Posted in History, Travels, Wildlife

Virginia City, Nevada

On Drew’s day off, he and I left Tahoe and drove East over the mountains toward Carson City. The hailstorm earlier in the week had damaged our 10 year old A/C covers on the roof and I was going to buy a new one at an RV parts store. It was a tiny little quonset hut with “stuff” all over outside, including where ever they stored their parts. We loaded it into the car and headed out toward our real destination: Virginia City, Nevada!

Historical markers downtown Virginia City
These Virginia City markers embedded in ore from every county in Nevada

 

Virginia City is the site of the discovery of gold and silver in 1859 at the Comstock Lode and Brunswick Ledge.   They have retained the “Old West / Wild West”  feel of the area by retaining the old storefronts and wooden sidewalks while making it a popular tourist destination.

Every western city of any size puts the city’s initial on a nearby hill!
Old wooden sidewalks contribute to the Old West feel!

Gambling continues to be a major source of income in Nevada and Virginia City is no different.  Gaming houses and saloons line the streets with current opportunities to gamble and historical references also.

This full-sized artwork is made of nothing but silver dollars from the gambling tables!
What an interesting story!!
Virginia City is also famous for its prominence in the old TV show, “Ponderosa”
Virginia City circa 1935

Virginia City is set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, has a tough uphill climb in and out, and is hot, dry and dusty most of the time.  Of course, I found the local cemetery and made Drew walk up and down and all around it.  It is unlike any other cemetery I have seen with little fenced plots barely under the soil and clinging tightly to the side of the hill.  Gravel, sagebrush, and knurled trees were the only vegetation in the cemetery and horse droppings were everywhere.  Most of the grave sites are organized by social/fraternal/civic groups: Masons, Jewish, Catholic, firemen, etc..  Many of the gravestones note the state or country of origin of the deceased, very few of the deceased were actually born in Virginia City.

Silver Terrace Cemetery

While we were at the cemetery, Drew pointed to a rather new house below us.  A small herd of wild horses were wandering around the end of the street there!  We returned to the car and headed in that direction, and, right at the end of a street, there they were!

Wild horses!!!!

We got back in the car to head back to Carson City and came by this herd just hanging out by St. Mary’s Art Center!

Just enjoying some good green grass!

Check out this video on one of the wild horses!  Looks like he is saluting us!

 

Heading back down the windy road, we passed through the town of Gold Hill with skeletons of old mining equipment along the way.  We passed an active mine, Comstock Mining Company, tucked back into the hills.

History of the Comstock Lode
Mining past and present ..
History and horses!!

We had such a very good day on the dry side of Lake Tahoe!

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Posted in Campgrounds, Parks, RV Living, Wildlife

Second Look: Around Tahoe

While in South Lake Tahoe, we both had different days to explore the area. One day, Barry and Drew left to go trout fishing. They went south of Carson Pass to fish in mountain streams still open — the rivers in Tahoe were already closed for the season.  The cooler mountain air and cold water were great for Barry and he enjoyed the chance to have some Dad/son time and practice his fly casting.

First Mountain Rainbow Trout ever!!!!!

While the guys were fishing, I took the Corgis to the Upper Truckee River nearby to hike a bit……these Corgis love the water and after that initial cold shock, I had a hard time keeping them Out of the water!

Hiking Corgis!!!
River Corgis!

Another day we drove all around the lake to show Barry the sites along the way.  Our first stop was in Tahoma to explore the Hellman-Ehrmann Mansion.  I.W. Hellman bought about 2,000 acres on the lake for his vacation home and built the mansion in 1903, using mainly local materials.   Isaiah W. Hellman founded the Farmers and Merchants Bank of California as well as the University of Southern California!  He named the property Pine Lodge and boated most of the visitors to the property.

Giant trees abound here: Sugar Pine, Jeffrey Pine, Ponderosa Pine, and White Fir
A view of the mansion from the lakeside dock.
The north Stone Room was used for casual dining. The south Stone Room was the billiards and game room.
The dining room paneling is hand-woven strips of redwood and the upper paneling is of hand-woven grass.
Beautiful Craftsmanship is evident throughout the house.
Warning! Extremely Cold Water!!!! And yes, there was a family from Eastern Europe swimming!!!!

We drove all the way around the lake, visited Tahoe City for lunch, and returned back through Cave Rock (remember the tunnel that our Garmin routed us around?).

Later that night, as we returned to the coach, there was a visitor at the campground.  Seems like the management here would go to greater lengths to prevent bears from dumpster diving; as the month passed and the campground cleared out, the easy access dumpsters were re-located away from all the parking sites.

