In this edition:
Baker, Cal-Nev-Ari, Carson Valley, Elko, Ely, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Lincoln County, Mineral County, North Lake Tahoe, Pahrump, Sparks
At first glance, it might seem like all the animals have disappeared in February. But it doesn’t take long before you can start finding wildlife, although it might take a little extra effort.
One of the best ways to see wildlife is to borrow some snowshoes from the Lehman Caves Visitor Center and head to the Baker Creek Road or Upper Lehman Creek Campground. Both roads are gated, but you can hike past the gates to look for wildlife tracks. Look for the distinctive hopping pattern of rabbits and try to guess if jackrabbits or cottontails left the tracks. Deer tracks are easy to spot, but if the tracks look a little bigger, then they could be elk tracks. Elk are still expanding in the area. If you see dog-like tracks, coyotes are the most likely contender. Cat-like tracks about the size of a small Gala apple would be bobcat. And cat-like tracks the size of a grapefruit would be mountain lion. Once in a great while you’ll get to see the animal itself. Weasels are amazing in that they change color in the winter.
Birds are also about. Wild turkeys meander all over the area. At the Christmas Bird Count in December, 184 wild turkeys were counted within the count circle, most in the park. Mountain chickadees may sing their “cheese-burger” song, while nuthatches will sound like a truck backing up (beep-beep-beep). A long-shrill whistle would be a Townsend’s solitaire. And be on the lookout for the Corvids — Clark’s nutcrackers are much lower in elevation in the winter, plus you may see pinyon jays, black-billed magpies, Steller’s jays, and Woodhouse’s scrub jays.
If all that wildlife watching is making you cold, head into 52 degree Lehman Caves (advance reservations highly recommended), or go to the Border Inn, open 24/7. A special opportunity to see Lehman Caves is during the annual Lint Camp, February 6-8. This camp allows volunteers to experience the cave in a completely different way, with a paintbrush gently removing lint that has drifted from visitors’ clothes to speleothems. Housing is provided in the park dorms, and it’s like camp.
To experience some local culture, head to the Winter Carnival, held at Baker Hall (the pink building in Baker) on February 9 in the evening. Eat some delicious tamales, try your luck at Bingo with prizes from local establishments, dress up in costume for the photo booth, try your luck in the raffle, or play one of the kids’ games. It’s small-town entertainment at its best, and a great way to help the local schools.
— Gretchen Baker
Visit Gretchen’s great outdoor adventure blog, Desert Survivor.
On the Road from Las Vegas to Laughlin: Cal-Nev-Ari
To read Part 1 of this series click here
From Searchlight we continue south another 12 miles until we reach the very small town (population approximately 160) of Cal-Nev-Ari, which consists of homes, a restaurant/casino/bar, the Kidwell Airport for smaller planes, and a motel.
You may have heard of this town, since it was put up for sale in 2016 for $8 million. The whole town … for sale! And, a surprise for those of us that drive through this town on I-95, what you can see is not all there is to the town. Most people think the town only goes up to the airport strip which you can see when you stop at the restaurant; however, on the other side of the strip, to the west, are more homes and properties.
For years, my husband and I have talked about stopping at the restaurant but always continued on by. Not this time! We stopped for breakfast and had the pleasure of being served by Tina. The breakfast was terrific, and though the place looks small from the outside, it is big on the inside. They have a nice dining/breakfast patio/counter service restaurant with a small casino in the back, along with a nice bar and dance/party area. To show you how terrific it was, we also stopped here for breakfast on the way back to Vegas from Laughlin and were greeted by another pleasant server, Jennifer. You want it, they have it. Steak, ham, bacon, sausage and eggs, pancakes, French toast, and for later, sandwiches. Be forewarned though — the restaurant portion is only open for breakfast and lunch, not dinner. The casino/bar area is open 24/7.
Before I forget to mention it, the Blue Sky Motel on the east side of the road has 10 rooms available and a pool. These are no frills type of rooms which are supposedly spacious, with an excellent hot water pump system. You book your room across the street from the motel at the Cal-Nev-Ari Casino. Blue Sky Motel phone: (702) 297-1118. The Cal-Nev-Ari Market and RV Park is just to the south of the motel. RV Park phone: (702) 297-1115.
After filling up, it’s on to Laughlin! But wait — if we didn’t stop for breakfast and we needed a rest stop, there’s one up ahead! The Southern Nevada Visitors Center is just down the road, 7 miles south of Cal-Nev-Ari. This center is not staffed, so the information/maps are located in glass cases; however, each time I have stopped there the rest rooms have been very clean. They keep some of the mess away by using hand dryers instead of paper towels. You can also picnic at the tables they have set up, and there is ample parking.
And, in case your vehicle is low on gas, there is a Chevron station with mini food mart located just a mile or so south of the Visitors Center on the west side of the road just before you make your left turn onto State Route (SR) 163, Laughlin Highway.
So we’re filled up and finally turning left onto SR 163 from I-95 on our way to Laughlin. What beautiful scenery! From this point, it is 19 miles to Laughlin, with several sharper turns and downgrades until you are dumped into the Colorado River Valley. If you drive this route at night you have a fantastic view of the lights of Laughlin as you round the last curve of the road. But, keep in mind, this is a dark desert highway.
If you are driving to Laughlin for the first time you should probably take SR 163 straight to the Laughlin Strip, which is Casino Drive, to see the heart of Laughlin’s tourist district and what they have to offer. You will pass under the Blue Gateway Bridge, which is part of the North Reach Project of Laughlin’s Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails. This bridge was dedicated in July of 2012 and estimated to have cost $1 million
Once you turn right onto Casino Drive, you will see the first of Laughlin’s hotels, the Riverside Hotel & Casino, and you will pass under the Welcome to Laughlin NV sign, which is on the Pedestrian Bridge over the roadway. Continuing on along the east side of the Laughlin Strip, there will be the Aquarius, Regency, Edgewater, Colorado Belle, Pioneer, Golden Nugget, Laughlin River Lodge, and farther up the hill, Harrah’s. The lone hotel on the west side of the Strip (and not on the river) is the Tropicana, which is directly across the street from the Colorado Belle.
