Nevada Correspondence – January 2018

In this edition:


Carson Valley, Elko, Ely, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Lincoln County, Mineral County, North Lake Tahoe, Pahrump, Reno, Searchlight, South Lake Tahoe, Sparks


Carson Valley

                                                Photo by Barbara MacDonald Thomas, courtesy Carson Valley Visitors Authority

January has arrived at last. And with it come the gift returns, New Year’s resolutions, resuming our day-to-day routines, and the “after Holiday blues”.  Admit it; you miss all of the activities that surround the Holidays.  You probably think there isn’t much to do during the month of January, especially here in Carson Valley, right?  Hmmm, let’s take a look.

Every part of Carson Valley, from the southern tip of Topaz Lake to the northern town of Genoa, has something to offer. Now, put on your coat and hat and head outside, because there’s nothing like that crisp Carson Valley air to clear the blues away. Oh sure, it can get pretty cold here.  In the book The Tennessee Letters, newspaper correspondent and Genoa resident Richard Allen (known by the nom de plume of “Tennessee”) wrote this on January 26th of 1860:  “Cattle have died by hundreds, some from starvation and more from the intensity of the cold.”  Well thankfully this January isn’t quite as cold, and there are plenty of cattle and wildlife to be seen here in Carson Valley.  

Just take the 16th Annual Eagles and Ag Tour” January 25th through 28th, and you’ll see what I mean.  However, as you tour Carson Valley, it would be well to keep in mind the words  of the late and beloved Carson Valley descendent, Freida Cordes Godecke: “As far as it was possible, livestock were sheltered under a roof, especially during the stormy, winter months.  Consequently, it seemed as necessary  to have good barns as it did to have comfortable homes.”  So it would seem that in all years, it is not necessarily comfortable in the  winter, in Carson Valley.

You may recall that last month I wrote about the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park’s “Old Fashioned Holiday Open House.”  If you dropped in, which I hope you did, you were able to see inside of the Dangberg family home.  If you take the “16th Annual Eagles and Ag tour, you’ll have an opportunity to wonder the grounds of this historic park, as well as the other ranches along the tour.

                                                            Photo by Diana Hames, courtesy Carson Valley Vistors Authority

And as you visit the many long standing ranches on the tour, you’ll hear the history of these families who have been in the valley for several generations.  Perhaps you’ll wish to have met them.  That is possible … in a way… at least in Genoa.  Authors Karen Dustman and Laurie Hickey have written a wonderful book entitled The Old Genoa Cemetery; A Walking Tour – Book 1, which can be purchased at Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park’s gift shop in Minden or at the Douglas County Historical Society’s museum bookstore in Gardnerville.  If you’re at the Gardnerville museum, and before you head over to the Genoa cemetery, take a tour of this museum which was originally built as the Douglas County High School in 1915, and designed by famous Reno architect Frederick DeLongchamps.  Their new “Tahoe Room Exhibit” is set to open January 28th. .

                                                        Fishing at Topaz Lake

Want to go fishing?  Then bring your rod and reel to Topaz Lodge’s 2018 Fishing Derby, which begins on January 1st and runs through April 15th.  While you’re there, why not stay overnight at the Topaz Lodge, which also offers excellent dining? 

If you’re traveling from other parts of Nevada, you’ll definitely need lodging if you plan to attend our Carson Valley events. The Carson Valley Inn is conveniently located on Hwy 395 in Minden and has excellent dining and gaming choices. . If you prefer to be nestled up against the Sierras in an historic resort, then Genoa offers 1862 David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort and Spa, which also boasts excellent dining opportunities.

Now, about those holiday gifts you don’t want.  After returning them, why not spend a day or two here in Carson Valley, shopping in some of our many antique stores, boutiques and gift shops for something you really, really want?  As for antiques, in Genoa you can visit Antiques Plus in the historic “Dake House” on Foothill Road, where you can also purchase a book about this historic and haunted home, written by local author Sandie La Nae, entitled The Victorian Past and Haunted Present of the Dake House.  In Minden on the main business street of Esmeralda, you can visit Tumblewind Antiques and Collectibles.  In Gardnerville on Main Street (Hwy 395), you must check out Cheshire Antiques Inc.  Each of these locally owned shops are not only located in historic buildings, but are also filled with wonderful memorabilia from our grandparents,’ parents’ and our own past.

So you ask,Why Carson Valley in January? The answer is; because we are all about history, happenings and hospitality.  That’s why we’re known as “The Land of Legends.”  I look forward to greeting  you and wishing you  a very Happy New Year. Cheers!

— Kim Harris



Saddle Up for Cowboy Poetry

The 2018 National Cowboy Poetry Gathering starts on the 29th of this month. Now is the time to get your tickets if you have not already done so. Many of the big shows are sold out, but plenty of tickets still remain for lots of the events. This year’s theme is “Basques and Buckaroos.” It promises to be a great week of poetry, music, dance, and art. Check out the schedule at:

What’s That Tower?

The city of Elko celebrated its 100th anniversary of incorporation in 2017. As part of the celebration, the Centennial Tower was completed in December and unveiled on December 9th. It is located at the intersection of 7th and Railroad in the downtown corridor. It is a great tribute to the city’s railroading history and worth checking out when you are downtown.

The Gallery Bar Garners Award

The Duncan Little Creek Bar and Gallery is a fun spot for good drinks, local art, live theater, and good music. In December of 2017 it earned the Mayor’s Art Award for best Arts Organization. Pictured at right are Joan and Jennifer Anderson, owners, with their award. Visit them on their Facebook page.

Whose Land is This?

