by Gage T. Smith, “the Picon guy”
Founded in the 1860s, Austin has always been the town that refused to die. Forever, it was the county seat of Lander County — until it wasn’t. The old courthouse is still a fixture in this town, but the County seat is in Battle Mountain now. Waaay back in a different century, my father Raymond Smith was county planner for a number of rural counties in Nevada including Lander. He gravitated to these places because he liked the people and liked the attitude of 1960s and 1970s rural Nevada.
He spent many hours and days traveling to these outposts to meet with the folks from these counties. In the early 60s, it was a Jeep Wagoneer. Big, comfortable but in all actuality, rather slow and they really liked fuel Then came the Mustang. In 1965 it was 289, four on the floor and a mover. At 100 mph, it got the same fuel economy as the Wagoneer at 60. And in those days, the speed limit was “safe and reasonable” which left a lot to discretion. I was with him on a lot of these trips. I liked this stuff . . . and I still do.
After the parade there was an hour or two before the festivities began at Gandolfo Park at the top of town. What do we do for a couple of hours? Go find a picon. That was easier said than done. We ended up at the Owl Club where they had the materials but not the know how. No worries. Within a few minutes, the bartender was fully versed and making picons for all of us . . . all before noon. We soon exhausted her one bottle of Amer Picon. But, there are picons in Austin if you are so inclined. I’m not a shy person and there were no exceptions here.