Saturday, May 20, 2017

Elko, NV With Friends

When we were in SLC we knew that Joe and Kathy lived only a couple hundred miles away near Elko, Nevada. When we called them we were happy to learn that they were home from Florida so we headed west to Elko for a visit. That drive took us across the Great Salt Desert, a place we have never been.
No, that is not snow, it is a mountain of salt. There are several of these along the route where they collect water from the the Great Salt Lake in large drying ponds, then harvest the salt that is left when the water evaporates.
Metaphor: The Tree of Utah.  Built on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the 1980's by Swedish artist Karl Momen. The sculpture is in sharp contrast to the harsh landscape of the area. 
The famous Bonneville Salt Flats still has water on it from the winter snow melt. The flats are famous for the measured mile where the world land speed records were set. The current record of 763 mph is the first to break the sound barrier and was set here in 1997. 
We knew Joe and Kathy lived "outside" of Elko, so they met us in town and we followed them. They live near the town of Lamoille at the end of the paved road in the foothill of the Ruby Mountains. Only the last two miles were dirt roads. :-)   
They have a beautiful log home that they built themselves. Most of it is done, but it is still a work in progress. They lived here in their RV while building so we had a full hook up site.  Very nice!
We got to spend a lot of time with Joe and Kathy getting caught up with what has been happening since we cruised together to Central America last year. Here is the link to the blog post about that trip.
Joe and Kathy were tour guides, showing us around the area. Their home is near Lamoille Canyon Scenic Byway. The byway through the glacier canyon travels 12 miles into the canyon, but we only made it half way before we found the road blocked by snow. 
We came around a turn and were surprised by a few big horn sheep in the middle of the road. They were still very shaggy in their winter coats.
There were several great waterfalls from the snow melt. If you are in the area the drive through Lamoille Canyon is well worth it.
While riding around we came across something we have never seen were we come from. The ranchers were working with the new calves. There were over 100 that had been separated from their moms and were all mooing mournfully. They worked with about 25 at a time in the corral roping the back legs and then the front legs to hold them in place. 
I talked to the woman in the middle holding the big syringe she used to inoculate each calf. There were people from several ranches who took turns helping one another.
I did not know they still used a branding iron, I thought they all used ear tags. Since these cattle will be grazing on open range, ear tags are not good enough insurance against rustlers. The calves did not make a sound when they were being branded and hopped right up and ran toward their moms when they were released.  
A beautiful double rainbow with snow capped mountains. Their house is at over 6,000 feet and has a great view of the mountains behind it and the valley in front. Joe called after we left to tell us they had a couple inches of new snow.
The California Trail, used by pioneers traveling west, passed through the area. We visited the California Trail Interpretative Center that is just off I-80 west of Elko. The center has great exhibits about the perils these early travelers faced as they crossed this vast Northern Nevada desert. The trail was littered with personal items they abandoned to lighten their load.    
The type of wagons they used were rather small compared to the larger Conestoga wagons used to haul freight in the east. They only traveled a few miles each day determined in part by whether they used oxen, mules or horses. There is also a very good display about the Donner Party who passed through this area and were stranded in the Sierra Mountains in California. 
The reality that the wagons were used only to carry supplies and not people is shown with this display showing what each family needed to carry just to survive the long trek across the country. The pioneers would have walked most of the way.
The center also had a display of the different types of shelters the natives in the area lived in. Kathy and Nanc both said they prefer their homes on wheels over this crude home. The California Trail Interpretative Center is well worth a look if you are traveling I-80 in Nevada.
Hey, it's Nevada where brothels are legal. Elko has a small red light district to serve the local or traveling population. There are also a few casinos for those who want to leave some money behind.
Kathy, Joe, Nanc and Jim in their beautiful home. We took turns having each other to our places for dinner and enjoyed a couple great local restaurants. The Pine Lodge in Lamoille was a real surprise with great food in a neat log building.
The visitors center in Elko has several old pioneer buildings that have been moved to town. There is a school, blacksmith's shop and an old ranch house.
This statue of a Basque sheepherder is in the Elko town park. There is a large population of Basque who came here in the middle 1800's. A first for us was the The Star, a Basque restaurant in Elko. Every meal included a salad, cabbage soup and fries served family style. I had a lamb burger and it was wonderful.  
This is the typical Basque sheepherder's home when they take the sheep out for the summer. Very different from our house on wheels. After we left Elko we saw one of these along the highway with the sheep they were tending.
There is a lot of wide open land around Elko. On another day they took us to Jiggs, an old town that seemed to be about three people leaving from becoming a ghost town. It was a beautiful drive with the clouds, snow capped peaks and the green landscape.
Our destination, Jiggs Bar, the only business in town. There were a couple locals and miners in this little out of the way watering hole.
A perfect ending to our stay in Lamoille, the sun setting far across the valley. Joe and Kathy were wonderful hosts.  We had a great visit and we thank them for their hospitality.  Once again making and meeting friends is really the best part of our RV lifestyle. We are already looking forward to seeing Joe and Kathy at the Elks in the Keys next year. 

We are still behind with our posts. We are now in White Sulphur Springs, MT.  We will be slowly heading east to North Carolina where in late July we will be getting together with Keith, Michelle, Rick and Denise. We are happy to report that Michelle had her first follow up on her treatment and the results were very good.  Thanks to everyone for your kind thoughts and words of encouragement.  We hope the trend continues. :-)


Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Nice post! Travel safe.

Sharon Del Rosario said...

What a nice place Joe & Kathy have! The pictures of the area are beautiful too. How great to have friends you can visit for awhile along your travels and have full hookups to boot!

The Hesters said...

Loved this post. What a beautiful part of the country (we are missing the west!) Seeing those calves being inoculated and branded sounds really interesting. Safe travels.