The California Trail Center continues its series of exhibits in January with an exhibit called “Whose Land Is This?” This exhibit runs from January 1 through March 31 and traces the history of public land ownership in the West. The Trail center is a good place to take the family on a cold winter day and learn about the history of the California Trail and what it meant to see the elephant. Find out more at:

Edible Elko

Silver Haze BBQ recently opened its doors on Silver Street next to the Star Hotel. I tried it and so did several of my friends over the past few weeks, and the response is “Great Food!” Definitely worth checking out. You can view their menu on the Silver Haze BBQ Facebook page.

— Doug Clarke



Skis and Snow (or Slush): The Bristlecone Birkebeiner

“It’s nice to get out and enjoy the fresh air and God’s country and the exercise. It’s a good sport,” says Marlene Vlahos of cross-country skiing in the mountains around Ely.

In the 1980s when thick winter snow frequently blanketed the region, Vlahos was an early participants in what became the region’s annual Bristlecone Birkebeiner race.

                              Marlene Vlahos takes first place in her division in the early 1980s. (Photo courtesy of Carol Klockenga)

This year’s January 20 race will be held at Ward Mountain Recreation Area, public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

“They groom the trails for us if the snow conditions are good enough,” says Moira Kolada, treasurer of the Ely Outdoor Enthusiasts club that organizes the race. Three courses are available, 6.1 kilometer and 3 kilometer courses for adults and a 1 kilometer course for kids.

In years when snow is scant, the event becomes a slush-run footrace.

“We typically have between 40 and 50 participants,” Kolada says. “We get quite a few locals and we also get some people out of Utah and out of southern Nevada.”

Participants can bring their own equipment or rent at a discount from SportsWorld.  

“It’s a fun race,” says Kolada. “We have some competitive people. We also have a lot of people who come out and have a good time. It’s a community get together.”

Encouraging people to be outside and active in the vast and inspiring open spaces of White Pine County is a goal of the Outdoor Enthusiasts. The club sponsors other events throughout the year.

Wisconsin enthusiasts organized the first American “Birkie” in 1973, modeled after a Norwegian race launched in 1932. The Norwegian race commemorates skiers who smuggled a king’s son to safety through the countryside during a 13th-century civil war. Even today, contemporary racers carry a pack to symbolize the weight of an 18-month-old child. The protective birch bark leggings of the Norwegian skiers lend the race the “birkebeiner” name.

The mechanics of traversing the forest on skis has not changed much over the centuries. Nor has the distinctive quality of the sport.

“Sometimes that’s the only way you can get out in the mountains,” says Vlahos of cross-country skiing. “You see some beautiful sites that you’re never going to see otherwise.”

— Alexa Mergen


Las Vegas

Like everyone else, I grew up eating fish, but it was mostly plates of herring and sardines with onions and tomatoes. Then one evening, while dining at a Lake Tahoe casino, I was treated to caviar … and Diamond Jack was born. That memory returned last month when I ate at the Caviar Room at Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace. It offers an exclusive menu of caviar dishes, including the indulgent Colors of Caviar and Salmon “Mi Cuit” available in full or half portions ($130/$65). Other high-end offerings include Golden Osetra or Siberian Baerii Caviar by the ounce ($375/$195). That experience can be elevated by pairing the delicacy with a glass of Krug Grande Cuvée Champagne or for the more traditional, a Belvedere Vodka martini. The Caviar Room is open Wed. – Sun. from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. 702-731-7286.

It’s the end of the year and there is still time to make a tax-exempt charitable donation. In Las Vegas, it is done while playing a slot machines. Everi, the gaming industry’s single source provider of gaming products and payments solutions, is allowing players to easily donate funds to fully-vetted charities. The revolutionary new Everi Cares Giving Module is designed to make social consciousness a convenient priority on the casino floor. It provides an opportunity for players to redeem a gaming voucher at an Everi full service kiosk where you can donate all or part of the ticket to select charities. Casinos like it because it reduces the amount of abandoned vouchers and lowers coin handling expenses.

Happy New Year

May there always be work for your hands to do,

May your purse always hold a coin or two.

May the sun always shine on your window pane,

May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.

May the hand of a friend always be near,

And may the good Lord fill your heart with gladness and cheer.

— Diamond Jack Bulavsky


Enjoy inside and outside fun this January!

South Point Hotel & Casino will be hosting the 2017 Challengers Cup Finals on January 19th and 20th.  This is billed as the Largest Drone Racing Championship in the World, with the top 32 ranked pilots competing for $50,000.  This is a semi-professional series of 12 international events.  Admission is $20 online or through the South Point Box Office with the event held in Exhibit Halls C and D.

If you are interested in going to their banquet and awards show the evening of the 20th the ticket is $75 and includes a reception and social hour from 5:30-6:15, dinner from 6:15 to 7:00 and the award show immediately after conclusion of the dinner.    

A combination Antique Arms Show, International Sporting Arms Show and an International Knifemakers Show is being held at the Westgate (just east of the Strip on Flamingo) from January 19th through the 21st.  This is a massive event with over 600 exhibitors showing and/or offering merchandise.  Daily admission is $15 or you can purchase a 3 day pass for $35.  The normal entry hour is 9 a.m. and closing time is 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

They also have a 4 day honored guest pass for $90.  The honored guest pass for all 4 days allows you to enter with the vendors at 8 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. and includes Thursday entry from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Please note that the Westgate will be charging for parking on some of the show days; however, if you go to the registration desk of the event they will validate your parking!

Las Vegas’ largest women’s event, Divas’ Day Out,is being held at the South Point Hotel & Casino on Saturday, January 27th from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  This is a free event – free entry and free parking!  While the guys are holed up at a sportsbook, or, in South Point’s sportsbook or bowling alley the ladies can attend this event and browse and interact with hundreds of vendors promoting beauty, style, home décor, health, fitness and be entertained all day long by various celebrities such as Frank Marino, Thunder Down Under, Teresa Guidice, Donny Osmond and Ian Ziering.

