Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Elko, Nevada

September 20-23, 2014:

We head out onto Interstate highway 80 east, first time all year that we have been on an interstate for an extended run and I don't care for it much.  The traffic was not bad, but too many miles of road construction straddling the rumble strip.  The road up Immigrant Pass was a long rev'ed up climb, I was able to pass a couple of big rigs, what a thrill, only to have them blast back by me on the downhill.  It is about 150 long miles to the Elko RV Park about 11 miles east of Elko.  The address entered into our GPS was obviously wrong.  The RV park was actually right off route 80, at exit 214, we could see it from the exit, but our GPS was telling us to go another 1/2 hour into the boonies.  Adding to the confusion was the fact that the RV park sign just said "RV Park", not the full name.  We called the park and they confirmed that they were in fact at the exit. It's a decent full hookup campsite, lots of permanent residents, mine workers, but the staff was extra friendly, everything works and there is even a tavern/gaming room on site.

A long straight route 80 view

Campground Tavern and gaming Room is actually very
nice !

We set up then went back into Elko to explore and visit Walmart for a few supplies. I was at Elko a few years ago for the Cowboy Poetry Festival, it's an interesting town, very cowboy, but growing like crazy.  It's another one of those towns that has been put on the "best place to live" list and is now booming.  It also helps that they have several gold mines back in operation these days, there lots of mine workers in our campground.  The old downtown is about the same though, everything else looks bigger and more congested.

Club Silver Dollar

The Commercial Casino front

Elko Court House

Nice signs downtown

Western Folklife Center-home of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The Power Shots Bar

The Stumble Inn - for sale

Cowboy Poetry gathering banner

When in Elko, the Northeastern Nevada Museum is a must see, it is one of the best small city museums in the country.  My favorite thing there is the Will James art and book exhibit.  Will James is considered one of the best western artists and he wrote many western adventure books which he illustrated himself.

The old mail stage

You don't want to get this close to one

An illustrated Will James letter to a friend

A classic Will James drawing

A few Will James books

These were worn by a resourceful
cattle rustler to cover his tracks

Huge gem stone

The story of Guadelupe S. Garcia and his saddle shop is legend in Elko.  He came from Sonora, Mexico, apprenticed at another saddle making shop, then started his own Saddle Shop in Elko.  He became quite good at it and made a saddle which he entered in the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.  He also entered this saddle in the 1905 Lewis and Clark exposition in Portland, Oregon.  He won the gold medal in both expositions which had never happened before.  This Saddle is now in the Nevada State Museum in Cason City, Nevada.  His Saddles became highly sought after, he became very successful and started the Elko Rodeo.  The business was taken over by a son and then eventually sold to J. M. Capriola Co. who operates it today.  The store is also a must see in Elko, has a museum section and the spurs and bits in their display case are works of art.

Garcia exhibit in museum

View of old Saddle in the store

Mural on side of the J.M. Capriola store

J.M. Capiola Co. storefront

Sunday morning brought some light rain, that was a surprise, then it cleared and then became stormy looking with dark ominous clouds in the evening.  This made for a special sunset though, also a surprise.

Wonderful dark clouds

The opposite sky was this

Blazing sunset on another day

Monday, we drove to Lamoille Canyon where the Lamoille Scenic Byway winds for 12 miles into the Canyon that they call Nevada's Yosemite.  It was beyond scenic, tremendous views in all directions and the sky and cloud conditions accentuated everything.  We took a short, but steep uphill trail along a creek that meandered through a wide open meadow.  There were the remains of a huge old beaver dam on the creek, appears that the beavers have moved on to other areas.

Nice view of the Lamoille Valley

View from the trail

A broken up Beaver Dam

On the trail

A clear mountain stream plunging into the pool below

Many of the trees are butchered up by
people carving things, the Basque
Sheepherders started this trend

View into the Canyon

Old Studebaker Wagon against the mountain view
We then drove into the nearby town of Lemoille which gets much attention in tourist guides, but not really much there to see, except the small Presbyterian church building.

The "Little Church at the Crossroads" in Lomoille

It's not Vegas, but Elko has it's share of bright neon lights.  The two main downtown Casinos, "Stockman's" and the "Commercial" are long time fixtures in Elko.  The Commercial has a great Bear on the facade and inside is the an actual professionally mounted Polar Bear that is mounted standing up (10 foot 6 inches) and is said to be the largest ever killed.

Sign on the ceiling inside the "Silver Dollar" Club

The Real "White King" Polar Bear

The Commercial Casino

That -A-Way to the Centre Motel, the lights change to
simulate hand movement

Manor Motor Lodge

Club Silver Dollar

The Stockman's Casino

The Star for great Basque food

Elko came into existence as a work camp for the Transcontinental Railroad, as the tracks were completed, the town sprang up.  Years earlier, the California Trail passed a few miles from Elko.  Today the Central Pacific Railroad is still going strong hauling freight and interstate Route 80 is a main east/west highway across the US.

Western Pacific Locomotive and Cabose

California Trail marker

Next stop is south to the town of Eureka, Nevada:

Twinkles and Slick

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