Nevada Correspondence – October 2017

In this edition:

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



With cooler temperatures and snow at the highest elevations, it’s clear that winter is on its way. Autumn, though, will persist throughout the month, and it’s one of the best times to visit Baker, as Great Basin National Park isn’t as busy. Most of the local businesses are still operating, although hours will likely be reduced throughout the month (except for the Border Inn, which is open 24/7).

With Halloween at the end of the month, I thought it would be fun to feature a couple local ghost towns. The population in the Baker area is currently about 200. As you can see by the accounts of these ghost towns, they had much bigger populations, but they didn’t stay long.

                                      The gold-mining town of Osceola, Nevada in its heyday (photo courtesy of Russ Robinson)

Osceola is one of the best known ghost towns in the area, with a sign right off Highway 6 & 50 in Spring Valley, and also access from the Sacramento Pass Recreational Area. Osceola was home to the largest gold nugget ever found in Nevada. It’s also reportedly the largest placer gold mining area in Nevada. At its heyday, over 1,000 people lived in Osceola. The biggest problem they had was getting enough water. In 1884-85, a ditch was built along the west side of the South Snake Range to transport water from several streams, but still more water was needed. So in 1889-90, an 18-mile long ditch along the east side of the range was built, largely by Chinese, Shoshone, and Paiute Indians. This ditch captured water from Lehman, Mill, Strawberry, and Weaver Creeks. The long ditches proved problematic, though, with rocky sections, water thievery, and low precipitation, and within a few years were abandoned. The gold eventually played out, fires burned buildings, and water continued to decrease. Osceola declined, and in 1920 the post office closed. The town didn’t totally disappear, though, and some mining still takes place there.

                                                                                     One of the mines at Blackhorse

One of the miners from Osceola, Tommy Watkins, was riding his black horse northeast of Osceola in March 1906, when a storm came up. He took refuge under a ledge and found some gold. The mining community of Blackhorse was born, and by April 1906, the town included 400 people, three stores, three saloons (including the Bucket of Blood), two boardinghouses, a blacksmith shop, and a barbershop (apparently the miners wanted to look good). The rich ore was in small veins and played out by 1913, with about a million dollars produced. Additional mining took place from 1933 to 1954. One of the stores was taken to Baker (now called Kerouac’s). All the other buildings were moved, burned, or collapsed, and very little is left at Blackhorse now except some open mine adits and broken bottles. The area is accessible on Forest Service roads about two miles north of the turnoff by mile marker 88.

                                                                           Storm approaching the pond at Sacramento Pass

A good base for visiting these ghost towns is nearby Sacramento Pass Recreational Area, with beautiful campsites, a fishing pond, and hiking/biking trails. October is a great time to visit the trails, with aspens turning and pleasant temperatures.

— Gretchen Baker

Don’t miss Gretchen’s great outdoor adventure blog, Desert Survivor


Boulder City

                                Boulder City’s historic Browder Building today, boarded up and  destined to be demolished, unless …

What Makes Something Historic?

Why preserve an old building? Is it the architecture? Did something significant happen there? Is it attached to a historic event or a noted person in history? If it has a worthy story it should be told, incorporated and passed on to the next generation.

The Countess of Boulder City

Pioneer businesswoman Ida Browder, builder of Boulder City’s first commercial building, poses with her 1941 Lincoln Continental in front of her original 1931 “Browder’s Lunch” café  at 552 Nevada Way (right) and its first addition at 554 (left).

Ida Browder was born of noble blood in  Krunstadt, Austria-Hungary. When her husband died in 1930, she moved with her two children to Boulder City. She became the first person to apply for and to be granted a private business license, and to construct the first commercial building in the new, federally-created town of Boulder City. This was a very different kind Nevada boom town: a government-run utopian concept of what a town should be, with its own idiosyncratic plans, concepts and ideas. Ida Browder followed the inspired landscape architect Saco Rienk de Boer’s “Southwestern Plaza guidelines,” with their “Southwestern” arches and galleries. Saco’s overall concept included landscaped squares and  flowing pedestrian thoroughfares: the 1930s forerunner of the modern shopping plaza.

Ida and her two kids camped in the empty lot next door, in her son’s Boy Scout tent that they brought with them from Salt Lake City, while her café was under construction. Ida’s cafe was built by the low bidder and  was nothing fancy. And absolutely no one you’d have talked to would have said it would still be standing 85 years later.

Browder’s Lunch, circa 1932. Ida Browder’s young daughter, also named “Ida,” poses on the running board of a car in front of her mother’s  new business and building at 552 Nevada Way
                The same building today, boarded up and slated for demolition if a new buyer cannot be found — and found very soon!

Ida’s café was a big hit with the people of Boulder City, and in a time when a “woman’s place” as a leader of business and commerce was still unusual, she did very well. She also operated an informal savings bank for dam workers, and there was always something very affordable to eat at her restaurant. The “Regular Dinner” cost 50 cents.

Browder’s Café with its first addition (554 Nevada Way) on the north side. Originally, the addition was a covered patio with open arches on two sides; the arches were later filled in with walls, windows, and a door facing the street, as seen here. Photo circa 1933-1936.

Ida, who was an unapologetic Democrat, started the first public library in town. She had a politically tempering effect and was a confidante of the dictatorial and moralistic city manager, Sims Ely. There is a book of stories contained within the walls of the Browder Building, which is actually three buildings. The original 1931 Browder restaurant, called “Browder’s Lunch,” was at 552 Nevada Way, which was, years later, a doll shop; 554 Nevada Way, next door, was originally a covered patio addition to Browders’ Lunch; later its open arches on the east and north sides the were filled in with walls and windows, but it still served as part of the restaurant; 558 was built as a further extension of  Ida Browder’s  eatery, by then renamed the “Browder Café.” At some point in the 1940s, 552 and 554 were leased to other businesses, while 558 remained a café for all the years up to the recent past. Most recently it was Mel’s Diner.