Starting in March, I will begin dissecting the things to do, places to eat, specials, discounts and tips for you to use for each of the hotels and other areas of Laughlin. So much to do, so little time! Good thing I live in the area!
— Pauline Cimoch
Carson Valley legend “Snowshoe” Thompson
Looking up at Jobs Peak, in all of its snow-capped glory, from the floor of Carson Valley, I’m thinking that I cannot be the only one who is happy to see snow. The Sierra resorts now have a steady business with skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and sledding. Here in Carson Valley, we can also enjoy snowshoeing and cross country skiing when we have enough snow.
Actually, Carson Valley is legendary for “snowshoeing”. Yes, legendary, thanks to a very hardy Norwegian-born gentleman who was a Nevada pioneer and who also saved the small town of Genoa during one of the worst winters still on record.
In the record snowfall winter of 1856, John A. “Snowshoe” Thompson answered a local Placerville, California newspaper ad, calling for anyone who could deliver mail and messages to the small snowbound town of Genoa, on the remote Eastern Slope of the Sierra Nevada in what was then Western Utah Territory. Thompson became a hero by traversing between the two towns twice a month, on what we now call skis, yet were then called “snowshoes” or “snow skates.” He delivered mail, small articles and messages in the 20 years that he covered the route, with his rucksack sometimes weighing as much as 100 pounds. In his travels, he experienced several adventures that would challenge the hardiest of men.
Interestingly enough, he was never paid by the government in the 20 years that he carried their mail, although he was compensated by private citizens for their articles. On a bright May afternoon in 1876, Thompson felt unwell after working on his ranch and took a rest before dinnertime. Never again leaving his bed, several days later he passed away from what we now know as appendicitis. He was only 49 years old.
Thompson was married to Agnes Singleton of Genoa in 1866, and while they lived on his ranch in Diamond Valley, located at the southern edge of Carson Valley, he was considered a citizen of Genoa. His funeral was held in the County Courthouse in Genoa, now a museum operated by the Douglas County Historical Society and open to the public from May through October. In front of the Courthouse Museum and mounted on the opposite side of the Pony Express Centennial Monument is a plaque dedicated by the Snowshoe Thompson Chapter 1827 E Clampus Vitus organization.
The famous “Mailman of the Sierra” left his mark throughout Carson Valley, as well as in the northern parts of California and Nevada. In Genoa, you can visit Mormon Station State Historic Park and see his statue where there is a plaque noting his origins and some of his accomplishments.
John A. “Snowshoe” Thompson is buried alongside his wife Agnes and young son Arthur in the Genoa Cemetery, one half mile north of town on Main Street/Jacks Valley Road. In February of 1960, the Norwegian Olympic Ski Team travelled from Squaw Valley, California to visit his grave. The team paid their Telemark compatriot homage by dedicating a plaque to be placed there. When visiting his gravesite, you will also see a plaque dedicated to him by the Fellow Lutherans of America and Scandinavia.
Dedicated to sharing the history of this amazing pioneer is the “Friends of Snowshoe Thompson” organization, based in Genoa. The members hold seasonal events to keep his history alive. In the fall they generally host an evening of Chautauqua where “Snowshoe Thompson,” portrayed by re-enactor Steve Hale, interacts with other
historical figures, such as “Mark Twain,” portrayed by re-enactor McAvoy Layne. In the spring, the organization hosts a “Snowshoe Thompson Ski & Snowshoe Celebration” where families can enjoy an interactive tour with “Snowshoe Thompson” as portrayed by Steve Hale, along with an antique longboard ski demonstration and lunch.
This year, the 18th Annual Snowshoe Thompson Ski & Snowshoe Celebration will take place at the Lake Tahoe Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe, California on Saturday, February 24 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “The event isn’t even in Carson Valley, let alone Nevada!” You’re correct, but the event organizers needed to make sure there would be snow, so they had to choose a higher altitude! However, there’s nothing stopping you from driving over Luther Pass, through Hope Valley and down into Carson Valley, taking Thompson’s original winter route, to spend the rest of your day on February 24th visiting all of the places he would have been a part of when he was alive. You can stop in at Markleeville, California and then drive Foothill Road into Genoa, just a few short miles away.
Not into snowshoeing or cross country skiing?
Now, if you’re not into snowshoeing or cross country skiing, we still have other February events. The Carson Valley Inn is holding its “32nd Annual Shooting Weekend” February 22–24. Also, the 2018 Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby is ongoing through April 15th.
And after all, it is February, and I well know that “love is in the air,” especially around Valentine’s Day. So why not spend a relaxing evening at one of our local restaurants? The Carson Valley Inn’s fine dining restaurant CV Steak has a Valentine’s Day offer you won’t want to miss. How convenient: you can also book a room at the Carson Valley Inn and stay the night!
If you enjoy history, happenings and hospitality, then Carson Valley is the place to be in February — or any other month of the year.
Cheers and Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you lovers out there!
— Kim Harris
New Museum Opens in Elko
The Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum has its grand opening on February 2nd at 2 p.m. The museum is located at 542 Commercial Street in a restored building that was originally home to the G.S. Garcia Saddle Company. This museum celebrates and showcases the culture of the Western cowboy. This effort was made possible by the NV Energy Foundation and many local contributors. Find more information on the new Museum’s website. It includes a remarkable gallery of historic photos of Garcia’s shop and his works, too.
