In this edition:
Baker, Boulder City, Elko, Ely, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Lincoln County, Mineral County, South Lake Tahoe
The flowers are blooming, and you can enjoy them over a longer distance as the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive in Great Basin National Park is plowed this month. During the winter it is open only to Upper Lehman Creek Campground, but as conditions allow, it is opened to the Osceola Trail parking, then Mather Overlook, then the Wheeler Peak Summit parking, then the Bristlecone/Alpine Lakes trailhead, and finally the Wheeler Peak campground is opened, often around Memorial Day weekend or the first week of June.
For hiking, with snowshoes and hiking poles, you can get to the alpine lakes or bristlecones for a very snowy view. Snowshoes can be rented at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center. If you want a break from snow, another good hike is up Hendry’s Creek in the North Snake Range. Last May the globemallow put on a spectacular display on the way to the trailhead. The creeks are running a little high due to snow melt, so bring footwear you don’t mind getting wet and a hiking stick to help cross them. Hendry’s Creek trail crosses the creek several times as it heads up to The Table, and that will still be snow-covered in May, so it’s probably better to plan on a shorter hike for May. If you’d like a totally dry hike, the trails at Sacramento Pass Recreation Area next to Highways 6 and 50 are great. They also allow mountain biking and dogs, something not allowed in the national park. There’s no fee to access trails in any of these areas. Sac Pass also has free camping and a fishing pond.
Additional tours of Lehman Caves are added for the summer, but with increased visitation, the tours often sell out. You can reserve spots ahead of time on recreation.gov. If you want to go underground, another option is Crystal Ball Cave, about 35 miles north of Baker near Gandy, Utah. They have just started doing regularly scheduled tours on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with tours on Tuesdays through Thursdays by appointment. The cave is decorated with nailhead spar, making it feel like you’re walking inside a giant geode. There aren’t any lights in the cave, so you bring your own flashlight or headlamp. See their website for more details. (And if you go, check out nearby Gandy Warm Springs.)
May is also the time for lots of baby animals: last May we saw baby great horned owls, marmots, deer, gopher snakes, and more. The temperature is variable in May, but not too hot, so it’s a great time to get out and explore. Local businesses are ready for visitors with expanded hours and more services.
— Gretchen Baker
Visit Gretchen’s great outdoor adventure blog, Desert Survivor.
America’s Heroes and Boulder City, or Why We Love Veterans
Larry was a special friend, a fishing buddy. Fishing buddies lie, cheat, compete, and, sometimes, are even willing to die for one another. The first time we ever went fishing together, I remember us sizing each other up. He had nice, very new gear with a very pretty lure that I was sure no self-respecting fish would attack unless he got really pissed off at it. Larry boasted, “This lure is going to catch the biggest fish of the day. Wanna bet?”
We stood on opposite sides of a very narrow point and started to cast. First cast, and bam! — I get one. Big smile, probably more noise than was necessary, but then the first fish was mine. Larry kept casting with a confidence that indicated that a fish was on the way, when, bam! — I caught another. The second fish, I could tell, was starting to piss Larry off. And at this point in our relationship he was more client then fishing buddy, so I thought I might advance a suggestion that might relieve the tension by offering Larry to fish on my side of the point … as though it was obviously just my luck to be casting at the the side of the point where all the fish were. Larry took the offer, and we switched spots and started to cast anew, when, yeah, you know it, bam! — I caught another beauty.
Larry looked a little incredulous with his mouth open, and I quickly seized upon a moment of inspiration and switched rods and lures with him. This moment seemed to resonate with Larry too, because he seemed happier than the moment before. I hesitated even casting that pretty lure. It was silver and red and had what appeared to be an airbrushed design that looked good at eye level in the expensive zone at the tackle shop and worked great at catching fisherman, but generally scared fish. Still, I felt like I should try it, since Larry would have much more satisfaction catching a fish with my tackle if I was nearby, fruitlessly exercising my wrist.
Well, as the day was going … you know the rest. Casting with a lackadaisical indifference, I still somehow managed to hook what I knew was a trout that had a name. I even tried to lose that fish, fearing that I had just lost a good client to a stupid fish. But somehow the fish managed to almost land itself. Fearing the worse, I pulled up the fish by it’s jaw and turned to Larry, who to my surprise had a big grin on his face. “I told you that that lure would catch the biggest fish.” So I paid him the twenty I’d bet him, and we were both happy. From that day on we were fishing buddies.