The Browder Café building at 558 Nevada Way was the second and final addition to Ida Browder’s original restaurant at 552  (out of sight at right). Browder’s first addition is next door at 554 with the “sandwiches” sign above the window. Photo circa mid-to-late 1930s.

A little while back, an energetic, artistic and somewhat sensitive man purchased the Browder building, as well as a struggling restaurant downtown.

Charles Lawson opened a fine restaurant in the latter location, called the Scratch House. It had Las Vegas Strip restaurant quality food, at $15 for an entree that would have cost you $30 or more on the Strip. Unfortunately, Boulder City is a $10 entree kind of town, plus a coupon in the paper if you want to attract the Seniors, and Charles ended up spending  $40K a month to pay the bills — or so he was reported to have once told a group of wide eyed Romeo’s at breakfast.
The Browder Building was three buildings constructed successively by Ida Browder (standing next to car) during the 1930s, all of which originally served food. This photo dates from the 1940s or early ’50s, when most of the complex was occupied by an electrical appliance and record store, leaving only a part of 558 Nevada Way (on the far left) to continue to serve meals.

Charles was reported to have gotten into an argument with an unrelenting and somewhat arrogant building inspector over a grease trap, was somehow publicly humiliated, and then closed his restaurant.  He stopped all construction and renovations at the Browder Building, which was going to be a high end art gallery and a street-counter taqueria,  which in amazing and probably thoughtful coincidence was how the old corner cafe operated when it was originally built!  All of a sudden, all these buildings were boarded up with plywood, and Downtown Boulder City is looking either abandoned or awaiting the next hurricane (which could prove something about climate change).

Now, Charles is still in a pissing match with the City and citizens of Boulder City, which happens frequently in small towns where people are passionate about the place they call home. Charles has pulled a demolition permit for the Browder Building,  and many in the the community fear it will be demolished in November in revenge for perceived injustices … unless a buyer can be found who will save the Browder Building from certain destruction!

Charles may have given up on Boulder City, but I do not think he wants to be the one to tear down this historic building. He knows Ida Browder’s story, after all, and that alone makes the building worth preserving.

It is through our stories we find out who we are, where we are from and what drives us to where we want to be.

— Alan Goya



 Roll Out the Barrel

The Elko Downtown Business Association’s popular Beer Walk is coming back to Elko on Saturday October 14, 2017. It starts at 4:00pm and goes until 7:00pm. Take a stroll and discover all the shops, art galleries, professional services, and great restaurants Downtown Elko has to offer, all while tasting great beers with your friends.

 Lamoille Pumpkin Festival

This family event is set for October 21 and 22 this year. Come pick your pumpkins at the pumpkin patch at Lamoille Grove! Enjoy a family fun day filled with hay rides, bouncy houses, petting zoo, face painting, homemade treats, smores, crafts, and plenty of family photo ops! Afterwards have a lunch or dinner at O’Carroll’s and take a drive up Lamoille Canyon to see the last of the fall colors and our first bit of snow. Find out more at:

Edible Elko 

Ogi Deli is hosting a Special Prix Fixe basque dinner on October 7th at 6 pm. $30 for a wonderful dinner and dessert. Seating is limited and tickets are selling fast. Zach Arbillaga is the featured chef.

Fall hiking

                                                                             A scenic view from the Soldier Canyon Trail

Some of my best hikes have been in October and I am looking forward to more good adventures this year. Soldier Canyon Trail is a nice one in the cooler weather and will have fewer people than in Lamoille Canyon. You will need to be ready for the creek crossing at the trailhead. As with any fall hike be prepared for changing weather and wear some orange so you can be seen by hunters.

Music at the G3 Theatre

Muddy Boots & the Porch Pounders are plying their special mix of blues and roots music at the Western Folklife Center on Saturday October 28th. Doors open at 6:30 and show starts at 7:00.

— Doug Clarke



Pine-Nut Time

If you like pine nuts, then fall is the time to visit Eastern Nevada. The mountain pinyon trees are heavy with their delicious crop this year, if you know where to look and have the patience to harvest them.

The Bureau of Land Management and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest allow individuals to gather as much as 25 pounds of nuts on public land without a permit or fee. Great Basin National Park also allows the same amount of harvest per household. That’s a lot of pine nuts.

For centuries, the raisin-sized nuts were a vital subsistence food for Nevada Indians. Besides being tasty, pine nuts are rich in protein and magnesium, and also contain important antioxidants and nutrients that support heart and vision health.

These days, their sweet, subtle flavor makes pine nuts a popular ingredient in fine cuisine. But what many people don’t know is that most store-bought pine nuts come from Europe and Asia. Nevada pine nuts aren’t just local, they’re also larger and easier to shell than the imported varieties.

Pinyon pines (Pinus monophylla) are easy to identify: They’re the only American pine species with a single needle structure, rather than clustered needles like other pines. The nuts can be eaten raw or roasted. They store well for up to two years if frozen.

Harvesting pine nuts is a great excuse to get outside and learn a little about nature. But it’s also a lot of work, so bring friends. And for an excellent read on everything pine-nutty, check out Ronald Lanner’s book, “The Piñon Pine,” published by University of Nevada Press.

The Ghost Train Returns

Another Ely fall treat is the Ghost Train, a special series of trips aboard the historic Nevada Northern Railway. It’s an after-dark, Halloween-themed excursion on the original mainline track from Ely toward Ruth.

Passengers are encouraged to wear costumes, and they’ll be treated to a series of surprises along the way courtesy of local volunteers who get really into the Halloween spirit. Two tunnels along the route are said to provide special thrills.

The Ghost train runs every Saturday in October at 7 p.m. with an extra trip on Friday, Oct. 27, also at 7 p.m. Tickets are $39 for adults and $20 for children 4-12 years old. You’ll want to reserve tickets in advance.