[ Read more about G.S. Garcia, his life and his creations in “World Famous Saddle” by Howard Hickson]
The 2018 GBC Film Festival will be held February 15-17 and February 23 and 24. During the first weekend, three feature films will be shown in the Great Basin College Theater: The Florida Project on the 15th, Marshall on the 16th, and The Human Story on the 17th.
General admission is $10 and free appetizers are being provided by local restaurants. On February 23 and 24, Oscar nominated short films will be shown at the Western Folklife Center theater from 6-10 p.m. Find out more on Facebook@gbcfilmfest.
Elko County has been having a warmer than average winter, and the hiking in the lower elevations has been fun. One trail that is easily accessible is the Lamoille-Talbot Trail located at the mouth of Lamoille Canyon. I hiked this in late January with friends and had a great time. Call the Forest Service at (775) 738-5171 to get the latest on trail conditions.
— Doug Clarke
Tacos, Tamales and Nopales!
In November, drivers along Great Basin Highway took in the new and welcome sight of Jr. Street Tacos, operated by Claudia Coble and parked at the Sinclair gas station.
The food truck — really a small trailer — is Coble’s lifelong dream and her food is dreamy. Known for carne asada and tamales, Coble also takes customer requests. Within the first three weeks of operation, she added by popular demand albondigas (meatball soup) and nopales cactus, a vegan favorite.
A knowledge of food runs in Coble’s family. Her grandmother owned a carniceria, a butcher shop, in the Mexican state of Jalisco.
Coble wakes before dawn to mix fresh tomatillo salsa and prep meat and vegetables for the grill.
The truck is a family venture, named for Coble’s son, Junior. Coble’s second husband, Sam Coble, a leatherworker, refurbished the truck and crafted the signs. Coble’s daughter, Emilia Aguayo, takes customer orders with careful attention to detail.
The truck has been “super busy” since opening, Claudia Coble reported. During a lunch rush, she paused to look up. “Customers can expect good service, everything fresh and homemade.”
“And made with love,” Emilia chimed in.
“Yes,” Claudia laughed, “love is not extra.”
Find Jr. Street Tacos parked at the Sinclair gas station near Ridley’s on Great Basin Highway. Winter hours are 10-5. The truck closes Sunday or Monday each week. For information, call (801) 369-8675.
Wicked Rein Offers Herbs, Teas, Handcrafts and More
From her new herb shop on Ely’s main street, Mindi Jensen concocts custom tinctures, salves and herbal teas. Each herb has specific properties and applications for conditions ranging from anxiety to allergies.
Knowing healing herbs has been a personal journey that began when Jensen herself became ill in her thirties while working full-time and raising children as a single mom.
“I had cysts removed. They wanted to call it fibromyalgia.” She resisted the diagnosis, she said. “I went off all the medicines. I took it upon myself to heal myself.”
The shop is a homecoming for Jensen who attended high school in Ely before moving to St. George, Utah and traveling and living in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba. Jensen brings to this venture experience in food service—she ran a cafe in Enterprise, Utah and managed a restaurant in Ely—as well as formal training in herbalism. She holds a certificate in herbalism from The Herbal Academy.
Jensen makes herb products in-house in the shop’s big kitchen flanked by red linoleum counters and glass-fronted cabinets. Her partner, Wade Bohrn, designed and crafted the front counter and display cases. He makes furniture and art signs from repurposed items, as well as picture frames and and modernist-style wall hangings of wood blocks.
Jensen reaches out to local artisans of all ages and offers a changing array of hand-made items including baby toys and blankets, hats, photographs, pottery and decor. The shop also carries essential oils and diffusers, salt lamps and yoga supplies and specialty items for dogs.
Wicked Rein occupies the ground floor of the historic Masonic Lodge. The shop’s generous, south-facing space hosts yoga classes and a weekly donation-based meditation class (taught by this reporter), paint and wine nights, crafts events and more. Cozy chairs in the book exchange nook offer a place to rest and read.
On Tuesday, March 20th, the shop will host a spring equinox celebration with plants for sale, spring teas, music and more. It’s an opportunity to unite people with an interest in wildlore, that combination of folk wisdom, experiential and scientific knowledge, and crafting and creativity.
“You meet people who do this for their families,” she says of herbal remedies. “That they’ve taught themselves.” Popular remedies are concocted from rose hips and elderberries foraged in White Pine County.
“A woman from Cherry Creek brought me some wild roses. I gave her slippery elm in trade. I encourage everyone to come in and share their knowledge with me.”
At any time, you might find a long-haul trucker unwinding over a cup of tea sweetened with local honey or a mom with toddler in tow picking out presents for a friend.
Stop by for a cup of hot tea, choosing from several ever-changing offerings. In summer months, Jensen plans outdoor seating and more healthy snacks.
Winter hours are Tuesdays -Thursdays 12-6, Fridays and Saturdays 12-6 For more information, check the Wicked Rein Facebook page or call Mindi Jensen at (775) 293-5744. Jensen ships her tea and salves.
That Perfect Shot: Winter Photos of Steam Engine Trains
For more than two decades, Ely’s Nevada Northern Railway team has transformed the rail yard into a train photographer’s destination during the second and third weekends of February for the Winter Steam Photo Shoot Spectacular.
“We hide all of our modern equipment and feature our historic equipment,” says Mark Bassett, executive director of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum, a national historic landmark.
“We bring photographers in from around the country and around the globe to photograph our equipment in operation. Not only do we have the original locomotive and train cars but they’re maintained in the original buildings and operated on original track.”
By capping the event at 30 people per weekend, every participant has the opportunity to capture a satisfying image under the high desert sunshine. The event is open to any professional and amateur photographer willing to brave winter’s cold, snow and ice.
