Love Letters to Nevada
November – December 2014
Love Letters to Nevada
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE DURING THE SILVER STATE’S SESQUICENTENNIAL.
We can’t believe it’s almost over…more than one year of celebrations, events, and history in the making, and you helped make it possible. In January, Nevada Magazine set out with the goal of finding out what our readers love most about Nevada, and you answered that question with incessant vigor. We received genuine answers, quirky answers, poems, short stories, and everything in between. But almost every answer resonated with a sense of pride in the Silver State. So let us reflect on the past 150 years as we wrap up this sesquicentennial year, and usher in an outstanding 150 more!
In order to preserve the voice of our readers, Nevada Magazine has made minimal edits to the following content.
I love the fact that Nevada is a land of unparalleled contrasts: It’s a State most think of as desert, and yet the most mountainous State in the Union; It’s a State with pious, Mormon beginnings, but which today thrives because of its unequaled open-mindedness; It’s a State whose three nicknames bespeak a contrast of barren desert wilderness (the Sagebrush State), the explosive population growth associated with mining (the Silver State) and the sometimes difficult and confrontational past out of which its character of tolerance and brotherhood eventually emerged (the Battle Born State).
Howard Siegel – New York and Las Vegas
History is etched in Nevada. Each time I walk in its remoteness I can imagine the pioneers and settlers that came before me. Just wonderful!
Mavis Sare – Pine Grove, Calif.
I live in Indiana and as a kid my dad took us to Las Vegas and I will never forget the feeling of being connected to the moment like I did then, and for that to happen to a 9-year- old boy, there has to be magic there. I am 43 and try to visit every year; I get that same feeling and I can’t explain it. When I climb or hike Mt. Charleston I look out and feel drawn to everything; or in the Rhyolite and Nelson ghost towns you just feel and can hear and see the past come to life, like you’re not alone. So how do you express why you love Nevada when it’s so hard to put into words?
I love Nevada because at the casinos I can feel anonymous. Also I feel welcome and not strange at a casino bar or restaurant when I am alone. I also love the wide-open spaces and well-planned roads in Sparks where I live.
First, the wide open spaces and the sparse population. As you drive southwest out of Ely on US Highway 6 there is a road sign: “Next Gas, 167 miles on US 6.” That says it all. Not even Texas can boast 167 miles between gas stations on a US highway! Second, Basin and Range. As you drive across Nevada (east to west or west to east) you go up a mountain range, down a mountain range, across a valley, up a mountain range, down a mountain range, etc. I love it.
Bob Stevens – Las Vegas
I live in France and I discovered Nevada when my daughter worked in Las Vegas five years ago. I love Nevada because there are a lot of things to do and a lot of beautiful landscapes. I would like to live in Nevada when I retire so I could take your country like it is now and protect every area.
Patrick Mortureux – France
One of the basic reasons I love Nevada is, of course, the weather. I have been coming to Nevada for over 40 years and love it. I take part in the gaming, but also like exploring the old mining towns (like Rhyolite) and other areas. Red Rock Canyon is also a favorite place, but so is Lake Tahoe. There is never a dull moment spent in Nevada, and I will continue to visit your beautiful state until I can no longer travel!!
Joan C. Mundth – Mineral Point, Wisc.
You can’t beat Nevada for weather, ghost towns, and railroad history.
Richard & Betsey Clauser – Las Vegas
There are many reasons; one special reason that I love Nevada is the pungent smell that occurs in the desert immediately following a rain. The combination of Petrichor (rainfall meeting dry earth) and rain falling on the creosote bush and sagebrush creates a lovely, intoxicating, and distinctive pungent smell that reminds of life, rebirth, freshness, etc. I wish I could bottle that unique aroma.
My wife and I made our first trip to Las Vegas on our honeymoon in February 1976. We instantly fell in love with everything about it. We love the gambling, shows, buffets, attractions, and everything else about it. Since our first trip there we have been back to Las Vegas more than two dozen times including last October, and we still enjoy it as much as we did the first time. We have expanded a lot of what we see and do when we go and your magazine has a lot to do with it. We have been to the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead countless times as well as Mt. Charleston. We discovered the National Pinball Hall of Fame and we like the Fremont Street Experience. I could go on and on about Las Vegas…but then I would not have time to tell about Reno/Lake Tahoe.