Silver State Classic Celebrates 30th Year

Where else but Nevada can you drive your car on a public highway as fast as you dare — without getting a ticket? That would be the Silver State Classic Challenge, hosted in Ely, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in September.

Twice each year, in May and September, organizers obtain permission from   the Nevada Department of Transportation to close 90 miles of State Highway 318 between Lund and Hiko. This September, more than 130 drivers signed up (entry fees range from $200 to $900) for the chance to test themselves and their cars against the open road.

Competitors come to Ely from all over the world for the event, which is hosted by the Hotel Nevada and includes a parade and car show for the public.

Robert Wood’s yellow Ultima GTR., an English-made, Chevy-powered supercar, set an average speed of 171.39 miles per hour in September’s Silver State Classic Challenge. It was the sole entry in 170 MPH Class.

In the “unlimited” car class, the goal is simply to set a personal top speed record. In last May’s event, the record for top speed on a public highway was broken by Robert Allyn, 60, of Tucson, Ariz., who reached 219.643 mph with navigator David Bauer in the shotgun seat. Their car was a 2001 Chevy Monte Carlo that previously ran on the NASCAR circuit.

In other race classes, the goal is simply to maintain a set average speed — 170 mph, 160 mph and so on, which classes starting at 95 mph. So the field is open to showroom-stock sedans and vintage muscle cars all the way up to expensive exotic sports cars and converted racers.

Fastest average speed in the September event was set by Joel and Diane Hannig, of North Dakota, in a 1995 Ford Thunderbird (also ex-NASCAR) at 195.74 mph.

The next Silver State Classic is set for the weekend of May 18, 2018, in Ely.

— Alexa Mergen


Las Vegas

Spooky? Nah! Try These Events Instead!

I’m still liking different. Do you like different? This is different! Vegas Gone Yoga has been in existence since 2013. The weekend of October 6th you can enjoy a variety of dynamic, movement and aerial yoga, along with meditation and discussion classes with 40 instructors at the Springs Preserve. (Have you noticed there are a lot of fun events at the Springs Preserve?)

Besides 3 rooms, they have the Patio Gallery and the Amphitheater reserved from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday for their variety of classes, which occur at different times. They also expanded their vendor section this year, including Violette’s Vegan Organic Café & Juice Bar.

They feature a Glowga on Friday night from 7 until 8:30 p.m., when they will turn the black lights on, the music up and the DJ will get you groovin’ to the movin’ to “glow” as you “yoga”. Get it? Friday’s happy hour entry is at 5:30 p.m. So go get your Ohm on!

One of the many delicious dishes served at the Aki Matsuri Japanese Festival

The Events Plaza Amphitheater in Henderson on Water Street is, once again, hosting the Aki Matsuri Japanese Culture and Food Festival this month. For one day, on Saturday, October 14th, you can enjoy Japanese entertainment, food, a Mikoshi Parade, culture and a Cosplay Contest with a grand prize of $777 cash and a round trip air ticket to Japan. Admission is free from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Note: They are only accepting 35 entrants for the Cosplay contest. If you are interested, you must e-mail them, since it is first come, first served. See their link for details.

The Lebanese American Festival is hosting its 10th year at the St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church (10325 Rancho Destino Rd.) located east of Las Vegas Blvd. and north of Cactus Ave. Admission is $5 per day and free on Friday for veterans, police officers and active duty military with their immediate family. Children under 10 are admitted free each day. There is free parking and the hours are 4 p.m. until 12 a.m. Friday, October 14th and Saturday, October 15th. For Sunday, October 16th they are open from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m.

                                                          Traditional Laebanese dancing at the Lebanese American Festival

Lebanese food, including shawarma sandwiches, hummus, spinach pie, tabouleh, and baklawa are being made from scratch by the members of the congregation. There will be much more food, entertainment, dancing, drinks, carnival rides, and games to enjoy throughout the evenings.

So, you’re down on the Strip, out of cash, don’t want to sit in your room or in the sportsbook…it’s a perfect time to take a trip to the Orleans Hotel Arena on Sunday, October 15th and watch the Las Vegas Police K-9 Trials. The arena is huge, with plenty of seating. And there are participants from all over the country for this event. The Trials start at 8 a.m. and admission is free!

                                                                   A German Shepherd eager to perform at the K-9 Trials

The Trials and Awards are comprised of several competitions in Area, Building and street-oriented Searches, Explosives, Obedience, Agility, Handler Protection, and Narcotics, and overall awards are given for Top Agency and Top Dog. It is amazing what these dogs can do!

The LVMPD K9 Unit is comprised of 14 officers, 3 of whom are sergeants, and 17 patrol dogs. The patrol dogs are life-long companions to the officers (handlers) working with them 10 hours a day and staying with them after their shift is complete and throughout the weekends. When the dogs retire they are purchased by their handler for a small fee. The patrol dogs are not sold or given away by the LVMPD.

St. Rose Dominican is hoping to raise $100,000 for their R.E.D. Rose Program, breast cancer support services, by hosting the 9th Annual Rose Regatta Dragon Boat Festival on October 14th at Lake Las Vegas Resort & Marina. The event is free for visitors with the teams raising funds along with an entrance fee.

The event runs from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Each 20 person team races a dragon boat, basically a flat canoe, which is around 40 feet long, with a drummer at the head of the boat keeping the pace for the paddlers. There will be all-day entertainment as the racing occurs, and there will be merchandise for sale, including hand painted paddle boards. As of 9/20/17, they have raised $88,265! I believe they will achieve their goal, don’t you?