Lee Canyon is open for the season, and if you plan ahead you can purchase lift tickets online and save 35%!  Lift tickets are running from $50 – $60 per person through January for the beginner run, Rabbit Peak.  Lift hours are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are available online at

Lee Canyon offers The Snow Experience package for $79, if bought online, which includes an unrestricted all day lift ticket and either ski or snowboard equipment for the day.  For those who are beginners or need additional assistance they have free coaching available for ages 6 and up.  This covers the basics for beginners and answers your specific questions if you are an intermediate snow enthusiast.

Snowtubing is a popular event with 4 1 ½ hour sessions each day (10-11:30;11:30-1; 1-2:30; and 2:30-4), starting at $25 each session.  Generally, $25 is charged Monday through Thursday, with Friday through Sunday $30 for each session.

The Foxtail Winter Snowplay Area is open on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. for $20 per vehicle with 4 people.  Additional person charges are $5 each.  The Area is the hillsides where they have parking, restrooms that are heated and concession stands which sell gloves, sleds and hot cocoa.  You can stay for that price all day long; however, it is first come, first served, so get there early to pick your spot.   

For those of you who are a little shy about first time skiing, you can obtain private lessons by contacting the ski school at (702) 385-2754 or e-mailing your questions to

— Pauline Cimoch


“Holiday Hangover” Returns at House of Blues

Even though the holidays will be over, the House of Blues will hold its annual Holiday Hangover event on Saturday, January 6 with parties in House of Blues Restaurant & Bar, Music Hall, and Foundation Room. This ’90s-themed soiree features live music and DJs, all-you-can-drink packages, specialty cocktails, and more. Guests are encouraged to rock costumes or their favorite ugly sweater leftover from the holidays.

The Music Hall will feature ’90s tribute band Saved By the ’90s, along with DJs BAD (Babae and Dynamixx) and opening act Garage Boys for a night of music. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $10.

The House of Blues Restaurant & Bar from 9 p.m. to midnight will have live music from Paul Campanella and $6 drink specials.

       The Foundation Room on the 63rd floor will be the location for the official Holiday Hangover after-party with DJ D-Miles. 

The Twilight Zone by Monster Mini Golf is Open at Bally’s

The indoor monster themed glow in the dark 18-hole miniature golf course is open now at Bally’s and called The Twilight Zone by Monster Mini Golf. Patrons can play the course with custom and animated props at every turn. The venue also offers arcade games, four lanes of candlepin bowling, a DJ to keep spirits uplifted, a small gift shop area, and a private event room.  Pricing is $11.95 and $9.95 for locals.

The other glow-in-the-dark themed miniature golf course is KISS by Monster Mini Golf at the Rio.

Fire Spectacular ‘Inferno’ will heat up Paris

The European and Asia hit fire show “Inferno” will open at the Paris Theater on Jan. 24, 2018. The show features a dazzling display of pyrotechnics, fire stunts and illusions. European illusionist Joe Labero, a four-time Merlin Award winner and “illusionist of the decade,” stars in the show along with and the fire, pyro and aerial group, The Fuel Girls, who are just off Fall Out Boy’s UK Tour. Dynamic special effects are created by world-renowned fire and pyro specialists, the team behind fire spectacles at the Super Bowl, Coachella and more. Tickets start from $49 with 9:30 p.m. performances Wednesday through Sunday.

Comedienne Sommore will appear at Aliante and Suncoast

“Queen of Comedy” Sommore will bring her stand-up routine to the Access Showroom at Aliante on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. and then appear at the Suncoast Showroom on Sunday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30. (Click on the links above to Buy Tickets.)

In 1994, Sommore began her career as the first woman to host BET’s “Comic View.” In her more than 20-year career, Sommore has become a trailblazer for women in the comedy business. Sommore wrote and produced her own comedy specials “The Queen Stands Alone” and “Chandelier Status,” which both became celebrated, best-selling stand-up films. She’s also headlined for several comedy tours with comedic superstars Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer. Sommore has been featured in top feature films, including “Soul Plane,” “Family Reunion” and “Friday After Next.”

— Jackie Brett



Willie Nelson Brings His Music to the E Center

Willie Nelson and Family will headline at the E Center at the Edgewater on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. Ticket range is $55 to $300.

With a remarkable six-decade career, this Texan has produced more than 200 albums. He is the creative power behind such recordings as “Stardust,” “Crazy” and “Red Headed Stranger.” He has earned every conceivable award as a musician.    

In the last five years, Nelson presented nine new album releases with one earning a Grammy Award, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestselling book, headlined Farm Aid which he co-founded in 1985, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, and appeared on the cover of “Rolling Stone” magazine.

The Righteous Brothers will Rock at The Riverside

The Righteous Brothers will visit the Riverside appearing in Don’s Celebrity Theatre Jan.11-14 at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $40.

For four decades, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield topped the charts. Since Hatfield’s passing, Medley has joined forces with one of the most versatile vocalists in America, Bucky Heard, to bring The Righteous Brothers back to the stage. Their concert experience features a string of the famous duo’s biggest No. 1 hits, including “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Soul & Inspiration,” “Unchained Melody,” “Rock and Roll Heaven,” Medley’s Grammy-winning “Dirty Dancing” theme song “The Time of My Life,” and much more.

Pam Tillis Makes a Stop at The Riverside

It will be “An Acoustic Evening with Pam Tillis” at the Riverside Jan.18-20 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Tillis was a child of Music City royalty and a former rebel. She was determined to find her own way as a singer and songwriter. As a CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, she has written songs for some of the top singers in and beyond Nashville. Some of the tunes include more than a few of her own hits such as Land of the Living,” “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life),” and “All the Good Ones Are Gone.” Tillis has never lost her connection to country music insisting on writing and cutting songs that speak from the soul. With total creative control, she lets her heart lead the way toward material that she can perform honestly and emotionally.

