reached $55 million. But that was their limit, and the sale went to the Peppermill — which will operate the Silver Smith — and Generation 2000 — which will operate the larger State Line. The sale includes a $22 million non-refundable deposit, which will go a long way toward paying the unsecured creditors and the back taxes sorely missed by the Wendover schools.

Wendover, NevadaThe City of West Wendover is already deciding what to do about annexing Wendover Utah (citizens of both communities approved the idea at the recent election) while facing the grim decisions demanded by a $600,000 budget deficit. Having these two properties on the eastern boundary returned to full throttle is most welcome to Wendover, Elko County, and the state as a whole.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the
whole thing here

The company ceased operations in 1895, and you might call this prehistory, even though the bunk houses for the 200 - 250 men who built and operated the famous Incline briefly attracted an election precinct and a fourth class post office called Incline. When they were done, they left with everything they could carry and abandoned the rest.

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Crystal Bay is three miles farther west, past the roundabout at the junction of Nevada 431 right at the California line. It is considerably smaller — barely 300 residents in 2010 — and older than its near neighbor. The bright commercial cluster at the border hangs everything out in plain sight.

Jim Kelley’s Tahoe Nugget is small and friendly with a devoted local clientele.

The Crystal Bay Casino is famous for its music, both for the performers and for the superb acoustics of its venues, and the food at the Bistro Elise and the Steak & Lobster Room lives up to the stylish atmosphere too.

Tahoe Biltmore, Crystal Bay NevadaThe Tahoe Biltmore is a full service hotel and 24/7 casino with live table games and slots, sports book, two restaurants, a nightclub, a children's arcade, and attractive room rates to boot.

And the 3-story, 10 room Border House offers luxurious accommodations a short walk from th Crystal Bay Casino


Coaldale NevadaOn a recent drive up US 95 Robin and I paused at Coaldale, a burnt-out ruin on US 95 north of Tonopah that was once a popular stop for travelers.

Coaldale NevadaWikipedia says: "The service station was closed down due to EPA testing in 1993 that found that its underground fuel tanks were leaking. Soon, the restaurant and motel closed, since the service station was the primary attraction for travelers. At some point before 2006, a fire destroyed the restaurant."

Coaldale NevadaI remember pulling up to the shiny new gas pumps here many years ago and seeing it — all of it, including the buildings that have since burned — as the little store was being prepared by new owners for its Grand Opening.

Coaldale NevadaA young man was painting the trim around the front door and  I paused to talk with him as he applied the paint, very careful to do a perfect job. As we talked I watched through the doorway as an extended family was busy arranging brand-new merchandise on all the display racks and stocking the shelves with t-shirts, sweatshirts and caps in vivid colors.

His parents had just bought the place, he told me. This was their dream come true, and they had worked long and hard to make it a reality.

It was a beautiful moment.

Parting Shot —

King Street, Carson City Nevada

King Street, Carson City Nevada about 1880


The post NevadaGram #195 – Incline Village, Crystal Bay and Coaldale appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

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NevadaGram #194 – Laughlin, Art Flap at Baker http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-194-laughlin-art-flap-at-baker/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-194-laughlin-art-flap-at-baker/#comments Mon, 04 Sep 2017 12:32:04 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=25970 US 95 in Nevada

We'd been a long day on the road and running late, hurrying now that a sunset was setting the sky on fire, worried we'd find all the campsites taken. Big Bend of the Colorado Recreation Area near Laughlin NevadaWe'd visited the Big Bend of the Colorado Recreation Area a few years ago and remembered it as an attractive spot with 24 campsites. There were only embers glowing in the western sky when we pulled off the Needles Highway about five miles south of Laughlin.

But . . . other than a single RV near the entrance the campground was deserted.

Big Bend of the Colorado Recreation Area near Laughlin Nevada

We drove slowly past 23 empty camp sites, one after another, then came back around to pick one near the showers and hook up to the power. We drifted off to dreamland wondering why we were the only ones using this very nicely designed and maintained — and eerily empty and silent — facility.

Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Goldfield Days is shaping up to be something different this year. It’s the weekend of August 17-19, and Goldfield is the place to be.

Goldfield Days, third weekend in August, is the little city’s annual celebration of itself, and it’s always a dandy. One time a lady took her clothes off in front of everybody, this time they’re going to burn a bus. I’m packing for the trip, see you there.

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The Kingston Jubilee was held on the large, green lawn of the Miles End bed and breakfast Inn, an attractive retreat in the middle of town.

At the Freakers Ball on Saturday night local residents and ranchers boogied alongside out-of-towners and Burners. K-town boppers, Kingston NevadaMany in the crowd turned out in costume. Glamorous women swooped by in flowing dresses and pink, blue, or green hair. Men sported Stetsons and top hats. One guy was boogying in a terrycloth bathrobe. A Kingston couple came as cave man and cave woman, wearing furs and carrying clubs.

In consideration of the neighbors, the band stopped playing at 11 pm, but most of the crowd stayed later, extending the lovely evening late into the night.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the
whole thing
here

In the morning it was just us and some roadrunners zipping around. The temperature began to rise before the sun did. And then the sun burned its way slowly across the cloudless sky above the shadeless park for the rest of the day, thus providing the answer to last night's wondering: it's too [expletive] hot! Not just hot, you understand, but too [expletive] hot.

"We almost always have spaces available in the hot summer months," a Ranger told to me. "But in the colder months we're slammed solid, filled with snowbirds down from Canada."

Big Bend of the Colorado Recreation Area near Laughlin Nevada

In those colder months it's too chilly, if not downright freezing, to play on the beach — it snowed here on New Year's Eve a few years ago — but even on too [expletive] hot summer days like this the water's edge thrives with happily splashing kids, and the picnic facilities and

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barbecues are all in use. Fishermen are fishing, hikers are hiking and the boat ramp is bustling with small pleasure craft loading and unloading into the river.

These trails and beaches provide pleasant and relaxing enjoyments of the natural world along the river, and if that's not enough, Laughlin is just upstream.
There is a residential Laughlin higher up the hillside, with a grocery store, insurance agents and all the clutter of modern life, but it's the Casino and Entertainment district along the river that visitors flock to. It's a row of nine glowing gambling houses large and small (mostly large) with thousands of hotel rooms, dozens of bars and restaurants, a 7-fingered handful of lounge and cabaret stages, and a large outdoor concert venue. This is Las Vegas in the slow lane. A decorous amount of razzamatazz, no traffic jams and plenty of free parking.

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Laughlin NevadaAnd there is the RiverWalk. This is a quirky 2-part 3-mile trail along the river that is fun to walk. Its southern end is at the Laughlin River Lodge, and the first part goes north from there. It passes behind, through and around the great casinos that invite lingering along the way: have a drink, have a snack, play a little blackjack. Robin and I interrupted our stroll with an excellent breakfast and an idyllic view of the river at Bumbleberry Flats in the Golden Nugget.

The first part of the RiverWalk ends at the pedestrian bridge over the highway coming into town from the west. Crossing the bridge begins the second part of the walk, an easy mile and a half farther north on the nearly level ground beside the river. This is Mom Nature in the desert without her lipstick, quite different from the backsides and insides of the casinos on the first part of the walk.

Bring your tackle and you can fish for bass and trout from the shaded pods installed along the shore for the purpose. The walk ends at Davis Dam at a day use area with shaded picnic tables and barbecues plus a big lawn and a splash pad for kids.


We noticed something strange in Tonopah. Advertised gasoline prices were as much as 60¢ higher at the edges of town ($2.89) than at Valero and Giggle Springs in the shadow of the Mizpah ($2.29). When I inquired I was given a nonsequiterial response, which I did not pursue. But if you'll be driving in Tonopah, keep it in mind.

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Anyone who remembers Carol's Country Kitchen in Austin will be thrilled to learn that Sissie Gallegos and Cindy Jolly are preparing to open a restaurant in the Main Street Shops in Austin. Sissie is an Austin native who worked for Carol, when her steak dinners were famous in five counties, and she worked at Carver's in Big Smoky Valley too. No opening date has been firmly established, but it will be called Grandma's and will be a grand addition to Austin's culinary attractions.