From our first ski trip there in 1977, we have enjoyed what I consider the most beautiful place on Earth; Lake Tahoe. We generally stayed in Incline Village for our annual trips, but occasionally we would stay on the South Shore. I think the beauty of the area is only part of the appeal as we enjoy so much else around the area including the history. Some of our favorite places over the years: the Donner Museum, Truckee, The Ponderosa, the CalNeva, The Harrah Automobile Collection, Emerald Bay, Virginia City, Reno, Carson City and the museum there, as well as the fantastic skiing and snowmobiling options. Once again, our appreciation of the state has been enhanced with our subscription to your magazine and I don’t know that we would have seen some of these places without your articles.
We have visited many places but cannot think of another one that holds the appeal of Nevada. Whether it is the crisp cool mornings of the Desert, or the beauty of the mountains and lakes, my wife and I as well as our grown kids, love the state and it is always in our vacation planning conversations.
Thanks for a great state and a wonderful, informative, magazine!
Joe Pelletier – Plano, Texas
I can be enjoying the glamour and excitement of the Strip and 30 minutes later can be hiking in the outdoors all by myself. Nevada is spirit of the Wild West.
Lots of off-road trails.
Johnathan King – Las Vegas
There are many reasons I love Nevada, but my favorite is I can enjoy all of them day and night without having to swat a single mosquito.
….because of its Big Open—its inhabitants and cultural and natural beauty.
The reason why I love Nevada is hard to put into words, but it’s essentially because of all the wonderful memories I have of visiting the Silver State over the past 45 years. Whether honeymooning at Lake Tahoe in 1984, hitting Vegas in the ‘70s as a youth, exploring intriguing ghost towns such as Rhyolite, enjoying Reno’s Hot August Nights and Street Vibrations, or just taking in the spectacular scenery from Pyramid Lake to Valley of Fire—Nevada has never failed to leave me with great memories of fun times.
My wife and I unfortunately can’t visit Nevada as often as we used to, but I read each issue of Nevada magazine as soon as it comes. We hope to return to Nevada this year for a road tour to commemorate our 30th anniversary, to experience once again many memorable moments, and to create fond memories of those places we have yet to visit.
Ken Barker – Allison Park, Pa.
Hi. If I love Nevada state, it is because of its inhabitants more than the scenery, the open space country, etc…the Nevadans are still hooked on what I value more: respect, responsibility, freedom…these three moral concepts that you have to fight for everyday, and certainly that you can’t take for granted. Stick to your western way of thinking, Nevadans, and I shall come to your state as often as I can, even from France; that is not next door! I have been
coming to Nevada for 40 years, and the state grew up, but still have this atmosphere of “freedom, I-have-my-life-in- my-hands attitude and nobody is going to tell me where to go in my lifetime, as long as I respect the others.” Keep rolling, Nevada. Yee haw.
I went to Nevada first time in March 2012. I loved your state for many reasons. Your landscape is very enchanting. The colors of the rocks, the cities in the middle of deserts, etc. The people are very graceful everywhere. The attractions, especially in Vegas, are plenty to enjoy.
That’s the reasons for me thinking to come back to your state soon.
Why I Love Nevada? Now there is a really tough question. Because there are as many reasons as there are things to do here. Camping, hunting, skiing, fishing, best restaurants, best entertainment, beautiful cities, and quaint towns etc. I could go on all day…I guess for me;
my favorite reason is because I am a hang glider pilot and now an ultralight trike pilot. There are so many spectacular places to see in Nevada both on and above the ground. Nevada offers beautiful mountains to hang glide from and on the other end of the spectrum has an abundance of dry lakes and open areas to launch and land ultralight aircraft. Not to mention the weather here is so nice for either of these passions.
I was born and raised in So Cal, lived in Wichita, KS, Lake Charles, LA, Mesa, AZ, then came to northern Nevada because my folks had moved here. After having been all those places, this is by far the best place to live. The seasons are lovely, the people are wonderful, prices are good and there’s fun to be had in town, in the mountains, on the trails, on the rivers…everywhere!
My oldest son summed it up pretty well when we were in Anaheim. We were heading up Harbor Blvd toward Fullerton and he’s looking out the window at the houses going by. He says ‘Mom, these people have a freeway running right through their yards!’ Because Harbor is several lanes wide, he thinks of it as a freeway! I love northern Nevada!
