Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Down the Carson Valley

Friday 21st October   Morning mist over the Carson River as we make our way along Fort Churchill road to Dayton...
Burton commented that every few miles there was now a drinking "calaboose" where "women peeped out of log huts".  No sign of these, but there was a grand bull in a field by the Carson river..
Nothing remains of Miller's Pony Express way station, which was at a ferry and ford point near here. Burton describes sitting "round the hot stove, eating bread and cheese, sausages and anchovies" on a cold wet day, though he seemed most heated by a pretty girl there! 
We now reached Highway 50, and for the next few days we would be following alongside or on a highway. As far as Dayton there was a good track beside the road. Apparently Charlie Chaplin had preceded us..
  
Dayton, originally known as Chinatown due to the number of Chinese miners, had a Pony Express way station at two consecutive locations.  Both are long since gone, one now a gravel pit (Spafford's Hall station), the other on the site of the present Union Hotel, though the latter has a free-standing rock wall which is part of the old station.  Over the top to Carson City we had to negotiate a stretch with only a narrow verge.
  Unfortunately the sign was a warning to watch for stray mustangs rather than round the world riders, and the traffic did not slow down an iota.
Coming down to Carson City, and my camera has decided it is time to introduce artistic effects again...

We found a patch of open ground on the edge of town to stop overnight, and on Saturday October 22nd we made our way through Carson City.   A Puffing Billy by the flyover...
 ...only a metal cut-out, but a reminder that the Nevada State Railroad Museum is located in Carson City, with a working steam engine trundling around outside, as I discovered to my slight concern when I rode past.  Lady is fascinated as the Virginia and Truckee steam train chuffs towards us ...
...but she held her ground and my fears of reaching our destination ahead of schedule were unfounded.

Petra had shown me a quiet route through the backstreets, passing close to the site of the Carson City Pony Express station which no longer exists. A couple of hours later I was on the Jacks Valley Road which follows the line of the trail ... 
...and it was  another eight miles to the pretty town of Genoa (pronounced with the stress on the 'o' rather than the 'e').  Petra had sorted a place for us to camp there at the house of Kim and Doyle Harris with some grass for Lady to nibble...
Genoa is the oldest town in what is now Nevada (although Dayton argues otherwise), and boasts some lovely old buildings. Founded in 1851 by Mormon pioneers, it was originally called Mormon Station.  A log cabin served as a trading post and for a time as a way station for the Pony Express.  You can see that it was ahead of its time as it even provided wheelchair access......
...in fact the original station burned down in the early 1900s and this is a reproduction on the other side of the road which also serves as a museum.
A rather attractive feature was the number of mule deer hanging around town and relaxing in the gardens.....
..though not so attractive was the dead traffic victim on the road the next morning.
In the evening Lucy and I met up with Rowena, Petra and the Cauhapes for a pre-prandial drink at the Genoa Bar and Saloon which claims to be the oldest continuously operating saloon in Nevada. We were in good company as it has also been patronised over the years by among others  Mark Twain, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Raquel Welch, who according to a Youtube contribution donated her bra to the proprietor's bra collection (!?)   We emerged bras intact for a meal at the Genoa Inn, where I was able to sample my first and probably last glass of picon, an American Basque cocktail which can only be described as interesting.

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