Nevada Correspondence – July 2017

In this edition:

Baker, Boulder City, Elko, Ely, Gerlach, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Lincoln County, Mineral County, Reno, South Lake Tahoe



Nevada’s Last Glacier

                                                                      High-altitude wildflowers growing on Wheeler Peak

July is one of the busiest months in Baker, with hotel rooms, cave tours, and developed campgrounds at capacity. You can still enjoy your visit by booking ahead (for lodging options and cave tours) and checking out more primitive campsites (e.g., Snake Creek area and Sacramento Pass recreational area). And there is lots of great backcountry, with over 100 miles of trails in the North and South Snake Ranges.  For nformation on lodgings, restaurants, bars, and stores in and near Baker, click here. For cave tours information, click here.

It gets hot in town, at an elevation of 5,300 feet, so to cool off simply head up the mountain. The paved Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive reaches over 10,000 feet elevation, and you’ll notice very different vegetation as you gain elevation and the air temperature drops dramatically.  July is a good time to head up to see the ancient bristlecones, which have a very short growing period each year.

If you want to continue further into Wheeler Peak cirque, follow the sign towards the glacier. You’ll find a long rock glacier, which is basically rock-covered ice. The rocks have fallen off the surrounding mountainsides and help insulate the ice so it lasts longer. Nevertheless, scientific tests show that there’s ice underlying the rocks only at the top of the rock glacier, but not in the lowest lobes.

Part of the glacier that carved this cirque and flowed down to about 8,000 feet elevation is still left, the only glacier remaining in Nevada. Now it is very small. In July it is still snow-covered. Often, the snow melts so that the ice and crevasse are visible in September and October. This isn’t really a good thing, because for a glacier to grow, more snow must be deposited and squashed to ice than melts or sublimates. This little glacier probably doesn’t have a long life expectancy.

Use caution when hiking in the area. Footing is over loose talus that often moves, and if you spend any time in the cirque, you are likely to hear rocks falling from Wheeler Peak or Jeff Davis Peak, over 1,000 feet above. It’s a neat experience to visit this area, though, as it feels like you’re going back in time. Check out the beautiful wildflowers at the higher elevations, too.

If you’d like to learn more about the lichens throughout Great Basin National Park, you can join the Lichen BioBlitz July 17-19. This is a citizen-science event, with lichen experts coming to lead workshops and hikes to various locations. At present, 160 species are known in the park, and many more are expected to be found during this short-term event. For more information, check out the park’s BioBlitz webpage.

— Gretchen Baker

Visit Gretchen’s fascinating outdoor adventure blog, Desert Survivor.


Boulder City

Snow White Sang at the Boulder Theatre

Somewhat neglected in the story of Boulder City is the fact that Boulder Dam was built not just to generate electrical power but to inspire a nation.

The architect Gordon Kaufman added the Art Deco touches to project a modern, forward-looking vision of America that was badly needed in the Great Depression. Boulder Dam was later renamed Hoover Dam, but nothing else was renamed — causing endless confusion to visitors about where Boulder Dam is.

In middle of Boulder City, which was becoming a mecca for feeling optimistic about America, Earl Brothers, an early entrepreneur with a lot of heart, built the Boulder Dam Theatre. Every year, Earl threw a party for the children of Boulder City. He had built the first and, for most citizens, the only air conditioned building in Boulder City. Although the Dam workers were his main customers, he never forgot about the kids in town, and he would often offer them a free showing of a film and throw a party for them.

Walt Disney’s first full length animated feature, Snow White, was released in 1937. Earl had Hollywood connections and invited members of the cast, including the voice of Snow White, Adriana Caselotti, and others who had done the bird sounds. The cast members eagerly came to Boulder City to see Hoover Dam, which was the the coolest tourist attraction in the country to visit in it’s day. Imagine, as a child of the Depression, sitting in air conditioned bliss as Snow White and the birds of the forest sang for you. It must have been magical!

— Alan Goya



Summer greetings from Elko. There is plenty to see and do in Elko this July. Here are a few of my favorites.

Wild about Flowers

This year’s heavy snows and spring rains are guaranteed to produce a bumper crop of wildflowers this summer. Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway is one of the best spots to see the wildflowers. You can see plenty of flowers along the 12-mile drive to Road’s End. For a closer view, any of the six hiking trails in the canyon will bring you close to the blooms. Other good places to take in the flowers in Elko County are Soldier Canyon, Copper Basin and Canyon Creek Pockets. For more information call the Forest Service at 738-5171 or 752-3357.