That’s a Big Bear and he is reading the sign to close the lid!!!!!!

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Posted in Campgrounds, Parks, RV Living, Travels, Weather, Wildlife

First Look: South Lake Tahoe, California

This entire trip from Missouri west has had 2 main purposes:  Pack Expo in Las Vegas and to visit our son, Drew, in South Lake Tahoe.  Today we realized the visit with Drew!!!!  We headed southwest on U.S. 50 from Fallon early in the morning; it is labelled one of the “Loneliest Highways in America” and we could see why.  There is very little traffic on this road and not much to see…….until we got closer to Carson City and headed south toward Gardnerville.  This long lush valley is full of huge cattle ranches with green grass and herds of cattle along the eastern foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  It was refreshing to be in so much green-ness for a change!

Along this trip, Barry & I have worried and planned the route carefully, to the point that we bought a Garmin RV 660 at Cabela’s and down-loaded the www.lowclearances.com product.  (Here is the link if you want to get it: http://www.lowclearances.com/amember/go.php?r=4611&i=l0 )  We have been specifically worried about a tunnel at Cave Rock just before South Lake Tahoe that may be less than 13’9″ (our RV is 12’9″ but we want to give ourselves as much room as possible).    So, our Garmin with the uploaded clearance info routed us south on U.S. 395 to Hwy. 88 in Gardnerville toward Carson Pass, then east on Hwy. 89 over Luther Pass to Myers and north on U.S. 50 (again) to our campground in Tahoe!  Whew!!!  Altogether it was not bad driving, but Barry is Super Nervous about mountain passes, both up and down, and his anxiety is obvious as I drive.  The RV handles both up and down hills just fine!

We arrived safely in Tahoe at Tahoe Valley RV Resort & Campground and found our site #109; it was a 30 amp site about 15′ from each neighbor with storage campers behind us.  That would not do.  I went back to the office and complained that I had paid for a Premium Site and expected such and we were moved to site #431 which was Not a Premium site, but had 50 amp FHU’s with lots of space.  I’m not sure about the “Resort” label here; they do have a pool, but closed it after Labor Day, tennis and basketball courts, a playground, and big shelters for group meetings, but everything looks tired and worn out.  The roads throughout are terrible, rough and poorly marked; the edges of the road were not well defined and, with the heavy  pine needles everywhere, everyone drove off the roads frequently.  The staff were worthless.  Sadly, it is one of the few FHU campgrounds in South Lake…..sigh….

Everything was unpacked and we jumped out to explore!  This is Barry’s first visit to Lake Tahoe and the route in did not bring us by the Lake; we headed toward the famous views of Emerald Bay.

Barry’s first look at Lake Tahoe

We met Drew for dinner with lots of hugs and kisses all around and made plans for our 2 week stay!  Fishing, hiking, sight-seeing, just hanging out together!!!  It is So Very Good to see our middle son; it’s been at least 2 years since we were together!

Lake Tahoe view from Stateline Road, the smokey haze persists…

We dropped Drew off for work and headed back to the coach to get some work done before dinner……..3 hours later, this happened:

HAIL!!!!!

It slowed and stopped, then began again……

YIKES!!!

It started up 3 times, with progressively larger sizes of hail each time…..pea-sized, dime-sized, then quarter-sized!  Our A/C shrouds on the roof were original to the coach and very brittle; the hail beat them up very badly.  RV Parts:  2 new shrouds = $400……

Hail came in 3 different bursts, this was the largest.

Tomorrow we are going to drive around the Lake and sight-see all along the way!  Hopefully the weather won’t repeat the hail!

 

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Posted in RV Living, Travels, Weather

Utah to Nevada

Driving from Flaming Gorge to Wasatch Mountain was not bad……high plains, mountains always nearby, wind farms, not many trees.  But driving from the Park City green mountains into Nevada was Crazy!  There are so many forest fires this year that the horizon is always smoky and driving into Salt Lake City was just odd with all that smoke hanging in the air.

That is all smoke on the horizon

Interstate 80 runs right through downtown Salt Lake City and winds and descends from 7000′ in Park City to 4226′ in Salt Lake.  While we drove it, the hazy smoke covered everything and prevented us from “seeing” the city.  Soon after you leave the city, the highway follows the southern border of the Great Salt Lake.  There is not much to see from the road; no trees or rocks or sandy shores, just water with the salt brine shore.  Then, just as quickly as it appeared, it is gone and the landscapes changes again.  We drove across the Salt Flats for what seemed like hours and hours (probably more like 1.5 hours!).