Our drive up US 95 was especially dramatic, as Mom Nature was showing off her chops, one riff after another.

Virga near US 95 in Nevada
Storm and sun simultaneously
Playa on US 95 in Nevada
Rainbow in a rainstorm on US 95 in Nevada

Black patches on the mountains were the shadows cast by fluffy white clouds. Dust dervishes danced madly across playas. Virga fell from black clouds halfway to the ground.

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We made our traditional stop at S'socorro's in Mina for chocolate malts. It's not easy to think of Mina as bigger than Hawthorne, but it was when the Carson & Colorado railroad tracks were realigned around on the east side of Walker Lake and bypassed Hawthorne completely. Mina boomed with th railroad and Hawthorne sagged without it. But when Hawthorne got the ammunition depot it got the railroad back too, and recovered its health.

Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

In the fall of 1968, a man named Frank van Zant was driving west on I-80 in a 1946 Chevy pickup truck. Frank was a divinity school drop-out, a 20-year deputy sheriff in Sutter County California, and a retired private investigator. Now he and his third wife were beginning a new life together. Near the old railroad town of Imlay, the old truck broke down. Frank managed to get it off the highway and into the sagebrush where they set up camp. When the owner of the property came along and offered to sell the 5-acre property at a bargain price and easy terms, they bought it.

And then things started getting interesting. With desert flotsam and bags and bags of cement, he and a small number of volunteers began to build a phantasmagorical structure, completed to its present state in 1975 or thereabout.

Rolling Thunder, Frank van Zant, Interstate 80Rolling Thunder is gone now, and his followers dispersed. The property is occupied and protected by his grown children who welcome visitors for self-guided tours.

Do this.

The strangeness of the place is somewhat daunting without Rolling Thunder’s personal welcome, but even a brief visit is an unforgettable experience.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the
whole thing
here

Doc Sherman earned his place in the Nevada Hall of Fame in the mid-1990s when he filled some gloves with urethane foam, stuck them on top of fenceposts alongside the road leading up to Great Basin National Park, and proclaimed them the emblems of the Permanent Wave Society.

That endless gesture of greeting inspired others who added more whimsies and ecstatic chimera at the side of the road — a ramshackle jalopy was outfitted with the skeleton of a horse in the driver's seat and the assemblage was christened The Horse With No Name. This self-curated exhibit of “Post-Impressionist" art by local residents became an attraction in its own right, ornaments put in place by benign spirits who live hereabouts.

Pegasus on Nevada 288Toward the end of October some junior high school students brought a school project to the roadside, five sculptures: Pegasus, Delphinus, the Little Dipper, the Plow, and Cassiopeia. They were too big for fenceposts, so they were placed on the ground. You can see them in detail here on Gretchen Baker's blog, Desert Survivor. (Gretchen is our Baker Correspondent)

So intriguing were these new pieces — so successful as art, in other words — that drivers paused in the roadway to look at them and take photos, causing enough disgruntlement amongst other drivers that one of them called the Highway Department to complain.

"Baker Mix", Baker Nevada

Shortly afterward, Randy Hesterlee, Assistant District Engineer for NDOT in Ely, took a loader and a dump truck and swept the roadside clear of the sculptures as if they were prison guards sweeping a cell block free of contraband. As Gretchen reported, "If any one wants to claim the road art as theirs, they can call John Ogden at 775-289-1700 to arrange a pickup."

Safety is certainly a legitimate concern, but to scoop up these delightful works and haul them away without warning? Why? It wouldn't have taken a detective to find the authors of these pieces before they were grabbed and put into quarantine.

Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram

The Nevada Travel Network has outdone itself, and I am beaming with pride and pleasure when I report that in September, while booking rooms by the dozens for human travelers, we also booked our first stalls for horses.