Spring Creek 4th of July Celebration

This day long event starts with a fun run in the morning, parade at 10 am, games and food throughout the day, and ends with fireworks in the evening. FMI:

Lamoille Canyon in Concert

Great Basin College is bringing Tony Furtado to Elko on July 7th. FMI:

Mile High Dining

Last month I took a drive to check out the new Mile High Steak House at the Wildhorse Ranch and Resort north of Elko. Richard Pike, a longtime chef in Elko, recently opened this steakhouse. I had the pork roast special  (pictured above) and it was excellent. The Mile High Steak House is worth the hour drive.

Art in the Park

The Elko Art Club is holding its annual art and craft fair at the main city park on July 8 and 9.

More than 70 vendors will be showcasing paintings, photography, ironwork, and more. FMI:

Farmers Markets Are In Season

We now have two farmers markets in the Elko area. The July Farmer’s Market in Elko will be held on Saturday July 22nd. It features locally grown and sold food items! Lotspeich Family Farm, Kennedy Ranch Home-Grown Beef, Brough Ranch, and Bottari Family Creamery will be there as always, selling their outstanding local foods. Check in as the event gets closer for a list of other vendors.

On Saturday July 8th the Lamoille Farmers Market is held at Sue Kennedy’s land in Lamoille. Local producers and growers are selling grass fed beef, local honey, artisan cheese, fresh vegetables and more. FMI:

Western Folklife Center Happenings 

July is a busy month at the Folklife Center. Thursday night dance lessons and open dancing takes place on the second and fourth Thursdays in July. On the second Wednesday is Jam Night where local musicians gather to play. On the third Wednesday, Southwind plays music from 6 to 8 pm. All events are family friendly. FMI: or call 738-7508

Small Bites

Ogi Deli and Bar has expanded hours on Friday and Saturday evenings. Their evening food menu features pintxos, which are Basque-style finger foods. Their drink menu features Basque-inspired cocktails and Basque wines and ciders. Friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere make it a great spot to enjoy an

evening on the town. They are located downtown on the corner of 5th Street and Commercial Street. FMI:

Big 50 Movies

Outdoor movies are back at the Northeastern Nevada Museum this July. This series features classic movies that premiered 50 years ago. Here is the July lineup: July 15 – The Sound of Music; July 22 – El Dorado; July 29 – That Darn Cat. The movies are shown outdoors behind the museum and start at dusk. Free admission, but donations are accepted. Bring a blanket and popcorn for a fun night. FMI:

— Doug Clarke



July 4th in Ely

                                                                         Independence Day parade in Ely, July 4th, 1918

July 4th is one of the biggest celebrations of the year in Ely. There is a long history and tradition for this.

In the early days of the mining and ranching here, workers were recruited from all over the world because of the skills they had. Underground miners came from Wales and England, and Basque sheepherders from France and nearby areas, Others came to work in their trades, including Chinese workers in the restaurants and laundries and Japanese famers who grew gardens to provide fresh vegetables for the mining camps. Italian carbanari workers were brought here to build the charcoal oven that produced the charcoal for the early smelters.  Italian railroad workers came to build the railroad that supplied the goods needed for the community and hauled out the ore, sheep and cattle produced here.  Greek workers came for the labor jobs needed to build the mines and work in the pits and the smelters. And so Ely developed as a very ethnically mixed community.

All these people came from different countries with different languages, customs, and holidays.  In addition to work and sometimes housing, they all had the opportunity to become American citizens.  The common holiday they could all celebrate was July 4th.

July 4th has become the holiday when everyone comes home to Ely. High school class reunions are held, family gatherings and often weddings, golf tournaments, and of course a huge parade, all take place. A community breakfast is held for high school alumni to meet and visit. There is something happening for everyone to enjoy. And for those who want to enjoy a small town July 4th celebration, this is the place to be.

Special Nevada Northern train rides run, including the fireworks train where people enjoy a train ride and then watch the fireworks. Golf tournaments are played. The Renaissance Village is open for everyone to explore the houses to see how people lived here for the past 100 years.

The parade celebrates the history of the area with horses, bands, antique and custom cars, kids with decorated bikes and 4-wheelers, and many colorful characters.

Plan to join us in an old fashioned, small town, patriotic celebration. Contact the White Pine Chamber of Commerce for more information at 775-289-8877 or or

— Lorraine Clark



Spend the 4th of July on the Black Rock Desert! 

Join Friends of Black Rock-High Rock out on the Black Rock Desert playa for a beautiful, informative and all-around good time this Independence Day.  This is a Leave No Trace camp out event.

