Saturday, August 22, 2009

On the Road Again - Across the Wasteland

(Finally! A bit late and out of order, but we are starting in on the trip out to Montana...)


Excuse me, the Adoreablelands. Wednesday morning, July 22, we left for Montana. “We” consisted of me (of course), Damon, Tiggy, Devon, Tina, and Grandpa.

Our first stop would have been the historic town of Dayton, NV, right near Carson City. However, since no one could wait that long for a pit stop, we tried to find something closer. Except we were in that long stretch of bathroomless mountains between Kirkwood and Minden.

At long, long, long last, we found a sign that promised gas stations. Maybe they were there, but we sure couldn’t find them. All we could find were the Human Services offices. “Well, we’re human,” Tina said. “Most of us, anyway. And we’re definitely in need of services.”

It would have been a much faster stop, but Grandpa had to Comb His Hair. The only way we had gotten him out of the house by 7:00 am was not letting him see a mirror. At Human Services, our chickens came home to roost. On the bright side, we learned loads of stuff about WIC, Healthy Families, Food Stamps, and got a free How to Prevent Lead Poisoning calendar. Hey, you take your education wherever you can find it. Did you know that good hand washing is essential to prevent lead poisoning? And of course, don’t eat paint.

Dayton was the very first settlement in Nevada. Near the Comstock Silver Mine, it looks like just any other small town today. Back then, it was booming. After reading a little information about Chinatown, we kept looking around for something to tell us which part of Dayton had housed the large Chinese population. As it turns out, Dayton itself was Chinatown.

Its cemetery was founded in 1850 or 1851, depending on which plaque you believe, and the man whom Virginia City was named after was among the first buried there. You will be vastly relieved to hear that his name was not Virginia. I know I was! James Finney was NICK-named “Old Virginny”, since he was from Virginia. (Also, and this is just a guess here, his last name appears to rhyme with “Virginny”.)

On the steep hill above the cemetery, remnants of the California Trail are still visible, and we walked along the ruts for some distance. We walked, Devon ran. And ran. And ran. You will notice how blurry he is. That is not camera shake.

Good job, burn off some of that extra energy, little kid. It’s gonna be a long day in the car.

I didn’t realize at first, that the California Trail was basically just part of the Oregon Trail, which makes it seem more special since everybody’s heard of the Oregon Trail. The split was near Massacre Rocks in Idaho, with the more famous Oregon Trail continuing on to…you guessed it, Oregon, and the California Trail splitting off toward…see if you can get this one too…that’s right! California! You are incredible!!!

A bit farther along, at the Dunphy rest area, we happened across another bit of Trail history involving the Donner Party. Yes, the same ones that got stranded in the wintertime in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, many of them died, and scientists are still arguing about whether or not they actually ate each other. Many seem to think the reports of cannibalism were false, but who knows?

So there at Gravely Ford, (which, for how it’s pronounced should be spelled Gravelly, and pffffft to Tina), the Donner folks may or may not have been involved in the famous Reed-Snyder fight there, but they most definitely came through. There are also the remnants of a ghost town somewhere near the town of Beowawe, which I hope to see at some point on a trip through.

It was very late, 11:30 local time, when we got to our campsite at Massacre Rocks. As we were to find out, there wasn't ever much of a massacre - just a few stray deaths, much like any former frontier area. It wasn't called Massacre Rocks until the 1900's, when local merchants hoped to use a gory name to entice more traffic to stop. See? Our generation wasn't the first to invent crass commercialism.

Perhaps it would've been easier to put up the tent for the first time in the light, but we managed pretty well. And by the end of our trip, we were old pros. The only adventure remaining to us before bedtime was finding a way to get Grandpa to the bathroom. That accomplished, all we had left on our agenda was looking at the stars and listening to the coyotes. Everyone else listened to the coyotes and gazed at the stars. After approximately 2.7 seconds, I slept.

Having lots of adventures,
Noni Beth

No comments:

Post a Comment