Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chance Meeting on the Loneliest Road in America


My wife and I have spent the majority of this year participating in a Harley-Davidson Owners Group (HOG) ABC's of Touring game, collecting points for visiting various states, Canadian provinces, cities, counties, various H-D sites, and state HOG rallies. One of our planned rides was from our home in Enid, Oklahoma to the Oregon state HOG rally. Our planned rides are on mostly scenic highways rather than the interstate system. During our travel research we found the Highway 50 Survival Guide, and we included it on our route to Welches, Oregon.

While cruising west on U.S. Highway 50 (the Loneliest Road in America) from Ely to Eureka we were approximately 30 miles east of Eureka when we passed four to five bikers headed east. As is the biker custom, we waved to the passing bikers as we passed each other. About three to four miles later I noticed a single biker pulling up next to me in my rear view mirror.

Thinking the biker was planning to pass me, I waited for the bike to pass. Rather than passing me, the biker pulled up next to me and stayed right on my left shoulder. Looking over to see why the biker had not passed, there is this guy with a huge grin on his face. After a second I recognized a working friend (Terry Johnson) from the Oneok Hydrocarbon plant located in Medford, Oklahoma.

We pulled off the road and talked with Terry for 15 to 20 minutes laughing the whole time. Terry, in a roundabout way, was returning from the Sturgis, South Dakota bike rally. He related that when we passed each other he recognized the color of my bike and with the trike right behind he told his friends that he knew who we were. The friends must have thought he was nuts but he turned around to track us down to say hello. What are the odds of something like that happening?

Terry and his group had left the Sturgis rally and were riding home. Almost 1,500 miles from home we ran into each other on the loneliest section of roadway in America. Can you imagine? The chance meeting has left my wife and me talking and smiling about the chance meeting since. Although Nevada Highway 50 is advertised as the loneliest highway in America it does not mean you can not be surprised and end up meeting a hometown friend while traveling across it. It could happen to you. It happened to my wife and me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rocking and Rolling with Nevada's Cows


When it comes to entertaining yourself and family in Nevada, I'm sure the first thing that comes to mind is attending shows in Las Vegas or visiting ghost towns. While those are worthwhile, I propose a different type of entertainment, although it is not the kind you can buy tickets to, or actually plan to visit with a map and book in hand.

I am talking about camping with range cows. Really. If you happen to camp near them, they will gather to watch the phenomenon that is you, and if you display non-aggression, or talk to them, soon they will come over for a closer look. Sometimes too close.

My husband, Roy, and I chose to camp in the mountains above Austin in our Suburban one June day. With grasses and sagebrush around us, and mountain views in the distance, we congratulated ourselves on picking such a beautiful spot. Roy placed the cooler outside, then we wandered around enjoying nature. A herd of 30 cows, 10 calves, and 2 bulls were nearby; they walked on their own trail back and forth and stood staring at us in small groups.

I was a tad nervous at the sight of those bulls, those animals are BIG, but Roy assured me they would not bother us.

In the evening the wind kicked up, the air cooled down, and as twilight progressed, we finally climbed into the Suburban, lying down in the back to read and listen to the radio.

Suddenly, our rest was disturbed when a cow face loomed in the window. We sat up to see a most astonishing sight. All of the herd, every single cow, was grouped around the cooler, taking turns licking the rim with their long cow tongues, exploring it thoroughly, like some sort of festive ritual, pushing each other out of the way to get at the cooler first. It was hilarious. And rather disgusting. Fortunately, the lid was shut tight, and let's not think too hard about cow saliva all over our food storage...icky.

When they finally had enough of that, most of them moved off, and we had relaxed once more, when the Surburban began rocking back and forth. It felt like an earthquake, but it was not; the all-black Big Bull was scratching his neck on the bumper, and seemed to be quite enjoying himself. He was so huge, his back was a good eight inches over the top of the vehicle. Roy rolled down the window and said “You can't do that, Mr. Bull! Mr. Bull, get out of here!” But Mr. Bull totally ignored Roy. What nerve!

He kept right on scratching, and we kept right on rocking. I guessed a bull would weigh a ton, and I wondered if we would be rolled over.

Soon a younger bull was in the act, and the bigger bull had to let him know who was boss. Thus, both began a low growling and roaring, as they paced around each other, bellowing, grunting and continuing to rock the truck. It was both funny and nerve-wracking; we were certainly trapped inside until they finally left as dark descended.

I guarantee you will never be bored when you rock 'n' roll with Nevada's range cows.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Broadway Comes to Reno

For the last 15 years, The Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts has brought some of Broadway's most loved musicals to Reno. Last Friday, November 6, the 15th season of the Pioneer Center's Broadway Comes to Reno opened with a three day, five show performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, "Cats." To celebrate my mother's birthday, my brother, sister, and I took her to the opening performance of the play she had not seen in more than 20 years.

