A Brand New Carson City was unwrapped at Christmas time.
Photo courtesy Carson City Pix
Not only had the last of the street barricades and detours been removed from the renovated stretch of Carson Street downtown, but the Christmas lights were magnificent. The stern stone Capitol building with its small silver nightcap, a dark hulk most nights of the year, was a graceful fairyland of light, and almost seemed to dance.
The new main drag reduced to two lanes was a pleasant surprise to see, but the weather has been too cold for a proper evaluation, which must include testing the sidewalk restaurant seating for its seductive qualities on a warm sunny day, preferably with leaves on the trees. Watch for it here.
Since much of Nevada remains so little-known and under-appreciated we introduced this list of Shout Outs a few years ago to bring attention to some of the best aspects of traveling in Nevada. Please enter your nominations at our Facebook page or in the Comments at the bottom of this page. And then treat yourself to these wonders, excitements, pleasures, comforts, satisfactions, joys and delights in 2017.
Ron “Binky” Hendricks, Wells Chamber of Commerce/Trail of the 49ers Museum — Ron grew up in Wells where he was High school Salutatorian when he graduated in 1964. Ron moved to Reno in 1968 to work in banking, and later, when he helped start the Hand to Hand foundation in Reno, offering counseling and other help to people with AIDS he was named Reno Citizen of the Year.
After returning to Wells he volunteered for the Wells Chamber/Trail 49 Museum and is now the office manager for both. He welcomes visitors and gives a tour, explaining why the pioneers paused in Wells.
He goes out of his way to keep a full stock of brochures and booklets helpful to visitors and he shops the internet to stock the small bookstore.
Says Chamber president Yvonne Stuart: “Every town would be lucky to have a guy like Ron, always willing to help out. Anyone who calls the Chamber will find a pleasant warm voice answering the phone. Our Chamber/Museum would not be the same without Ron.”
Efficiency and a cheerful attitude, assisting carload after carload of visitors, making a positive difference day in and day out — the award doesn’t come with tights and a cape, but it should.
Black Rock City — Smaller than Sparks, bigger than Carson City, it’s the tenth largest city in Nevada* for one week of the year, the week of Burning Man that ends on Labor Day Weekend. The Man is designed and built for the occasion as free-spirited people arrive from around the world in cars and RVs containing everything needful: there’s nothing to buy here but coffee and ice. Once settled, it is a dream made real: everyone fantastic, everything an astonishment. And then the Man burns and the city vanishes utterly for another year. Splendid!
*Fourth largest outside the Las Vegas Valley
Hints of Tonopah’s rich history are plainly visible to anyone who drives through town on US 95, but visit the 100+ acre Tonopah Historic Mining Park on the hillside behind the Mizpah Hotel and those hints become facts. Visitors wander among three intact mines dating back to the early years of the 20th century. Walk the Burro Tunnel into the mountain to gaze down 500 feet into the workings.
For nearly 50 years, the Nevada State Mining Championships have been held here on Memorial Day weekend as part of Jim Butler Days. Contests include double and single jack drilling, individual and team mucking, both women and men competing.
There’s more to see at the Central Nevada Museum on the south (uphill) side of town: Outside, a pioneer village has been made of structures rescued from early 20th Century mining towns nearby; inside are document and photo.archives.
The World Human-Powered Speed Challenge — Battle Mountain is world-famous (in a small way) for hosting the most prestigious event in the world of speed bicycling each September. In the 16 years beginning in 2000 the world Human Powered Vehcle speed record has been broken eight times on Highway 305 about 15 miles south of town and this competition has become the de facto World Championship event of the year. Todd Reichert of Canada broke his own record (86.65 mph, set last year) with a speed of 88.26 mph in 2016. One day not far off, when all the factors are benign, a human being from Japan or Canada or somewhere else in the world will achieve 90 mph on a bicycle — in Battle Mountain.
Heavenly Valley is an enormous year-around playground more than 9,000 feet above sea level. It’s accessible by gondola from just west of the Nevada-California state line at the south shore of Lake Tahoe. They send passengers floating rapidly upward, somewhere between heaven and earth to pop over the summit and down into the little valley. Large areas are devoted to learners, Lifts for experienced skiers climb the slopes east, west and south. and there’s an innertube slope with a half dozen lanes. Everyone is having fun. An immense Lodge serves food and drink to the multitudes into the night.
In a town where you generally know what to expect, Reno’s Whitney Peak Hotel delivers the unexpected: ultra modern rooms, Warholesque meeting and convention space and instead of gambling tables and slot machines, a full floor of exercise equipment and rock climbing walls. For a real challenge, there is a 180’ climbing structure attached to the building in full view of the iconic Reno Arch. Go big or go back inside.
Five Years Ago in the NevadaGram
Nye County has acquired the old Tonopah airport with prospective development now in the planning stage. Currently being bandied about: wind-powered electric generation, huge blades mounted on 17-story towers.
Also, Belmont, once upon a time the Nye County seat, is continuing a modest revival. The Belmont Inn Bed & Breakfast, now managed by Judy Camarillo, has been joined by a couple of interesting shops, which amounts to an explosion of enterprise in this quiet relic in the pinyon pines and junipers.
Allergy-aware eats are available on each floor’s spacious meeting and relaxing area. The 1,000-seat Cargo Concert Hall features top local and touring talent within the indie rock, pop and alternative fusion genres.
On Yerington’s south side; take Bridge Street west from Main and travel through time into the 1950s at King’s Diner. Not because of the posters and photos that comprise the decor, but because of the food — the reuben sandwich with fries should be on a poster, and the chocolate malt takes you right back to high school. Best of all is the vibe, the friendly, painstaking and generous attitude that prevails throughout.