— Pauline Cimoch



                                                                                                 Yellow Brick Road

Diamond Jack remembers old Las Vegas when he would visit casino lounges late night or early morning and be entertained by up and coming entertainers who would soon have their names in lights on the giant marquees of the Sands, Stardust, Dunes and Riviera. My favorite spot was the Casbah Lounge at the Sahara. Can’t do that anymore. But I can go to The Sayers Club (old Casbah) at the SLS (old Sahara).and make believe the old days are still here. Listen to Yellow Brick Road, a local group that was originally an Elton John cover band. Today, the group performs hits from Pink Floyd, Journey, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and other classic rock groups. Admission is $10. Showtime is 9 p.m. And just like the old days, the SLS offers complimentary valet parking services.

When Diamond Jack yearns for authentic Dim Sum, he heads to Ping Pang Pong at the Gold Coast (702-247-8136), one of the city’s most acclaimed Chinese restaurants. Doubt my word? Travel + Leisure magazine recognized it as “one of the top 10 Chinese restaurants in America.” Its legendary reputation for delicious Chinese dishes starts with Dim Sum daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Classic pushcarts offer a selection of more than 80 authentic dishes from provinces throughout China. From 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., diners can enjoy a selection of authentic entrees including Lamb Stew Hot Pot, Cantonese Princess Chicken, Crispy Roasted Chicken, Shanghai Noodles, Curry Pineapple Seafood Fried Rice, Classic Cantonese Brisket Stew and Seafood Tofu Hot Pot.

It was bound to happen – the world’s first product line of cannabis infused coffee, tea and cocoa delivered through a single-brew pod. It’s called Brewbudz and can only be found in Nevada. This makes perfect sense, as Americans consume over 600 million cups of coffee a day, not including tea and cocoa. Drinking coffee alone is a ritual that 61% of Americans enjoy on a daily basis. Brewbudz pods work with all Keurig brewers and are available in dispensaries across Nevada. In Las Vegas, the products can be found at Medizin, Blum, The Dispensary, Las Vegas ReLeaf, Inyo Fine Cannabis, Essence, The Source, and Mynt.

— Diamond Jack Bulavsky


Zak Bagans will open Haunted Museum  

Zak Bagans, who hosts the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” series and with his team investigate the paranormal, will open his Haunted Museum on Monday, Oct. 2, where otherworldly aficionados can see his extensive collection of macabre, bizarre and haunted objects and artifacts. Museum visitors will explore his collection via hour-long guided tours through a 30-room, 11,000-square-foot mansion built in 1938 in the historic downtown Las Vegas district.

Wilson Philips Celebrates Henderson Pavilion’s 15th Year

Wilson Phillips will perform at the Henderson Pavilion for the first time on Friday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. as part of the venue’s 15 th anniversary. Tickets start at $40.50. The ladies are related to music royalty and have made their own path to superstardom. Chynna Phillips is the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, and Carnie and Wendy Wilson are the daughters of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. The trio burst onto the music scene in 1990 with their debut album, “Wilson Phillips,” which included three No. 1 singles, “Release,” “You’re in Love” and the standout track “Hold On.”

Azealia Banks Visits Brooklyn Bowl

Azealia Banks, Harlem-born singer-songwriter, rapper, actress and “212” singer, will perform at Brooklyn Bowl at The LINQ Promenade on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. Banks, who doesn’t commit to one genre or even one language, caught her big break in 2011 with House Music-influenced Hip Hop record, “212,” paying homage to her Harlem zip code. She’s known more recently for her hits “The Big Big Beat” and “Esta Noche.” Tickets start at $25

Palazzo hosts Rolling Stones Exhibit

“Exhibitionism,” the Rolling Stones’ first ever major exhibition, will have a limited exclusive U.S. West Coast engagement at The Palazzo Lower Lobby, Sept. 23-Jan. 31, 2018. General admission is $36.50.

This is the first time the band has unlocked its vast private archive. Large scale “Exhibitionism” includes 500 rare artifacts and memorabilia spanning the band’s 54-year career and is more like an event. The Las Vegas-engagement follows premieres in London, New York City and Chicago.

— Jackie Brett



Deana Carter Graces the Stage at the Riverside

Music country staple Deana Carter will appear at the Riverside in Don’s Celebrity Theater Thursday, Saturday, Oct.19-21 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30.

The natural beauty caught the eye of Willie Nelson early in her career and she’s co-written songs with the likes of Kenny Chesney. She’s the daughter of famed studio guitarist and producer Fred Carter, Jr.

Carter grew up exposed to the wide variety of musicians her father worked with, including Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, and Simon & Garfunkel. Their strong influence eventually seeped into Carter’s own country-pop style.

Developing her songwriting skills, Carter eventually signed a writing deal with Polygram and soon after a record deal with Capitol Records. One of her demo tapes fell into the hands of none other than Willie Nelson, who remembered her as a child. Nelson asked Carter to perform along with John Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson and Neil Young as the only female solo artist to appear at Farm Aid VII in 1994. Her debut album, “Did I Shave My Legs For This?,” boasts six songs co-written and co-produced by Carter and was released in late summer 1996.

Carter now divides her time between Los Angeles and Nashville, writing and producing for both the pop/rock and country markets when she’s not on the road touring. She is also the national spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation.

Laughlin Film Festival Returns

The 6th Annual Laughlin International Film Festival (LIFF) is scheduled Oct. 12-15. For cinematic enthusiasts, this event operates as an annual platform for the United States and international filmmakers to showcase their films and to network. Films, short films, feature films, documentaries, music videos, experimental work and more are screened at the Laughlin Stadium 9 Cinemas over four days in conjunction with social networking events, film workshops/panels, parties, a Saturday Night Awards Show, and a Filmmaker’s Breakfast on Sunday with a director/producer panel. The Tropicana is the host casino.

Tropicana Holds 3rd Annual Luau

It’s the perfect time of year for the 3rd Annual Tropicana Luau poolside at the Tropicana on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. The evening will be highlighted by a buffet-style luau dinner with island-flavored dishes such as poi, papaya salad, char siu ribs, mahi mahi and a show performed by the Hot Lava singers, dancers and master fire dancer. Tickets are $50, call 1-888-888-8695.

