We left Gun Creek Campground and Illinois, crossed through Kentucky (with a pit stop at a customer’s plant), and spent 2 nights in Clarksville at Clarksville Campground. This gave us a weekend to relax and sight-see nearby at Fort Donelson National Battlefield.
This battlefield sits on a hilly overlook on the Cumberland River in Tennessee, just east of Clarksville.
The site has been well preserved, is very quiet and informative. There are beautiful river outlooks, a national cemetery, and the preserved Dover Hotel which was the site of the battle’s surrender.
On Sunday, we picked up and headed for Nashville and Grand Ole RV Park and Thanksgiving with the family!
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!
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.
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 Gaming houses and saloons line the streets with current opportunities to gamble and historical references also.
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.
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!
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!
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.
We had such a very good day on the dry side of Lake 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 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!
I hope you enjoyed this historic memory detour as much as I did!
We left Pine Grove RV Park and headed west on I-80 to Grand Island, Nebraska. There we followed NE highways 2 and 92 into Broken Bow. This is a lovely county seat trying to update from a tired old town to a vibrant city. We camped right downtown at Tomahawk Park for RVs and were pleasantly surprised. Though they had less than 20 spaces, each was neat and clean with long pull-through sites for big rigs like ours. The grass was manicured so very well and our site (#13) had a big shade tree nearby. Although we only had 50 amp service, without water or sewer, for a few days it was just fine. The WiFi, Verizon, and AT&T service was weak. My map program (Waze) brought us in over a low-water bridge; we made sure not to leave that way! Barry had a business call here that turned into a second call at the same company the next day in Holdrege (about an hour south of Broken Bow) and I drove while he emailed!
First, we discovered a wonderful breakfast spot just a few blocks from the park, Prairie Grounds. Delicious cups of milky coffee and freshly baked blueberry muffins started my day off just fine!
After Barry’s morning appointment, we drove west of town to see one of the largest feedlots in the world. It is the Adams Feedlot with a total capacity of between 85,000-100,000 head of cattle (depending on your source). Barry & I are carnivores and love steak and hamburgers, but it is a little unnerving to see so many animals in such a place. The smell wafts into town almost daily depending on the wind; but the wind blows steadily enough to keep it from being overpowering.
The next day we drove south to Holdrege, Nebraska, south of I-80 for another appointment. Job completed, we took our time returning to Red Bow and found these historical markers.
Back in Broken Bow, we detoured to the Straight Arrow Bison Ranch. A family-owned business, they keep a herd of buffalo on their range year-round as a source of meat and other byproducts for retail sale. Although they weren’t open that day, we did get a chance to see the herd from the road. You can learn more here: www.straightarrowbison.com
All-in-all, Broken Bow was a pleasant stop and nice town. We would definitely stay here again when passing through on business.