Larry was a Vietnam Veteran. He joined the Air Force rather then be drafted into the Army. So, Larry didn’t have to carry a gun, and some of his adventures even sounded fun. But one of the things he did in Vietnam was hang around and help load planes carrying Agent Orange. Larry had a few health issues, but he was not a complainer or blamer, and most of all he was a patriot who felt he was doing his duty. Larry was a soldier, father and a mentor to countless people, and he died way too early (at 68) from complications caused by lack of oxygen. Thank you, Larry, for your service and for being my hero and my fishing buddy.
Larry’s final resting place will be the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City. Many veterans have retired in Boulder City and we have the American Legion Post 31, Nevada State Veterans Home and the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, not to mention the City Cemetery. Whether in the ground, driving around town, hanging out in the gardens, or fishing on a point at Lake Mead, if you live in Boulder City, you know a veteran. Thanks, Buddy, for your service, sacrifice and friendship.
— Alan Goya
The Fresh Fare Bistro has been open for a few months, and I finally tried it out, twice, during the past week. I am glad I did. Their menu is centered around providing healthy meals prepared with organic and sustainable products including organic veggies, grass-fed beef and free range chicken. For dinner I had the
vegetable stuffed chicken breast, and for breakfast I had the salmon eggs Benedict. Both were very good! Combine that with friendly wait staff and a comfortable feel, and you have a restaurant worth checking out — at 780 West Silver Street. You can also check out their Facebook page, which includes a full menu. P.S. They also have a good beer selection on tap, and you can get growlers to go!
The Elko Public Library’s signature fundraiser, “Just Desserts,” is coming up on Saturday May 6th from 5:30 until 8 pm. This 21-and-over event is always fun for locals and visitors alike. They serve trays of delicious desserts, wine, cheese, and other drinks. Live music, a silent auction, and a raffle round out the evening.
Elko’s Peace Park
The warm days of Spring are a perfect time to enjoy one of Elko’s many city parks. This past Sunday, I stopped at the Peace Park for a short break. Unlike Elko’s other parks, the Peace Park is a quiet space for unwinding and reflection. You can walk the labyrinth, spin the prayer wheel, or walk the nature trail along the creek. The park is located at the corner of Ruby Vista Drive and College Parkway.
No Library Card Needed
Looking for a book to read, but the library is closed? No worries, Elko has a Free Little Library. Located at the corner of 1st and Court Streets this free lending library is open 24/7. Lamoille also has a Free Little Library across from the Post Office. As the name implies, the selection is small, but with lots of variety to keep you coming back.
— Doug Clarke
Ely’s Open Road Race
Twice a year Ely hosts an open road race where anyone who enters can run 90 miles of highway flat out or as fast as they want. How is this possible? The third weekend of May and September, Highway 318 from Lund to Hiko, is closed to traffic. The race starts just south of Lund and runs 90 miles to Hiko. Contestants are the only traffic on the road, and timed races are run. This is the home of the fastest speed on a public highway race, with the record time now standing at an average of 217 miles per hour.
Begun 30 years ago, this race now attracts over 200 racers and their cars. Lamborghinis, Ferrari Testarossas, Shelby Mustangs, and lots of other hot cars arrive in Ely to run Shoot Out Quarter Mile races, participate in the Parade of Cars, and shine on display in Broadbent Park in downtown Ely. Racers are on hand to talk with people who come to admire the cars, which come from as far away as Japan, Norway and Italy.
The cars begin coming into town on Thursday before the Sunday race. Inspections are held to assure the safety of the cars and then the events begin. Friday afternoon Shoot Out Quarter mile runs are held. The Parade of Cars takes place at 5:30 pm Friday starting at White Pine High School on Bobcat Drive, continuing down Great Basin Boulevard, and then turning onto East Aultman Street to end up in downtown Ely. People can park anywhere along the route and watch as the Nevada Highway patrol leads the 200-plus cars through town.
