Trip Report #22 – Lake Tahoe, Death Valley, The MaryJane Sisters, Ash Meadows, Battle Mountain, Elko, Valley of Fire, Hawthorne and the Loneliest Road


How Canadians got their reputation as lousy tippers I don’t know, but McAvoy Layne who portrays Mark Twain during the Tahoe Queen’s afternoon cruise to Emerald Bay, tells me that the other day a pair of Canadiennes rode the shuttle bus from the free parking lot on Ski Run Blvd., and as they descended from the shuttle, one of them tipped the driver with a cheery smile and two shiny nickels.

After the cruise they rode the shuttle back to their car, and as they debarked once again, the other woman reached for her purse. “No need,” said the first, “I took care of it on the way in.”

The Furnace Creek Resort announced recently that the Inn would close during the summer this year.

Golf Course at Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley
The recently renovated 18-hole Golf Course at Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley, is open all year. It’s the world’s lowest at 214 feet below sea level.

“The Inn is unavailable to guests this summer as all operations have been consolidated at the Furnace Creek Ranch. This is a result of the significant decline in European business which has represented 85% of our summer business over the last six summers at the Inn. However, you may be aware that for 70 years the Inn closed on Mother’s Day and reopened in the fall.”

“All 224 rooms are available at the Ranch as well as restaurants, retail and the golf course.”

The Inn will reopen on October 10, 2003.

Yes! The MaryJane sisters are hitting the road again.“Our mission as usual is to seek out old and unusual saloons with a pool table and a jukebox, and meet people who can suggest interesting places for us to visit.”

[ More about the MaryJane Sisters in Winnemucca ]

Have you put your phone number(s) on the ‘no-call’ list yet? You can do it here. Farewell, telemarketers. Next: the spammers.


A Visit to Ash Meadows

Ash Meadows, near Pahrump and Amargosa Valley

Here is a photo from my trip last summer. This is a photo of Crystal Reservoir in the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, south of Amargosa Valley, taken in August, 2002, looking west.

There is much to see and do at Ash Meadows NWR! Devil’s Hole is a must see, the worlds entire habitat of the Devil’s Hole pupfish is here and here only. Crystal Reservoir and lower Crystal Marsh provide stunning views of Caribbean blue waters set against the rugged desert and mountains. There is also a nice boardwalk with information on the wildlife and endangered flora found in the refuge.

M. M.

Tampa, Florida

Battle Mountain's triumph over adversity achieves operatic proportions with the nationally-noticed Festival in the Pit, sponsored by Old Spice Deodorant August 15-17. It's a whole lot of fun for the whole stinkin' family.
Battle Mountain’s triumph over adversity achieves operatic proportions with the nationally-noticed Festival in the Pit, sponsored by Old Spice Deodorant August 15-17. It’s a whole lot of fun for the whole stinkin’ family. (Photo Courtesy of Elko Daily Free Press)

Love Letter to Hawthorne: I have spent several days in Hawthorne Nevada about

four to five times over the last 3 years. I find it to be a kinda special small town, (enclave) in central Nevada; a Mayberry of sorts in a nice location; a few miles away from the maddening (crowd); and , only a picnic drive to the magnificent Easten Sierras. Hawthorne is not full of glitter and glamour and not a tourist trap in any sense; and not your typical vacation get away; but I find the town unique and special in many ways; and kind of a neat place to call home.
Hacienda Heights, CA


The City of Fallon and the Pony Express Territory have launched a billboard campaign in Reno and Sparks to lure visitors out onto US Highway 50 eastbound. More than 300,000 northern Nevadans will be exposed to these two messages by campaign’s end in mid-August.

The other day someone drew my attention to a website purporting to offer Nevada travel information. When I visited the site, I found this information presented for ‘Northern Nevada’:

Northern Nevada is a vast expanse of mostly unexplored desert terrain interrupted by stark and jagged mountain ranges. The region is primarily comprised of the high desert of the Great Basin.

Few of the cities in the north are well known. Carson City, the state capital at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, is technically in the northern part of the state, though just at the southern edge. The few notable cities in the region are all along the I-80.

Coming down the Cascades from Lake Tahoe traveling northeast the I-80 first passes through the city of Winnemucca, then Battle Mountain, followed by Elko and then Wells. Perhaps the most notable attraction in the area is Ruby Lake in Humboldt National Forest. This region is popular with rugged outdoor types, who like to explore the harsh and unforgiving desert wilderness.”

After I stopped laughing I got mad and fired off a note. “I am rendered nearly speechless by the wildly inaccurate info you are publishing about northern Nevada,” I fumed. “There are a few correct facts here, but the overall impression is of profound, abysmal ignorance.”

A reply came the same afternoon, offering me the opportunity to rewrite the text for them gratis. “Neither [my copywriter] nor I have been to Northern Nevada making it that much more difficult to accurately describe.”

Bummers. But the skiing is great in the stark and jagged Cascades!

Overheard at Adele’s in Carson City: “My biggest fear is to be living in a trailer in my daughter’s driveway.”


David W. Toll



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