                                 The Rhinelanders

Colorado Belle embraces Festivals

With the advantage of the Riverwalk, the Colorado Belle is known for putting on themed music and food festivals. The 9th Annual Das Beer Fest with cold beer and German cuisine will take place Friday-Sunday, Oct. 6-9 and 13-15 with live music on the Loading Dock Stage showcasing oompah bands: The Rhinelanders with Helmut Oct. 6-8 and The Warsaw Brothers Oct. 13-15.​ The Rhinelanders are a Denver-based band specializing in a wide variety of music including German polkas, Schinkel waltzes, and beer drinking songs including the chicken dance.

The Riverwalk Honkytonk Festival with live country music on the Loading Dock Stage will follow Oct. 27-29. The acts performing will be Chris Johnson & the Hollywood Hillbillies and Guitars & Cadillacs.

                                                                               Chris Johnson & the Hollywood Hillbillies

Tropicana has Halloween Spirit

The Haunt & Glow Car Show at the Tropicana Oct. 27-28 will evoke Halloween fun. The event includes a show N shine, vendors, Halloween costume contest, car light show and more. Car, truck and motorcycle viewing will be free Friday 1-6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. The costume contest and light show will take place Saturday at 6 p.m. in the North Lot with awards at 10 a.m. on Sunday in the Pavilion Theater.

— Jackie Brett


Lincoln County

Park to Park Pedal

Time to get after it again. The 2017 annual Park to Park Pedal, sponsored by the Nevada State Parks, is now taking registrations for this year’s event.

Registration can be done online at

The event is being promoted by the Lincoln County Authority on Tourism (LCAT) through marketing on and social media advertising.

Saturday Oct. 14 is the day, with the starting point at Kershaw-Ryan State Park, a bit south of Caliente, at 7 a.m.

Also dubbed the Extreme 100, because the longest course is about 105 miles, this one goes through four of the five of the state parks in Lincoln County, but the the day does have shorter routes for riders of all levels, including the 60-mile Double Jack and the 40-mile Helix.bicycle competition

Whichever route they take, bikers will be able to enjoy miles of scenic beauty along Nevada’s first Scenic Byway, U.S. Highway 93. Riders will also peddle past the 1920’s Mission Revival style railroad depot in Caliente, then head up the highway to the history mining town of Pioche, even going by the famed Million Dollar Courthouse and the Thompson Opera House, one of only three opera houses still operating in Nevada from the Old West days.

The state parks on the 100-mile tour include Cathedral Gorge, Spring Valley, and Echo Canyon. Bikers will also be able to take in the breathtaking view of Meadow Valley as they coast down the hill from Pioche on the way back to Kershaw-Ryan State Park for the delicious Dutch Oven Feast being offered.

The 100-mile Extreme is the most challenging ride. Primarily for the most advanced or adventurous riders, it involves approximately 5,600 feet of climbing. But since it’s uphill most of the way, the return trip is a more relaxing downhill run.

The 60-mile Double Jack is more moderate in nature, but does include the 1,400 foot climb up the Pioche Hill. Wander around in the old mining town and dream of the days when shootouts were commonplace. They really were!

For the person looking for a shorter, but still enjoyable ride, without having to tackle Pioche Hill, try the 40-mile Helix. This ride takes bikers through beautiful Cathedral Gorge outside Panaca, but not up Pioche Hill. However, feel free to look at it if you want.  Plus, you will also be able to see the old railroad depot in Caliente, that still serves as the City Hall and City Council chambers.

Lunch will be available at Kershaw-Ryan from 11:30 – l:30 and the Dutch Oven Feast is scheduled there from 3:30 – 6 p.m.

— Dave Maxwell


Mineral County

History Meets Cemetery Exploration

                  The grave of Nevada State Senator W. M. Boring at Aurora, Nevada

Some would say that cemeteries give them the creeps, while others would view them as a plethora of historic wonders. Walking slowly through any older cemetery, one may respectfully find oneself observing names, dates and messages that were inscribed to enshrine a person’s unique honor. Author Sue Silver, once a resident of Mineral County, experienced her own surprise during an extensive research when she uncovered a long-lost relative buried in the Aurora, Nevada cemetery, where 19th-century miners were interred as a place called  “The Silent City on the Hill,” which she named her book. Silver had been researching unmarked graves and detailed documentation within this rural cemetery when Aurora was dedicated with a Civil War monument by the Mineral County Museum staff in 2014.

One of the oldest Aurora graves is that of distinguished Judge and Nevada State Senator W.M. Boring of Esmeralda County (part of which later became Mineral County) who pioneered the area in 1860, but died at age 43 on August 8, 1872.

                                                                Old concrete grave marker in the Hawthorne Cemetery

But don’t let the community cemeteries pass you by either. Nevada is full of fascination within it’s many roadside cemeteries along highway 95, especially in Mineral County, which boasts of two larger city burial sites and at least six historic mining sites, along with unmarked Indian and Chinese burial locations.  Within the town of Luning, one stark family-type cemetery is fenced off, whereas the Mina Cemetery, once a thriving railroad town, offers an open park setting with unusual displays and above-ground markers dating back to the late 1800’s. It is interesting to observe the many creative grave decorations used within this small city cemetery.

Traveling further north to Hawthorne, a tribute to the town’s military ammunition base proudly displays sets of bombs alongside the American flag. A Memorial plays tribute to the many men and women within Mineral County, honoring the sacrifices made on behalf of all military service. Inside this cemetery, one can see the fenced family burial sites, known as “cribbing,” and view the oldest of cement markers barely standing with weathered age. Granite remembrances stand in a mixture of above-ground and more recent flat markers, giving a family preservation of tradition within family descendants.

Further north, Walker Lake has one identified grave which is cordoned off by cribbing, with a marker of a woman who gave her life to protect another in a gun fight at the original Cliff House location in 1980, on the hillside of the highway. Virginia Mahon’s story was researched and written for the Mineral County Independent News in 2015.