Saturday morning kicks off with a Pancake Breakfast by the Lions Club, while the cars are gathered into Broadbent Park to be on display to the public for the morning. Driver’s meetings are held, and volunteer course workers get their instructions. The only way to actually watch the race is to be a course worker along the 90-mile
route. Duties include making sure no traffic of any kind enters the road while the race is taking place. This includes not only vehicles, but also stray animals that may come by. Volunteers receive a tee shirt, hat, water, and radio to be in communication with the race officials.
Other events take place around town, including a Sidewalk Art Show at the Ely Art Bank, and the Renaissance Village opens for the season at 10 am. Train rides are available at the Nevada Northern Railway, nnry.com.
The race takes place early Sunday morning with the road, Highway 318, being closed until after the race ends in the afternoon.
These races have been featured in “Motor Trend” and “Autoweek,” as well as in televised coverage. The event has been accepted into the Guinness World Book of Records for the Highest Speed on a Public Highway and the Fastest Road Rally.
If you are interested in fast cars, this is the event for you. Mark your calendar for May 18 – 21 for the Silver State Classic Challenge and September 14 – 17 to enjoy the Nevada Open Road Challenge. The September race will celebrate its 30th anniversary. Watch for more information.
— Lorraine Clark
Kayaking in Gerlach?
This wet year has brought an unusual amount of water to the Black Rock Desert. Folks have been kayaking, paddleboarding and floating, taking advantage of this rare phenomenon.
“I’ve never seen this much water on the playa” said a local resident of over 30 years.
Water forms every year on the flat playa, but this year there has been an exceptional amount. The water tends to move with the winds, so sometimes you will find it to be more accessible than others. As of this writing, north winds have pushed the lake back towards the banks at 12 Mile, but just a few days ago the water line was farther out. Don’t expect more than a few inches of depth unless you get out quite a ways.
The 12 Mile entrance is typically the best place to launch from. Be warned, the “lake” does dry up quickly, so visit soon, before it disappears.
Above all, DO NOT drive on the playa where it is still wet. You will get stuck. People have already been digging deep ruts into what most people hoped would be a “healed” playa from all of these rains. Tread lightly!
That said, while you’re here stop in at Bruno’s Cafe and check out their newly remodeled bar (almost a year now, but hey … for infrequent visitors and newcomers, it’s new). A new menu was presented in April featuring more yummy choices, like jalepeno poppers, more burger variations, nightly chef specials, and lots of other tasty fare, including hand-made pizzas. Check out the Bruno’s Country Club page on Facebook.
Black Rock Rendezvous
Memorial Day Weekend – May 26-29. The family friendly Rendezvous is a great way to
learn about this area and to get out and explore with experts. The weekend features tours, workshops, conservation projects, a pot luck, dutch oven cook-off, giant raffle, campfire poetry/music and more.
Camp is located just off the flats near Cassidy Mine. Due to the unusually wet playa, main camp may be located at the top of Cassidy Mine Rd. this year. There are many places to explore that are off the main flats.
Check back as our schedule may change due to weather. This is a Leave No Trace event, so bring everything you need for the weekend and Pack it In, Pack it Out. Porta-potties will be provided. For more information visit the Black Rock Rendezvous website.
The Friends of Black Rock/High Rock has up-to-date area information. Stop by their visitor center and gift shop at 320 Main Street in Gerlach.
If you’re planning on coming, please send an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so they can get a headcount and be prepared for you!
Planet X Memorial Day Weekend Show
And while you’re here, don’t forget to swing by Planet X Pottery for their Memorial Day weekend show and sale, May 27 – 29 (10am-5pm). Planet X is located at 8100 Hwy 447 (8 miles west of Gerlach).
— Margie Reynolds
It’s not easy driving through Las Vegas when you’re hungry and you’re looking for something besides another half-pound double cheeseburger with fries and a thick, chocolate milk shake. Consider Health Binge, the grab-and-go style health market that provides over 60 portion-controlled, freshly-prepared meals at the ease of a fast food establishment. It was created by former NFL athlete Gerome Sapp. His menu includes nutrient-rich breakfast, lunch and dinner meals along with other nutrient-rich snacks and juices. Health Binge is at 6040 W. Badura Ave. near Jones Blvd. and I-215. It opens daily at 7 a.m. For more information, peruse the Health Binge website.
