Monday, October 31, 2011
Jill's Journal: We had been in Carson City far longer than we intended, four weeks when we originally expected just one. We’d been there so long we knew the cashiers at the grocery store and no longer relied on our GPS to get around. We knew where to get the cheapest gas prices in town. We even had people to say goodbye to, including our new scooter-riding dog friends and Alicia, the girls’ favorite Tahoe friend (we rooted her on at a swim meet as a final farewell). A few days ago, I even got hugs from both my doctor and nurse, whom I finally got medical clearance from after four visits. They told me they’ll miss me and joked that we should consider keeping Carson City as our base so we could all spend more time together. I’m pretty fond of them too.
But it was nice to move on.
We headed south yesterday, crossing the California border once again. We’d hoped to stay in Lee Vining, a tiny little hamlet of about 200 near the eastern entrance to Yosemite. (We can’t stay in Yosemite because national parks don’t have cell towers. No cell towers, no internet connection. No internet connection, no work for Rob. No work for Rob, no traveling for us.) But the one Lee Vining campground that was still open wouldn’t accommodate us since they’re about to close for the season, so it was on to Plan B.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Here's one: Carson City was one of the major stops on the Pony Express. In the 18+ months the Pony Express was in operation in 1860-61, the 120 riders rode over 650,000 miles. During all that time, only one rider killed by Indians, only one schedule not completed, and only one mail run lost.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Yes, one of the best things about traveling is the interesting people – and animals – you meet.
Friday, October 28, 2011
A little background of this tremendous place:
If the name Harrah sounds familiar to you, chances are you’ve been to Las Vegas, Reno, South Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, Tunica, Biloxi, or Laughlin. All gambling towns. All home to a Harrah’s. Add in riverboat casinos and other major casinos under the Harrah’s umbrella like Caesars Palace, Bally’s, Horseshoe properties, and so many more and one starts to comprehend what a tremendous casino empire a man named Bill Harrah built.
However, Harrah had a passion besides casino hotels and women (he married seven times). He loved cars and collected them with a driven passion (and had a staff of dozens who bought and restored them for him). At the time of his death in 1978, he was recognized as having the largest, most historic, and most significant automobile collection in the world. He showcased them for Reno residents and visitors in what was apparently a feast for admirers akin to the Smithsonian. His amassment at “Harrah’s Automobile Collection” numbered about 1,400 vehicles, although fewer than one-third were on display.
Upon Harrah’s death, Holiday Corporation purchased his hotels. The automobile collection was included in the price. When Holiday Corp. announced their intention to sell the cars (valued then at over $100 million), tremendous public outcry ensued. The Nevada Governor stepped in and formed a 501(c)3 organization, to which Holiday Corporation donated 175 of the most significant cars in addition to Harrah’s automobile research library. At the time, it was the largest philanthropic corporate gift in the history of America. It formed the base of the today’s National Automobile Museum, which opened in downtown Reno in 1989 and (even without the full collection) is still considered one of the top car museums of the world.
“Few material things have been as important to America as the automobile. The manufacture of the automobile was the root of our industrial growth… We are all tied to the automobile by history, by business, by emotion. The automobile deserves to be preserved and remembered.”
--Bill Harrah, 1911-1978
Below is just a glimpse of our history of the last century or so through automobiles.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Nevada is home to several crazy and/or fascinating facts which are just begging to be shared here:
*More than 84 percent of the land in Nevada is owned by the federal government.
*Doesn’t Nevada conjure up images of desert, desert, and more desert? But Nevada means “snow-capped” in Spanish. Five mountain peaks in Nevada are higher than 12,000 feet and the entire state has an average elevation of 5,000 feet.
* Reno with its population of over 220,000 is actually located farther west than Los Angeles. Who knew?
*The state motto is “Battle Born” because Nevada was admitted to the Union in 1864 during the Civil War.
*Nevada is known for its silver, but it also produces a high quantity of gold and about 25 other precious metals and minerals. Only the countries of South Africa, Australia, and China rank above the state of Nevada in gold production. There are approximately 140 active mining and drilling operations in Nevada today.
*In 1859 a rancher named W.P. Morrison visited the placer gold mines of the area and, out of curiosity, carted away some of the black rock which the miners were tossing away as worthless. Not so. An assay showed it contained $4,791 in silver per ton (plus an additional $1,595 in gold per ton).
*In the early 1870s, the amount of silver coming out of Nevada bordered on the ridiculous, so much so that France and Germany withdrew silver from circulation. The United States was on the verge of doing the same. Senator Casserly of California testified to Congress, “…We have more silver than we want. Nevada appears to be getting ready to deluge the world in silver.”
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
In perfect health I left my home,
Not thinking that my race was run.
But as flowers grow, so they decay
And sudden death snatched me away.
Stop and read as you pass by,
As you are now, Once was I.
As I am now, you will be,
Prepare for death and follow me.
Who comes up with this stuff?? What fun.