Trip Report #21 – Denio, Carson Valley and Carson City, Death Valley, Sparks, Las Vegas, Elko

I made a little trip out I-80 and took the opportunity to visit Denio, the little remnant of a town on the Oregon border via US 95 and Nevada Routes 140 and 292. It’s about a hundred miles northwest of Winnemucca, and a hundred years back in time.

Peace and quiet reigns in Denio.

Peace and quiet reigns in Denio.

The calm of the place is profound. There were a couple of young cowboys in for provisions, the lady tending bar was reading a newspaper, I was gawping around, and a dog the size and shape of a lion snoozed in the doorway. Across the drive is a phone booth that hasn’t worked in years. Every once in a while a car or a truck drives by. There’s a bench outside the saloon doorway, and it cries out to be sat on. And when you do sit down there, your hand yearns for the chilly kiss of a cold Budweiser.

Nothing moves, nothing breaks the silence.

Nice place.

But, if you’d like a little more excitement in your escapes from everyday reality, here’s a chance for a Free Jackpot Getaway.

A Visit to Death Valley
by Lawrence Gibbs

The two American Airlines tickets to anywhere in the U.S. expired June 30, so after holding them for almost two years, we had to go somewhere. That’s why we experienced the wonders of Death Valley.

Badwater: 282 feet below sea level

Badwater: 282 feet below sea level

Flying into Las Vegas, we rented wheels and spent two nights in Beatty. The day in between, we explored what’s left of the booming gold town of Rhyolite and then visited Bad Water, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere.

The Sparks Hometowne Farmer's Market is held Thursdays from June 12 to August 21, 4 to 9 pm except August 7.

The Sparks Hometowne Farmer’s Market is held Thursdays from June 12 to August 21, 4 to 9 pm except August 7.

The 93rd annual Carson Valley Days is coming up June 13 – 15. The weekend event features good food, music, a parade, games, raffle prizes, competitions, and a great Arts and Crafts show. When Chris was a baby we bought his beloved Ducky here, a wooden duck on a stick with flapper-feet which he wheeled with delight until he wore it out. This is a colorful, friendly, family-centered affair — a day at the park.

Golf is a big attraction in the Carson Valley, and here are three special opportunities to play: Golf Groups, Invitational Pro Am Golf Tournament, and the Mixed Scramble Golf Tournament.

Golf is a big attraction in the Carson Valley, and here are three special opportunities to play: Golf Groups, Invitational Pro Am Golf Tournament, and the Mixed Scramble Golf Tournament.

On the same June 13 – 15 weekend, the Carson City Rendezvous at Mills Park in Carson City, is an astonishing and interesting melange of cultures and eras. It embraces a Mountain Man Encampment & Traders’ Row, Native American Village, Dancing & Crafts, Civil War Encampment & skirmishes, Pony Express Re-enactment, Scottish Clans, Gun Fighters, Camel Rides, Western Craft Fair, Dutch Oven Demonstrations & Cook Off, Free Entertainment and more. Admission is free, info at 1-800-Nevada-1 or 775-687-7410.

One of the unforgettable images I carry around in my mind is from this event 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.

 The National Basque Festival in Elko is one of the most colorful and unusual celebrations in the USA. This is a bedrock Nevada event, scheduled for July 3-6; you should go.

The National Basque Festival in Elko is one of the most colorful and unusual celebrations in the USA. This is a bedrock Nevada event, scheduled for July 3-6; you should go.

They were splendidly made up as Mountain Man and Mountain Woman in dressed hides and furs. Their breeches were decorated with conches and fringes, and they both wore big knives. 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?'”


David W. Toll

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