Great Salt Flats
There are frequent signs that warn against drowsy driving! I understand that!

After driving along it for so long, your eyes do start to play tricks on you…..

I cannot imagine traveling through this as a pioneer!
I don’t know if they need an exit for the Bonneville Salt Flats….couldn’t you just drive off the highway?

The smoke is obscuring the mountains in the distance and makes it feel like you are in another world without hills or mountains or trees or animals or ANYTHING!  But 4 miles further, we crossed into Nevada and saw our first casino of the trip and the salt flats were just a memory!

Nevada State Line … mobile homes and casinos!
The Carlin, Nevada Tunnel was our first of the this trip! Luckily, our Garmin knew the height and we were clear!

Further along, we got into a dust storm……lots of wind, not too much rain, just dust……

Dusty sun through the storm

Soon, we left I-80 and headed toward Fallon, Nevada to boondock at the local Walmart.  We met my cousin Roy & his wife, Linda, for dinner and good discussion.  Sometimes the company of family and friends is just what I need to fill my heart back up!

A rainbow at the end of a weird driving day! All is Right in the World!

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Posted in Campgrounds, LIfestyle, Parks, RV Living, Travels

Wasatch Mountain, Utah

We left Flaming Gorge and headed west and south to Wasatch Mountain State Park Campground.

Welcome to Utah!

 

Wide open spaces and strong winds = Wind Farm

This park is just south of Park City, the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics.  The campground is in Midway, Utah and is not easy to find with online maps, we had to drive through a couple of neighborhoods to find it!  The town has a large Swedish community and lots of cute painted buildings!

A cute Hobbit house!
Swedish-style painted house

The campground is in a large state park that includes a golf course, and, nearby Wasatch Mountain.  The campsites are paved with full hookups and 50 amps of power, each nestled into the trees with a little stream behind.  They have very nice paved patios with fire rings set down into the ground and are easy to use. The sites are nice and clean; we would certainly stay here again!

The campground is in the trees in the foreground

We stayed here for just 2 nights to give Barry a chance to get some work done after the Labor Day weekend.  That gave me an entire day to explore the area so I headed up into the mountains!   The road in the park was newly paved and an easy upward drive; my first stop was a nice lake with hiking paths around it.

Nice lake in an open meadow.

Did you know that one aspen tree is actually only a small part of a larger organism?  A stand of aspen trees is considered a singular organism with the main life force underground in the extensive root system. Before a single aspen trunk appears above the surface, the root system may lie dormant for many years until the conditions are just right, including sufficient sunlight. In a single stand, each tree is a genetic replicate of the other, hence the name a “clone” of aspens used to describe a stand.  Ref:  https://www.nationalforests.org/blog/tree-profile-aspen-so-much-more-than-a-tree

 

Beautiful old Aspen Trees around the lake.

I continued up, turning left and right around switchbacks, driving past the park boundary and into the Park City limit where the nice road became a very rough road (due to the loads of snow and plowing in the winter).  At the very top was a nice parking lot with multiple trail heads for me to choose.  I picked the shortest one that lead to the summit and headed upward following a heavily trafficked gravel trail.

Looking south towards Midway
Looking West toward Brighton at Silver Lake
10,000 Feet!!!!

 

Yep! I am at the very peak!!!

 

Coming down from the peak to Jupiter Lift!
I Love Alpine Flowers!

 

The Ski Patrol cabin was unlocked and this walkway out the back offered great views!
View from the Walkway

We had such a nice relaxing time at Wasatch, catching up on work, exploring, hiking and relaxing.   We would certainly return here for a longer stay!  Next stop:  Tahoe!

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Posted in Parks, Travels

John Jarvie Ranch

When my parents volunteered at Dinosaur National Monument, we came out for a long visit.  Our boys were younger then and we relished our first ever visit to the High Desert area of our country.  We loved exploring and learning about the dinosaurs and the archeological digs in the area, watching beaver across the Green River, and exploring all the canyons and meadows.  One of our favorite trips then was to Brown’s Park and the John Jarvie Ranch site north of Dinosaur NM on the Green River.

Since we were so close to it today, Barry agreed to drive the 20 (or maybe 45) miles to revisit the site.  Thankfully most of the road was paved, but there were several teeth-grinding unpaved miles that made him question my motives!