When: June 30th through July 2nd
Where: We plan on camping at GPS coordinates: 40°49’33.3″N 119°12’45.0″W. We have weather contingency plans, but this is what we’re going with until further notice.
Activities will include tours of the area, camp games, great food, and moon and star gazing. We will be leading a guided hike up Steamboat Rock from 9 am to 12 pm on Saturday. Happy Hour with hors d’oeuvres and lawn games will be held on Saturday from 5 to 7pm. Porta-potties will be available on-site. 
For more information, to volunteer, or to RSVP for this event please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Daniel, at
— Margie Reynolds


Las Vegas

The iconic PAC-MAN character is one of the most recognizable figures in video game history and was the basis for the most successful arcade game of all time. Diamond Jack remembers losing game after game while playing the revolutionary console at the old Sahara Tahoe at Stateline. Well, the character is back and has arrived on casino floors at eight Boyd Gaming properties as PAC MAN WILD EDITION, a new video slot machine game from Ainsworth Game Technologies. Boyd Gaming properties with the game include The Orleans, Gold Coast, Suncoast, Sam’s Town, the Cannery Casino in North Las Vegas, and California, Main Street Station and Fremont in Downtown Las Vegas. “PAC-MAN WILD EDITION provides all the recognizable sounds and imagery loved by people around the globe,” said Matt Ryan, Senior Vice President of Boyd Gaming. “The game looks amazing and it’s packed with bonuses that will attract both slot fanatics and PAC-MAN fans.”

Prefer golf over a slot game? Topgolf Las Vegas boasts 107 climate-controlled hitting bays, two pools, cabanas, a concert venue, VIP suites, five bars, special event spaces, dining, and a Callaway Fitting Studio. Located on eight acres just behind MGM Grand Hotel, it spans four levels and 105,000 square feet. Among the 31 Topgolf locations around the world, the Las Vegas venue is the biggest. Of course; this is Las Vegas. It features interactive golf games in hitting bays that can host up to six players at one time, with lounge-style seating and HD televisions. Games can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels with the accuracy and distance of players’ shots tracked through micro-chipped golf balls.

For more information, try the Topgolf Las Vegas website.

Two men who hadn’t seen each other for years met on the street. One asked the other how things had been.

“Everything was wonderful for a while,” he said. “I had it all: money, a magnificent house, fast cars, and the love of a beautiful woman. Then one day, poof, it was all gone.”

“What a shame,” said the friend. “What happened?”

“My wife found out.”

— Diamond Jack Bulavsky


Let the explosions begin!

Fireworks will be everywhere around Las Vegas’ long Fourth of July weekend, starting Saturday, July 1st.

                                          July 4th Fireworks at Red Rock Casino

Besides the huge displays at Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock Casino on July 4th, other properties will be popping the rockets at Lake Las Vegas and Caesar’s Palace on Sunday, July 2nd. 

For the first time, the Plaza (downtown) will have a short 4-minute fireworks display at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 1st.  (As of this writing, both the Stratosphere and Mandalay Bay will not be hosting fireworks this year.)  Don’t forget to check out the activities in the burbs, which keep going and going!

On July 4th, Henderson will be celebrating from 6 until 9:30 p.m. at Heritage Park (350 E. Racetrack Rd.), which is a move from their Mission Hills location. The gates open at 1 p.m. with free admission and free parking. Besides the evening entertainment with fireworks at 9 p.m., they will have lawn games, a Ferris wheel, hamster water balls, face painting, and more for the whole family to enjoy. They do not allow alcohol, glass containers, sparklers, pets or barbecues. Vendors will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, and other snacks.

                                                                              Summerlin  Fourth of July Parade

Attend the Summerlin Council’s 23rd Patriotic Parade on the 4th from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. for one of Southern Nevada’s biggest Independence Day parades. They always put on a fun parade with more than 80 entries of giant balloons, floats, marching bands, military vehicles, and cartoon and storybook characters for all to enjoy. The parade kicks off at Hillpointe Road and Hills Center Drive, travels south on Hills Center toward Village Center Circle and ends at Trails Village Shopping Center. Get there early with your lawn chairs and water!

If you want to sit back and relax on the 4th with a minor league baseball game, the Las Vegas 51s are playing the El Paso Chihuahuas at 7:05 p.m. at Cashman Field, with fireworks right after the game.

