Central Nevada Fun and Not So Fun Fires

To recap from last week’s blog: we left on my birthday to drive to Miles End B and B Lodge in Kingston, Nevada. When we arrived my dad and stepmom were already there as was Rod, Ann the proprietor’s brother and also Stan’s friend from childhood. We had a nice dinner at the Friday night social gathering where John sells his wonderful food and neighbors gather to enjoy each other.

Andy and my dad
Stan and Anita, my stepmom 
Birthday girl with father and husband. My eyes were irritated from my meds, so they were closed in most photos.
Anita and me
Our host and friend,  John
Our other host and friend, Ann

Our friends, the Peters, arrived later, having driven from the Sacramento area.

On Saturday, we decided to go up Kingston Canyon to Groves Lake for lunch.

We found a nice grassy slope, perfect for picnic and swimming.
My dad, the big city guy, braving the wilds of central Nevada.
Only Andy and Maddie braved the cold water

Stan and Paul and our lunch view

Stan and Rod

The kids rode our RZR side by side aka the dust mobile down the canyon.

Photo credit John Saunders
Dusty faces, photo credit John Saunders

I enjoy riding and driving the RZR side by side too, although the dust really irritates me because I can’t cough. We started using dust masks this trip. They helped.

My dad and Anita left the next morning, Sunday. While Rod went for a hike, the Peters and the Macdonalds decided to do a dirt bike and side by side ride on a pole line road in Big Smoky Valley. A couple of us took the truck to Carvers for gas, and met the others where the pole line road met a well graded road.

After lunch in this spot, we decided to head back to Miles End for a relaxing afternoon.

Andy did some fishing, and I got to take a nap. We had a wonderful dinner, as always. 

Andy wanted to try some Painting the Night with Light photos of the old mill in Kingston (inspired by the Nevada Magazine photo seminar the week before). Erika, Maddie, and I went along. After two dead camera batteries  (poor planning on my part) we decided that Andy would have to scope it out in the daylight first anyway.

The next morning, Rod left to drive home to Carson City. The Macdonalds and Peters drove to Diana’s Punch Bowl in Monitor Valley to try cooking hot dogs in the near boiling water.

Diana’s Punch Bowl from the highway
Andy and Maddie looking over the edge
Erika, Andy, and Stan getting the hot dogs ready.
Casting into the Punch Bowl
A hot dog entering the water. That’s vegetation sticking out above it, not the fishing pole
Since this was an experiment, the Peters brought their Hibachi grill as a back up

We wished we had brought a thermometer to get the water temperature because the hot dogs were warm, but not hot. Our own Mythbusters episode without some key measurements! Thank you to #travelnevada for this fun idea!

After lunch, the Peters headed for Highway 50 to go home, and we headed over Peet’s Summit, back to Miles End. When we got back, our friends Chuck and Alice had arrived and were all checked in. Andy checked out the mill in the daylight and did some more fishing. The rest of us relaxed.

We had another wonderful dinner and Ann and John relaxed with us afterward.

I was not feeling well, so Stan took Andy out to help with his nighttime mill photos. They had fun and got some photos that Andy can layer in Photoshop.

The next day was 4th of July and we all drove about 60 miles to Belmont, Nevada for their old-fashioned 4th of July celebration. Even Ann and John took the day off. Belmont’s 4th of July included a parade, a bbq lunch, and old-fashioned games like sack races and 3 legged races and running races, as well as an art sale in the Historic Belmont Courthouse.

A military kazoo band led the parade

The parade included kids on decorated bicycles, lots of decorated side by sides, and even he who shall not be named and Melania were there!

The parade ended with a float that had a tribute to a fallen soldier.

All gave some, some gave all
All gave some, some gave all

When the last float reached the reviewing stand, the announcer read the names and locations of all the Nye County natives who are active in the military. Then a giant flag was unfurled and everyone got to hold it.

The theme songs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard were sung. We all had song sheets with the words. After the songs, a moving Civil War story about the origin of the song Taps was read and Taps was played. Then it was time to properly fold the flag. All the veterans and Boy Scout Andy knew how to fold it.

This little cutie had painted her own flag on the front of her mini RZR on the back of her parents’ RZR side by side

Andy got 2nd place in an age group running race.

His prize was a dollar coin and a lollipop

The sack races were very cute.

The Historic Belmont Courthouse

On the way back to Kingston, Andy got to try some bouldering.

And then we had a scare on the drive back.

A fire that appeared to be in Kingston Canyon
Photo Credit Alice Hilsabeck
Photo Credit Alice Hilsabeck

It wasn’t until we got very close to Kingston that we could see it was north of Kingston by several miles. Ann is part of the Kingston Fire Department so she had to gear up and head to the fire. The rest of us loaded up dirt bikes and the side by side and our suitcases in case of evacuation. But with very little wind, the fire was under control after about 5 hours. So Ann was back to join us for dinner. She served red white and blue sundaes for the holiday dessert.

Chuck and Alice with their patriotic sundaes
Stan and Ann, friends for over 50 years
Saying goodbye to John
And to our favorite dog, Zee

After saying goodbye to our friends, we drove home on July 5, passing three other fires. We drove through the lower Truckee River canyon seeing flames near the road. Right after we went through they shut down the road, and it didn’t open again until 2:30 A.M.

As I write this, there are fires in California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, and British Columbia. Some of the lyrics from U2’s Bad seem somehow approriate:

This desperation
Separation, condemnation…..
Let it go

From U2’s song Bad

As we drove toward Kingston, we thought that everything we had there was replaceable. But we also thought of all the people and animals up the canyon. So many people across the west are being desperately dislocated And separated from everything they own, and all that will be left is desolation. And though it’s extremely difficult, you have to let it go.

Just like ALS. You can’t fight the progression and in the end, you have to let it all go. And more from Bad: I’m not sleeping. (Yelled:) I’M WIDE AWAKE. I am going to live with this disease, and LIVE until I die.

I have ALS, ALS doesn’t have me. 

– Andre Williams, Jr.

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