Friday, May 30, 2014

A step into the past...

All aboard!  Those wonderful two words that are such favorites of ours!  "All aboard for Virginia City!" the Conductor was calling out now, as we were boarding the V& T Railroad in Carson City Nevada the "Opening Day" over Memorial Day weekend.  They had brought out all the celebrations for it too.  Costumed folks to shoot at each other, and play their antics, ladies dressed in their early 1900's finest, music and even served us mimosas as we waited to board!

The Virginia & Truckee Railroad is the most famous of all American Short Line railroads. Construction began in 1869 and in the ensuing 74 years the busy mountain railroad hauled millions of dollars in gold and silver ore from the mines deep below Virginia City. The scenic railroad was rebuilt in 1974.  The trip to Virginia City is about an hour and a half, then they give you about three and a half hours to enjoy the city and then they take you back again.  It's a great stream train, and it moves very slowly with little rocking.  The trip itself doesn't have a lot of scenery, but the Conductor makes it pretty interesting with all his stories and side notes.  He shared that the Comstock Mine, being the largest, and one of the oldest, is not producing much...but, if you are interested in some stock, he has plenty of shares he's willing to sell...cheep!  One of the best mines there, most productive, not gold, not silver...but gypsum
Comstock Mine

Gypsum Mine
Virginia City was a hoot.  They were having their local Memorial Day Parade, and it looked it.  Very homey and cute.  Fun to see something from a very small town, all "home made", all inexpensive, all local and family-style.  Short & sweet.  The town itself was for the tourists, that I expected, but I loved it just the same!  After all that's what I came for!  We did go to the one museum (recommended by the Conductor) that was very historical and that was the The Fourth Ward School built in1875.  It is the last of the all wooden (4 stories) schools still remaining, and in such great condition!  They used a couple of the rooms for the history of Virginia City & it's mining and the others as school rooms.  Desks, blackboards etc had all been preserved.  Remarkable really.  Very little preservation had to be done to it.  The fourth floor wasn't open to the public, but they had pictures of it for viewing, still in pretty good condition.  

We had lunch in the old Palace Saloon, also build in 1875.  Fun to see the old lights and floorboards, even the nice long bar.  Food was really good too (surprisingly enough!).  They do a really good job of keeping up the old buildings.  There are electrical wires strung from one end to the other outside of the buildings (makes for lousy pictures) but they keep the authenticity of the insides up as best they can, which is really great.  I read someplace it's in their bylaws or something (good for them!).  

On the return trip we were able to catch some wild mustangs grazing at the old Gold Hill Cemetery, which was kind of cool.  I also spotted a very small private cemetery up on a hill off in a distance that some family must have created long ago.  Two very, very small towns (double digits) were passed along the way as well, Gold Hill (we stopped and picked up two passengers there) and Silver City.  Who, pray tell, would live all they way out in the middle of nowhere?  Maybe those gypsum miners....hmm

Gild Hill City NV
Silver City NV

  After we returned to Carson City and the last of the whistle blew, we decided to drive into that city, after all it is the capital of Nevada, and see it as well.  What a disappointment.  Other than the Capitol buildings and the Governor's Mansion, the rest of the city is sad.  There is suppose to be a "historical mansion walk/drive" but it was hard to follow, so we gave up.  Not much of a city really.  I took a couple of pictures of as much as I could, and we left and went back to our base camp in Reno.  Much more there to see.  All in all...a really nice day tho...
State of Nevada Capitol, Carson City NV
State of Nevada Capitol, Carson City NV
Rinckel Mansion (c1876), Carson City NV
....on the road in Nevada,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cleaning house...

Due to some family issues, we had to return to Hemet California and remove our belongings from a condo that was jointly left to my sister, brother and myself and put them in a storage unit so the condo can be sold.  When we decided to become "full-timers" over two years ago, we sold most of our belongings, keeping only the things that really mattered to us, leaving them in the empty condo unit, thinking we were only going to travel for a year "or so" then find a place to settle down again.  Well now it's been over two years, and we are still loving this life-style, and haven't seem to have found a place we want to settle down to yet, so the stuff just has to continue to wait for us I guess!

Living anywhere, you seem to accumulate things, so we decided this was a good time to do some cleaning and reorganizing of the rig while we were at it as well!  The age old saying of "if you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it" really applies in a limited space of an RV, that's for sure!  When we packed it for the first time, I wasn't sure what we would need, so I took one of everything!  I thought I would cook like I did at home - ha!  So, in went all the various pots, pans, cookers, baking pans, etc.  Nope, haven't used them!  Out they went now!  Really wanted my pretty Fiesta Ware dishes, no matter what my friends advised, well, they were right, to heavy & not practical, so, into storage they go too.  And all those projects I thought I was going to get to!  Ha!  Not!  Files of  them, that I was going to spend at the, I'd rather be outside, enjoying the outdoors, not sitting at my computer, so back into my desk in storage for when I retire from this life!  I also took down the (ugly) art piece that came with the rig.  No offense Tiffin, but it's just not me, it's time that something that's us, is mounted on our wall, so we found a poster I had made of some of my photos, and it fits great!  I don't know why it took us so long to do it...

We took "re-inventory" of our stuff again too.  First to go was my excessive clothes.  No, I'm not going to go back to work, and won't need those types of clothes again...better to pass them on to someone who can put them to better use than in my "limited space storage unit"!  We had already paired down when we sold the house, so there really wasn't to much more we could get rid of, just a little here and there, but every bit helped.

It turned out that this trip was far more taxing than I had imagined it would be...and I had imagined it wouldn't be a good one at all.  One and half days with two powerful hard working young men moving all the heavy stuff into a 10 X 30 unit (yea it ALL fit!), many days & many trips of us moving smaller stuff from the condo into the garage, into the storage unit, onto the patio for Salvation Army to pick up, off to Goodwill, into the trash,  or into the rig...all up and down stairs!  Frustrations abound.  Scheduling people here is like playing the game of Pick-Up-Sticks.  Sometimes it works & they are great, and sometimes they say they will be there at 11:30 and show up at 10:00 (and you are not there, so they just keep on going!).   People stop by the condo and tell me how interested they are in buying it, go on & on about it...only later in the (long) conversation do they share that they (currently) don't have the credit, or the cash (but will have)! Meetings with the lawyer that turn into more meetings that delayed our exit out of town, again.  Winds that never seemed to stop, blowing dirt and sand and leaves and trees everywhere, in everything. It was like a bad movie that just wouldn't end!  I was SO READY to leave this place, and NEVER return!!

A day later than planned, exhausted (mentally and physically), we finally pulled out and headed, happily to Santa Maria where the sun was shining, the wind was softly blowing and I could even smell the the light salt air (or was it freedom?)...

...on the road in California,  Marie