Setting makes a picture and Ely’s is unique. Past participants have entered photos in national contests. And won.
“If you strip the color out of the photos,” Bassett says, “you don’t know what decade the pictures were taken. It could be anytime essentially from 1910 to today.”
This event does sell out. Register here for February 9-11 or 16-18 or both weekends.
— Alexa Mergen
Bows and arrows, unicorns and the Year of the Dog: why not spend February in Las Vegas?
For the seventh year, South Point Hotel & Casino is holding the National Field Archery Association’s (NFAAF) Vegas Shoot. This is the largest indoor archery tournament in the World, with last years’ payout of $403,000 in cash and scholarships to 3,000 archers.
While entrance fees for participants run from $100 to $500, the public has free admission to the events and trade show which runs from February 9th through 11th. This event will be held at the South Point through the year 2020 since the signing of their agreement with NFAAF.
If you are interesting in trying your hand at archery after witnessing the competition, Impact Archery on Dean Martin between Tropicana and Sunset has an indoor range and rents bows for $15 and charges $10 an hour for range time. They also have private lessons for $45.
Nevada’s largest film festival, the Dam Short Film Festival, will take place from February 8th through 11th at the Boulder Theatre in Boulder City. This is their 14th Annual event showing over 120 of the highest-quality short films.
You can purchase tickets at their box office located at 1225 Arizona Street between 11:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. during the event dates. Or, you can purchase tickets online and pick them up at the box office. Individual tickets are $10 each, per program. Each program lasts from 1 – 1 ½ hrs. and includes 3 to 12 short films.
A 4-day pass is $100 and includes all events, screenings and parties. The Awards Gala Party will be held at the Forge Social House at 553 California Ave. on Sunday night. They also have bundle tickets for each day which encompasses a full day of programming for $35 each. Thursday, Friday and Saturday there are 6 programs showing and Sunday has 5 programs. All programs begin at noon.
Other social events are the Filmmaker meet and greet at the Boulder Dam Hotel and the 14th Dam Year Mixer at Boulder Dam Brewing Company.
As the Chinese celebrate the Year of the Dog for 2018, the World Market Pavilions are presenting the 7th Annual Vegas Pet Expo on February 10th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on the 11th from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. This was a free event up until this year. The prices are now being charged to allow rescues and shelters to participate in the event for free, helping these worthy causes.
World Market Pavilions is located at the corner of Grand Central Parkway and Bonneville Avenue. Tickets are $5 (18+ yrs.), $3 (5-17 yrs.) and free (under 5 yrs.) if bought in advance through this link: VegasPetExpo.com/admission. At the door tickets are $8, $5 and free, respectively. They also offer 2-day passes if you are interested.
They encourage you to bring your pets provided they are on a fixed lead or in a carrier and you have age-appropriate vaccination proof. Their motto is “Play.Shop.Learn.Adopt”. They will have giveaways, prizes and pet costume contests, free nail trimming, discounted vaccinations and microchipping. You can also shop for pet products from over 100 exhibitors and learn about and adopt dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and other furry friends from dozens of adoption agencies and rescue shelters.
Toyland, toyland … Circus Circus is hosting Toycon. From Friday, February 23rd through Sunday, February 25th you can see the latest and, probably, oldest collection of collectible toys in one place. They will have 2 floors of retro, new and cool and something for everyone with die-cast cars, vintage dolls, comic book artists, celebrities with meet and greets for autographs and cosplay contests. In previous years they have had the full-size Batmobile, DeLorean and police car from the Blues Brothers movie along with other famous vehicles.
General admission tickets are $10 for Friday and $15 for each day, Saturday or Sunday. A 3-day ticket is $25. They will have photo ops with some of the celebrities for an additional charge, or, you can purchase the VIP pass for $150 which includes 3-day admission, an autograph or photo with the convention guest of each day, a lounge pass, dinner on Friday night and Saturday night with an exclusive toy each night, a collector badge and lanyard.
Downtown is having The Color Run on Saturday, February 24th. Also known as the Happiest 5k on the Plant, the race is 5 kilometer, un-timed and a color-blast! This event is held all over the country and is all about having fun, meeting new people and being showered with 100% natural and safe colors. So, put on your white shirt, join the pre-race party with music, warmup dancing/stretching and giveaways and run through the spray gauntlets at each 1k mile marker. And, stay for the post-party which will have more colors, more friends to meet and more music and dancing!
You can enter with a “team” of 4 people for $27.99 each or individually for $32.99 (ages 5+). Both categories include a participant kit of a t-shirt, pin, buff and tattoos. You will also receive a medal and a color packet. You can also register as a “basic” runner for $19.99 which only includes a medal and color packet, no participant kit (ages 5+). A “youth” entry is $14.99 (under 5 yrs.) if you want a participation kit; otherwise, to enter the race only it is free.
Things to keep in mind – you can pick up your kit the day before the race at the Downtown Container Park from noon until 6 p.m. If you want to preserve the t-shirt you just received wear your own plain white t-shirt or a logoed shirt from where you work, etc. Head to toe you will be covered in colors. A lot of people wear hats, bandanas, long socks and tutus. You might even see a few unicorn costumes!
Also, this is a major infiltration of particles into your sinuses, mouth and lungs. You might want to take a surgical type mask (you can buy a pack of 10 from Walgreens) to save yourself from coughing and sneezing.
— Pauline Cimoch
The Bacchanal Buffet & The Westin Hotel
The Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace is not your grandfather’s buffet. Your grandfather ate plates of baked chicken with peas and carrots and jello. The Bacchanal, voted the “number one buffet in the country” by the New York Post last year, serves truffle deviled eggs, avocado toast, wagyu beef and dim sum. Where other buffets serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at specific times, Bacchanal starts at 7:30 a.m. with a host of unique breakfast items including freshly-squeezed specialty juices (cucumber, carrot, watermelon), prime rib and shrimp. Brian Mongeon, buffet general manager, oversees the modern food attraction that serves some 4,000 guests a day.