                                                                                  The Mina Cemetery at Mina, Nevada

Other rural cemeteries, such as Candelaria, Sodaville, Marietta, and Rawhide, can be found on various websites. Chinese cemeteries and Indian cemeteries are more obscure and without easy driving accessibility. Tourism brochures, with a map of these towns, are available at the Hawthorne USO building, area museums and  Maggie’s Restaurant in Hawthorne.

— Sheri Samson


North Lake Tahoe

It seems like over on the northeastern side of Lake Tahoe autumn came in fast. As we enter into the shoulder season, the temperatures have dropped 20 degrees and we’re experiencing some chilly mornings and some stormy afternoons … sometimes with snow!

                                                                   My backyard on September 21- the last day of summer

However, this is one of the best seasons to enjoy Tahoe because even though the temperatures are getting cold, the lake (generally) still stays warm. You’ll most likely have it all to yourself if you decide to go out on a paddleboard or kayak, unless winter decides to come early. Regardless of the weather though, Action Watersports (located at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe in Incline Village) is selling off their used paddle boards, single kayaks and double kayaks at incredible prices making now the best time to buy.

                                                          Kayla out enjoying a paddleboard session on a calmer Tahoe day

October is also a good time to get your last golf rounds in at the Championship Course and Mountain Course in Incline Village. The greens are still in great condition and golf rates are less expensive. The Mountain Course is closing October 8 and the Championship Course is going to try to stay open through Oct. 22 (weather permitting), so there’s still time to go out and hit some balls while you can.

A good way to ease into fall is to enjoy some of the local flavors at the newly opened Brewforia, grab a hot espresso drink at the Tunnel Creek Café, or head over to Rookie’s or Crosby’s to watch the games on one of their many sports-oriented TV’s.

                          Rob and Kathleen Martens of Glasses Wine Bar

If spending Football Sunday at a sports bar isn’t your thing, consider indulging in a delicious Sunday Brunch at Glasses Wine Bar. On Sundays from 11am-2pm through October 15, the owners Rob and Kathleen will be serving up bottomless mimosas, coffee, tea, and orange juice along with breakfast specials brought to you by Farmstand Foods. Aside from Sunday Brunch, Glasses is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 3pm until 9pm.

It’s never too early to start getting ready for winter. As you upgrade your ski and snowboard gear don’t forget that Diamond Peak season passes are on sale through October 31.

Rumor has it that the 2017/18 winter is predicted to be just as snowy as the last one, and we definitely got our first real taste of it on September 21. Hopefully this is just Mother Nature gearing up to give us another season of many powder days.

If you need some extra motivation to get excited for the chillier days to come, Matchstick Productions’ new fun ski flick Drop Everything is also set to premier on October 11 at the Olympic Village Lodge. Its ties are close to home too, as it features lots of local skiers and is written and directed by Scott Gaffney.

                                                 A scene from Drop Everything Tahoe Backyard Sessions (photo by Jeff Cricco)

Even though things have calmed down quite a bit at the lake, the events don’t stop in Incline Village/Crystal Bay. Locals and guests will once again have the opportunity to indulge in decadent treats during the 29th Annual Tahoe Chocolate and Wine Festival to be held at the Hyatt on November 4.

There’s definitely plenty to see and do on the North Shore, and now is the time to get your final hikes in, socialize and enjoy the lake before we all get snowed in.

— Kayla Anderson



There really were gunfighters in Pahrump

                                                                                         The Pahrump Gunfighters

Pahrump doesn’t have the fame of Tombstone, Arizona, where gunfighters blazed it out on its streets in a hail of bullets. And yet the town has a performing group of resident gunfighters complete with a Wild West Extravaganza weekend  in the spring. Known as The Pahrump  Gunfighters, the group performs at the Extravaganza, and they do shows throughout the year. The founder of the organization, Dan Delgado, is dedicated to the history of the West.

The historical records say there were a few gunfights in Nye County, which Pahrump is a part of. A Nye County Sheriff, Thomas Logan, did die in a hail of bullets in Manhattan, Nevada in 1906 at a saloon, but really, there are few records if any  that  clearly depict any gunfights near Pahrump. So the group of cowboy gunfighters in Pahrump does get flack for even having a gunfighter show. The people that criticize the group  argue that Pahrump wasn’t even a town back in the days of the Old West, and they are right.

The Earp brothers and Butch Cassidy

The valley was a small ranching community, and there was no town. During the Old West era, it was basically inhabited  first by Paiutes, who stayed on even as the first ranchers came in the late 1800s. But Dan sticks to his guns, and doesn’t entirely agree that there were no gunfighters that came through the area. He will be the first to tell you there were quite a few famous gunfighters that came through the Pahrump Valley. He said there were many cowboys and prospectors in the area, and all carried guns. One of the most famous was  Butch Cassidy. Dan believes that he may even have died near Pahrump.

                                     The Pahrump Store at the Pahrump Museum

“The Earp brothers, (of Wyatt Earp fame) who settled in Goldfield about 200 miles to the north, and maybe even Pancho Villa, a famous revolutionary from Mexico came through this area,” Dan said. He wasn’t specific on the times, but he was sure on Pancho.

Who knows better on the history of the town than the local Museum? It’s great place to visit just to get an idea of the origins of the town and to ask about gunfighters and cowboys. The Pahrump Museum is at 401 E Basin Ave. Pahrump Museum director, Marilyn Davis, agreed with Dan on the cowboys. “The Pahrump ranches were quite large,” Davis said. “Cowboys were around  Pahrump as early as the 1870s.” And of course, Dan was right on the prospectors. “There were also prospectors who were looking for gold, and they settled around a number of mines around Pahrump — the most famous being the Johnnie Mine,” Marilyn remarked.

