Trip Report #18 February 2003
Pahrump Winery, The MaryJane Sisters, Nevada Variations|
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I stayed at Saddle West (recommended), one of three small casinos adding the cheerful clatter of coins to this fast-growing city in far southern Nye County. There's a new Wal-Mart store in town now, but the Smoke Signals Trading Post has moved to Ely.
Good news from Battle Mountain: The Owl Club on Front Street will re-open April 1 with full restaurant service, rooms upstairs and a small casino. This historic property has been a major landmark for travelers since it opened facing the railroad tracks. Donna's Diner, alas, is still closed, but The Owl Club chefs are perfecting their scones and will maintain this local tradition. Also, the Armpit Festival, with major underwriting by Old Spice, is scheduled for August 16 and 17.
"We like to have a tentative itinerary subject to modification as we go," she said. And so it was that the Sisters were dancing with some cowboys in Elko one night when somebody mentioned the two-headed calf at the Jiggs Bar. "He said the Jiggs Bar was the best place in town, not to mention the only place in town. Besides, his uncle owned the Jiggs Bar.
"One thing you must not do is tell the MaryJane sisters about an oddity or peculiar place, if you are not prepared to back up your facts," Mary told me. Soon they were driving to Jiggs. "I was impressed with the open range, cows grazing along side the road turned their heads and looked at us as we drove by.
"Jiggs isn't exactly a town but it definitely has the two important buildings any town in Nevada should have: the town saloon, and across the road, the garage for the volunteer fire department. Now that's a well-planned town..
"We asked the proprietor and his patrons for advice about the route to Eureka and we were given detailed directions regarding the 50 miles of unpaved roads ahead. We were told, "don't make any left turns until you get through the valley." With a few more details and words of encouragement, we headed off, confident that we wouldn't get lost..
"The county road was easy to drive and the scenery was awesome. The sky was clear and the Ruby Mountains were subtly radiant in shades of blue and gold in the late afternoon sun. We were the only ones on the road, which made our journey even more exciting. The feeling of freedom that comes with traveling the open road is hard to beat..
We were pleasantly surprised to come across a historical point of interest. The Pony Express Trail crossed our path! We took advantage of a photo op and took a few minutes to practice tracking wild game..
The dirt road eventually turned to black top as we drove through Strawberry to Highway 50. By this time it was getting dark and we knew Eureka wasn't very far away. We were looking forward to a 'hot time in the old town tonight'..
"We have just one ironclad rule," Mary told me when we met at the bar of the Gold Hill Hotel. "If either one of us for any reason wants to leave a place, there's no discussion, no second thoughts, we leave right then."
Overheard at the Winners Inn in Winnemucca: "The Rolling Stones still have groupies who bring them drugs after a show, but nowadays there's a ten dollar co-pay."