“It’s almost impossible to taste everything in the buffet as that would take about six hours of straight eating,” said Mongeon. “My advice is to experiment, meaning try the roasted baby quail or frog lets instead of mashed potatoes. It’s true that our mashed potatoes are delicious, but I like it when people get away from their comfort zone and discover something new.”
The buffet’s executive chef, Leticia Nunez, is in charge of nine chefs and 124 cooks who keep busy preparing some 300 food items daily. The most popular are smoked beef brisket, the iced seafood displays and everything at the Asian station (noodles, sushi, stir fry). Other popular items are char-grilled lamb t-bones, Osso Buco, street tacos, Mediterranean hummus and baba ghanoush, risotto, and small plates of bone marrow with wild mushrooms. The center dessert station is a colorful display of cookies, gelato, and made-to-order dessert crepes and chocolate lava cakes.
A few suggestions from Diamond Jack: Avoid long lines by paying a little extra for an express pass. Crab legs are served after 3 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. Ask about unlimited mimosas and other cocktails with a drink upgrade. Bacchanal Buffet or 702-731-7928.
Looking for an alternative to the typical casino property? The Westin Hotel, on Flamingo just east of the Strip, has completed a major renovation to become a non-gaming and non-smoking hotel. The casino floor was removed and is now Jake & Eli, an original restaurant and lobby bar concept with four new meeting rooms. A décor featuring exposed brick walls, industrial chandeliers, high-top seating and plush booths creates a contemporary setting, perfect for business and leisure travelers alike. WestinVegas.com or 866-837-4215.
— Diamond Jack Bulavsky
Mesquite Music Fest set for Feb. 5-7
The Mesquite 2018 Music Fest will feature three stage shows Feb. 5-7 at the CasaBlanca Resort starring Bobby Brooks Wilson, America’s Diamond, and Flower Power Time Machine in Mesquite, Nevada. Tickets start at $25 while advanced VIP tickets are $30. A General Admission Super Package for all three shows is $69 if purchased before Feb. 5. A VIP Super Package, which includes one VIP Reserved Table seat for all three shows, is available for $84.
Bobby Brooks Wilson with a full live band will kick off the festival on Feb. 5 with his Tribute to the Motown Years, which celebrates his father and legendary soul rhythm and blues artist, Jackie Wilson.
America’s Diamond is a Tribute to Neil Diamond starring Jay White on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. White has more than 25 years in the business. He’s done 9,000 shows in five countries and made one movie appearance with the real Neil Diamond.
On Wednesday, Feb. 7, Flower Power Time Machine will take you back to the grooviest decade with a full live production of 35 songs from the ’60s featuring songs from The Beatles, the Airplane, Janis Joplin, Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, and even from Simon & Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Clint Holmes and Earl Turner team up at Westgate
A new show opening at Westgate on Wednesday, Feb. 14 will feature celebrated Las Vegas entertainers Clint Holmes and Earl Turner taking the stage together in “SOUNDTRACK: Your Songs. Our Stories. The Show.” This collaboration will highlight the chemistry and camaraderie between two powerful performers. These two entertainers have often shared each other’s stages as headliners and for more than two decades, lent their voices to each other’s award-winning shows.
Turner and Holmes will combine their amazing energy, voices, humor and life experiences to bring new life to the music that makes up the soundtracks of our lives. With them will be a live eight-piece band under the musical direction of Christian Tamburr, a three-time Down Beat Magazine Music Award winner.
Holmes is a consummate entertainer, performer and recording artist scoring a No. 1 hit in 1972 with “Playground in My Mind.” His latest album “Rendezvous” was nominated for two Grammy® Awards in 2018.
Thirty-year veteran Turner is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician, dancer and actor. He was inducted in the New Orleans Music Hall of Fame.
Performances will be Thursday through Sunday at 7 p.m. in the International Westgate Theater at Westgate. Tickets are $48, $58, $78 and $98.
Erykah Badu returns to Brooklyn Bowl
Erykah Badu is returning to Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq Promenade for a third consecutive year on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m.
Badu had sold out dates at the venue in January 2016 and July 2017, mesmerizing crowds with her emotional connectedness, her spiritual performances and her cultural and political awareness. Her music is often described as a blend of R&B, Hip Hop and jazz.
General admission tickets start at $62.50.
Insane Clown Posse will hold Juggalo Day Weekend
The hardcore hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse will host their Juggalo Day Weekend with The Heckles & Macabre Show at the Fremont Country Club downtown, which is a new state-of-the-art 800-capacity concert venue, on Feb. 16 and 17. Insane Clown Posse is a cartoonish metal/rap band with a vaunted live show featuring open fires, chainsaws, liters of soda dousing the audience, and more emphasis on performance art than music. Other special guests who will include Lyte, Big HooDoo, and Ouija.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. followed by the show beginning at 7 p.m. Two-day admission tickets are $60, and single day $35. The Juggalo Weekend After Party will be hosted at Backstage Bar & Billiards. Two-day After Party admission is $20 and single day $10.
— Jackie Brett
Paul Anka will be Crooning at the E Center
Singer-songwriter Paul Anka will regale audiences with his catalogue of hits in the E Center at the Edgewater on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. Ticket range is $45-$105.
