Trip Report #54 February 2006
Valentine's Day in Lovelock, Armpit's Over, Art in Baker and Las Vegas|
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Blissful citizens formed lines while staffers from the Commission on Tourism inscribed their names on the shiny little heart-shaped padlocks, which were then clipped to the chain around the roses on the center of the little park. One cheerful man inscribed the names of two women along with his on the padlock he clipped to the chain, while cynics from Elko and Winnemucca were inquiring about opening a lock-cutter franchise in the Court House basement.
But NCOT Executive Director Bruce Bommarito brought the starry-eyed spectators back to earth. “Lovers Lock may seem to be all about hearts and flowers,” he told the crowd, “but it’s really about dollars and cents. Its purpose is to attract more visitors to Lovelock and the revenue they bring to the community. Couples who stop to lock their love will stay a while and experience the other attractions.”
There will be no more Armpit Festivals in Battle Mountain. Tourists loved it, and the local Chamber received many eager inquiries and much positive feedback from the outside world, but the local movers and shakers hated it and it has now officially died on the vine. Sic transit gloria mundi.
Nevada history is phenomenally interesting, but not always easily accessible. The Nevada Observer, an internet news magazine covering life in Nevada, has an electronic reading room with many scanned books and articles from 19th and early 20th century Nevada history, accessible without charge. There's lots of great stuff here; one example from J. Ross Browne's "A Peep at Washoe" describes in hilarious fashion his 1860 visit to the mines of the Comstock Lode. One brief snippet: "As usual in new countries, a strong feeling of rivalry exists between the Carsonites and the inhabitants of Virginia City. I have summed up the arguments on both sides and reduced them to the following pungent essence:
"Virginia City a mud-hole; climate, hurricanes and snow; water, a dilution of arsenic, plumbago, and copperas; wood, none at all except sage-brush; no title to property, and no property worth having.
"Carson City a mere accident; occupation of the inhabitants, waylaying strangers bound for Virginia; business, selling whisky, and so dull at that, men fall asleep in the middle of the street going from one groggery to another; productions, grass and weeds on the Plaza.
"While this fight is going on, Silver City, which lies about midway between the two, shrugs her shoulders and thanks her stars there can be no rivalry in her case. If ever there was a spot fitted by nature for a seat of government, it is Silver City the most central, the most moral, the most promising; in short, the only place where the seat of government can exist for any length of time. This Kilkenny-cat fight is highly edifying to a stranger, who, of course, is expected to take sides, or at once acknowledge himself an enemy. The result, I hope, will be satisfactory and triumphant to all parties. I would suggest that the government be split into three slices, and a slice stowed away under ground in each of the great cities, so that it may permeate the foundations of society."
Quick notes from beyond the mountains: The building that housed the lost-and-gone-forever Outlaw Restaurant in beautiful downtown Baker is reopening as Great Basin Art and Antiques.