                                                             Cashman Field

Most tickets are $15 each (plus fee if purchased thru TicketMaster), and there is not a bad seat in the house because the stadium is small. They also try to “entertain” between innings to keep everyone in a good mood.Tips: Buy tickets at the stadium, unless you want dugout seats, they are not usually sold out. There are misters over the seats in the Plaza Seating area, farther up above home plate, which has the overhang providing some shade. Bleachers are along the outfield; however, they have stadium seats near the dugout and behind home plate along with a party zone. You can bring bottled water into the stadium. They do charge $5 for parking  (subject to change).

Speaking of sports and being laid back, for the night you could attend the Night of Fire on Monday, July 3rd at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gates open at 5 p.m., with racing until 10 p.m. for Super Stocks, Super Late Models Spirit of ’76, Bombers, Thunder Cars, a figure 8 trailer race, and fireworks to end the night. Tickets are $15 for general admission in advance or $20 at the gate. Discounts available for seniors, military and under 12 years of age. You can purchase tickets online or at the Speedway. Parking is ample and free. You can bring 1 non-alcoholic beverage (20 oz. or less) in plastic sports bottle or plastic cup or unopened bottle of water. One food item (sandwich, chips, fruit, crackers) can also be brought in per person, but, no alcohol or coolers, folding chairs, fireworks or glass and metal can containers. They usually have specials of cola products, beer and hot dogs for the holiday; just ask if you do not see signs.

If you missed the 4th of July week in Vegas, not to worry! There are other events throughout the month for you to check out.

From July 13 through 15 the U.S. Darts Masters Tournament will take place at the Tropicana’s Trinidad Pavilion. This is the first time the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) has been hosted in the U.S. The events have been played before in China, Dubai, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia.

You will be seeing the winner of the July 11th and 12th qualifier in the eight player championship on July 13th. Any darts player from North America is welcome into the qualifying round. The winner also goes into the 2017-2018 World Championship in London to represent North America.

On July 14th the eight competitors compete in the U.S. Darts Masters first round against the eight top PDC stars who were invited to attend. There are quarter, semi and finals played on July 15th. The competitions begin at 1 p.m. and session tickets are $40 (July 13), $50 (July 14) and $60 (July 15) or season tickets at $150.

If you are into fighting game tournaments, the EVO Championship Series will be at Mandalay Bay Hotel from July 14 through 16 from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. This tournament is open to everyone, all ages, and brings in players from around the world to compete and meet. The July 14th and 15th competition is being held in their Convention Center, with the July 16th finals located at their huge Events Center. The top eight competitors share in the prize money. A general admission badge is $40 at the door.

— Pauline Cimoch


World’s first Robotic Bar opens at Miracle Mile Shops

Tipsy Robot, the galaxy’s first Earth-based robotic bar, opened  Friday, June 30, in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Tipsy Robot is the bar of the future showcasing precision mixology combined with robotic innovation. Tipsy Robot will be open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and to midnight on weekends.

Two cocktail-shaking robots will interact with customers allowing them to order and customize cocktails via the bar’s tablets. The robots mirror the actions of human bartenders, from mixing and pouring, to the slicing of garnishes, and the choice of shaken versus stirred. Each beverage takes 70-90 seconds from order to completion.

The high-tech venue’s interior design will include metal mesh, corrugated steel, and an otherworldly cosmic-inspired video streaming on the bar’s nine big screens. Robots; however, won’t be running the entire operation. The “Galactic Ambassadors,” human staff, will complement the robot bartenders.

 Lena Prima returns to Suncoast Showroom

Singer Lena Prima, youngest daughter of Louis Prima and singer-songwriter Gia Maione, will bring her musical celebration “Old Vegas and New Orleans!” to the Suncoast Showroom on Saturday, July 8 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $15.

Prima began her musical career performing on stage touring with her parents during her summer vacations. She studied art, music and dance at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In 2000, Prima showcased “Louis Prima, That’s My Dad!” at the former Sahara, where her father performed during the early 1950s. Throughout her more than 30-year career, Prima has released five albums.

Comic David Alan Grier returns to Treasure Island

Stand-up comedian and Broadway, film and television star David Alan Grier will perform at the Treasure Island Theater with Kira Soltanovich, who spent three seasons on “Girls Behaving Badly,” on Friday, July 14 at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $49.95.

Currently, Grier plays Jerrod Carmichael’s father in the comedy series “The Carmichael Show,” now in its third season on NBC. Grier rose to fame on the sketch comedy series “In Living Color” alongside comedians Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey and Tommy Davidson. Since then he has hosted the stand-up series “Premium Blend” and starred in his own Comedy Central special “The Book of David: The Cult Figure’s Manifesto.”