But sometimes, after a grueling drive through the desert, that hamburger sounds really good. One of the best hamburgers in town is at Heart Attack Grill (405 Fremont St., 702-254-0171), a hospital-themed restaurant in downtown Las Vegas. It has become internationally famous for embracing and promoting an unhealthy diet of incredibly large hamburgers. Customers are referred to as “patients,” orders as “prescriptions,” and the waitresses as “nurses.” The menu includes the Single Bypass
Burger, Double Bypass Burger, Triple Bypass Burger, Quadruple Bypass Burger, Quintuple Bypass Burger, Sextuple Bypass Burger, Septuple Bypass Burger, and the Octuple Bypass Burger. These dishes range in weight from half-pound to four pounds of beef. Also on the menu are Flatliner Fries (cooked in pure lard), Coronary Dog, Butterfat Milkshakes, and full sugar Coca-Cola. And if you are counting calories, know that The Quadruple Bypass Burger has been awarded the title of World’s Most Calorific Burger by Guinness World Records: 9,983 calories! For more information, go to the Heart Attack Grill website.
My wife and I were sitting at a table at her school reunion. She kept staring at a drunken man as he sat alone at a nearby table.
“Do you know him?” I asked.
“Yes”, she sighed, “He’s my old boyfriend. I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago. I’ve been told that he hasn’t been sober since.”
“My gosh!” I said, “Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?”
— Diamond Jack Bulavsky
Let’s do something different in Las Vegas!
May in Las Vegas always showcases festivals which are always worth attending and can guarantee smiles for the whole family. The San Gennaro Feast, the Art Festival of Henderson and the Best Dam Barbeque Challenge in Boulder City are annual events that should not be missed. Here are a few different activities for you to also enjoy.
The Indian Food & Cultural Festival will be held on May 6th at the Clark County Amphitheater (500 S. Grand Central Pkwy.) from 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. There will be Indian food, music, dance, fashion and other items to purchase. Admission is $7.00 for ages 6 and above. Children are admitted free if aged 5 and under.
Also on May 6th, the Springs Preserve ‘Ohana (family) Festival will be celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. They are putting the Pacific Island culture, hula, music, food and crafts on display for all to enjoy and participate in from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is free for children (2 and under) and $6.00 for those aged 3 and above. They also offer a 4-pack discount for $20.00.
Las Vegas Helldorado Days Parade kicks off on Saturday, May 13th at 10 a.m. Downtown on Fourth Street. It runs from Gass Avenue north to Ogden Avenue.
Helldorado Days was created in 1934 to bring entertainment to Boulder Dam (known as Hoover Dam since 1947) workers and their families and has grown into four days of festivities. The PRCA Rodeo will be held on Thursday, May 11th. A brewfest and the PBR Last Cowboy Standing competition is scheduled for May 12th. May 13th is the Whiskerino Contest. Mutton Bustin’ for youngsters aged 5 to 7 years of age will be held each day of the event. The events take place within the Las Vegas Village, which is directly across from the Luxor Hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard.
The Springs Preserve is also presenting their annual Ice Cream Festival on May 20th in their Amphitheater. Ice cream creations of all kinds (ice cream sundae or root beer float anyone?) will be served from 10 a.m until 4 p.m. They have ice cream eating contests, carnival games, live entertainment, and more to keep the whole family entertained. Adult admission is $10. Children age 3-12 $8. Children age 2 and under enter free. (And they do have 50% off discounts for Springs Preserve members.) If you can buy the tickets in advance, do it; the lines can be long.
Also on May 20th, the Family Bluegrass Festival is scheduled at Police Memorial Park (3250 Metro Academy Way) in Summerlin. The park is located just north of Cheyenne and between N. Hualapai & Fort Apache, east of the 215. This is a free event with several bands performing throughout the day from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. There will be crafts sold, food and beer vendors, along with activities and children’s crafts. How often do you get in free in Vegas?
— Pauline Cimoch
Dave Chappellle brings comedy to Mandalay Bay Events Center
Comedian Dave Chappelle will headline at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Friday, May 5 at 9 p.m. Chappelle recently made his return to the screen with a pair of stand-up specials exclusively on Netflix. His film career began in 1993 as Ahchoo in Mel Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and he starred in the ABC’s series “Buddies.” Tickets range in price from $59 to $279.
