Saturday, September 26, 2015

2015-28 Wells, Elko, and Eureka Nevada


Wells Nevada
Elko Nevada
Eureka Nevada

Campground:  Welcome Station RV Park, Well NV.  PPA rate $15.  Charged me $3 extra for two nights since I plugged into the 50amp outlet.  A little oasis in the high desert with lots of trees, grass and flowing creek.  Call ahead as it is a small park and could get full quickly.

Campground:  Wal-mart parking lot.  Free, dry camping

Campground:  Silver Sky Lodge.  Full hookups, self check in, $25.00.  50 amp.  15+ over air tv stations and good 4G Verizon service at the campground.  Electric post is up front of Rv sites, requiring RV pull forward to be able to connect.

Distance traveled:  121 miles

I’ve left that great little town of about 40,000, Twin Falls and headed south on hwy 93, truly a rural highway through vast rolling prairie land, rugged bare low mountain ranges as I continue into Nevada.  My first stop being Wells Nevada where my campsite at the Welcome Station Rv park is a true oasis of trees, grass and a flowing creek all surrounded by a dry prairie landscape and the edge of the Rudy Mountain range.

Well Nevada, damage from the 2005 earthquake

Wells Nevada has a new gold mine going in.  Thought all the gold was usually found in casino’s out here?  Not too much to tour in this area, Wells was hit by a 6 point something earthquake back in 2005 and a couple of large old buildings in town got badly damaged.  The owners are still hoping someone with money will come by and resurrect them.  Talk about having a positive attitude and what is basically a dusty town between nowhere and somewhere.

the road leading to Angel Lake in the Ruby Mountains

I was told about two attractions, Angel Lake and a ghost town called Metropolis.  So the next day, I headed out to Angel Lake which is right near the top of one of the peaks of the Ruby Mountain chain.  Aspen are in full color along these dry mountain slopes.  The road is well paved as it continually gains in altitude till it finally inches along the very edge of the top of the mountain.  (p.s. no guard rails) Leveling off to an Alpine meadow and lake which I understand was once part of an ancient volcano.  Breathtaking views and well worth the hair raising excitement on that last quarter mile of mountain road.  Which I might add I drove right in the center of the road.  Since it was early morning I was fortunate not to run into anyone coming back down.   Had a nice walk along two sides of the lake, though I wish there had been a path circling the lake.  Talk about awe inspiring views and totally unexpected as the view looking up into the mountains from down in the valleys below does not give a hint of the spectacular views to be had.

Angel Lake, Nevada

wish the trail lead around the lake, but it doesn't

Angel Lake, Wells Nevada

Aspen in it's fall colors

Then it was back into Wells and onto the ghost town of Metropolis.  A nice 10 mile drive through prairie grasslands, cattle ranches, along a couple miles of well maintained gravel road before arriving at the ghost town.  Even though only two of the original buildings remain to some degree.  Being able to walk around and read the history of the area and enjoy the vistas and a few cattle who watched me as I investigated the ruins one can’t help but enjoy the quiet solitude of such a place.  It was to be a grand town of 4 square blocks, concrete sidewalks and homes for 7,500 people serving the farming community that surrounded the town.  A three story grand hotel was built followed by a large high school.  Water rights had not been obtained and the town gradually withered.  Along with a typhoid outbreak, jackrabbits and Mormon locus the town didn’t have a fighting chance.  The railroad stopped running, the post office closed and the town died.  Oh and I was told there's a nice hot springs north of Metropolis, but you'll have to ask the locals or visitor center where it's located....

ok, you know I don't like taking too many pics of  myself, but here's
one at Angel Lake.  a fun and unexpected find.

the remains the large 3 story hotel

people have piled artifacts on top of the monument plaque

the remains of the highschool

originally a two story building, with full basement

looking at me while I'm touring the ghost town

Distance Traveled:  50 miles

I decided to stop at a Walmarts since I needed to bring something in for a return/refund.  Elko is a nice town with a balloon festival this weekend so I may as well stay at least the night to see what it’s all about.  Of course being in Nevada there are casinos everywhere vying for our business.  A stopped into the Gold Dust West casino since I had a $10 coupon from the Elko visitor center (it was in their Elko Magazine).  Of course I had to get a players club card, $5 of free play, had a prime rib dinner for $9.95 and with the $10 coupon you can see I had a free dinner on the casino.  Won $10 and left a happy guy.  

Afterwards, I drove over to the local park where they were having a balloon festival.  The evening event being the Balloon Glow.  Where all the hot air balloons are inflated and lit up as the sun sets.  Abut 15 balloons are at the event and it’s a real local get together, with easy parking and lots of families with children enjoying the big balloons inflating.  A simple small town event, glad I was able to enjoy the evening.

Elko Nevada

Balloon Glow in Elko

So I’m sitting at the back side of the Wal-Mart parking lot, away from the traffic.  Unplugged, windows open and a couple slides partially opened out to be able to walk around inside the camper.  It got hot today, up to 90 degrees but is cooling off nicely, as it always does in the desert.  A couple other Rv’s, van campers and trucks are parked here as well for the evening.  The inside of the camper looks like a furniture warehouse since I haven’t “set up” as I normally would at a campsite.  Recliners tucked sideways against the back wall.  Table and chairs secured with a bungee cord and a few pieces of odds and ends laying on the floor tucked away so as not to get damaged while traveling.

Distance traveled:  115 miles

Desolate high prairie landscapes, rugged mountain terrain, traveling along county hwy 278.  My destination today is Eureka Nevada to see the historical Opera House.  Each mining town that grew to any size built a theatre or opera house.  Built in 1880, it had a short life as the mining boom quickly ended in the area. In the 1940’s it became a movie theatre then stood idle until 1993 when it was restored for civic uses today.  This story could be told throughout many mining towns across the country.  The town is currently subsisting on coal mining, with other mines like the gold mines in the area closing with the recent decline in the price of gold.  Most of the buildings in town are vacant or dilapidated and run down.  I did find a few good restaurants available and Raine’s Market which is an all around great grocery store and general store.  Amazing the amount of stuff that is crammed into the store to the point of overflowing.  They tell me a new store is being built on the outskirts of town and will be much larger.  Great local stories and helpful directions for my upcoming travels through the area.

the restored Opera House, balconies on either side 

Eureka Nevada

every town out west has animal heads displayed
in the grocery stores, shops and hardware stores

the corner hotel, currently closed and the taller bldg is the Opera House

more photos on Picasa

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