Foxtail Pool at SLS offers Weekend  “Sunset Sounds” for Summer

SLS is extending poolside offerings with “Sunset Sounds” at the Foxtail Pool through summer. The indoor/outdoor event boasts live music, small bites and cocktails from 8–11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night, and there’s no cover charge.

July are features local artist Rick Duarte – who has opened for Fuel, OK Go and was a backing vocalist for Cheap Trick’s Sgt. Pepper Live Show.

— Jackie Brett



Martina McBride brings Country Music to the E Center

American country music singer-songwriter and record producer Martina McBride will appear in the E Center at the Edgewater on Friday, July 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $45 – $105.

The Multiple Grammy® nominee McBride signed with RCA Records in 1991. She has sold more than 18 million albums and earned more than 15 major music awards, including four wins for Female Vocalist of the Year from the Country Music Association and three with the Academy of Country Music for Top Female Vocalist.

McBride has been awarded 14 Gold Records. In February 2016 she released her first single, “Reckless,” the title track from her latest album.

War Rocks the Avi

Musical crossover band War will perform in the Avi Grand Ballroom on Saturday, July 8 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $29.

War’s amazing evolution began in 1969 in Long Beach, Calif. Originally the band was called Eric Burdon and War because the rock legend and ex-lead singer of the top British band The Animals fronted the group. Their debut studio album’s key track, the Latin flavored “Spill The Wine” was an immediate worldwide hit and launched the band’s career, which has lasted long after Burdon left the group.

War’s album “The World Is a Ghetto” was the best-selling album of 1973. The band transcended racial and cultural barriers with a multi-ethnic lineup and many lineup changes leaving founding member Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan as the only original member.

The group’s global popularity is a tribute to the timelessness of its music and message.

Comedy Prevails at the Edgewater

If you’re looking for laughs, comedy is front and center every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Edge Lounge at the Edgewater. “Comedy on the Edge” features two different stand-up comedians each week at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 with a $2 discount on Sundays for U.S/ veterans with an ID.

                              Rick Pulido

The upcoming comedy lineup includes: June 30-July 2 Kirk McHenry – Nate Armbruster; July 7-9 Heath Harmison – Kyle Erby; July 14-16 Rick Pulido – Chris Pleasant; July 21-23 Toby Hixx – Jim Bruce; July 28-30 Barry Neal – Debbie Praver; Aug. 11-13 Bill Campbell – Scott Schaffer; Aug. 18-20 Mark Lawrence – Joel Bryant; and Aug. 25-27 Roy Haber – Brad Ellis.

Heath Harmison is with Kyle Erby July 7-9. Harmison, a 12-year comedy veteran focuses his PG-13 humor on his kids and being married. He’s had the chance to work with some of the major names in comedy, sharing the stage with Brad Garrett, Dennis Miller, Louie Anderson and Eddie Griffin, among others. His abilities range from doing celebrity impersonations, to singing, dancing, and accents. Being an Improv comedian also gives him that extra edge on the standup comedy stage. His quick wit allows him to adapt to any situation.

                             Toby Hixx

The next pairing is Rick Pulido with Chris Pleasant July 14-16. Pulido has been traveling the comedy circuit for 20 years and performed with such comedy celebs as Cheech and Chong, Gilbert Iglesias, Judy Gold, Robin Williams, Mort Saul, Jerry Seinfeld, Judy Tenuto, Brian Reagan, and more. Pulido, who looks at the world like a camera lens, upside down, talks about the differences in men and women and people all over the world. Self-taught and thinking funny, he was a contributing writer for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Toby Hixx with Jim Bruce will prevail July 21-23. Hixx’s comedy is about things he’s seen or lived through over the years. The 18-year comedy veteran has performed with many major comedians during his career including Dave Chappelle, DL Hughley, David Spade, Ron White, Kevin

                       Barry Neal

Hart, Felipe Esparza, Jerrod Carmichael, Adam Devine, and George Wallace, among others. Hixx has also performed for U.S. troops in 15 countries including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barry Neal along with Debbie Praver will headline July 28-30. Neal aka “The Counselor of Love” covers the topics of relationships, marriage and children. For 28 years, his high energy comedy has entertained audiences at many leading comedy venues and on TV shows. He’s performed with many of comedy’s major comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Dana Carvey and Ellen DeGeneres. In addition to his busy performance schedule, this former semi-pro hockey player also books comedy acts and coaches professional comedians on the numerous points mentioned in his book “How to Get Started & Manage A Stand-up Comedy Career.”

— Jackie Brett


Lincoln County

Pioche, seat of Lincoln County

In stark contrast to its very colorful 19th-century past, 21st-century Pioche, Nevada attracts visitors and new residents with its friendly, picturesque, quiet  hometown appeal.

