Saturday, October 2, 2010 Sunny and 87 degrees until rain and 63 late afternoon
The drive from Susanville, CA, to Reno, NV, was through a wide scrub brush valley with mountains on either side. There were many herds of beef cattle on the range, but it's hard to imagine what they were eating.
We drove into Reno in search of a Visitor Center. When we finally found one, it was-----closed. Since driving around in circles wasn't what we'd planned for the day, we decided to head for Virginia City. That drive was gorgeous! It had its requisite twists and turns as the road climbed out of the valley, but above and looking down, we could see for miles. The bright sunshine lit up the high-rises in Reno, which soar above the rest of the city and everything else in sight.
When we finally got to Virgina City, people were everywhere, and cars were parked along both sides of the streets. We had to drive to the south end of town to park. We walked back just in time to catch a parade for the Outhouse Races which were being held this afternoon. Each outhouse is decorated in a theme: the Golden Throne, the Party Pooper, Hasta la Pee-Pee Baby, Flapper Crapper, Run-away Bride, Breaking Wind, etc. You get the idea. Main Street was shut down for twenty minutes for each heat. The Plungerettes, dressed in blue costumes and carrying blue plungers, did a drill-style routine, and then a man dressed in a "Bat Masterson" suit fired a double barrel shotgun, and the race was off. Two outhouses, built on tricycle frames and pushed by two men, tore down Main Street while one person rode the 100 yards to the finish line. It was hysterical and fit right in with the bathtub and cardboard boat races we've seen in the past.
In between heats we walked the wooden sidewalks to see the town. Virgina City has maintained its 1870's facades. Restaurants, ice cream, candy, and clothing stores have been painted to theme. One hundred saloons are also in town including the Red Dog Saloon, Bucket of Blood Saloon, the Delta, and Silver Queen. Leather, western clothing, and gear are everywhere, too. Additionally there are museums, gold panning, trolley car tours, and train rides. Unfortunately with the crowds it was hard to do much of anything. So having been introduced to Outhouse Racing, we headed out of town.
We had climbed a mountain to get to Virginia City so now we were headed back down through Silver City. Along the way we passed numerous mines, some gold, some silver, and some tungsten. Soon we were in Carson City which lays in a valley on the other side.
Carson City is the capital of Nevada, and its downtown is gorgeous. Here, too, their public and government buildings have been impeccably maintained including the Capitol Building, the Assembly Building, and the former mint which is now a museum. We took a driving tour around the city to see historical houses of various styles built between the 1860's and the early 1900's. We also drove past the Governor's Mansion which was gaudily decorated for Halloween. We were not impressed.
Tomorrow we plan to drive around Lake Tahoe before we head to Yosemite NP.
TODAY'S ROUTE: from Susanville, CA, US 395E to I 80 E to NV 341S to US 50W to Carson City, NV
MILEAGE TO DATE: 7,132 miles