Anka has recorded 125 albums to date including more than 10 albums in Japanese, German, Spanish, French and Italian, composing songs culturally tailored to each country. His new album “Rock Swings” featuring songs originally created and recorded by some of rock music’s raunchiest bad boys is performed with big-band, crooner-style interpretations of songs by Nirvana, Van Halen, the Cure, and Oasis. Starting as a teen idol, Anka has since sold close to 15 million albums worldwide. He’s garnered three No. 1 songs “Diana,” “Lonely Boy,” and “You’re Having My Baby,” as well as 22 Top 20 hits. Anka also has a staggering 900 songs to his credit with 130 being recorded by other artists including Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, and Robbie Williams. He is particularly well-known for penning signature songs for others including: “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” (Buddy Holly); “She’s a Lady” (Tom Jones); “Puppy Love” (Donny Osmond); and most notably “My Way” (Frank Sinatra).
Crystal Gale Will Charm Riverside Audiences
Crystal Gayle with her trademark dark long flowing hair will appear at the Riverside in Don’s Celebrity Theater Feb. 15-18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35.
Gayle, whose older sister is country songstress Loretta Lynn, made her own indelible mark on country music and in 1977 delivered the worldwide smash hit, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” Gayle has had 20 number one country hits such as, “If You Ever Change Your Mind,” “Too Many Lovers,” “The Woman in Me,” “Til I Gain Control Again” and “The Sound of Goodbye.” In 1982, she recorded a duet with Eddie Rabbitt “You and I,” which became a really popular wedding song. Gayle is also the first female country artist to reach platinum sales with her album “We Must Believe in Magic!” She is the recipient of three American Music Awards, voted by the nation as America’s “Favorite Female Artist,” and was CMA’s “Female Vocalist of the Year,” for two consecutive years.
Riverwalk Festivals are Themed Celebrations
The Colorado Belle features free Riverwalk Festivals with live music and food and beverages for sale. The Mardi Gras Festival will be held Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 17-18 with southern style food and live music by the Mark St. Mary Band and Zydeco Mud Bugs. The Down Home Country Festival with country style cuisine will happen Friday-Sunday, Feb. 23-25 with live music by the Do Wah Riders and Walker Williams.
Alabama Will Rock Laughlin Event Center
American country/southern rock band Alabama will bring their string of hits to the Laughlin Event Center on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $50.
Alabama, formed 40 years ago in Fort Payne, Alabama, by Randy Owen, his cousin Teddy Gentry and another cousin, Jeff Cook, began performing in local bars blending country and Southern rock with gospel and pop under the name Wildcountry.
The trio’s unorthodox appearance for country musicians at the time made them renegades in sneakers and T-shirts with long hair and playing loudly. They began writing original tunes, and in 1977 changed their name to Alabama. The rest is history. The band has more than 30 number one country records on Billboard charts and have sold more than 75 million records, making them the most successful band in country music history.
— Jackie Brett
Famed Million Dollar Courthouse jail maybe not so secure
When you come to visit in Lincoln County sometime, plan to make a stop in Pioche at the Million Dollar Courthouse.
It’s not used anymore, not since 1938 anyhow, and is now a a tourist attraction and museum. The present Lincoln County Courthouse opened in 1938. Interestingly enough, the present courthouse has served longer than the old one did. Both are on the National Registry of Historic Places.
A million dollars for a courthouse is not an exorbitant price in today’s world, but back in 1872 it certainly would have been. By the time it was all paid off in 1938, the overall costs came to a little over $1 million. That would be have been equivalent to $16,340,000 in 2017.
But that is not the focus of this story, although it certainly could be. Instead, if walls could talk many a good story would be told from the jail in the old courthouse building. Author Leo Schafer has several stories in his book Law and Disorder in Pioche.
The mining boom in the town of Pioche was just after the Civil War and into in the early years of the 1870s. Pioche had plenty of law breakers who were sentenced to jail for various lengths.
Schafer writes, “The jail (located in the basement of the courthouse) was described as a dark dungeon where inmates could sit or recline on the floor, beds, or stools. The cells were for solitary, or almost solitary confinement.”
Inmates often played cards with each other to pass the time. Schafer notes, “one of the prisoners even lost a knife in a bet.”
Late in 1872 and nearly all of 1873 was an eventful period in the early life of the jail.
Schafer writes that in November, 1872, “Black Hawk” Oreamuno committed suicide in his cell. He had been arrested a few days prior for “displaying indications of a disordered mind,” having even gashed his own neck with a knife.
Locked in a cell one day, “the very next night,” Schafer wrote, Black Hawk tore a two-inch wide strip from his bed tick, tied one end to the grate on his cell door, made a double turn around his neck with the other end, stood on a bucket and stepped off. Efforts to revive him failed.
“Chicken-Thief Charley” Roddo was a frequent visitor to the jail during that same period. Schafer relates he was a kleptomaniac, “prone to take anything that wasn’t nailed down, including chickens, obviously.” Charley didn’t have to escape from the jail. He would be released shortly thereafter and be back again in no time.
Then there was Frank Perry. In January, 1873 he had been tried and convicted of a robbery which occurred earlier that fall. He had been in the jail for several months and was considered “harmless.” Perry even helped out around the courthouse, pushing broom, emptying trash, washing windows, cleaning offices, etc. One day, Schafer notes, Perry complained of not feeling very well, asking to go to vomit or some such thing. Sanitary conditions in the overcrowded jail were not good, and Perry was allowed to go outside. Seeing the road unguarded, Frank took off running. He made it almost to Panaca, 11 miles south, then headed east toward Utah territory, before officers caught him again. He was returned to the jail to finish out his sentence, plus what was added on for escaping. He did, probably in large part because he was not given a chance to escape again.
A most interesting escape attempt was discovered in the late spring of 1873. The jailer noticed inmates in one particular cell all seemed to sleep in one place, up against the east corner. Being suspicious, the jailer found that the inmates “had loosened all the stones at the south exterior wall. An escape could have been made in moments.”