              The old Million Dollar Courthouse in Pioche (photo: Nevada Historical Society)

The town, on U.S. Highway 93, is the county seat of Lincoln County. A main attraction is the courthouse, built in 1938, a prominent fixture of the town. An even more famous attraction is the “Million Dollar Courthouse,” the one used from 1873 to 1938. (And that’s another fascinating story all in itself, but for another time).

Named for F.L.A. Pioche, a Frenchman and San Francisco based financier and land speculator in the 1850s and ’60s, who owned local mining interests but never visited the town, Pioche offers good food, lodging, automotive, and emergency services. There’s not much in the way of shopping, although one small place, Tillie’s, is open. It’s really an old gas station from the 1930s and has some of that charm of one of those places.

Reminders of the days when Pioche was a rip-roaring, nearly lawless, hard-rock mining town are still visible in many places.

However, there are also modern park and picnic facilities. The main park is next to the courthouse. It has a large grassy play area, a large picnic shelter with cooking areas, and playground equipment. It’s used for numerous functions, including the Labor Day and the upcoming annual  4th of July celebrations. Labor Day is the biggest social event of the year and is well attended.

                The current Lincoln County Courthouse, built in 1938, as it appeared in the mid-1950s. (photo: Nevada Historical Society)

The public swimming pool, located on the other side of the softball field, is only open during the summer months.

The Mining “pocket” park is located at the upper end of Main Street, where the business route of Highway 93 comes into town. It has a bandstand with a bench overlooking a replica of a mine tunnel entrance.

A visit to the famous Boot Hill cemetery is a reminder of the wild days of the 1870s, when Pioche indeed was the “toughest town in the west,” about a decade before Tombstone, Arizona earned a similar nickname.

A visit to the Million Dollar Courthouse Museum, with plenty of history of its own and the town’s primary attraction, is recommended. So is a visit to Thompson’s Opera House, one of only three — along with those in Virginia City and Eureka — still functioning Old West opera houses in Nevada. (Visit the Thompson’s Opera House website.)

                                               Thompson’s Opera House in Pioche

Pioche has a no-fee RV park located across the street from the swimming pool: six pull-through sites are available for short term stays (seven days or less). Water and sewer are provided, but not electricity or restroom facilities. Donations for staying at the park are requested. There are additionally two commercial full-service RV parks in town for visitors wanting or requiring all the amenities.

The population of Pioche was a little over 1,000 in the 2010 U.S. census. It is about 180 miles northeast of Las Vegas and 113 miles south of Ely. U.S. 93 bypasses the town center just to the east, but it’s an easy turnoff at the junction of State Route 322 for access to the courthouse and town park.

With an elevation of 6,200 feet, the average high in July is 89 degrees F. Average January low is 21 degrees F. Rainfall amounts are low, about 13.5 inches per year, but winter snowfalls can be heavy, averaging 44 inches per year.

A one-time visit to Pioche is not enough though, so ya’ll come back now.

— Dave Maxwell


Mineral County

A Year-Round Blast

In the summer month of July, families gather with outdoor water sports, picnics and fireworks on their mind. Kids anticipate July 4th with an evening of booms, then bursts of color in the night sky that slowly spray down embers, like sparkling waterfalls.  But in Mineral County, the Paiute Indian tribal members concentrate on selling dazzling fireworks in an all-year supply.

                                                                        Inside Four Seasons Fireworks in Schurz, Nevada

Just north of Hawthorne and Walker Lake along highway 95,  the town of Schurz stands as a “fireworks oasis,” as many travelers plan annual stops to load up on the top-named pyro wonders.From sparklers to Japanese sky lanterns famous for party entertainment, to larger, spectacular town-park displays, there are offerings at all price ranges and in all types of packaging from the Schurz vendors.

The Four Season’s Smoke Shop, Store and Gas Stop (see photos above) located about half a mile south the Alternate 95 turn-off toward Yerington, has a separate building which can be opened to passersby all year for their fireworks purchases. This facility is open seven days a week, is tribally owned, and sales go to benefit the local tribe. Jewelry and handmade Indian gift items are also offered in the store, making this an enjoyable stop.

Staying in Schurz on highway 95 toward Fallon, at the railroad tracks, is the Bad Jack’s Fireworks Store, independently owned and operated by Trevor and Nicole Varain, year-round. This is a friendly family-run store, with specially boxed packages and other various items at the counter area.

