Monday, September 30, 2013

Sharon and George

Hawthorne, NV  High 74  Low 48

The main reason we stopped at Walker Lake was to be able to spend time with our good friends. Sharon started the Death Valley Cancer Walk when she survived breast cancer while working in Death Valley. Jim and I were blessed to be able to do the walk a couple of times before Sharon retired.

Her cancer has returned and she is now facing chemotherapy so we wanted her to know how much we love her.


Sharon had to work on Saturday until 2:00 in the afternoon. She is in control of the slot machine area in the Safeway. I really do have a hard time wrapping my head around slot machines in the grocery store.



Hawthorne has a really wonderful county museum. It’s in a large building and is not cramped like so many museums we’ve been to.


Once again the guys have to know how it works.


This is an ore crusher.


Anybody know what these were used for? They are wooden water pipes.


I loved these skis. Look at the tips.


This really is a large museum and like the bomb museum, it is free. Best price ever.

This was Hawthorne’s County Courthouse until 1973. This building is the only one in Nevada that served as the courthouse for two different counties. It was originally built in 1883. I think this old building has so much more personality than the one built in 1973.


The new version:

court house

bighornOn our way to dinner at dusk on Friday night, we saw several Bighorn Sheep. Of course, I didn’t have my camera handy and we were next to them before we saw them. The male was huge and gorgeous. He was right next to the road. What an incredible experience. I took this picture from the internet but the one we saw was bigger and prettier – of course.

Saturday night Sharon fixed us dinner – a pork pot pie with apple slices baked in it, zucchini out of her garden, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a watermelon that was out of her garden that had to be the best we’ve had this year.

We had a wonderful visit and our prayers are with them both over the next few months.

Sunday morning we headed out early and stopped in Beatty for the night. We didn’t even unhitch the truck. Sunset in Beatty, NV.



Today we continued our drive down Highway 95.


We are at the Roadrunner RV Park in Las Vegas. We’ll be here for a week visiting good friends and at the top of my to do list is the Mob Museum.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bombs Away

Hawthorne, NV  High 72  Low 51

P1070006The Hawthorne Ordnance Museum commemorates the Thousands of Military, Civil Service and Civilian Corporate Personnel that have made significant, and even the ultimate contribution in Defending the Freedom of this Great Nation.

On September 15, 1930, the Secretary of the Navy commissioned the U. S. Navy Ammunition Depot (NAD)at Hawthorne, NV. This did not happen by accident, but an accident caused it to happen.


Four years earlier, July 1926, the Navy’s principal ammunition depot in Lake Denmark. N.J. blew up, destroying the town and killing over 50 people and injuring hundred’s more. The Navy needed to find a less populated area that was closer to the West Coast. Hawthorne was selected.

Anti-Tank Mortars


P1070022Drone Anti=Submarine Helicopter (DASH) – remotely controlled by an on-board computer. It could be flown at any time of day, in any sea state, in any weather without risk to the controlling pilot.

Pretty impressive looking computer. A little larger than is used today, I’m sure.


NAD Hawthorne began operation as a storage facility, with 72 military personnel and 90 civilian employees.

P1070090The depot covers 237 square miles and has 2,427 bunkers. 

The depot stores reserve ammunitions to be used after the first 30 days of a major conflict. The depot can safely dispose of unserviceable ammunition using the latest technology.


The NAD later was turned over to the Army and became the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot and is currently run by an independent contractor under an agreement with the government.


The museum is really incredible. Filled with all different kinds of bombs. I took a bunch of pictures and then I left the guys to enjoy themselves while I went back out to the truck to read my book.


Hey George, what do you think this one was used for?


P1070016I was really surprised at how many guys were at the museum. I noticed a Roadtrek parked in back of the museum and the wife was sitting there reading her book while her hubby (I’m assuming husband and wife) explored all the neat bombs and things that go bang.

Walker Lake

Walker Lake, NV  High 78  Low 49

It was definitely time to leave Reno. When I woke up Friday morning, I knew it was unusually cold in the rig.


I drug Jim out of bed to check things out and he discovered that the valve on one of our propane tanks is not working. The other tank was empty and we had already talked to the office about getting propane. They weren’t available until 8:30. The girls and I stayed under the covers until the sun came up and warmed the rig up somewhat.

