NevadaGram #51 – Governor’s Conference, Baker, Eureka, Ely, Pahrump

What They’re saying About Us

The Los Angeles Times meets Frenchies in Las Vegas.
Sign Up for our NevadaGram here.

You can buy your book orders online for Personal copies and gifts or for Resale.

The recent Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the Wynn in Las Vegas showcased our state’s warm relationship with the Colossus of Asia.

photo by Chris Chrystal coutesy NCOT
A glimpse of the Forbidden City.

The presentation by the city of Beijing was sensational — if Nevada’s reps in China do half as well as Beijing’s reps did in Las Vegas, our hotel desk clerks will all be speaking Mandarin soon.

The Chinese delegation included speechifying bureaucrats, a reknowned watercolor painter, an equally reknowned noodle maker (a major performance artist) and a dozen 6-feet tall beauties who modeled clothes designed with motifs from the Emperor’s Palace in Beijing. I’m usually blase (comatose) about fashion shows, but this was magnificent, a truly breath-catching presentation, and it brought the audience to its feet for a standing ovation.

photo by Max Winthrop
A taste of Beijing: hand-pulled noodles.

The China connection is especially beneficial — of its 1.4 billion people, some 300 million are considered immediate prospects for a Nevada vacation — but our state also maintains its presence in England, Germany, France and Italy. An office in Mexico was recently defunded by the legislature, but is expected to be restored.

The Nevada Passage television program will be reprised in 2006, with two-person teams competing in high-rev challenges from kayaking to hand-car races in Virginia City, Austin, Laughlin, Battle Mountain, Pahrump and Winnemucca.

An innovation this time will be a set of three

One of the cyclists pedaling up Lamoille Canyon in the 2005 competition.
competitions open to the public. In Winnemucca on May 6 and 7, you can compete against all comers in mountain biking on the Bloody Shins Trail, kayaking on the Humboldt River and a run up Winnemucca Mountain. Registrations begin in January.

The Lectrolux Cafe at the Silver Jack Inn, Baker’s cosmopolitan new . . . bistro?

When people ask me what undiscovered Nevada Treasure I’d recommend to visit, I say “Baker!” The little town at the entrance to Great Basin National Park is a pleasantly quirky place (street bowling is an occasional local sport) that goes almost unnoticed next to its more famous neighbor. A year ago, when Bill and Kathy Rountree sold the Silver Jack Motel (now The Silver Jack Inn) in Baker, I wondered if its ineffible charm would survive. New owner Terry Marasco has laid any qualms to rest.

photo by Max Winthrop
The Greco-Roman pizza is a favorite at the Silver Jack in Baker

He has transformed the former gift shop — originally the town’s General Store — into a bright and friendly dining room, serving espresso, french toast and omelettes in the morning and an eclectic menu throughout the day: “Like Life, Our Menu Changes Daily”. The bar is stocked with the finest American-made wine and beer — yes, he has Ruby Mountain Amber Ale and Heifeweisen — and fine spirits from around the world. I had a glass of Guenoc Cabernet I’d rank at the top of the chart.

Another delightful discovery in Mesquite, this one a local dining favorite: the Chalet Cafe. It’s a

photo by Max Winthrop
The perpatetic Master Mixologist Fly is now presiding at the Silver State Bar & Grill in Austin. Stop in and have a refreshment with a living legend.

walk-in time capsule — take one step inside and you’re in the 1940s. There’s a counter with a big coffee maker, and booths by the window. There’s a soup and salad bar, chicken fried steak on the menu and pies made by Mormon farm girls. The waitresses tease their regular customers and they’re friendly with strangers. What a pleasant change from the charmless casino fare!

Photo by Max Winthrop
Opera House impresario Wally Cuchine and theater producer Bill Beeson combine talents to produce the great feast.

Robin and I were fortunate enough to attend the

Boar’s Head Feast at the Eureka Opera House. Theater students from Virginia City came costumed in full medieval finery to serve the banquet and to perform skits and other entertainments for the assembled guests. We were encouraged to come in period costume, but my tights and ruffled neckpieces were at the cleaners and Robin’s wimple was showing its age so we came in civvies and had almost as much fun as if we’d dressed the part.

photo by Max Winthrop
Madrigals and mulled wine enlivened the feast.

It was the 9th annual incarnation of the event, and we were saddened to hear it is to be the last in the series. But we’re already planning to attend an evening’s performance by The Edlos (The Bad Boys of A Capella) on March 3. Why not plan to join us and make a party of it. . . ?

I stopped in Ely on the way home, stayed at the Hotel Nevada in the Vikki Carr Room (#417) and I glanced through the Guest Book left on the antique dresser.

The Hotel Nevada, Ely

Some entries from earlier this year: 1/20/05 — “Great room . . . Killed us on the Blackjack table, see you in Sept.” 4/2/05 — “A true nugget! We stumbled upon it in our journey across the country and still can’t believe this place exists. We feel like we stepped back in time. A solid reward for avoiding the Interstate. We will return, no doubt, hopfully sooner than later.” 5/3/05 ” “On second honeymoon, but I’m ‘All by My Self’. Called the Old Man in Kingman AZ, he’s supposed to be home for my call – he’s been cheating on me & and lying about it. And I’m going back to this man – separated 4 months. I went to Idaho and hated it, too far away from my kids — 6 kids and this wak-co. I need my head examined. Lord help me – Guide me or take me home. If you are reading this, pray for me. God bless us all.”

photo courtesy the Bellagio
Organized exclusively for the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art,The Impressionist Landscape from Corot to van Gogh: Masterworks from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston presents 34 masterworks by sixteen of the world’s most renowned artists including Cézanne, Corot, Gauguin, van Gogh, Millet, Monet, Renoir.

Quick notes from beyond the mountains: Casino Express Airline of Elko is ending its gambling junket flights to the Red Lion Casino in February. The Wendover flights will continue.

By now everyone in the world must know that Heidi Fleiss is planning to set up shop in Pahrump. This report appears in The Daily Times of Lahore, Pakistan.

Some reports about her new venture suggest that a brothel staffed with male prostitutes is a novelty in the Nevada sex trade, but several previous attempts have been made, and have failed.

Joe Conforte, the Big Buckaroo of the Mustang Ranch tried this in the 1970s with dismal results. “Women ain’t like men. A man, he’s in, toonk-toonk-toonk, and he’s out the door. A woman, she wants to sit around, shoot the shit, have a cup of coffee, this, that — it takes her all night just to get started. You can’t make no money that way.

“Plus, a woman can take ten, twelve, twenty customers a night. There ain’t no man can do that.”

If you want to rent a car in Wendover, try to be first in line. There is only one rental agency, located at the Days Inn, and it only has one car to rent.

Overheard at the Silver State Bar & Grill in Austin: “The difference between drinking on horseback and drinking in a car is, if you drink on a horse you just get lost, but if you drink while you’re driving you get killed.”

Happy Highways,

David W. Toll




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here