Small towns in Nevada and Graveyard musings.

This week when I was driving from Utah to California I took my time and made a few stops. A good part of my drive was thru the state of Nevada .Nevada is full of small , interesting towns,  “living ghost towns” and empty ghost towns, old mines, etc.

I made a couple stops in some old Nevada towns that are “living  ghost town’s now “. Not to many residents and some old crumbling buildings . One was Pioche ,which although I was told they get a lot of people stop by in summer, it literally closes down in the winter.   Here is a little bit of the intriguing  history of Pioche.

History

In 1864, William Hamblin, a Latter Day Saint missionary, was led to silver deposits in the vicinity of Pioche by a Native American Paiute. In 1868, San Francisco financier Francois L.A. Pioche purchased claims and constructed a smelter in the area, forming the Meadow Valley Mining Company. The mining camp was called “Pioche’s City” and later became known as Pioche.

The town rapidly became the largest mining town in southeastern Nevada in the early 1870’s. Population estimates showed 10,000 people by 1871. The town quickly gained fame for its “toughest town” reputation. Due mostly to confusion over the exact location of mining claims, mine owners finally resorted to hiring guards. Hired gunmen were imported at the rate of about twenty a day during boom times to fight mining claim encroachments. Mine owners often paid the gunmen a salary of $20 per day––a more certain investment for owners than settling disputes in court where bribery often determined the final outcome. The sheriff’s office was reputed to be worth $40,000 a year in bribes alone.

Guns were the only law, and Pioche made Bodie, Tombstone, and other better known towns pale in comparison. It has been reported that seventy-five men were buried in the cemetery before anyone in Pioche had time to die a natural death. According to one reputable source, nearly 60 percent of the homicides reported in Nevada during 1871-72 took place in and around Pioche.

I happened into the Pioche Museum  which a lady named  Leslie started 25 years ago. It is filled with artifacts, gems, minerals, and all kinds of fun stuff from pioche and other towns in Lincoln county. Leslie was born and raised in Pioche. I like to imagine that  her grandfather may have been one of those gun toting bad guys!P1050260

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Old fire truck. Pulled by horse or firemen.
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Pioche museum
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Leslie

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After wandering around Pioche for awhile I headed to Austin, Nv. which is on Highway 50 . Highway 50 is the loneliest highway in America. Not much on it. A small town , here and there. Make sure you fill up on gas when you can.  And here is a little history on  Austin , which is another “living  ghost town” of Nevada .

I decided to stay overnight in Austin at the  Cozy mountain hotel . I would recommend it for a cheap and clean place to lay your head. Not a lot of choices in Austin but there were a few other places.  Room was small but very clean and the bed was super comfortable. I think they must have gotten some new beds since the 1800’s. I just recommend they put in a coffee maker. Microwave and fridge come with the room. I was happy with the great bed.

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The International . The only place in town for dinner on a Sunday

Not quite as happy when Looking for some dinner . Only one place to choose from. I guess there was another place but it was closed on Sunday. So, I ended up here. Unfortunately , the menu was very limited .  One other couple came in and the next morning I ran into them at the other place for breakfast . We ended up sitting together and talking and laughing about our experience at the International. It wasn’t just the food, but the waitress was , well, it was like she was someplace else. As well as the place being quite messy. Just a strange experience. Breakfast was at another place in town and actually pretty good. The couple I sat with where from Minnesota and out west doing geo caching. Sounded fun. I may have to look into that.

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Pioche
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Austin

On leaving Austin after breakfast I decided to stop off at the cemetery. Maybe its just me but I love walking thru cemetery’s in old town’s like Austin. You can learn some things by looking at the grave’s dating back into the 1800’s.

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What did I learn. I have noticed this before in other old graveyards but today it really hit me that so many of the older graves where immigrants. I think the reason it hit me today was the fact of what is going on in this country with our current president who is trying to put a halt to immigration and saying things like ” they are  all druggies, murderers, rapists, etc. ” “They are not people we want in our country “. A lot of us Americans do not think that way, thank goodness.  And so in looking at these tombstones I noticed a commonality. Take a look at these tombstones. What do they have in common ??? They are all immigrants. These in fact are the people who came here and built these towns.  They are the ones who built America . Native’s  of Ireland, Germany, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy.  We are all descendants of immigrants so how can we turn our backs on them now.