A block off Carson Street, The cosmopolitan LA Bakery, Carson City offers a wide selection of Mediterranean lunch and dinner items, including gluten free, vegetarian and vegan offerings. Daily specials and homemade soups as well as a complete selection of specialty pastries, pies, cakes. And if you are really looking for happiness, cups made of milk chocolate filled with chocolate mousse are almost always in the glass case of delight.
BJ Bull Bakery, Elko – 208 Idaho Street – 775-738-0606 Paul Dunbar was a bus driver when the inspiration struck him: pies! His beef and cabbage hand pies were an immediate success in Elko, even popular with visitors who took them home frozen. New owners added to the menu, first with a Holiday Pasty made with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce, then with a Chili Verde pasty, there’s even a Nathan’s Hot Dog pasty, with onions and peperoncini; side dishes, fruit pies and other desserts available too. Good and different.
Ten Years Ago in the NevadaGram
Carson City is home to Adam G. Baker, who operates a barber shop on West Winnie Lane, and who paints portraits as an avocation. Adam was one of 16 Nevada artists who joined the competition to paint the official portrait of Governor Kenny Guinn as he was leaving office.
“None of us got the chance to do the $20,000 portrait,” he says. “The Nevada Arts Council, with the blessing of the Governor, outsourced the job to all 50 states. They picked this really awesome artist from Washington State but many Nevadans, me included, think it should have been a state competition, and not a national one.”
So Adam decided to take his painting of Governor Kenny on his own ‘national porcelain gallery tour’.”
As you’ll see, if you follow the link below, Adam put Kenny on display in the men’s rooms of every state capitol in the USA (Hawai’i still to come), starting right here at home in Carson City.
Lt. Pierce Powell of the Silver City Guard (left) was among the many local celebrities who turned out to congratulate Hugh Roy Marshall on the opening of the new Ramada Hotel in Virginia City. Powell owns the old V&T freight depot across E Street from the new hotel.
In the east of Nevada in Elko, Snowmobiling Adventures will be ongoing while the snow is deep. If you are interested in first rate adventures, make sure and put the Ruby Mountains on your bucket list! On January 21st Elko hosts the Purple Polar 5K Fun/Run/Walk. On January 29th don’t miss the 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering! . . In Sparks on January 7th go to the Sparks Museum for a Sparks’ Historic Downtown Lecture. Next door in Reno don your best shoes for the Reno Latin Dance Fest on January 5th through the 8th. On January 10th indulge your taste buds at Sugar Love University. Then on January 12th come on out to Reno Events Center for a razzle dazzle display of clever coordination by the Harlem Globetrotters.
On January 19th through the 21st come to a premier outdoor and mountain hunting expo at The Sheep Show. Then on January 21st you won’t want to miss TEDx University of Nevada at the Grand Sierra Resort. . . Up at the magnificent Lake Tahoe attend the Pints & Paddles Cruise with Ike & Martin Aboard the M.S. Dixie II on January 4th. On January 7th head a little ways south to Kirkwood to Celebrate Winter Trails Day with Kirkwood Cross Country and Snowshoe Center.
Fifteen Years Ago in the NevadaGram
At Beatty I stopped at The Beatty Club, a classic Nevada saloon with the bar along one side, a shuffleboard game along the opposite side and a pool table in the back. Dollar bills paper the walls and are beginning to blossom from the ceiling, which has a cluster of bras dangling near its center. It is the domain of Alpheus Bruton III, a former manager of the Furnace Creek Inn at Death Valley and a Beatty resident since 1992.
Alpheus told me that Beatty was hurt badly when the mine closed in ’99, and then hurt worse by the attacks of September 11 as tourists, Europeans especially, cut back on travel. Still, there was an angel-faced Austrian girl in the crowd that night, elevating one of the local men to a state of bliss with her good looks and cute accent, so it hasn’t been a total bust.
Then on January 14th break out your snow shoes for the National Winter Trails Day Celebration Snowshoe Trek with Explore Tahoe. On the North end of the lake check out the Burton Mountain Festival at Northstar on January 6th through the 8th. Then on January 21st find the deepest powder in the newest of ski and board technology on Backcountry Demo Day. Also on January 21st through the 22nd watch top cross country skiers from across America at USSA XC SuperTour at ASC Training Center on Donner Summit. . . Down the hill and away from the slopes come to Eagles & Agriculture on January 26th through the 29th. . . Off Highway 50 in the eastern pat of Nevada go to Ely for it’s annual Fire & Ice Festival that is scheduled for January 15th and 16th. Also on the 15th and 16th the 13th Annual Sheepherders’ Ball On the evening of the 16th board the Northern Nevada Railway for the Fireworks Express. Then on January 30th Ely host’s the Rotary Ice Fishing Derby. . . Down south in Laughlin head on out to the Laughlin Gem, Mineral, Jewelry, Bead & Gift Show that starts on January 13th and lasts through the 22nd. On January 14th and 15th fill up at Laughlin’s Regional and Nevada State Chili Cook-offs. Nearby in Boulder City on January 7th is the Handbell & Choir Festival. The on January 13th through the 15th go to Las Vegas Dogs. Then on January 26th attend Bonham’s Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction
To the right is a great look at Virginia City Past and Present, narrated by “Old Pancake” Comstock himself. And because you have arrived at the end of NevadaGram #186, we’d especially like your responses to our survey.
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Parting Shot —
89 pronghorns a few miles west of Eureka, photograph by Deon Reynolds