The sheriff was notified and made arrangements for repairs, which included installing iron bars where the stones had been loosened. Schafer writes, “Until the repairs were completed, the jailer temporarily slept in that same corner providing extra security.” Schafer does say this, but it would be assumed the jailer slept on a cot on the other side of the bars.
Even more elaborate was the plan James Harrington hatched later that fall. Having been convicted of second degree murder in September, 1873, he was in the jail awaiting sentencing. He planned to escape, but the plan was foiled when another inmate tipped off officers. What they found was, in the back corner of his cell, Harrington had loosened the bricks, and created a hole approximately about 30-inches wide in the wall that was about two-and-a-half feet thick. The hole on the outside was only a couple of inches wide at this point. But Harrington had help from an accomplice on the outside, too, because the ankle chain Harrington wore when later captured, had been completely cut through by a tool smuggled in to him.
The outside escape route led to a dirt covered shed. Schafer writes that inside the shed were “a pinch bar, one-and-a-half feet in length; a file transformed into a cold chisel; and a case knife that had been converted into a saw.”
The accomplice was not identified, but Harrington was moved into a different cell and later received 15 years in the state penitentiary. No word on what happened to him there or after. He would have been released in 1888.
One always wonders, could the famous Harry Houdini have escaped from the Million Dollar Courthouse jail? Despite all the best safeguards of the day, he probably could have.
— Dave Maxwell
Views by Air, Visits by Landing
Hawthorne holds bragging rights for a Visitors Center that offers a triple-star rating for A+ Hospitality. The Center houses a lounge area plus a few beds; offers internet and snacks; is equipped with showers and a clean restroom facility; is cozy, with reading materials and special extras; but most of all it offers a top-of-the-line local ambassador named Betty Easley.
But this Visitors Center is located off the normally beaten trail, as it is the flight terminal of the Hawthorne Industrial Airport, just off Highway 95. Services are provided strictly for the pilots and passengers who grace their asphalt runways.
This county-owned, volunteer-run facility is annually seen by the countless aviators who seek out this specific airport as a stopping point. With a reputation for clean operations and welcoming hosts, even courtesy transportation is included on the list of flyer amenities as they come to visit the area for a day or for weekly business endeavors.
Betty, who is known for her weekly aviation column “Wings-N-Things” in the Mineral County Independent News, is known to many pilots as “the go-to-gal”, as she listens to the flight calls by radio, arriving at the airport in advance of their landings. Being greeted by any of the airport hosts makes for a lovely first impression, but the warmth of their top-notch accommodations within the Hawthorne Industrial Airport Hospitality House is truly memorable for even the most experienced pilots.
This FAA approved airport accepts single and multi-engines planes, even accepting ultralights and historic planes along the way. On Armed Forces Day, this airport celebrates with a military fly-over, which is funded by an annual fundraising effort done by Ms. Easley herself. She also coordinates the fly-over and arranges for other specialty airplanes to be on display, along with a day’s open house to introduce their airport facilities. Aircraft fuel and parking is available and open to the public for local planes, general stops and transient airplanes meeting the specifications of the airport standards.
For more information, call (775) 945-3897; (775) 945-9286 or the county office at (775) 312-0243.
— Sheri Samson
Lake Tahoe is finally getting some snow!
Although this season has been unpredictable and completely opposite of last winter, Lake Tahoe ski resorts have done a fantastic job of offering their guests great skiable terrain, whether Mother Nature provides natural snow or not.
As we embrace sweater weather, here are some fun ski events coming up, places for football fans to watch February 4th’s Big Game, and where to take your sweetie pie on Valentine’s Day.
Ski Resort February Events
Held at Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village, the 9th annual UllrFest is kicking off on Friday, February 2 with a torchlight parade, bonfire, costume contest, and live music by Jacked Up. Benefitting the Diamond Peak Ski Education Foundation, UllrFest is free and open to the public on Friday for anyone wanting to celebrate the snow gods and support this important athletic ski program. The event concludes on Saturday evening with dinner, dancing, and live/silent auctions at the Chateau.
Boarding for Breast Cancer is bringing its Shred the Love series to Alpine Meadows Feb. 16-17. That Friday, B4BC supporters can participate in yoga and enjoy an art auction and coffee at Dark Horse in Truckee. On Saturday, skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities can participate in a Lap-a-Thon, Tribute Ride, and live music in the Alpine Bar.
Where to Watch the Big Game
The top AFC and NFC champions are about to square off in one of America’s favorite winter holidays: Super Bowl! For those of you who don’t feel like hosting a party with everyone crowded around your little TV to watch Feb. 4th’s football game, there are several places in North Lake to celebrate with fellow fans and cheer on your favorite team. Make sure to get your bets in early since this is one of the Sportsbooks’ busiest days of the year. Here are some fun places in Incline Village to watch the game:
Crosby’s Grill Pub and Casino: Every year you can count on Crosby’s to host a great party with raffles every quarter (top prizes include a big screen TV and fireball machine), dinner buffet with fried chicken and hearty sides, and Happy Hour prices on drinks throughout the game.
Rookie’s Sports Bar & Grill: Featuring 33 HDTV’s that have sports on all the time, a pool table, 15 slot machines, and a full breakfast and lunch menu, you can be sure to hear a lot of whooping and hollering here on February 4.
Tahoe Biltmore: Doors open at 2pm with no cover charge to enjoy Super Sunday. Get a free entry on the Prize Board and enjoy $3 Corona, Pacifico, Modelo and various appetizers from nachos to pizza and everything in-between. Catch all the action from every angle in the Nevada rooms plus more.
Where to Spend Valentine’s Day
Le Bistro, Incline Village: I’m not sure if Le Bistro has a special Valentine’s menu, but this fine dining restaurant serves amazing contemporary French fusion cuisine all the time. Owner/Head Chef David Blair has decades of culinary experience at various restaurants in North Lake Tahoe, and customers can expect delicious food (served with homemade bread) at this small yet popular establishment.