San Gennaro Feast will honor past host Tony Sacca
The 38th Annual San Gennaro Feast will be held May 10–14 at Craig Ranch Park. The festival is being dedicated to the memory of Tony Sacca, who passed away on Jan. 30 and who was the host and main act at San Gennaro every night for the last 32 years. Kelly Clinton, Sacca’s nephew Eddie Tully, Jr. and childhood friend Philly Cuzz aka Phil Battaglia, festival regular Denise Clemente, Mark Giovi, Michael Monge, The Saccettes – Amanda Kaiser, Nellie Norris, and Joelle Righetti, and many others will be honoring Sacca under the direction and orchestration of Gary Anderson, musician, band leader, and also close friend in a musical tribute every night.
Also performing on various nights will be The Shades of Sinatra, The Good Fellows, Sam Riddle Band, The Lon Bronson Band, Thr3 Cards, and MJ LIVE. There will be a DJ Dance Party every night starting off the festivities hosted at 6 p.m. Tully, Jr.
All-day Saturday and Sunday, local High School Bands will be competing for an award.
Edgar Winter & Rick Derringer to headline at the Cannery
Rock, blues and jazz artists Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer will bring their top hits to The Club at the Cannery on Saturday, May 20 at 8 p.m. Winter and Derringer have performed together since the 1970s. Their most famous collaboration was formed when Derringer produced The Edgar Winter Group’s double-Platinum album “They Only Come Out at Night,” which reached No. 3 on the U.S. album chart. Tickets start at $19.95.
Early in Winter’s career, he performed R&B and blues songs with his brother Johnny and went on to form the band White Trash. Winter has recorded more than 20 albums and in addition to singing plays the guitar, bass, saxophone, keyboard and drums.
Derringer began his musical career in the rock group The McCoys in 1965 and releasing his first No. 1 hit “Hang On Sloopy.” As a solo artist, he debuted his album “All American Boy” with a new version of his original single “Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo.”
Motown super-group The Temptations will bring their timeless classics and contagious moves to The Orleans Showroom May 20-21 at 8 p.m. The group’s lineup features original member Otis Williams, along with Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Bruce Williamson and Joe Herndon. Tickets start at $49.95.
The Temptations return to the Orleans Showroom
The Temptations rose to fame in 1960. In their nearly 36-year career, they have achieved 37 top-10 hits, 15 No. 1 singles, and 17 No. 1 albums. The group has won seven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.
In 1989, the vocal group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
— Jackie Brett
Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas will visit the Avi
The two-time Grammy Award Winning Mariachi Divas, a multi-cultural, all-female ensemble formed in 1999 in Los Angeles by founder, director and distinguished trumpet player Cindy Shea, will appear in the Avi Grand Ballroom on Sunday, May 7 at 8 p.m. The band has had nine Grammy nominations. They are in the recording studio creating their 13th CD, “Recordando Juan Gabriel,” which will be released this year. Tickets start at $15.
Rio Vista Amphitheater highlights Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson is celebrating the album “Pet Sounds” 50th Anniversary singing those hits and other Beach Boy songs with special guests Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin at Harrah’s in the Rio Vitas Amphitheater on Saturday, May 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $45.41 to $86.69.
“Pet Sounds” was the Beach Boys’ 11th studio album, which was released on May 16, 1966, and is one of music’s most popular and critically-acclaimed albums of all time. “Pet Sounds” was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as No. 2 in its list of “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” The iconic album celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and has memorable songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows,” “You Still Believe in Me,” “Here Today” and more.
Wilson, who spent 54 years with the Beach Boys, has been touring to support the record’s anniversary and will play it in its entirety, along with other hits by the surfer group and some of his favorite solo hits.
Melissa Etheridge will headline the E Center
Grammy Award Winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge will bring her talent to the Edgewater on Saturday, May 20 at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $75.
Etheridge entered the American rock scene in 1988 with the release of her critically acclaimed self-titled debut album, which led to an appearance on the 1989 Grammy Awards show. Etheridge won a Grammy® in 1992 and again in 1993. In 1995, Etheridge issued her highest charting album, “Your Little Secret,” which was distinguished by the hit single, “I Want to Come Over.” In 1996, she received the Songwriter of the Year honor at the ASCAP Pop Awards. Etheridge remains one of America’s favorite female singer-songwriters.
