NevadaGram #29 – Austin’s Fabulous New Year’s Eve, Legends Meet at Lake Tahoe, the Big RV Photo Contest, and March in Winnemucca


Victorian New Year’s Eve in Austin was a great success. Jan Morrison of The Main Street Shops reports: “My little shop was packed!

Guests at the Austin New Year’s Eve Celebration enjoyed a memorable night.

“From an RSVP list of 84, 81 people made it to the great celebration (one couldn’t make it over Donner Pass, one was stuck in Smoky Valley,

and one was sick). Next year the event will be open to the public, and will be held in St. Augustine’s Church.

“The International Hotel had their annual chili cook-off that ends with the midnight lighting of the Christmas Tree in the middle of Hwy 50. St. Augustine’s bell rang clear and loud, and everyone was kissing and wishing happy new year.

“As soon as the bell stopped ringing, Bob McGibbon, a very talented sax player, played an incredibly soulful ‘Auld Lang Syne’. It was magical.”

To receive advance information about Austin’s Grand Finale of 2004, send an E-mail.

One night recently McAvoy Layne was hurrying from an engagement at Lake Tahoe to a dinner date in Carson City. As he was about to crest Spooner’s Summit and begin the long descent of the east slope of the Sierra, his car began to sputter and stall. He had run out of gas.

He steered the car over to the shoulder, and as it slowed he opened the door, jumped out, and pushed, hoping to maintain his momentum and crest the summit so he could roll down to the bottom of the grade. But there was just enough of an uphill slant to prevent it, and he had to park at the side of the road and hitch-hike.

This old ranch is just over Ione Summit in the Reese River Valley, not far beyond the Shoshone Indian Reservation. Its corrals are built of willow sticks and its great barn is built of stones.

A man in chaps and big hat was loading heavy things into his truck, and I called out a cheerful good morning. He gave me a stony stare that seemed to have a 30-30 connected to it and went on with his work.

When he drove away below me I waved. He kept his gaze front and center and drove on down the road. I sympathize with him. In my straw hat with Harrah’s on the front, my bright t-shirt and camera to my eye, I was everything he has reason to fear and despise.

Too late, Cowboy, there’s nowhere left to go.

McAvoy had already changed out of his white suit, so he was just a shadowy figure by the side of the road and the cars whizzed past. At last a pick-up truck pulled over and Mac jumped inside, effusively thanking his benefactor, a Hispanic man of middle age as they swept down the grade to Carson City. After a few minutes the man looked over at McAvoy and said, “Should I know you?”

“Well, maybe so.” said McAvoy, “I’m Mark Twain.”

The man regarded him silently and then returned his attention to the road. Eventually he turned back to McAvoy and tapped himself on the chest. “Me, Ponce de Leon,” he said.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism has announced a photo contest called “Your Koolest RV Moment.”

RVers enter by sending in photos of experiences they particularly enjoyed, and the one whose “moment” is judged to be the coolest will win a TurboKool evaporative cooler for their RV.

For more information on the contest and the 175 RV parks throughout the state, visit their website and click on “RV Info” or call 1-800-NEVADA-8.

Winnemucca is the place to be in March! On the 5th and 6th the “Pick of the Remuda” performance horse and production sale will be held in conjunction with the Ranch Hand Rodeo. The Rodeo happens the 6th and 7th at the Events Complex and involves ranch hands spending the weekend in town ridin’ saddle broncs and milkin’ wild cows in the new Indoor Event Center. (Questions? Send an e-mail.)


Then on the 10th through 14th, Shooting the West XVI, Nevada’s premier photography conference, brings together photo masters and novice shutterbugs for three days of instruction and sharing. For more information contact Linda Duferrena, 775-941-3057.

Overheard at the Peppermill in Wendover: “War is vulgar, low-grade criminality, and only brutes and fools indulge in it.”

Happy Highways,

David W. Toll




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