There was a town near Pahrump with quite a large population. Johnnie is no longer a town, today, but the mine is still there. It is 8.5 miles north of present day Pahrump. “The town of Johnnie had a brothel, a saloon, a hotel,  and about 2,000 people there,” she said. “They pulled a lot of gold out of there and there are a lot of little mines all around it.”

And the gunfights

And the gunfights? Were there a lot of them there in Johnnie?

                             The old one-room schoolhouse at the Pahrump Museum

Both Marilyn and Dan don’t really know the answer to that. Both believed there were fights because of the mining. Miners fight, and that’s a given. “Historians believe only one death occurred up there,” she said. “There may have been gun fights, but there are no records. There are a couple of graves up there, though. The museum was given the mine, but not much is up there today. Only one building remains, and we don’t give tours. for safety reasons.” Marilyn wants to search for an old graveyard up there for clues to the town’s past.  She also had no clue on Pancho Villa. “I can’t verify Villa, but I’m pretty sure Butch Cassidy died there,” Marilyn said. “There had to be an older cemetery up there. I am going to find his grave.” What is known is that Villa crossed the border many times and made a raid on New Mexico town in 1916. She said there are quite a few eyewitness accounts on Cassidy being there and dying in a mining accident there.

It never happened

Museum Curator and historian for the Clark County Museum, Mark Hall-Patton, said he is pretty sure Cassidy isn’t buried in Johnnie. “Cassidy came from a Mormon family, and so he has a lot of relatives still around, all making claims that are probably not true. Also, bad guys want money, and before the 20th century there wasn’t much out there to rob,” Mark said. “There’s not much return on a  jackrabbit. I am pretty sure Villa and Cassidy never went through Pahrump. There was a guy named Jack Longstreet. They named the Longstreet Casino after him in Amargosa Valley. He would be the closest guy to a bad guy.”

One thing is certain, and that is the modern Pahrump Gunfighters have been around for awhile and are here to stay and entertain us, regardless of what the history books say.

“I have  been with the Pahrump Gunfighters since its start in 2002. At first there was the Pahrump Valley Gunfighters, and then there was the Drifters,” Dan said.  “I always wanted to be a cowboy growing up.  I grew up wanting to be a cowboy in California, and when I got older I was a stand-in in Western movies. We are a performing group and we are available to perform. We just require a donation to help pay for the blanks. These can be expensive, at nearly $12 a box.”

Gunfights happen today, though

Despite its longevity, not very many tourists who love the Old West know they exist. At the moment, this performance group performs at several locations in town. One place is the Stagestop Casino, which is located at 100 West Stagecoach Road. The show is constantly evolving as more tourists demand a glimpse into the past. Shawn Holmes, the owner of the Stagestop, said he would love to develop the show even more and offer it to even more tour groups. “Right now, the show is open to anyone who is interested. We currently offer a dinner show to a German biking group that rides through Pahrump during the summers. We do have  a restaurant on site, and people are welcome to eat and then see the show. I think it would be a good idea to offer it to other groups in the future.” For more info on the shows call:775-727-7300

                                      Dan Delgado ( in the red shirt) and some of his fellow members of  the Pahrump Gunfighters

These gunslingers also perform at the Pahrump Fall Festival during the third week of September, and again in the spring at the Wild West Extravaganza at Petrack Park in May. The group can be reached at 775-751-3458.

As for the museum, they also celebrate the Old West, and even have  some of the area’s original buildings out back, like an old one-room schoolhouse, an old general store and some old mining shacks, to name a few.  The museum will have a new train exhibit and brothel exhibit soon. The Pahrump museum maybe called for more info at  775-751-1970.

(All photos courtesy of Horace Langford, Jr.)

— Vernon Hee



Hike of the Month:

                                                      Fall aspens in Thomas Creek Canyon (photo courtesy of Carol Grigus)

Fall is in the air, and a must-do hike for October is Thomas Creek, out the Mount Rose Highway just 20 minutes south of downtown. Starting at the Thomas Creek Trailhead on Timberline Drive will take you up through a dense canopy of yellow, orange and red aspens and cottonwoods, all the way up into the Mount Rose Wilderness.  This hike never disappoints, and it is quite popular amongst the locals. There are several other routes that can be accessed from here; for more information see the Galena Creek Visitor Center map.

For a pleasant fall hike closer to downtown, Evans Canyon is our favorite. Starting from the Basque Monument just north of the University, this trail also features fabulous fall colors and offers a variety of loop options. The Truckee Meadows Trails Guide is an excellent free resource.

                               Rock outcroppings, rabbit brush and dry grass create harmonious hues along the Evans Canyon Trail


As usual, there is plenty to choose from in Reno this month. The Eldorado hosts the annual Italian Festival downtown on October 7 and 8, with grape-stompin’, sauce-cookin’, wine-walkin’, accordion-listenin’ and, of COURSE, pasta-eatin’ for the entire family!

If your musical taste leans more toward drums and bagpipes, head on over to Bartley Ranch in Southwest Reno for the 27th Annual Reno Celtic Celebration.  Featured are some fun bands like Sligo Rags and Dusty in My Coffee, and the annual Piping Competition. In addition there is a whole slew of events and competitions including Highland Games, dancing, living history, and Celtic critters.

If you have always dreamed of roaming the streets in goulish attire accompanied by 20 thousand of your closest friends, you won’t wanna miss the Reno Zombie Crawl, the largest event of its kind in the country (go figure …) and named one of the 10 Best Halloween Costume Parties by USA Today.  With a five-dollar admission fee, tons of three dollar drink specials at over 50 bars, free entertainment, and “NO LAST CALL”, it’s also a sure way to get obliterated cheaply.

For a more health conscious route to inebriation, we highly recommend booking a seat on the Reno Brew Bike. This 15-seat party bike will take you to several bars and restaurants around town (yes, you have to pedal ), adorned with glow-lights and accompanied by music of your choosing. Tours run from two to three hours and start at around 20 bucks. It’s a perfect chance to be silly, goofy and outrageous as you careen down city streets stopping traffic and generally making spectacles of yourselves. We felt utterly revitalized.