Within the daily torrent of e-mail requests for information came one from a traveler driving east from California to Wyoming (or was it Montana? — one of those eastern states, anyhow) wanting a place to board her horses overnight in Wendover. A flurry of e-mails across northeastern Nevada brought a response from the City of West Wendover with directions to the City Corral, where the equines passed a peaceful night and their chauffeur went out and had some fun.

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And speaking of Wendover, it’s the hottest place in Nevada just now and we are not talking temperature here. Officially West Wendover, it has grown to be a bright spot in northeast Nevada and a major contributor of jobs and tax revenues in Elko County.

Wendover Utah, meanwhile, grew by providing low-rent housing for the low-pay employees at the Nevada-side casinos. The Nevada city had actually begun the process of absorbing its rickety Utah neighbor, and bureaucrats on both sides were scratching their heads over how to redraw the state boundary line when the bankruptcy of the Silver Smith and State Line casino hotels, put everything else in the shade.

Are We There Yet? - photo by Robin CobbeyRead the
whole thing
here

The Dolphin, Baker Nevada

"Because many of the sculptures in this case did not have an artist name or any other identifying information, we were not able to directly notify the artist(s) prior to removing the sculptures. Under our standard procedure . . . many of these sculptures were stored at our NDOT Baker roadway maintenance station and are available for owner(s) to pick up by contacting NDOT Ely offices at (775) 289-1700 to schedule pick up."

The solution seems simple to me:
1. Build pull-offs to view the art; offset the cost via a Crowdfunding solution.
2. Send Assistant District Engineers to Charm school and oblige them to get to know their neighbors.

Cassiopaeia at Baker Nevada

 

In February a public meeting was convened on the topic in Baker, with about 20 locals in attendance, an unprecedented turnout, along with the NDOT brass and White Pine County Commissioner Gary Perea. NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon agreed the agency will now work directly with the Baker Area Citizens Advisory Board, which will serve as the permittee and point of contact for the local artists. He also spelled out NDOT's requirements for putting the art back.

"Submitting a permit request is the first step for citizens who are interested in potentially using state road right-of-way, whether for an organized event such as a parade or for art or other permanent installation."

 

So far though, no appropriate location has been established to display the sculptures and no permit applications have been made. For the time being at least, Baker's blithe spirits have been subdued, filling out a permission form is chloroform to sublime silliness. The sculptures remain under lock and key and a slight pall has fallen over Highway 188.

Still, NDOT has opened a channel to put the art back beside the road, in a carefully prepared location of its own choosing. So how about a crowd-funded effort to pay for it? Wouldn't pitching in to cover the cost of building the pull-off be a big boost toward getting it done? I'm in for $100.

Visitors are invited for light refreshments at the Western Folklife Center Open House during the Elko Wine Walk on Saturday, September 9, from 4 - 6 pm. Internationally acclaimed ceramists Dennis Parks and son Ben Parks of Tuscarora will talk about the exhibit "Dennis Parks: Land, Language and Clay". Also, former Center E.D. Charlie Seemann will celebrate his new book and companion exhibition, "Way Out West: Images of the American Ranch, Photographs From the Farm Security Administration, 1936-1943". Both Seemann and Parks will sign their books, available in the Gift Shop. The exhibitions will be free and the Pioneer Bar will be open.

Mark Twain's 183rd birthday partyMcAvoy Layne has entertained audiences around the world as "The Ghost of Twain". In November he will host Mark Twain's 183d Birthday party aboard the Mississippi paddlewheeler "America" as it churns upriver from New Orleans to Memphis after a pre-departure party the night before.

McAvoy will be telling stories and reliving "Life on the Mississippi" to share Twain's observations in private gatherings over the course of the journey. "America" is one of the finest river boats ever built, with many novel features, a casual ambiance and panoramic views of the passing scenery.

Occupancy is limited 185 guests, and to book your place for the November 9-17 cruise you can call McAvoy at 775-833-1835 or visit the website.

