Wednesday, August 12, 2020
We have plenty of time to ready for this trip. Our plan is to bring the motorhome out of storage and ready it for travel meaning check all the vitals, air up the tires and move all of our belongings into the coach, including food and clothing. Aaaand- ready our home for our visitors Jim and Nancy. Piece of cake, especially since we started three days before our departure.
Well, getting the coach ready for departure was pretty routine but the house became a three day long expedition to cleaning ville. The house wasn’t that dirty but Jil was hell bent on making it perfect- and perfect it was by the time we departed this morning. This was our morning- up at 0500 hrs. because we couldn’t sleep, take the dogs on a run at the ball field at McQueen High School, home by 0700 hours. Clean the floors, water the plants, load what was left in the house into the RV (the house is now empty!)……..done by 0900 hours.
We were planning to leave around 1100 hours so we wouldn’t have to sit for hours in the RV park where we were to spent the night but someone got antsy (I won’t mention her name- Jil) so we piled into the RV and left at 1000 hours. Sheesh….
Our route takes us through Reno, then Sparks and then past some small communities located in the Truckee River Canyon. Mustang, Lockwood, McCarran, and Patrick come to mind. Still following the Truckee we pass the massive Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, home of the Tesla Gigafactory.
We come to Fernley, the first community of any size (19,370 souls) since leaving home. Fernley- the name was given when the Southern Pacific Railroad established a siding in 1904. The area developed primarily as an agricultural and ranching community. Canals were build to support both industries and the transcontinental Lincoln/Victory Highways were completed in 1920. The first significant non-ag./ranching business was the Nevada Cement Company which started operation in 1965. Amazon.com opened a 750,000 square foot order fulfullment center in 1999. Many more nationally know companies followed suit.
Shortly after leaving Fernley we cross the Forty Mile Desert, a barren stretch of waterless alkali wasteland that was the most dreaded section of the California Emigrant trail. Pioneers back in the 1840’s-1860’s tried to cross it at night due to the great heat. Starvation for man and beast stalked at every mile. A survey made in 1850 revealed 1061 dead mules, 5,000 horses, 3750 cattle and 953 graves with a then value of personal property loss of $1,000,000.
Rye Patch Reservoir– Humboldt River
Next comes Brady’s Springs. These are the Emigrant Springs of the Forty Mile Desert described by early emigrants in the mid-1800’s. Early travelers called it the Spring of False Hope. The oxen of the wagon trains smelled the moisture before reaching the springs, rushing forward to drink the scalding water. The emigrants collected the scalding water in casks to cool for later use, then pushing on to the Truckee River. The springs also been referred to as Hot Springs, Springer’s or Fernley Hot Springs. They are currently being used for geothermal exploration and development.
Pershing County Courthouse– Lovelock
We stop in Lovelock (1800 souls), the seat of Pershing County to stroll in Lover’s Lock Park. Lovelock was named after George Lovelock, an early homesteader and storekeeper. The area first came of prominence as a midpoint on the Humboldt Trail to California. A marsh known as Big Meadows was a gathering point for pioneers. Two hundred and fifty wagons could be there at one time, with wagon trains constantly coming and going. Grasses up to cattle and mule’s knees was sweet to the hungry animals.
Monument at Lovers Lock Park
Lovelock has some 40,000 acres under irrigation, mostly devoted to grain for feeding livestock. The area is also world renouned for it’s high quality alfalfa seed. A bit of trivia- it is said that the stop light in the center of town was last signal light to regulate traffic between San Francisco and New York before I-80 was completed in 1963.
Winnemucca (7800 souls) is the seat of Humboldt County. It’s named for the Paiute Indian Chief Winnemucca. The Chief’s daughter Sarah was an advocate for education and fair treatment of the Paiute and Shoshone tribes. Their family all learned to speak English and Sarah worked as an interpreter, scout and messenger for the U.S. Army. In 1883 Sarah published the first autobiography written by a Native American woman.
The railroad reached Winnemucca in 1868. Basque immigrants worked as sheep herders in the mid-19th century. In their honor the city hosts an annual Basque Festival. Trivia- Butch Cassidy’s gang robbed the First National Bank of Winnemucca of $32,640 in 1900. The town’s brothel district is known as “The Line” or “The Ring Circle” based on the layout of the street where they are located. Winnemucca styles itself as “The City of Paved Streets” and is home to the Buckaroo Hall of Fame and Heritage Museum.
Our stop for the evening is at the Silver State RV Park in Winnemucca. It’s not fancy, and it does have a swimming pool. It’s serving as a launch point for our drive to Caldwell, Idaho tomorrow. It’s hot out so our walks with the dogs are abbreviated. The park appears to have a lot of working residents which is OK. We’ve found that parks with working stiffs tend to be pretty quiet.
Tomorrow we’ll head north on US 95. See you then………..