Leaving Reno we headed south down Hwy 95 towards Hawthorne. We have good friends there that we wanted to stop and visit with. They actually live in the town of Walker Lake and Sharon told us that there was a lot of camping along the lake. Sounded good to us.

We stopped at Sportsman Beach and these was the view from our rig.


Walker Lake is a sad testament to poor planning. The lake is shrinking rapidly due to agricultural usage north along the Walker River. The lake is fed by this river and has no natural outlet except absorption and evaporation. With the continuing drought, water levels have dropped over 150 feet since 1882 when the first white man, Jedediah Smith, came through this area.


The lower level of the lake has resulted in a higher concentration of salt in the water which has killed off almost all of the fish in the lake. This fish decline has also had an impact on the number of birds using the lake. In 2009 the town of Hawthorn had to cancel its Loon Festival because the loons no longer stop here.


This also means that there is not much activity on the lake. You can see where the boat ramp ends and the lake begins. A couple of people did put boats in the water while we there but it didn’t look easy in the shallow water.


It’s a perfect place to stop for a night or two if you are going this way between Reno and Las Vegas. There were only a couple of rigs there to keep us company. $3 a night with your Senior Pass. Peaceful, quiet and beautiful.

Sunrise over Walker Lake.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mark Twain In Nevada

Virginia City, NV  High 76  Low 44

On Tuesday (seems like so long ago) we drove up to Virginia City. Jim drove and I got to enjoy the scenery. We had been to Virginia City on our last stopover in Carson City but I wanted to check out a couple of things we didn’t see.


The first place we stopped was the Mark Twain Museum. Thanks to John's blog post, we decided this was a must stop for us.

P1060928mark twain

Samuel Clemens was born in Missouri in 1835. In 1861 his brother, Orion, was appointed secretary to the territorial governor of Nevada. Clemens jumped at the chance to go with his brother and spent his first year prospecting for gold or silver but didn’t have any success.

This was the desk he used when he worked for the newspaper.


Being broke, he accepted a job as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City. That is when he adopted a pen name, signing his articles with the name Mark Twain.


He then moved on to California and published his first short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, in 1865.



The museum is in the basement of the building and so the pictures didn’t turn out all that good. Jim really enjoyed himself because he is fascinated by machinery and printing presses in particular.


We also stopped by the Bucket of Blood Saloon – famous for their Bloody Mary’s. No we didn’t try them.


We wandered up and down the main street of Virginia City for awhile. We got there early in the day and were ready to leave before the crowds got too bad.

We also took the time to see the first Catholic Church in Nevada – St. Mary’s of the Mountains. Beautiful church.



Time for us to move further south. There was a lot more snow on the mountain tops.


V & T R.R.

Carson City, NV   High 68  Low 46

We stayed in Carson City a few years ago and had a great time exploring but the one thing I really wanted to see was the Railroad Museum and it was closed when we were there.

Monday we headed to Carson City hoping the museum would be open. We saw THIS on the way. Yes, that’s a four letter word up there.


Carson City was founded in 1858 and named for Christopher “Kit” Carson. It is the capital of Nevada and has some beautiful old government buildings.

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church was completed in July 1868 at a cost of $5,500.


Train Museum




This museum was well worth our drive up to Carson City. Both of us really loved seeing all the old trains.


Jim just has to know how things work.


Just look at this beautiful passenger car.





I took so many pictures it’s really hard to just pick a few of them.

This car took 11 years to restore. There are several engines and cars that are in the process of being restored.


The Merci Car  serves as a memorial to the Allies’ participation in WWII. In the winter of 1947-1948, in the aftermath of WWII, American citizens contributed more than 700 boxcars of relief supplies to aid the French people. In gratitude, French citizens organized a private effort to give thanks to the people of the united States. This effort resulted in 49 French railroad cars filled with gifts weighing a total of 250 tons. This car reached Carson City on February 23, 1949.


This bike was made to be ridden on the rails and was used to bring supplies to railroad line workers and also to take maintenance men out on the track.


I know this museum isn’t for everyone, but it is one of the best train museums we have seen and I highly recommend it to anyone with any interest in trains.