Doug Kershaw will Fiddle at the The Riverside

Doug Kershaw, affectionately known as the “Ragin’ Cajun,” as he performs an energetic mix of rock, blues, jazz, country, and Cajun music, will headline Don’s Celebrity Theatre at 7 p.m. Jan.23-28. Tickets are $25.

Kershaw is an American fiddle players, singer and songwriter from Louisiana. He began his career as part of the duo Rusty and Doug with his brother. His extensive 15-album solo career also includes signature hits “Diggy Diggy Lo,” “Hello Woman,” and “Cajun Baby.”

After fulfilling their military obligation, the two brothers recorded “Louisiana Man,” an autobiographical song that Kershaw wrote while in the Army. The song not only sold millions of copies but was eventually covered by more than 800 artists. In 2009, he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

— Jackie Brett


Lincoln County

E.T. Highway and E.T. Jerky

“Calling occupants of interplanetary craft!” Well, it’s better than the “CQ, CQ” call we used to use with my cousin’s ham radio back in the ’60s. Worked just fine for human earthlings, not so much for intergalactic aliens.

But maybe it was because we just weren’t in the right place. Now I live in place that might be right, or so some people have said.  Not much concrete evidence to support the claim, but claims have been made anyway, and the investigation continues. Sounds like politics, doesn’t it?

                                     The E.T. Highway and the town of Rachel (Photo by User Kvasir of wp:en; CC 2.5; cropped)

The right place, some would say, is along Nevada’s E.T. Highway. Yes, Virginia, there really is such a road.  Officially it is state route 375, but local folk like to call it the E.T. Highway. Easier to say anyway.

For quite a long time, rural Nevada, at least this part of it, has been the place for prospectors and Westerns, nuclear testing, Air Force Red Flag excises, Army and Air Force missile evading games, and aliens and UFO’s. Geocaching was popular for a time, but that seemed to be only a passing fad.

It is also home to the Nevada Test and Training Range, the official name nowadays for Area 51, something the CIA only admitted actually existed a few short years ago, although most everyone already knew it did.

Aliens have been known to come into one of the nearby stores, a truck stop and fast food place.  Sometimes they would even bring their kids.

Just south of Hiko, at the junction of SR 375 and SR 318 (the picturesque oasis of Crystal Springs), and headed toward Tonopah, the E.T. Highway is about 100 miles long, running east to west, or the other way around. Cows live out there, and precious little else. There is even a  place called Railroad Valley; however, I have never been able to discover if ever there was a railroad within 50 miles of the place.

Some 30 years ago, Life magazine published a story by a writer who claimed that U.S. 50, from Fallon to Ely to the Utah state line was the loneliest highway in America. Au contraire, mon ami. It is doubtful the writer ever traveled SR 375.  You want lonely, there it is.  Try it yourself. But do watch out for the cows. They are not impressed by aliens in the least.

At the eastern end of the E.T. highway near Crystal Springs is a place called E.T. Jerky.  It’s got a big sign beckoning weary travelers to “dump your toxic waste in the cleanest restrooms in Area 51.”

Manager Dixie Scarboro has Space Station Garlic, Terrestrial Teriyaki and Hell Hole Hot Jerky. When it says hot, he means it!

Jason Richard, who splits the day with Scarboro, both whom do not claim to be UFO buffs, does enjoy how visitors from other parts of the U.S. and Canada, even European countries, share stories of sighting and abductions. “I don’t think they’re crazy, not at all,” says Richard.  “A lot of people are genuine and completely serious. I think it’s harder to believe there isn’t anything out there.”

Westward down the road about 45 miles or so, is the Little A’Le’Inn. A catchy name, don’t you think?  Owned by Pat Travis-Loudenclous and her daughter Connie West. It’s at Rachel, Nevada.

This is about as close to Area 51 as normal folks are going to get. Sure, you can try, but you’ll be turned away by Air Force border guards. Do you really want to risk the other side of being arrested?

It’s a nice little place, a friendly bar and grill with good food. Try the Alien Burger and the Alien Amber Ale. There is also a gift shop and a motel, not fancy, but adequate.

Travis has said at times, “UFO activity goes on in so many places, and people who come this way enjoy having a place where they don’t feel like a fool about it.”

If you don’t stop at the Little A’Le’Inn (but please do), out front you can see a white 1948 Chevy crane dangling a space craft.  And if you’re there at the right times, you might hear sonic booms. Don’t pay much attention to those though, it’s just the jet planes out of Nellis Air Base in Las Vegas cutting up a little bit. Who knows why and who cares?  Probably gives the pilots a kick to do that every now and then. You know boys and fast machines. No offense to the equally excellent lady pilots, if any.

E.T Highway continues west to Warm Springs, the junction with U.S. Highway 6 coming out of Ely. Don’t try to stop for gas there. It’s completely deserted, except for the cows on the adjacent range. Big horn sheep have been known to frequent there also. Just keep on going: Tonopah is only about 50 miles farther west.

So, next time you are passing through Lincoln County, remember the old TV jingle, “See the U.S.A in your Chevrolet,” or whatever vehicle you might be driving, or at least along the E.T. Highway. Judge for yourself just how lonely it can be. Pretty on a clear night though, with all the stars in the heavens.

— Dave Maxwell


Mineral County

America’s Most Patriotic Town

Colorful “bomb-based windmill art” and the vintage neon sign from the old Hawthorne Club at Veterans Park in Hawthorne.