Parting Shot —

[caption id="attachment_26207" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Lake Tahoe from above Glenbrook Lake Tahoe from above Glenbrook, by Brendan Packer[/caption]

The post NevadaGram #194 – Laughlin, Art Flap at Baker appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

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NevadaGram #193 – A Drive down 95 http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-193-a-drive-down-95/ http://nevadagram.com/nevadagram-193-a-drive-down-95/#comments Wed, 02 Aug 2017 17:15:25 +0000 http://nevadagram.com/?p=25452 The Clown Motel, Tonopah Nevada

Driving and jiving down 95, first stop in Yerington where we had some bad news: Kings Diner, last year's great Yerington discovery, is gone. We liked the food, but more than that we liked the generous spirit of the people who ran it. There's a Mexican restaurant in its place now, and we will try it . . . but not while we're in mourning.

Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram

In the spring of this year CMI’s beleaguered CEO launched a 76-trombone “March to Production”. De Gasperis promised shareholders that this golden outcome would occur this summer, and there would be an August pour (meaning an ingot of precious metals derived from the local ore).

And yet the leaves tore themselves off the calendar . . . April . . . May . . . June . . . and still no ore. For a time an endless chain of trucks came grinding up the highway hauling materials for the expanded leach pad in American Flat, and then hurrying back down empty to get another load. There was a truck going by every two minutes.

But without the haul road, how could CMI move any ore? Had it literally dug itself a hole it couldn’t climb out of? So it seemed.

And then De Gasperis made a sudden, desperate move: he closed off the haul road to the public and started sending the 50-ton Haul-Paks over it without permission, asserting that it was private land after all, and under company control.

That decision defines CMI: Fumble the application, but then take what you want anyhow, and make up a plausible-sounding story to justify it if you get caught.

And of course CMI got caught: BLM red-tagged the company with a Cease & Desist Order citing Trespass, and closed the haul road to CMI’s traffic. The company has been given temporary ROW access for street-legal vehicles (but not the huge ore trucks) on a second road under dispute.

Read the whole thing here

The news was much better further on, good news you can see for yourself: the level of Walker Lake is rising. Walker Lake, near Hawthorne NevadaA rain squall was storming past overhead as the lake came into our view, gunmetal grey with gauzy curtains of virga streaming down toward it from a lumpy ceiling of black clouds. And just beyond the energetic little storm, the sun was shining bright on Hawthorne.

USO sign, Hawthorne NevadaA sign at the old USO building on Main Street (it's now the Convention Center) informed the world that the lake is up 12 feet. Over breakfast at Maggie's Once More with our Mineral County Correspondent Sheri Samson we learned that it was expected to total 18 feet of total rise, and by the time we left town mid-morning it was up another foot.

There's an air of optimism in Hawthorne just now, symbolized by the revived lake — or perhaps caused by it? Some new jobs have appeared, and more are anticipated.

The El Capitan has spruced itself up handsomely, and the biggest challenge Hawthorne is facing just now appears to be the upcoming Mount Grant Challenge.

Oh, no, there's at least one more: the iconic Hawthorne sign fell down. Some of its electrical innards were damaged and others are obsolete, but the sign is being repaired and it will be back in place on the north side of town before long.

On to Tonopah where the big news is the posting of theClown Motel,Tonopah Nevada Clown Motel for sale. This was the last of the new properties built during the boom of the early 1980s, and some consider its collection of clowns in the lobby far more frightening than the Lady in Red at the Mizpah up the street. We stayed at the Tonopah Station RV Park and advanced our education in RV Life.

Goldfield will always be special for us because on a pleasant day in July 1999 Robin and I were married there, on

the steps of the Goldfield Hotel. But on this day we hurried on with barely a glance at the Car Forest east of the highway at the south edge of town.

Beatty is peanut cluster capital of our world, and we almost always stop at the big candy store on the north side of town and then Gemma's at the center of town for an afternoon latte. The Beatty Museum was closed . . . and on we went to Pahrump for another RV adventure at the member-owned Preferred RV Park.

This is a whole different beast than the Tonopah Station facilities, which are designed for the quick and easy in-and-out of ongoing travelers; this is a settled community.