               Trevor and Nicole Varain and their girls in Bad Jack’s Fireworks Store

In celebrating their fifth year in business, the Varain’s enjoy meeting tourists and personally assisting them with purchases.  They admitted being in the business of selling “ooo’s and ahhh’s,” with a 4.9 customer review for online orders. Walk-in customers stay up to an hour while browsing and asking questions about their selections. The Varains invite everyone to visit them on their Facebook page to stay aware of their yearly events as a fireworks retailer and supply store.

Through the end of June till July 4th, there are other seasonally opened firework stands along the main highway, such as Rock Chuck’s ThunderCloud, RezBoomz and The Wood Stop.

You can’t go wrong with the fireworks choices at these Schurz businesses, as each is ready to provide you with your Independence Day explosions or to offer future nighttime blooms as entertainment for weddings, parties and just fun.  Stock up now or visit the year-round stores anytime.

— Sheri Samson



Reno: The Best Place to Live (and Play)

When Erik and I were striving to create a home for ourselves, first separately and then together, we faced a couple of challenges.

First, we are both desert rats. We love big skies, open spaces, ghost towns and lonesome places. We fantasize about living “out in the middle of nowhere.” However, Erik grew up in Chicago and is a self-described “urban rodent.” And then there is the little matter of earning a living ….

As a professional artist, Erik longs to be part of a vibrant arts community, and close to his markets (read: people willing to buy his paintings). As a nurse, I need to live near enough humans to generate a need for my services, and preferably near a hospital.

Well, guess what? There is a city where the art scene is vibrant and wacky, where there are concerts, shows and outdoor activities galore to feed any palate, and where you can leave downtown and be in the heart of the Sierra or on a secluded antelope-dotted plain in under an hour! And with rapidly expanding employment opportunities to boot! From our home in the downtown Riverside Artist Lofts, we look forward to sharing some of our favorite places and activities with you in and around the Biggest Little City.

                            Erik crossing Hunter Creek

Hike of the Month: Hunter Creek

For quick access and downright outstanding scenery, you can’t beat the Hunter Creek trail, an easy 15 minute drive from downtown Reno. This fantastic 6 mile round trip hike leads up an aspen- and cottonwood-lined canyon, through spectacular rock formations, lush riparian zones, and groves of fir and cedar to something you would never expect to see this close to Reno-a waterfall! This hike is a nature paradise not only for its ecological variety, but for the sheer physical pleasure of jumping streams, scrambling over scree slopes, and winding through shady forests. Which explains why all the kids we see on this trail are beaming with pleasure. Just make sure to bring water, and we recommend a morning or evening approach to beat the heat. For more information on this and other hikes in the Reno area, pick up the newly released trail guide, 50 of the Best Strolls, Walks, and Hikes around Reno, by Mike White with photography by Mark Vollmer and published by the University of Nevada Press.


Everyone in Northern Nevada knows that July is not July in Reno — it’s ARTOWN! Excitement is

really ramping up for this year’s annual month-long mega-event, featuring over 500 events and 100 workshops, 70% of them free! There is never an excuse to sit inside on any July evening and complain of boredom; get out the door on foot, bike, train, bus, or car if you have to, and get thee to artown! Activities include theater, visual art, music, dance, history tours, film, literary arts, etc. etc. etc. Genres range from funk to cowboy poetry. There is even a Chalk Art Festival (July 8 &9) and a 24-hour Mural Marathon (July 14 & 15). If you can’t find something you like at Artown, you’re probably not human. Check the schedule online or, even better, get your hands on the famed and artistically designed (and free) Artown Book.


Our favorite annual art event, NadaDada (“Get a Room, Make a Show”), is being reborn this year as NADAville, with headquarters at the Morris Burner Hostel on East 4th Street and with additional spaces/installations at the Potentialist Workshop Gallery on 2nd St. Reno’s NadaDada artists invite you to tour a temporary enclave of visual, performance and installation art, July 20 through 23, where you can “visit rooms, spaces and places to encounter the absurd, amazing and thought provoking artistic creations of citizens of NADAville”. See their website for a full listing of installations and a video highlighting last year’s event.

If a more conventional format is your thing, you can catch festivals celebrating food and culture such as Wing Fest (July 1 & 2), Basque Festival (July 15), or the LGBT Pride Festival (July 22).

Food & Drink

If you’re into the food truck scene, but could forego the 12-hour drive to Portlandia, by all means hit up Reno Street Food Fridays, at Idlewild Park Friday nights all summer. We love the fun social environment, eating outdoors, and the incredible variety (yes, variety, in Reno). Families with kids can all find something they like and still eat together, which is really nice.