American Flags are constantly flying throughout the town of Hawthorne, set apart as being America’s Most Patriotic Town. In honoring many different wars and those that served within those wars, Veteran’s Park stands as a cornerstone to Hawthorne’s northern entrance along Highway 95.

Throughout the year, the people of Hawthorne plan for their main event on Armed Forces weekend.  Town parades from any holiday celebration traditionally end at Veterans Park, where new tributes are included within this landmark park on an annual basis.  

Once referred to as “Lady Bird Park” (in relationship to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s wife embarking on her 1965 Beautification Landscape-Landmark Tour across America), eventually it seemed more appropriate, with the town’s history and values, to be named Veteran’s Park.

Home to the World’s Largest Ammunition Base, with the Army and Navy presence being the predominant employers in the county, Veterans Park has become the place of many gatherings and tributes, brought about by several active military organizations.

Recently, the Battlefield Cross was dedicated, atop a large rock, on which seven names are listed on a bronze plaque. These Marines were tragically killed on March 18, 2013, during a training mishap at the local base. Part of the Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., these soldiers will be long remembered by this sentiment under the town’s big flag, which waves as a reminder to the many who sacrifice for this country.

The Battlefield Cross stands as a symbolic value of duty, loyalty, courage, and unselfish service, specifically for the soldiers who perished while serving this country. In the Civil War era, as a way of marking the death of a fallen soldier, rifles were inverted into the ground and any ID or headgear was hung on top. Over time, ID tags and helmets were included, with combat boots standing empty. At Hawthorne’s Veterans Park, this tribute stands against the sky’s backdrop, as a remembrance beyond honoring those seven soldiers; it will remain a place of mourning for any visitor wishing to take a moment to honor the passing of a soldier.

Within the park, one will also see a vintage Hawthorne sign, once a local icon on the historic Hawthorne Club, originally located on 5th and E St., this retro neon signage is known as “A Pillar of Light” and was dedicated at the current location on March 1, 1997. The Hawthorne Club was demolished in 1996, and in March of 2017 heavy winds unexpectedly toppled this unique sign, creating damage that took over eight months to repair. Locals have celebrated the return of the refurbished sign.

The local Lion’s Club commissioned a massive undertaking of bomb-based windmill art, created and constructed along the park’s venue, to draw in tourists who stop for photo ops. As an eye-candy of whirling magic, these remain Hawthorne’s most unique conversation pieces.

Strolling through  this park, many tributes are available to read, including a Rapid-Fire, Full-Sized Turning Gun donated by the U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot in 1968. Children love climbing atop the guns steel girth, which creates a metal jungle gym for play. Plan your trip to include this park of amusement and tribute along Highway 95, across from McDonald’s.

Sheri Samson


North Lake Tahoe

Happy New Year!

Even though the snowstorms have been a little sparse compared to last season, it has been plenty cold enough, and there is still a lot to do in North Lake Tahoe. Last season, the first big storm didn’t come in until after January 1st, and it didn’t stop snowing until June, so hopefully we’ll have another winter like that.

                                                                        Your intrepid correspondent Kayla riding Squaw

Thanks to amazing snowmaking capabilities, all of the ski resorts are open from the West Shore to the east, including: Homewood, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Northstar California, Diamond Peak, Boreal, and Mt. Rose. Many of them are open top to bottom with plenty of groomed, skiable terrain.

                                                                                       Learn to Ski at Diamond Peak

If you are looking to get better at skiing or snowboarding to be able to keep up with your friends on powder days, January is the perfect time to get better. Diamond Peak is honoring incredible ski and snowboard packages during January 22-25th’s Learn to Ski and Ride Week and Squaw Valley is inviting women to improve their all-mountain riding skills with lunch and après ski events at its Jan. 28-30 Women of Winter Camp.

                                                    The skating rink at Northstar

However, if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, that’s okay, too — there’s still ice skating and other winter activities for family members of all ability levels.

The Tahoe City Winter Sports Park has a manmade sledding hill and rentals on not only sleds, but snowshoes, cross-country skis, fat bikes, and ice skates. Northstar California, tucked off of Highway 267, also has a village with plenty of shopping, an ice skating rink, bungee trampoline, Village Cinemas, and kids’ adventure zones.

If you can’t seem to let go of summer, then you should know that you can still play 18 holes of golf at the Incline Village Championship Course — in the pro shop! The FlightScope X2 Elite launch monitor and indoor hitting net are set up in the golf shop for the off-season, and you can spend an hour playing one of 15 different virtual golf courses. Golf lessons are also available, so that you don’t have to let your game get rusty.

For something a bit more relaxed, head over to the Tunnel Creek Café in Incline Village for a hot beverage, sandwich, or freshly baked good. Limited time seasonal treats include peppermint hot chocolate, brown sugar mochas, butternut squash quesadillas, and pulled pork sandwiches. After your meal, wander up the nearby Flume Trail and snap a pic of Lake Tahoe’s scenic East Shore.

Start this New Year off right by getting your ski legs under you and enjoying all that North Lake has to offer in 2018!

— Kayla Anderson



Wheeler Well: one man’s the labor of love

Dick Senior, the Keeper of Wheeler Well, stops to take a photo of his favorite horse, Howdy.

In the Spring Mountains off of Wheeler pass, about 7,000 feet in elevation above the town of Pahrump,  sits and old rusted cattle watering tank known as Wheeler Well. It’s not much to look at. The tank for the water had been dry for some fifty years, and It was full of holes from hunters using it for target practice. 

Dick Senior changed all that. Dick was a man driven by the love for animals and known simply as the “Keeper of the Well.” He got the water running again for the animals, and over 10 years later the community keeps that water going, even though Dick has since moved on.