For some new, hip and delicious bites in Midtown, try out FinBomb Sushi, serving up sushi burritos and poke bowls. The restaurant is set up like a Japanese Subway, which suits me well because I don’t always want to sit down and be waited on (I’m too impatient and don’t always want the added expense of tipping). The ingredients are fresh and delicious and the staff and management are super friendly and fast. We will be back.

— Amy Meeks


South Lake Tahoe

What to expect when planning a trip to Lake Tahoe in the fall?  It’s a tough question, because there’s so much going on with music, festivals and weather.  The weather in September had it all: it rained, hailed, snowed, and the capper was a tornado warning on the Lake and a water spout that developed on the water near Zephyr Cove.  The warm and sunny days of August waved bye-bye, and suddenly it was autumn in the Sierra Nevada.   Which is just part of the fun up here in the mountains: it’s a day to day adventure, but why not embrace and enjoy it?

The weather cools in October, but not to the point of starting to hunker down for the long winter.  I like to think of it as the hiking month around the Carson Range in the Tahoe basin.  The  Van Sickle Bi-State Park at Stateline, behind the casinos and the Heavenly Village, is a great place for a day hike, and it accommodates all types of outdoor enthusiasts.  Whether you want to go for a trek on the Tahoe Rim Trail, bring your horse, or just go high enough to see a peekaboo view of the Lake, this park can cover it.  The fall foliage is also quite brilliant on these Van Sickle trails as well, and there is wildlife everywhere.  Chipmunks, bears, hawks, and even the mushrooms are interesting, growing all over the place.  And the park is right in the middle of the tourist center of South Lake Tahoe.

The Kokanee Salmon also find October to be of particular interest.  During the month,  they head to Taylor Creek, a tributary in South Lake Tahoe, to spawn, and people enjoyed it so much they created the Fall Fish Festival to watch and support the fish on their quest to perpetuate their species.  Come celebrate the annual fall migration of the Kokanee on Saturday and Sunday October 7 and 8 at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center off Highway 89 in California.  Then, on the same weekend and while the fish are doing their thing, right down the road at Camp Richardson Resort is Oktoberfest, now in its 23rd year of celebrating all things German.  Good food, good brews and most likely good people.

                     Kokanee Salmon spawning in Taylor Creek (Photo by JB Mellquist “”Taylor Creek Salmon Run”/Flickr; CCBY 2.0)

Festivals abound in October at Lake Tahoe, and to conclude the month Harrah’s will have its eighth annual South Lake Tahoe Food and Wine Festival October 27-29.  The Grand Market Expo on Saturday will feature sumptuous dishes from chefs at Harrah’s and Harveys, along with wines from vineyards all up and down California.  The weekend will include a wonderful trumpeter, Chris Botti, on October 28 in the South Shore Room — a very relaxing way to end a day of eating and drinking.

The natural phenomena up here at the Lake are enough for anybody to come up and witness for themselves, but the added man-made entertainment is the kicker to nature’s jackpot.

— Brendan Packer



After coming off yet another successful Best in the West Rib Cook-off, Sparks is embracing the beginning of fall with fun outdoor events, including Riding on the River family bike riding event on October 7, Sparks Fire Department’s annual pancake breakfast/1st Alarm 5k run on October 14, the Sparks Mayor’s Cup on October 22, and Northern Nevada’s most famous autumn event, the October 22 PumpkinPalooza.

                                                              Pumpkins get ready to race in the 2016 PumpkinPalooza Derby

Back for its sixth year, PumpkinPalooza is regarded as one of the top fall festivals in the country with its full day of family-friendly contests and activities. Top crowd-pleasers of the festival include the pumpkin pie-eating contest, pumpkin seed-spitting, and marshmallow shooting, but the top event of the day is the Pumpkin Derby where teams put together a race car made out of a pumpkin. If you’re in the area on October 22, this is an event not to miss in downtown Sparks. (For the full list of what’s going on, visit

While you’re in Victorian Square enjoying the family-friendly fun events, consider grabbing a bite to eat at Great Basin Brewing Company, Cantina Los Tres Hombres, or visit the Nugget Casino Resort’s famous Oyster Bar.

                                              Enjoying some collard greens, frog’s legs, and sweet tea at M&M’s Southern Cafe

If you’re in the mood for something filling and unique, then venture up to Holman Way and try out some true southern comfort food at M&M’s Southern Café. Items on the menu include frog’s legs, alligator, hush puppies, and delectable beignets. M&M’s is located next to Scolari’s.

                                 Seven Troughs owner Tom Adams displays one of his spirits a the distillery (Photo by John Byrne)

If you are into history and fine spirits, consider taking a distillery tour through Seven Troughs. Named after the Nevada mining district that was once a short-lived booming industry, Seven Troughs Distilling Company pays homage to the early 1920’s era with its throwback process of making whiskey, vodka, bourbon and using more ingredients from local suppliers. To make its craft spirits, Seven Troughs distillers mash sweet grains in wooden vats by hand and then ferment it in oak barrels to create a unique taste. Seven Troughs takes pride in its work and loves to share its passion with customers. Feel free to visit them at 1155 Watson Way Suite 5 in Sparks.

                                              A booth inspired by the movie Christmas Story at last year’s 39 North Pole Village

It’s also not too early to start thinking about your booth design for the 39 North Pole Griswold Challenge. Coming to Victorian Square December 7-9, the 39 North Pole Village will feature a holiday light display contest inspired by National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’s loveable disaster, Clark Griswold. Families, friends and business are invited to decorate a 10×20 space with a Christmas theme or holiday tradition for a chance to win a cash prize based on the number of entries. For more information about entering the Griswold Challenge, visit

— Kayla Anderson