Finally, speaking of outdoors and a food truck vibe, The Eddy is the newest sensation in Reno, on Sierra Street right on the Truckee River (hence the name). The Eddy is a container park, the likes of which have never been seen before in these parts. We think it is very cool the way energetic and entrepreneurial (and mostly young) people are revitalizing the downtown and Midtown areas of Reno, and this project is a case in point. The originators of this project took an abandoned downtown gravel lot and turned it into a vibrant attraction for couples, college students, and even families! There are tons of games, cool sculptures, and even an art booth which is manned by residents of the Riverside Artist Lofts.

— Amy Meeks


South Lake Tahoe

The Fourth of July lands on a Tuesday this year, and that means a four-day weekend. (Yay! )  Or why not just take the whole week off? Americans nowadays don’t take enough vacation time, anyway.

                              A view of Lake Tahoe from the mountainside above Glenbrook

But this little town up here in the mountains will be filled to the gills this month with merry travelers looking for a good time.  Not many places in the world offer as much as Lake Tahoe does in terms of variety of recreational activities.  Where else can you camp under a brilliant Milky Way at a place like Zephyr Cove campground, then next day go see world class entertainment like Lenny Kravitz on July 14 or Jack Johnson on July 28 or 29 at the Harveys Outdoor Summer Concert Series?

If you’re one of the fortunate ones that reserved a place to stay for a week or two in the very busy month of July, consider yourself lucky, because the spur of the moment traveler will have a heck of a time getting a room. Tahoe can also be a nice day trip for residents of the Carson Valley or Reno, especially if the heat wave that happened in June continues throughout the summer.  The Washoe Indians, who once inhabited the entire Tahoe Basin, had it right in spending their summers on the shores of Tahoe and even higher up along the many creeks that flow into the lake. It’s quite amazing how going six thousand feet up in elevation (or higher) can really cool things off.  And of course, the 60-degrees-cool waters of the lake make things feel just right.  No matter what amount of time you have to spend up here, it will be a trip well spent.

Sometimes, the problem with a coveted tourist destination is the crowds and the resultant trouble getting around town; the roads are jammed, the parking lots are full and a person’s patience is really tested.  Fortunately, South Lake Tahoe is becoming very bicycle friendly, and on days when the traffic is bumper to bumper on Highway 50, the bike paths can make getting around easier. And it’s good exercise, too.  A few years back, a highway project started improving existing bike paths and creating new ones; eventually, there will be a bike path that circumvents the whole 73 miles of highway around the lake.  For a town in the mountains, it’s relatively flat and easy to get around  South Lake Tahoe on a bike.

                               A view of Lake Tahoe from a rooftop table at Freshies

If you don’t bring your own bike, there are plenty of places to rent one for the day.  Shoreline of Tahoe, at their three locations in the Stateline area, are ready to rent you a bike for the day, and their fleet of bicycles range from beach cruisers to full-suspension mountain bikes.  The shop, located at Kahle Drive and Highway 50 next to Lakeside Inn, is a great jumping off point; the hard decision is which way to go.  If you head toward California, a nice destination is El Dorado Beach, which experienced a rejuvenation over the past few years and is a very pedestrian and cyclist friendly place to park the bike to go swim and cool off.  Or grab some lunch at Freshies Restaurant and Bar at 3330 Lake Tahoe Blvd (Hwy. 50), just across from El Dorado Beach.  Freshies has rooftop dining with great lake views and great fish tacos.  Wherever you want to peddle to, it will probably be just fine, and the friendly staff at Shoreline will gladly recommend their own favorite destinations.

                                                                         The new Edgewood Lodge and its Infinity Pool

The unofficial kick off to Summer at Lake Tahoe starts with Independence Day and one of the best fireworks shows in the country. Lights on the Lake blows up at 9:45 PM off the shore of Edgewood Golf Course.  The next week at Edgewood, the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship starts July 11-16.  After watching celebs like Stephen Curry and Justin Timberlake shoot a round of golf and interact with fans, take a stroll over to the new Edgewood Lodge — a very impressive new establishment on the South Shore. The Lodge has 150 hotel rooms, The Bistro restaurant and bar, and an outdoor Infinity Pool.  Located right on the shoreline, the Edgewood Lodge is open to anybody who wants to just pop in for a bite to eat, or to just a have a nice cocktail and gaze out on the lake.  A lot happens within a relatively small area at Stateline, as several casinos and other establishments, like Edgewood,  strive to provide as much fun to visitors as they possibly can.

— Brendan Packer