The keeper

Dick Senior id a retired plumber from California who was responsible for getting the water running again.  

The first users of the tank were cattle from Pahrump. The Bowman family found a spring and piped it down sometime in the 1950s. The cattle came up from the valley in the summer to escape the heat. When the cattle stopped coming, the well or tank fell into disrepair and went dry.

Started the well again

Dick Senior, the Keeper of Wheeler Well, stands in front of a full tank of water. One can see the water line behind the tank, which is gravity fed to the tank.

In 2002, Dick found the tank bone dry. Dick is a self taught naturalist who just liked being in the mountains and spending time with the animals. For him this was a labor of love.

“I knew I could get it to run again if I could only find the source of the water,” he said. “It took some time, but I found some pipe and traced it back to an underground tank some 500 feet from the watering tank.”

Dick was able to get it running and even renovated the piping again in 2010. He had to work on it all the time because of weather and vandals.

“The rains would wash the piping away,” he said. “One time I found the piping some 500 feet away from the tank.”

                                              Wild horses gather at Wheeler Well to get a drink during the hot summer months.

Dick’s favorite thing to do was watching not only the horses drink, but the many other animals like deer, birds and Elk that frequented the well. He would sit there in front of the tank, shielded from view by some trees and just enjoy all the animals that came to drink.

“I know the tank still gets a lot of visitors,” Dick said. “Recently the man who took my place said he went up to the well and saw 45 elk gathered around it. You just have to be quiet and the animals will appear.”

Whenever dick went up there, he would carry with him some nuts and bolts for the tank.

“I like to carry a few of these nuts and bolts in my pocket,” he said. “When I come up here, I usually find a hole in the tank caused by hunters or kids who fire their guns into the tank.”

Over the years, Dick came in contact with a lot of wild horses.

“There were, at one time, some 75 up there,” Dick said. “I knew about a dozen by name. My favorite one was Howdy. He was so tame he allowed me to come right up to him by the tank. Then there was also a horse I named Crazy Mary. She was not friendly and still is there. My friends told me she just gave birth to a foal.”

A trio of wild horses drinking at Wheeler Well. The well is easily accessible off of Wheeler Pass. Once you go up the mountain, there are signs to guide you.

No longer in Pahrump

Being in his eighties, the trips up the mountain got to be too much for Dick, and he was forced to move away from the mountain he loved so much.

“I just wish that I was 15 years younger when I started this project,” he said.

Dick has moved from Pahrump for health reasons and currently lives in Southern California, but his legacy is the well, and it is in good hands. Dick is almost 90-years-old.

“I left the well some spare parts, and some people still go up there to keep the water running,” he said. “I haven’t been up there in close to three years.”

His last trip up to the well officially was in 2015, but his spirit and memory still persist to this day.

Dick has written two books on the subject. The first one was published by the Pahrump Arts Council and was made for children, called “Keeper of Wheeler Well.” The second one was by Dick and is called, “Adventures in the Mountains and Deserts.”

Who took over for Dick

The well is now more than ever a community project, according to Selway Mulkey for the Pahrump Valley 4 Wheelers.

“We have an equestrian group that helps us out, and it kind of has turned into a community deal,” Selway said. “Whereas Dick did this pretty much on his own for all that time.”

Selway recently went up there to replace most of the piping because the well was dry.

“The tank had no water, and what usually happens is people run  over the piping and it breaks,” Selway said. “We tried to put about 200 feet of it underground with hard pipe so it won’t break. As long as it doesn’t freeze, it should be okay.”

The Wheeler Well is accessible off of Wheeler Pass, and once you get up the mountain there are signs that point the way.

— Vernon Hee



Downtown Reno: One Square Mile Edition

In the colder months, we tend to stay a little closer to home. Erik pursues the “One Square Mile” theme, featuring scenes he paints within a square mile of the loft (show at La Terre Verte, downtown Reno), and we relish the opportunity to base most of our activities near home, leaving the car parked. Luckily, we live in an area that is very conducive to this.


Gentrification is a dirty word these days, but the 3rd Street Flats in downtown Reno is proof that it is not all bad. Born from the putrid dung-heap of an eyesore called the Kings Inn, which was finally and mercifully demolished last year, 3rd Street Flats has 94 “upscale” apartments and (my favorite part) a Korean restaurant and grocery store on the ground level. After being boarded up for an astonishing 30 years, developers scraped off the pigeon poop and replaced it with clean, sleek, modern seating and appliances to create Bab Café. The menu is fairly simple but the staff is eager to help with suggestions for Korean food newbies like me. I got the classic Teriyaki chicken bowl (including lots of fresh veggies stylishly grated) with miso soup for ten bucks — very fresh and delicious! Dubbed “wholesome Korean in a cup,” with vegetarian, gluten-free and Paleo options, I would say the salt content makes it a poor choice for those suffering from high blood pressure or heart failure.


If you have kids (or grands), you know how hard it can be to keep them busy in the in the winter without relying on the “boob tube” or video games. My grandson Oli is the type that likes to swing from the rafters, so when he visits we are very grateful to have the world class Discovery Museum in our backyard. For about ten bucks a head (or 5 bucks on Wednesdays after 4 pm), you and the kids can engage in a delightful romp through the 67,000 square foot modern science playground with exhibits like “Build It!”, “A T-Rex Named Sue” (replica of the world’s largest T-Rex skeleton), “Cloud Climber” climbing structure, “Truckee Connects” (hands-on replica of the Truckee River watershed), “Nevada Stories”, and “DaVinci’s Corner”.

If the weather is not too forbidding, take the kids to the Downtown Reno Ice Rink at the Aces Ballpark (now called “Greater Nevada Field”) for some good old-fashioned outdoor fun. You can rent skates, buy hot cocoa and snacks, and the Saint Mary’s ER is only a few blocks away.