Rough riding!
Yes we drove down into the valley and then over a couple more miles of unpaved road to get to the ranch at the arrow point!
Replica Store / Post Office the original was built in 1881 and later destroyed by fire. Contains the original safe that was robbed the night of Jarvie’s murder.

John Jarvie was a Scotsman who built this ranch property in 1880 to serve as a store and post office for the local travelers and residents in this remote area.  He chose it for the natural river crossing here that had been used by Native Americans and fur-trappers for years.  He was the first postmaster for this area and later operated a ferry over the Green River, he was also a rancher and miner.

The original dugout home for John & his wife Nellie facing the river
The stone house measures 18′ x 20′, one room only. Built by outlaw Jack Bennet using masonry he learned in prison!

The history of the Brown’s Park area is filled with names of the famous and infamous; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid of the Wild Bunch, outlaws such as Isom Dart and Matt Warner, and “Queen” Ann and Josie Bassett…….if you like Wild West history, just look them up online!  The Wild Bunch spent quite some time in this part of Utah; there are so many canyons to hide away!

Water was a valuable resource here, they used it in the home, irrigating, and mining
Blacksmith Shop c. 1880’s, Walls of cottonwood, roof of juniper covered with dirt
Graves of 4 men who died in Brown’s Park: 2 drowned, one was stabbed and the other was shot

This corral and several other buildings were built from hand-hewn railroad ties that floated down from Green River, Wyoming. Chinese laborers were used to cut and hew timber for the new transcontinental train lines.

Old wagon wheels and antler art!

I hope you enjoyed this historic memory detour as much as I did!

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Posted in Campgrounds, Parks, RV Living, Travels, Wildlife

West to Flaming Gorge

We continued our westward travels, left Ft. Collins, CO, spent a couple of nights in Rawlins, WY, and then moved to McKinnon, WY for Labor Day weekend. We stayed at the Red Desert Rose Campground in Rawlins, this was our first experience at a “western” campground; dry, dusty, treeless!  They have a fenced dog park, but it had very little grass.  There is sagebrush all around town, I kept my eyes open for wildlife, but to no avail.  The staff here were ever so nice.  Although the sites were all gravel pull-through’s, we did have full hookups and took this time to catch up on laundry and and life!  From the middle of June, Barry has been working a ton, both here in the RV and traveling around each area making lots of calls; this is our first stop to just settle down and catch our breath.  Rawlins is an interesting old town, lots of cowboy references and old “Mom & Pop” type motels; it is the first exit off I-80 to Jackson, WY and further on to Yellowstone NP, it is also a shipping location for cattle and some historical sites are here also.

On I-80 near Laramie, WY – I see snow-capped mountains! And lots of cattle grazing!

I made reservations earlier this spring for a campsite on Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming for Labor Day, this was our next destination.  My parents were NP Rangers at Dinosaur NM just south of Flaming Gorge in the early 1990’s and we have not been back to this area since that time; I could not wait to relive some of those memories!  We pulled into Buckboard Campground on Friday and prepared for a weekend of sight-seeing.  This is a State Park Campground, again, dry and dusty with very few trees and little clam-shell covered picnic areas.  We had a 50 amp, electric only site that was not very level but had a little look at the reservoir from the front.  There was also a full hookup private RV park nearer the water for only a few dollars more; I would have rather parked there had I known in advance.  We also found the Lucerne Campground further south on Flaming Gorge that will be our first choice the next time we visit this area.

View from the picnic table, see the step turned around backwards due to the parking bumper? Still so far off the ground in front.
View from the campground of Flaming Gorge….see those things in the air? They are markers on the power lines over the road!

Saturday was the start of the College Football Season (notice that is all caps?!!)  and we spent the entire day watching all the games we could possibly see!  But, in the afternoon, I needed a project and took that time to work on the bathroom backsplash.  (Refer to my post RV Life, April ’17 –http://corgishopperblog.com/2017/04/27/rv-life-april-17/  )  I had found a product called Smart Tiles online, purchased them at Home Depot, and decided to apply them today.  All-in-all, it was an easy finish to this project; I used my math skills (whaaat?!!)  and lots of measuring before cutting, but ended up with great results, can’t wait to finish the rest of the coach with it!

Much better!

Sunday was going to be all about traveling around Flaming Gorge……..please enjoy these photos that brought back so many memories for me!

 

They named it Flaming Gorge due to the red stone colors all around it!
Only bridge over the reservoir!

Flaming Gorge Dam
Same bridge from up high, the dam is on the left out of the photo


So many more photos and memories from this area!!!  It was so good to be back!