NevadaGram #9 – May Winnemucca, Elko Museums, Travel off the freeway

Two Great Museums on I-80:
The Humboldt Museum, Winnemucca

Part of the Stoker Collection

Part of the Stoker Collection

Take US 95 north across the river to this recently enlarged facility containing an exotic combination of artifacts from the pioneer west, prehistory and the early automobiles collected by Clarence Stoker.

The Northeastern Nevada Museum, Elko

The Museum Store

The Museum Store

This museum has been welcoming visitors since 1968, now after major expansions in 1982 and 1999 it’s a major attraction on East Idaho Street. The astonishing Wanamaker Wildlife Wing displays more than 200 stuffed animals.

Interstate 80 connects all the major towns along the Humboldt Trail like a concrete dot-to-dot across the Nevada map. It’s great for truck drivers hauling triples, cross-country travelers intent on making fast time, and for people with a lot on their minds.
But for you and me there are many opportunities for detour, digression and deliverance from monotony. Here’s one I like to take between Beowawe to Carlin. You can make this 45-mile drive along the Humboldt River in the family sedan, and it’s especially enjoyable for railroad enthusiasts.
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Century City, California
This half-day trip is beautiful and exciting. The excitement comes from the fact that most of its 35 miles closely parallel the railroad tracks. As you pick your way along the graveled road at one of the narrow places, with tracks on one side and a sheer cliff rising up on the other you’ll find the sudden appearance of a hurtling freight train enormously exciting, especially if the engineer amuses himself by giving you a friendly blast with his huge horn. That’s exciting! The traffic is fairly heavy, so there’s never a shortage of trains — which is a part of the beauty of this side trip: seeing the trains in their natural habitat, curving along with the meandering river, powerful graceful and romantic all at once.
The Ely Murals:
Here is the whole story of the Ely Renaissance Society. Above, Larry Bute‘s riff on fuse boxes in the 400 block of Clark Street

Begin by turning south off and drive to the far edge of Beowawe. Go across the railroad tracks and take the graveled road east. About two miles along you’ll see a large white cross on a little knoll. Railroad workers camping nearby I-80 at Nevada 306discovered this site where a victim of the Humboldt Trail had been buried overlooking a peaceful bend in the river. A stone inscribed with the name Lucinda Duncan prompted the sentimental railroaders to christen it “the maiden’s grave” and to maintain it over the years as a shrine to a departed child.

Subsequent research has determined that Lucinda Duncan was past 70 when she expired here — whether that makes her fate more or less touching is for you to decide.

The Maiden's Grave at Beowawe

The Maiden’s Grave at Beowawe

Over the years Lucinda’s grave has attracted other corpses from Beowawe and the nearby ranches, and there is now an attractive and individualistic collection of markers here beneath the great white cross.


Have you ever wondered what you may and may not pick up and take home from the public lands that comprise most of our state? Here are the rules.

As you continue east you’ll encounter grazing cattle, and perhaps some cowboys out riding the range. You’ll cross the river on a one-lane bridge, you’ll find a sandy-beached swimming hole much favored by the local folks, and pass a coal mine conveniently located at trackside. Eventually you’ll arrive at Palisade, an interesting settlement dating back to the 1860s. From here you’ll need only a few minutes to reach Nevada 278, turn north ten miles to Carlin and return to the freeway.

Lake Tahoe is a national treasure, one of the most beautiful places on earth, and at its most spectacular from the water. Here’s the definitive resource for Boating on Lake Tahoe. No boat of your own? You’ll find everything from kayaks to cruise boats, and a wonderful variety of marine activities from driving your own personal watercraft to sailing. If you’re bringing your own boat, you’ll find every boat launch and marine services provider on the Lake. See you on the water!

Overheard at the Fireside Lounge at the Reno Peppermill: “It’s 99% of the men who give the rest a bad name.”

Under the clutter on my coffee table:Nevada by Jon Cristenson and Deon Reynolds: “Basin and range, basin and range; it’s hypnotic, like the sea. A harsh expanse of dry desert and high mountains between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada, the Great Basin has always been a land in between, a region apart, not included in visions of the other Western regions, the Rockies, the Colorado Plateau, the Southwest, or the West Coast. The landscape is more than half empty. So we fill it with images and ideas.”

David W. Toll

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