For the Grown-ups, the Nevada Museum of Art on Liberty St. has some exciting exhibits up, including “Unsettled,” featuring 200 works of art from the “Greater West.” For those who like to view art in a social setting, there are free docent-led tours on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and the uber-popular “X Night at the Museum,” the first Thursday of each month, with food, drinks and music included in the ten dollar admission, and a kids’ open art studio for five bucks.


We are deluged with entertainment options downtown, with the Century Riverside, Pioneer Center, Bruka Theatre, and numerous casinos visible from our building. Especially popular at the Pioneer is the Broadway Comes to Reno series, which is featuring “Kinky Boots” this month on Jan 26-28.

One intriguing offering this month at Bruka is Reno Art Scene: Take Five, which features some of our area’s famous creators demonstrating and explaining their art in five minutes each.

Hike of the Month: Winnemucca Ranch, Nevada’s Serengeti

Okay, I know, I know. Winnemucca Ranch is not within One Square Mile of our downtown loft. This remote-feeling, wide open plain is an hour and a half drive north of downtown Reno, yet the city has been attempting to annex it since 2007 to promote development. At one point they even wanted to put a town of 12 thousand homes and 2 million square feet of industrial space there! Dubbed (by us) Nevada’s Serengeti, a trek through this country is guaranteed to calm (and thrill!) the soul. If you have never seen a herd of wild antelope bounding across a plain, you are sure to experience the blood-rushing sensation I did  when I first scared up over 30 of them at the base of Tule Peak.

                                                                             Winnemucca Ranch (Photo by Vivian Olds)

The diversity of creatures here (including wild horses, large herds of deer, frogs, hawks, and coyotes), proximity to the majestic Tule Peak, shadowy Dogskin Mountains, and Pyramid Lake, along with the sweeping, undisturbed views and serene feelings of solitude elicited by this place should qualify it for National Monument status. Voters for Sensible Growth and a group of local artists have been trying to save it since 2009, organizing “Paint-Ins” and a Winnemucca/Marshall Ranch show at the very cool and eclectic Potentialist Workshop (located within the One Square Mile!).

To reach this spectacular remnant of the Old West, travel north on the Pyramid Highway for 17 miles and then approximately 15 miles northwest on Winnemucca Ranch Road until you reach the Marshall Ranch.

— Amy Meeks



Searchlight: On the Road from Las Vegas to Laughlin

For the next several months I will be exploring my visits to Laughlin from Las Vegas. Hopefully, it will answer at least a few of your questions about this section of our great State of Nevada!

                                                                                        Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino

While the new Interstate 11 is being built with a bypass around Boulder City, it is nice to know that you can still get through this area to go to Laughlin without much difficulty. On the other hand, if you expect to stop at Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino while on your way from Vegas to Laughlin you will have to backtrack a few miles to do so.

I-11 has been completed for 2 ½ miles at Railroad Pass and will eventually extend between Nogales, Arizona and Reno, Nevada. It follows US 93, US 95, I-10 and I-19. Going south on US 93 and US 95 connects you to I-11 and you need only to stay in the right-hand lane once I-11 begins.

The same exit to go to Searchlight and Laughlin on US 95 is marked with very small signs at the base of the highway, so they are easy to miss. But there really are no changes here for you to worry about, since the same exit ramp is marked for Searchlight/Laughlin.

                                                                              Southbound I-11 to Searclight and Laughlin

If you want to go to Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino you will exit as if you are going to Searchlight/Laughlin; however, instead of turning right at the Stop and Yield signs at the bottom of the exit ramp, you will go to the stop sign and turn left. You will proceed under the bridge and take another left to go back onto US 93/US 95/I-11 and go 2 miles north (in essence backtracking) and exit at the first stoplight to the right. This is at the entrance to the parking lot of Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino.

In the future this area will have a huge truckstop and the hotel and casino will be expanded to accommodate the increased traffic.

Since I hate to backtrack (don’t you?), I bypassed Railroad Pass and made it a stop on the way back to Vegas. But if you need a bathroom break you should stop here because your next break will be in Searchlight, which is 40 miles away. There is nothing in between these two areas except for driving through the Dust Bowl area, which is the Eldorado Dry Lake Bed that stretches for 4 miles. Depending on the time of year that you travel through here, you can be going through a major dust storm; or, if it is raining, the road could be flooded. For this reason, there are electronic signs on either end of this stretch of road warning of any hazards ahead. Otherwise, the road is peaceful with a 75 mph limit.

Searchlight is a pass -through town for most drivers. And since it is such a small town on a major highway, it is also a major speed trap. When the signs start slowing you down from 75 to 45 to 35 mph within feet of each other you have arrived! They really mean you should go 35 … until you get to the 25 mph sign. They want you to slow down to see what the town has to offer.

That being said, there are actually a few places you can stop while in Searchlight. Most of the through traffic stops at the Terrible Herbst gas station in the southeast part of town for a rest/break and McDonald’s for a meal. They are remodeling the inside of this McDonald’s with only the drive-through open at the time of this writing.

If you are looking for food and are not in a hurry, a couple of blocks north of this gas station is Terrible’s Roadhouse (previously known as the Searchlight Nugget Casino). It is on the east side of the street at the I-95 and Nipton Road (I-164) intersection. They have a full restaurant and counter service where you can get a decent meal (including a baked potato after 4 p.m.) if you are hungry. The food there has been pretty good since they did a remodel of the Nugget. Breakfast is served all day, with a steak and egg breakfast for $9.99. Coffee used to be 10 cents at the old Nugget, but, you still get a deal at the Roadhouse … for 89 cents.