While there are other transients like us, many people live here long-term in the (mostly) huge machines parked in tidy rows. They have access to amenities ranging from showers to a swimming pool, to a laundry to pool tables, and they live in mobile mini-mansions. Most notably, the employees here all seem to have graduated from Charm School where they majored in Genuine Friendliness. It's quite pleasant.

Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram

Rachel's weddingOur Nevada travels came to a sudden halt last month when daughter Rachel was married in Alaska and son John came home on leave from Iraq.John Toll home on leave from Iraq

But we’ll be kicking up dust again next month!

Our RV education continued rapidly. It took us from Pahrump to Las Vegas, including a terrifying drive through, around and beneath the airport to Blue Dog, a major RV center in Henderson. The genial service manager told us, as he handed us back the keys, "It's got a new water pump in the House now, but I want to emphasize how lucky you've been today. Ordinarily we'd have had to schedule you about 6 weeks out, and it's the same at all the major shops here in the Valley. But every once in a while a couple of jobs in a row are finished quicker than we thought they would, and you just happened to hit one of those gaps", he said with a smile. "Don't expect to do it again".

Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram

We receive two or three e-mails a day from our website visitors with questions about Nevada. Those we can’t answer ourselves we forward to the appropriate members of the Nevada Travel Network for expert response. Some questions are more interesting than others, but only this one one made me laugh out loud:

I am coming to Las Vegas and need to pick up some Cowboy Salt (whatever that is). Do you know where I can get some? Thanks for your time, Ken

I replied:
Ken, Is this like a left-handed monkey wrench or a bucket of steam? I’ve never heard of ‘cowboy salt’ I’m sorry to say. In fact, if you find some I’d very much like to know what it is.

And three days later I got my laugh:
I do believe I have been HAD!!! although PAYBACKS will be issued!! I will get even with the guy at work for BOTH of us! I just returned from Las Vegas and was laughed right outta the store…(Mike will pay for that!). Thanks again and have a great day…Ken

Read the whole thing here


Comstock Mining Update — CMI made its Second Quarter filing with the SEC, showing another loss, this time just under $3 million.

There are nearly 30 zeros in a row on CMI's scoreboard now. Is that a record for Biggest Loser Ever at the Richest Place on Earth?

But of course the Little Mining Company That Couldn't has some more Big Plans which we'll examine next time.

What they're saying about us: "Nevada lawmakers hope to smooth

out traffic by cracking down on slow drivers clogging up the left-hand lane, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Senate Transportation Committee recently passed a bill that would create fines and send repeat offenders to traffic school. Now that Nevada is ready to start recreational cannabis sales, we wonder how many stoners such a law could nab. Potheads behind the wheel will be wise to remember the old maxim: What happens in the slow lane stays in the slow lane, but not all day, dude." — High Country News


If you've wondered what the Wild Women Artists do between shows, here is your answer!


Overheard at Maggie's Once Again in Hawthorne: "Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing beats the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed."

Mono Lake California

Squaw Tom Sanders, Silver City 1974Squaw Tom's story about building the highway past Mono Lake makes me laugh every time I read it. Next time you drive that way on US 395 you'll appreciate the experience just a little more. Here's "Horse Guts" — enjoy!

This story I want to tell you about happened in 1917. I worked at Mono Lake there. It was team days back then, and we was buildin' highways. We had rippers pulled with horses to loosen up the dirt. We had about eight, ten teams on this ripper, made out of heavy iron like a plow. Fresno scraperAnd then we worked with Fresnos getting the dirt out of there, and then we had horse blades. Everything was pick and shovel.

They built a camp with a corral where a little stream of water come into Mono Lake there. Mono Lake had 23 minerals in there, heavy minerals. We lived in Army tents, with a out-house. .And they built a cook house out of tents; no floor, just a frame and planks sittin' on sawhorses for tables.

Wal, one day when I went to work Monday morning, there was a horse died on the job.         Read the whole story here

Parting Shot —
Tonopah Sunset
Tonopah Sunset, by Teresa Madsen

The post NevadaGram #193 – A Drive down 95 appeared first on NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network.

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