The Chateau at Incline Village: Treat your loved one to a special Valentine’s Wine Dinner with a five-course meal paired with Wente Vineyards varietals at the Chateau in Incline Village on February 14. The cost is $140 per person (or $130 with an IVGID pass) and seating is limited to the first 50 people. Register online before it sells out!
Enjoy the snow, celebrate with loved ones and be merry this February
— Kayla Anderson
Snowbirds are not an endangered species in this desert town
The Pahrump Valley surely has a lot to offer as a tourist destination. There are a lot of things to do for a small town. But let’s talk about something else that Pahrump Valley is known for and that is as a destination for “snowbirds.”
Of course, we’re not talking about some great exotic breed of bird, but about people. They are called snowbirds because when winter comes they hop in their recreational vehicles and head to the Southern regions of the United States to avoid the cold weather in the Northern Latitudes.
James Horton, manager of Prefered RV in Pahrump, says close to 1,000 recreational vehicle owners make the trek to Pahrump and fill the RV Parks during the winter.
Pahrump has about 1,300 spaces in this town of about 40,000. Not all the snowbirds come to Pahrump in an RV; they buy a house here to spend there in winters in.
So how do snowbirds find out about Pahrump Valley? Talk to any Snowbird and they will say it’s word of mouth, and once they get here they see all the great deals to be had.
One of the major builders of homes in Pahrump was Preferred Equities and how they attracted people to come here to Pahrump was by building a golf course and RV park. That was all it took.
The first snowbirds started coming to Pahrump in the 1980s, according to Bob McCracken, a local historian. He said that there were about 150 RV spots back then and about 300 snowbirds were coming to Pahrump. The town at that time had a population of about 8,000.
Today the snowbirds swell the town each year. Even the local power company and newspaper is used to having them. The newspaper is used to stopping service and so is the local power company, Valley Electric Association.
“The average price for a month is about $450 to $500,” James said. “For some parks that includes power but some make you pay for the power. Other amenities could include free WiFi, TV, laundry facilities and showers.”
When you look at the prices in California where some parks are charging over $1,000 to $2,000 to stay a month, Pahrump is a steal.
What they say about this desert town
Ermo Cercone, a regular snowbirder of Pahrump, is from Buffalo, New York.
“We travel across the country every winter and stop along the way in different states,” Ermo said. “It’s a great way of seeing the country.”
He said it was an accident that he heard about Pahrump.
“I have a heart condition,” he said. “I needed a dry climate. Pahrump has everything you need close by. There is a lot to do for the price.”
Why come here?
Ermo said doctors were close by within an hour if you don’t find one in Pahrump. He said Pahrump has a lot of big stores in town like Walmart, Home Depot and there are supermarkets too.
And for those that enjoy a good came of chance there are the casinos too. Pahrump will also be getting a new shopping complex, Silverton Casino and hotel and a movie theater, according to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump. Spring Mountain said that project has already broken ground.
“If I get bored, I am within an hour of Las Vegas and Death Valley,” Ermo said. “I tried living in other places out in the middle of nowhere, but I need a doctor close by. I like the convenience Pahrump has to offer. I like it here so much I have talked to others to come here too.”
He added that he was surprised that more people didn’t know about this place.
Some of the major RV resorts in the valley include Best Western Pahrump Station, Lakeside Casino and RV Resort, Nevada Treasure RV, Preferred RV, RV Ranch Resort, Saddle West Hotel Casino and RV Park, and Wine Ridge RV Resort.
— Vernon Hee
We are finally seeing a change in the weather, but only Punxsutawney Phil (the infamous Pennsylvanian groundhog) knows when spring will come. If you want to party with Phil’s friends on February 2, head over to O’Skis Pub and Grille in Victorian Square and try out a $3 Groundhog Grog to celebrate!
After we find out whether spring comes early or if we’ll continue on for a while with winter, here are some more local happenings to get through these chilly days of Sparks:
2018 is an election year and there continues to be some political movement in the air. On a local level, Mayor Pro Tempore Ron Smith has announced his intent to run for Sparks Mayor and is hosting a fundraiser at the Nugget Casino Resort on February 7 from 5:30-7:30pm.
In conjunction with crab season, the Democratic Party of Washoe County is hosting its annual Crabbing with Democrats event on Saturday, February 10 at the City of Sparks Parks and Recreation building at 98 Richards Way. Crabbing will be extensive, beer is available to purchase, and there will be time for dedicated to speeches by local officials and candidates. Individual tickets are $75 or you can reserve a table of eight for $600.
Later on in the month, the Nugget is also hosting its annual Brew Haha on February 16. Benefitting the Sierra Arts Foundation, hops lovers can taste a huge variety of micro and macro beers while enjoying live music by Mojo Green. General admission tickets are $50 and doors open at 8pm. Special room rates are available starting at $59- a great reason to just take the elevator home.
Located at 1475 E Prater Way next to Les Schwab Tires at the Sparks Boulevard and Prater intersection, Spiro’s Bar and Grille offers adults ages 21 and up everything they could ever need to have a good time! Besides amazing gyros, burgers, and Greek specialties such as pastitsio (macaroni and cheese baked with ground beef) and spanikopitas (Greek spinach pies), Spiro’s has 13 TV’s, a card table, pool table, and two Happy Hours a day.
Open 24 hours, 7 days a week, Spiro’s hosts weekly Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments, special Vino and Van Gogh events, and karaoke on the big screen (where you can even take home a DVD of your performance). Enjoy a $5 breakfast, $5 selected appetizers during Happy Hour, and $4 Bloody Marys and mimosas.
Simply put, Spiro’s offers something for everyone any day at any time of the week.
— Kayla Anderson