The Roadhouse also has a bar serving $1 beer and $2 well drinks. Their serving hours are 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. (Sun.-Thurs.) and until 9:30 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.)

And if you imbibe too much at the bar, there is a motel in town, the El Rey Motel. This is an older, affordable motel with a friendly staff which is being remodeled this year. There are a lot of visitors who stay here when going to the Colorado River or Preserve areas. Cats and dogs are welcome, too. Phone (702) 297-1144 for a reservation or more information.

Not to be missed before you leave Searchlight is Gus’ Really Good Jerky store on the opposite (west) side of the street from the Terrible Herbst gas station. The prices are a little on the high side, but you have your choice of jerky, honey, olives, sausage, dried fruits, nuts, and more. Ask for samples, as they are readily available for trying and are truly fresh and really worth the price. It is a small but pleasant surprise for this area.

(To be continued in February)

— Pauline Cimoch


South Lake Tahoe

                                   Looking toward Stateline from El Dorado Beach, with lenticular clouds hovering above

It’s a nice, optimistic feeling to see people get excited for all the snow at Lake Tahoe when there is no snow yet.  People arrive with high hopes and their the skis strapped to the roof of the car, but unfortunately are greeted to a town still waiting.  It doesn’t seem to dampen spirits, maybe because it’s the holiday season, a time to head into the mountains and be merry and bright.  A little of the white stuff would help spread the joy of the season, but sometimes old man winter can be a bit slow. A few warmer storms came through the area in November and capped all the higher peaks, which started to make the lake look a lot like Christmas.  It will start to happen more and more in December: the snow will come, and with it a bounty of snowy activities.

Some of the ski resorts up here have it easy  attracting customers to their mountain;  places like Heavenly or Squaw Valley are equipped with the best snowmaking in the country.  At the top of the Gondola at Heavenly Village the elevation reaches almost 10,000 feet, so temps stay cold to make snow and provide a few runs for the skiers and snowboarders to get their fix.

There are benefits to ski season at the local pubs and restaurants: most offer apres ski drink specials, like Mott Canyon Tavern and Grill on 259 Kingsbury Grade, (Hwy, 207), named after a double black diamond ski run at the top of Heavenly Nevada.  Mott has a large food menu and plenty of beers on tap, and even if you don’t ski, come on in and grab a cold beer and a burger.  Their Christmas party is December 14, and it’s always a top notch shindig.

Other snow-reliant businesses that have to wait for the snow to fall from the sky start to feel antsy.  Places like Zephyr Cove Snowmobile and Borges Sleigh and Carriage Rides probably get fidgety waiting for their opening day.  Hopefully, people did more praying and not too much partying at all the pray for snow parties that happened in November.  Zephyr Cove Snowmobiling is the best place to zoom around on a snow machine in the area, going way up into the high country above 9,000 feet in the Carson Range for wonderful views of the lake.  But if going slow and steady is more the pace for you, then take a sleigh ride with the Borge’s in the meadow in between MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa and one of the original Pony Express stops at Stateline, Nevada.

Daytime activities are the big reason people come to the lake but also the town is open 24 hours on the Nevada side.  A great place to ring in the new year and say goodbye to 2017.  All the casinos are partying all night long and the atmosphere is that of hope and happiness or everyone is buzzed and cheery.  Never the less it’s a good time, so Happy New Year!   Happy travels and don’t worry we’ll get that snow.

— Brendan Packer



We made it through another year and Sparks just seems to be getting better and better. The new Pyramid & McCarran intersection opened up making it easier to get around, new schools are being built, special events throughout the year allow family and friends to get together and create long lasting memories, and more.

If you are like many other Northern Nevadans who have just made New Year’s resolutions such as spend time with loved ones, exercise, and learn new skills, then there are plenty of ways to start the year off right in Sparks. Here are some popular New Year’s resolutions and how Sparks can help:  

                                                      Making an art structure for Burning Man (Photo courtesy The Generator)

Want to learn something new? Then take a class at The Generator! Located at 1240 Icehouse Avenue in Sparks, The Generator is an inclusive art space with light industrial equipment, 3-phase power, and plenty of square footage to be able to spread out and create. Much like the rules of Burning Man, The Generator operates under its same principles year-round in decommodification, gifting time and resources, communal effort, civic responsibility, and radical participation. If you are ready to jump into the Sparks creative community, then consider joining a quilting class, learn chain mail basics, or take up welding in January.

Want to get in shape and have fun doing it? Then consider taking a paddleboard lesson or fitness class at Marina PaddleFit. The locally-owned rental company based out of the Sparks Marina specializes in getting people out on the water in kayaks or stand-up paddle boards. Paddleboarding can feel like you’re walking on water, and gives one an opportunity to enjoy the wildlife or even paddle from one side of the other and grab a coffee at Lighthouse.

                                            Lighthouse Coffee at Sparks Marina

Speaking of wanting to eat healthier in the New Year, Lighthouse Coffee (cafes located at the Sparks Marina and another one on Vista Boulevard) not only serves espresso drinks and smoothies but also has a delicious selection of homemade quiches, gluten-free baked goods, fruit bars, bagels, and scones.

For bigger meals, you can also set up a delivery service through Basket Case Organics. Headquartered on Industrial Avenue, Basket Case Organics delivers fresh farmers market quality fruits and vegetables to your home or office practically anywhere in Washoe County.

If you are looking for exciting things to do with the family, consider taking the kids to the Fly High Trampoline Park on Greg Street, go bowling at Wild Island Adventure Park’s Coconut Bowl, or brush up on your batting skills at Tommy’s Grandstand batting cages. For some good ‘ole fashioned country fun, be sure to check out David John and the Comstock Cowboys at the Nugget Casino Resort’s Celebrity Showroom on January 5-6.

— Kayla Anderson