Not your typical point-to-point storyline, "Cats" is based on the 1939 collection of whimsical poems, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, by T.S. Eliot. Through the loose story, the audience is introduced to various Jellicle Cats and their individual quirks and eccentricities. Characters include the incorrigible Run Tum Tugger, wise Old Deuteronomy, the trouble making Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer, and of course, the most clever and cunning, Mr. Mistoffelees.

Exceptional dancing and singing defined the performance, and tasteful special effects were a nice surprise. The standout performance was, with little surprise, the ubiquitous "Memory" by the outcast, former glamour cat, Grizabella.

While Sunday, November 8 was the last day of "Cats" in Reno, Pioneer's Broadway season features five more musicals: "The Wedding Singer," January 15-17; "Avenue Q," February 26-28; "The Drowsy Chaperone," March 26-28; "Stomp," April 16-18; and "The Wizard of Oz, May 14-16.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Lynx and the Lasagna


After an arduous cross-country winter trek from Ohio, we arrived at our new home in rural northeastern Nevada on Christmas Eve. My husband and son began unpacking the car while our Labrador happily bounced around their feet.

As we approached the house, we discovered that the kitchen door had blown open during a snowstorm. There was a snowdrift across the kitchen floor, with paw prints in it. The prints were smaller than a bear’s, so I wasn't too worried. We shoveled out the snow and proceeded to unpack.

Our furniture had arrived earlier, and the Christmas tree was in a stand, ready for us to decorate. So, I decided the next order of business was a hot meal.

I was in the kitchen preparing lasagna for dinner when there was a commotion in the living room. The Christmas tree had tipped over, crashing against the wall, and the dog was trying to hide under the couch. Then it occurred to me that the paw prints led into the house but not OUT again. A lynx had been hiding behind the Christmas tree! She climbed up the tree and leaped up onto the crossbeam of the vaulted ceiling. She tried climbing higher toward the ceiling, then changed her mind (much to my relief because the top beam leads to the loft bedroom!). She dropped back down to the crossbeam and sat there, looking at me standing in the kitchen with my casserole dish. I was pretty sure she was eyeing the lasagna.

I was torn between admiring her beauty, as I had never seen a lynx up close, and wondering how to get her out! Here was a wild CAT that could eat my DOG. That would be a twist!

The solution was simple. I opened the kitchen door. She leaped down, ran past me and out the door (which I closed quickly). Apparently, lynx don’t like lasagna.

Welcome to the Wild West, right? But that wasn't the end of the story. Later, I noticed a musky odor under our son’s bed. I knelt down and saw what I thought was a large amount of fur, as though the big cat had laid down and shed some of her fur. I asked my husband to move the bed so I could sweep it up. It wasn't fur. It was the remains of a large bird. So, our houseguest had already enjoyed a Christmas dinner.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nevada Magazine Goes Green

Nevada Magazine’s November/December 2009 issue covers the future of green energy in Nevada, as well as the green building and living trends in the Silver State.

With a climate as conducive to harnessing geothermal, solar, and wind power as any on Earth, Nevada is positioning itself as a leader in the green movement. Companies such as Ormat Technologies (geothermal), Sempra Generation (solar), and Nevada Wind Company are either expanding or planning to incorporate in the state.

Other stories in the issue support the green theme, including how to eat green and reduce your carbon footprint—which in turn promotes healthy eating habits. Other stories focus on green building and LEED certification, including Incline Village’s Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences, Reno’s Patagonia outlet, and Las Vegas’ Springs Preserve and CityCenter, the new mega resort which opens in December.

Nevada Magazine’s Tour Around Nevada continues in Laughlin, the sixth town recognized in the campaign in which people vote for their favorite rural towns. The top vote getter for a particular two-month period (Nevada Magazine is published every two months) is recognized in a later issue. The stories provide a snapshot of each town’s attractions and history. To vote for your favorite Nevada town (Carson City, Las Vegas, and Reno are excluded), e-mail editor@nevadamagazine.com and include the town and “Tour Around NV” in the subject line.

In other news, the 2010 Nevada Historical Calendar (see image below), produced by Nevada Magazine, is available for purchase. The price is $12.99 plus $3.99 shipping and handling. To order, visit NevadaMagazine.com or contact publisher Janet M. Geary at 775-687-0603 or jmgeary@nevadamagazine.com. There is also a link on the NevadaMagazine.com homepage that allows customers to order a combination one-year subscription to the magazine and 2010 calendar for $22.95.