Ramon Ayala Y Sus Bravos Del Norte return to the E Center
Grammy Award-winning Norteño music star Ramon Ayala will visit the Edgewater’s E Center again on Saturday, May 27. Tickets are $45 general admission for the Ramon Ayala Y Sus Bravos Del Norte concert and an after party featuring DJ Azteca will follow.
Norteño music has been defined by Ayala with signature songs and definitive instrumental stylings and made him a superstar on both sides of the El Rio Grande. The virtuoso accordionist/vocalist/songwriter has entertained audiences for more than 40 years.
As a teenager in the early 1960s, Ayala virtually invented modern conjunto music, teaming up with the late bajo sexto guitarist / vocalist Cornelio Reyna and forming Los Relampagos del Norte, which lasted for eight years. Together they revolutionized and re-invented norteño music, a genre that was then considered exclusively cantina music. The talented duo recorded a total of 20 albums until splitting in 1971. That’s when Ayala formed his legendary band.
— Jackie Brett
World Migratory Bird Day
“Come Fly with Me” is an old song by Frank Sinatra, and let’s make it the theme this year for World Migratory Bird Day, May 12-13. Okay, so it probably isn’t the official theme, but it sounds good anyway.
World Migratory Bird Day is a worldwide event, and it’s also being observed at the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge because the refuge is on the Pacific Flyway, where the number of migratory bird species that can be sighted at various times of year is over 260. The event, an official UN-supported event, is usually a two-day affair held on the second weekend of May.
The day will take place at the refuge, as usual, although Visitors Services Coordinator Barbara Michel is not planning any special event. Nevertheless, all interested bird watchers are still invited to come to the refuge. Michel said, “Nearly one-quarter of all bird species in the entire U.S. have been sighted at Pahranagat Refuge, not just migratory birds. We see Blue Herons a lot,” she said, “and lots of ducks and geese too, of course. Eagles do migrate a little bit,” she added, “but they are usually here at the refuge around December.”
The point of World Migratory Bird Day is to highlight the need to protect migratory birds and their habitats. The United Nations is one of the many organizations that support this global awareness campaign. Thus, people around the world celebrate World Migratory Bird Day by organizing public events such as bird festivals, education programs and bird-watching excursions.
Originally organized in 2006, the first World Migratory Bird Day was launched on the weekend of April 8–9 that year. The event was created to help turn the world’s attention to the wonders of bird migration and the need for their conservation. Each year, the total number of registered World Migratory Bird Day events has steadily increased along with the number of countries in which these events occur.
There are many different migration patterns. The majority of birds migrate from northern breeding areas to southern wintering grounds. However, some birds breed in southern parts of Africa and migrate to northern wintering grounds, or along lines of latitude, to enjoy the milder coastal climates in winter. Other birds reside in lowlands during the winter months and move to higher altitudes for the summer.
Migration is a perilous journey and exposes the animals to a wide range of threats, often caused by human activities. As migratory birds depend on a range of sites throughout their journey along their flyway, the loss of wintering and stopover sites could have a dramatic impact on the animals’ chances of survival. Flying long distances involves crossing many borders between countries with differing environmental policies, legislation and conservation measures. International cooperation among governments is therefore essential.
The Audubon Society says hundreds of bird species use the Pacific Flyway, which actually stretches all the way down the Pacific Coast of South America. Many species don’t travel the entire flyway while migrating. Instead, most travel the leg of the journey that brings them into warmer temperatures that are closer to the equator.
— Dave Maxwell
Hawthorne’s Restored 1942 USO Building
Historic buildings don’t always make the restoration list, but the USO Building in Hawthorne is one of only two left standing in the United States. With the original structure restored to incorporate some of today’s building standards, Mineral County saw fit to retain this valuable 1942 landmark from it’s memorable days when it was a jumping social hall. With WW II soldiers crowding in to meet young hostesses, one can only imagine those couples swinging to the big band tunes of the day. If these walls could talk, oh what stories this room would tell!
