Escape to Vegas

This past weekend Liza and I took our annual trip down to Henderson, NV to visit our friends Randy and Gael. We left early Thursday morning and undertook the long drive down Highway 95 from Fernley to Henderson. We have taken this trip several times now, and we’ve worked out the timing to a science. Every 2 hours we take a pit-stop to stretch our legs and stop at a familiar haunt. This usually means a stop for lunch in Mina or Tonopah. If you’re familiar with Mina, there isn’t much there, but S’Soccoro’s is worth the stop for a tasty burger and a break from the road. The owner is the sweetest lady, and she lovingly prepares the food by hand. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a “fast food”. Stretch your legs, relax and take in the desert air while you wait. The rest of the trip was uneventful, we arrived late in the evening and got some much needed rest.

Friday was our first full day in Henderson and we spent the morning with Randy at the Nevada State Railroad Museum Boulder City. We were treated to a special trip in the morning, riding one of the Rail Explorers down the railroad while he did his track inspection. We have been wanting to take the trip for some time and it was a lot of fun. Afterward we took a trip into downtown Boulder City for lunch and to visit our favorite shops. After some rest and downtime, we went downtown Vegas to visit the Neon Museum. The Neon Museum in Las Vegas is well worth your time. Go in the evening for the tour and the show “Brilliant!” You’ll be glad you did. Afterward we took the slow cruise down the strip on our return home that evening.

On Saturday Randy and I had breakfast with Dan Markoff and his crew. Dan owns the locomotive “Eureka” and several pieces of equipment including a private car named “Elsa” that he has been building from scratch. This trip the metal roof was being installed on the car. One day soon the completed car will make an appearance behind the “Eureka”. Afterward Randy and I spent some time doing paint research on two railroad cars in the museum collection. One of them is the prototype Dan copied to build “Elsa”. The other car is a refuge from the long gone Colusa & Lake Railroad, sold to the Eureka – Nevada Railway in 1917. After a long day out in the sun, we enjoyed a nice Sushi dinner.

Sunday was our final day in the area and we took a trip out to Goodsprings, an old mining town near Jean. Our first stop was the art installation called Seven Magic Mountains“, located along I-15. There were a good number of people there, so I didn’t take too many photographs. Our next stop was Jean, there we looked for the location of the former railroad freight terminal and town site. At jean the Yellow Pine Mining Company Railroad brought refined lead and silver down to the Union Pacific Railroad for shipment. We weren’t able to find any traces of the Yellow Pine Mining Co. railroad in Jean, but the route is visible along the road to Goodsprings. For lunch we visited the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings. If you’re a gamer, that name might sound familiar, as Goodsprings is the starting location for Fallout: New Vegas. Several buildings in Goodsprings were recreated for the game. After lunch we ventured into the mountains to visit the remains of the mines served by the railroad. Part of the route is being converted to a hiking trail, from what we could see the work of building the trail was top notch.

Monday was a driving day and we stopped at the Area 51 Travel Center, our second visit (we stopped on the way down). I can’t resist buying weird gifts for people. Our trip home was rushed as we needed to beat a storm arriving on the Sierras. We made excellent time and encountered a few falling flakes as we crossed Donner summit. Within the hour we were home and our cats were joyed to see us.

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