Sunday, September 30, 2012

V is for Vociferous

September 20

A giant "V" was perched on the mountain above like a beacon.  What did this letter signify?

I finished with U.S. 50 today.  After over three hundred and sixty miles on the loneliest road in America I turned back onto the ADT at Six Mile Canyon.  I spent over three weeks following the route, getting to know 50 better than any trail, path, or highway on the entire trip.  V is for vanquished?
On Six Mile Canyon I had one of the most unique wildlife experiences of my life.  As I walked I noticed a snake in the shadows close to the road.  I carefully approached, unsure if I faced a rattler.  My eyes scanned for the tail, but before I could resolve that question another detail eased my mind while simultaneously blowing it.  I was in no danger of being bitten.  The serpent's gullet was already occupied - by a live mouse.  V is for venomous viability?

I reached town early in the afternoon, meeting Dad at the Red Dog Saloon, where he was already slumped over a second pint.  The bar is famous for having hosted the first performance by Janis Joplin.  Her band Big Brother and the Holding Company still plays there on occasion.  V is for vocalist?

After a fine lunch Dad and I explored the streets of the ghost that had forgotten to die.  The discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859, one of the richest strikes in American history, created Virginia City almost over night.  The heavy supply of ore lasted thirty years, allowing a rare permanence to set in, communities replacing the earlier camps.  A fire destroyed most of the buildings in 1875, which is the date you will see on most of the period structures, a large proportion of which remain intact.  V is for Victorian?

Nevada's legalization of gambling in 1931 helped to revive what by then was a fading town.  The TV show "Bonanza" took place near Virginia City and the long run of the program (fourteen years) brought renewed tourist interest.  The "real wild west" flavor of the main street has continued to draw crowds, as we witnessed.  A biker weekend called "Street Vibrations" was getting into full swing, black jackets, tattoos, and sunglasses de rigeur.  V is for vibrating visitors?
Sadly this was my last day with Dad.  He heads back towards home in the morning.  I spent the afternoon hastily preparing for the return to life on my own, buying maps and water purification tablets, deciding what to retain and what to discard, and meeting with ADT coordinator Ted Oxborrow and his son Trevor to discuss the route.  Yes, the days of companionship, four walls, and juicy hamburgers are at an edn once more.  V is for vagabond?

15 miles/3745 total miles   

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