Over 400 USO “recreational building kits” were distributed throughout America during World War II, to provide the troops a safe place to find assistance, hang out to dance and have a free soda with locals from the fountain. Hostesses were local ladies that came to assist the soldiers with writing letters home, provide someone to talk to or enjoy a dance or two. Even today, one can find USO facilities generally within large airports, but an auditorium style USO, such as the Hawthorne location, is a rarity, as most were converted to other uses or destroyed. In 2005, this facility became part of the National Registry of Historic Places. The other 1941-built USO building is the DeRidder Building in Louisiana, also on the registry.
As part of the Hawthorne USO building’s restoration, a photo book was created to preserve the beginning photos and show the transformation from condemned building to convention hall. Flooring was detailed, as well as retaining the entry fireplace. It was all handled with great care so as not to compromise the integrity of the original framework within the building.
And then there were fundraising efforts to purchase a giant flag as the theater drop. Never giving in to the flavor of modern decor, this military, patriotic town raised money to fly a big flag to fly at at Veterans Park and another to hang up on the USO stage. With new lighting equipment installed, you may find the USO host happy to not only give you a tour, but also allow a photo op up on stage.
With newly installed, artistically-made sound panels running along the walls, you’ll enjoy seeing renditions of the old days, using actual black and white photos from days gone by. A large bar hutch sits on the back wall, taken from the officers lounge at the military base and relocated as an area time-piece, with backlit stained glass and carved corbels.
Stop by for a tour, enjoying the history and the grand room’s structure. Gaze at the journals of information, or look at the large petrified wood placed in the old fireplace. Rent the unique facility for groups, reunions, dances, or weddings by speaking with the curator on hand. Check in advance for availability at VisitMineralCounty.com.
— Sheri Samson
Amazing what a difference a year makes! Last year at this time the West was gripped by a severe drought. It seemed as though climate change had shifted the weather pattern so badly that we wouldn’t receive any more snow in the Sierra Nevada ever again. Water levels dropped at South Lake Tahoe to the point that docks and boat buoys sat on dry land. People were seriously concerned that a dry winter would become the norm. Then it started to snow in January. Finally, storms came that old time locals could compare to the winters of yesteryear. Ski resorts rejoiced, and snowpack scientists were relieved. It was good all the way around, and now as Spring hits Lake Tahoe, the Lake and its visitors will reap the reward of having a record breaking winter snowfall.
There has been unpredictable weather here at the Lake during these spring months of April and May. One day it’s shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops, then “wham,” it’s back to parka’s and moon boots. The daffodils and tulips can’t bloom with all this indecision by Mother Nature. The black bears waking up from their hibernation are greeted with snow and must resort to raiding garbage cans to fill their empty bellies. But one thing is for sure, with Tahoe already reaching its natural rim of 6,229 feet: when the warm weather sets in, the area will be ripe for boating, fishing, camping, and all other kinds of outdoor recreation.
May is the month the summer season starts to come into view. Marinas, beach resorts and boat ramps open their gates to people ready to have fun on or near the Lake. One marina in particular that must be super stoked the Lake has filled up is Ski Run Marina over on the California side in the middle of South Lake Tahoe. Their fleet of rental boats and jet skis almost didn’t make it through last summer because water levels at boat slips topped out at maybe two feet. This year, all the vessels will be sitting pretty in nice deep water and ready for an opening date in early May. Round Hill Pines, located in Nevada in between Zephyr Cove and Stateline, will also be making an
early May opening day. The Pines is a nice quiet beach nestled in Marla Bay, a great place to spend the day. May could be a tad early to really start doing anything actually in the Lake, like swimming, unless you enjoy being immersed in ice cold water and turning blue. But on the inevitable warm day in May, find your friend who has a boat or rent one and go for spin on the Lake, and it won’t be as busy as during the oncoming onslaught of people in the busy summer months.
With all the snow sitting up on top of the mountains — in some places as much as 20 to 30 feet — ski resorts like Mount Rose can remain open throughout the month. Interest in skiing wanes as Spring goes along, and people are done hitting the slopes till next winter. But how many places in the world can you go skiing in the morning and then go hit the beach in the afternoon? That’s what makes having a huge winter at Tahoe so special: it gives people a very unique vacation experience.
— Brendan Packer