Thursday, September 26, 2013

Virginia City, Nevada and Interstate 80 East, to Winnemucca, Nevada

I used to laugh at my friend, Carol, when she'd say her daughter in law lives in Winnemucca, Nevada, and I'd try to say that word and laugh about it.......sounds like a Seuss-ism to me.........tonight we are sleeping in Winnemucca!  

I opened my eyes this morning to the window of our 22nd floor hotel room.  We'd left the drapes open, so we could see the city lights last night, and this morning the sun was streaming in and a mountain was out there saying, "Good morning!" 

We threw twenty-five dollars into some casino machines, drank some coffee, walked around the casinos for a short time, then asked Thelma to take us to Virginia City, Nevada. Virginia City is an old silver mining town about 18 miles from Reno. I had been there in 1996 with my friend, Sally, and wanted to share this place with Randy. I must have gone to Virginia City, that day with Sally, while I was in a coma, because I had no recollection of the thirteen-mile, hair-raising, white-knuckle drive up to the top of the mountain where Virginia City sits.

Once we arrived and I was pulled out of the fetal position under the front passenger seat,  we had a lovely hour, strolling leisurely up and down the old board sidewalks of the town.

You can google Virginia City and find out a whole lot more information about it than I know.  What I do know is that it makes you really feel as if you are in an old mining town.  The shops and museums are bright and inviting.  The red-light district museum was closed again today, just as it was in 1996, so I am still uninformed about that kind of thing. The Bucket of Blood Saloon has a new picture window on the back wall, that allows the patrons to actually SEE the gorgeous mountains behind it, and their rare collection of Tiffany hanging lamps, all over the ceiling, is fun to see. 

We had lunch at The Bonanza Café, and our waiter was the son of the owners.  He entertained us with stories about his tattoos, the town, and the fact that we will be missing Biker Week, which starts in Virginia City this weekend.  He told us that 40,000 bikers will be riding up and down that mountain all next week.  (At this point, I needed a cold compress................)

I bought Randy a leather cowboy hat at one of the shops.  I've been talking about the cowboys ever since we crossed the Mississippi, and now I've got one.  We agree the sandals  sort of spoil the "look," so maybe we'll find boots somewhere tomorrow.

Randy let me drive down the mountain, since we wouldn't be on the guard rail in that direction. As we started down, a school bus full of children left the elementary school up there on top of the mountain, and we watched it go racing down, out of sight, like one of those marbles in the yellow donation stands where the marble whizzes around a zillion times, and then drops into the hole.

At the bottom, we connected somehow with Interstate 80 going east, and prepared for a long, boring drive across a state that I'd only ridden across in the dark (1959) and flown across with cloud cover (1996,) so virtually had not seen at all.

Nevada has turned out to be amazing!  Randy and I kept pointing and oooohing.  We tried to take pictures as we drove, and stopped several times to take a few more. The rest of the time we were looking at the snow on top of a mountain range to the side and front of us, and wondering about an enormous white cloud-like thing that was hanging low over another mountain.  It looked as if it were snowing, but probably just "clouding." 
All this, by the way, was on flat land. The mountains were all around us, but we were not going up and down on them, which suited me just fine.

We arrived in Winnemucca, Nevada, just as dark was setting in, and so did everyone else.  There is nothing special going on here, but the hotel clerks told us that it is a good stopping place for travelers, so few rooms were available.  We still have the other half of Nevada to cross.  Here's hoping it is as pretty as the western half................. and flat.

Copyright:  KP Gillenwater 2013