So, I will close with that parting thought.

Best Friends animal society. Utah

While taking some time off in between house sits I went to Kanab , Utah to visit my friend Joni. Her and I met thru the animal rescue world . She was living in Nevada and I in California. We made several trips together to Kanab, Utah to volunteer at Best friends animal society. Please click on this link to learn more about Best friends. This is an amazing place to go and to volunteer. You do not have to volunteer. You can take the tour which is about 2 hours. The tour will tell you much about Best friends and take you thru the property with a stop in cats and a stop in dogs. If you want to know more about how this place came about , I would suggest reading this. Book about how Best friends came about. Or just go to the website and read about Best friends and their story. Fascinating !! I bought the book at an auction at a wine tasting event in Lake Tahoe back in 1997. After reading it I just knew I had to go there. I believe my first visit was in 1999. Here are some photos of the lovely Angles canyon that is the home to Best Friends.

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Cats and dogs at best friends.

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I went back several times to volunteer. I also bought a piece of property  in Kanab, Utah, thinking maybe one day of trying to work at Best friends and live in Kanab. I never did go to work there although my friend Joni did and this is why I am here again. Have not been for about 6 years. Came back to visit Joni, and to check out my lot. Here is is in the beautiful Vermillion cliffs. P1040635

Even if you do not volunteer or do the tour , you can go there and get a  wonderful $5 vegan buffet lunch at Best Friends cafeteria and just drive thru the  lovely location which is  Angle’s Canyon and stop in for lunch. You may want to stop at the visitor center first for a map and to buy some fun stuff.  The property is huge and beautiful with lovely spots to take a hike and to visit.

If you volunteer you can help clean, walk dogs, and even walk a cat. me and Abby

If you don’t volunteer and are just touring the property then be sure to stop at Angels landing which is the pet cemetery. Best friends animals who have passed are buried here as well as members pets. I believe anyone can purchase a grave site here.  It is full of wind chimes and special tokens. I love to just sit there and listen to the wind chimes. I can feel the spirits of the animals.

So if you are touring Utah, I highly recommend a stop at Best Friends !!

Also, Kanab is a good location if you plan to go to Zion , Bryce  and North rim Grand Canyon national parks.  They are all within a hour or so drive from Kanab. My next post will feature some hiking trails (not in the parks because we had dogs !) near Kanab. Lots of beauty in the area.

House sit in Atascadero with visits to the coast.

I recently did a 2 week house sit in Atascadero which is small  city in San Luis Obispo county in central California. Atascadero is a beautiful farming region with  rolling hills,  wineries and only 20 miles from the  central California coastline which includes the charming little towns like Morro bay, Cambria, Cayucos and  one can also visit Hearst castle. The larger town of San Luis Obispo, and beach town of Pismo beach are nearby as well.

My first house sit with horses. One mini named Little O , and another horse named Hot shot, as well as Doozle the goat , 2 cats, rabbits, chickens and Tank the tortoise. Sweet little farm with a garden, and fun assortment of animals.  Deer every morning in the yards surrounding the property. I really enjoyed this house sit. Enjoyed the animals, the farm, and seeing this beautiful area.

While in Atascadero , I went wine tasting Photo Editor-20181011_172657.jpgHiking Photo Editor-20181011_172408.jpgTo the Harbor festival in Morro Bay, The pumpkin festival in Cambria, and colony days festival in AtascaderoPhoto Editor-20181103_212909.jpgPhoto Editor-20181018_204521.jpgPhoto Editor-20181018_204251.jpgPhoto Editor-20181009_153240.jpgWent to Montano de Oro  state park which is beautiful. Here are some photos of Montana de oro and Morro bay.

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Zebras on Hearst castle property. Mr Hearst used to have a private zoo. 

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The hills around Atascadero 

I took quite a few trips to the coast as it was only a 25 minute drive. Really Loved Morro bay which is still a quaint little fishing town and Cayucos which is a funky little surfing town.  Cambria is a small town that is charming with lots of shops and restaurants. A bit more upscale then Morro bay and Cayucos.

Saw some beautiful sunsets at Morro bay. P1040494.jpgP1040501.jpgP1040498.jpgP1040510.jpg

I had a great time  in Atascadero and hope to go back to housesit for Chris and Sharon again next year if possible.

A lot to do and see in this area.