First of all, I was born in the Battle Born State in the year of 1922! 325 Chestnut Street, Reno…now the site of the Arlington Hotel! Chestnut Street was later renamed Arlington Street. Secondly, Nevada is the treasure trove of whatever you are looking for, be it United States history, or Indian history, or the history of the Earth in its geology; and also the history of nuclear energy and the mining of silver!
I have traveled in 48 states I have been around the world three times serving in the military. I vacation every year to Las Vegas with my wife for the past 10 years. I fly most of the time but always rent a car when I get there. I drove from Pittsburgh once; it was the best vacation I ever had. I have driven from Las Vegas to Reno spent time in Carson City, Virginia City, Sparks and Lake Tahoe. I really enjoyed Virginia City the best. The drive from Las Vegas to Reno was absolutely wonderful. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I also liked seeing Fallon; I spent about a month there when I served with the Navy. I have been to Mesquite, Valley of Fire, Mt. Charleston, Ely, Lovelock, Pahrump, Laughlin and Rachel (Area 51). I was in Vegas in 2005 for the 100th and we will be there for Nevada’s 150th. I really love your state and I hope someday I can live there for the rest of my life. I’ve have been there at different times but I have tried every month to see what it would be like. I can tell you I have never had a rough time until I have to leave. It’s the most beautiful state I have ever been to.
Jim Gubash, Pittsburgh, Pa.
I guess what I love the most about Nevada is its smell. Sage, alfalfa, and onions.
Steve Chism – Yerington
You don’t look a day over 125. I love urban hiking in the old southwest portion of Reno—looking at neat houses and gardens. I love Pyramid Lake off-season—it’s so, so quiet. I love the events in downtown Reno and Sparks. I love my neighborhood park watching the people floating by on the Truckee River. Yes, I love this place.
Francine Burge – Reno
Clean air, unbelievable cloudscapes, summer thunderstorms that wake the sagebrush and end as quickly as they came. Lakes to swim in, waterski on and sleep on the shores of…but the best of all…my family is there.
Suzanne Kessler – Santa Fe, N.M.
First and foremost I love Nevada because it means home to me! I was born in Carson City and my family lives in northern Nevada. But I also love the changing seasons, the beautiful Lake minutes away, the pretty sunsets, the wonderful view of the heavens after dark on a clear night, lots of things that I would (and did) miss if I moved away.
Tammy Meckler – Reno
As a visitor I love Nevada for its vast country spaces and free spirit atmosphere. Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, US Hwy 50 and Carson City cultural sites like the state museum I just saw in May. Happy 150th!
I love that Nevada is NOT California.
Because it’s been home for my family since before it was a state. And it’s pretty desolate so you can escape it all.
Because they do not have income tax on social security. It is our goal to retire there.
As a veteran in the late 1960s, I was honored to go to the best small state university in America. No other university was nearly as welcoming as the U of N. There were probably 3500 to 4000 students at most. Yet, we had professors like James Hulse and Jerome Edwards. Dr. Bushnell and others took individual interest in each student and demanded a high standard of performance and more importantly a real understanding of the subject matter not just grades. Dr. Hulse would say because we are from Nevada we want our graduates to be truly educated. I ’m a lawyer in rural south Texas and have been for over 35 years. I can’t tell you how many times my liberal arts well- rounded education outshone lawyers who had graduated from some of the “great Universities of America.” I am not only a proud graduate of the U of N but always say the best people I ever encountered were those in Reno and all of northern Nevada.
Kate Morra – Carson City
I love Nevada because the cost of living isn’t too bad, but mostly I am a shooter, I reload, cast bullets, develop loads and shoot for fun. Nevada is one of the few states that allow gun freedom within normalcy, and Nevada obviously supports the 2nd amendment. The people are nice and not in a rush or shocked when you talk to them (courteous). I have recently moved here and plan on retiring here in 15 or so years.
Robert German – Carson City
I think we have the best four-season climate on earth (in Reno anyway).
Pat Martin – Reno
Nevada Feels Like Yesterday
Nevada feels like yesterday; time stopped on the plains. Hardy cattle; wild horses,
blankets of snow on their manes. The howl of a coyote,
windswept mountains in winter, buckaroos and cowboys
rough and tumble as ever.
Reno and Vegas open their arms. Petticoats and prostitutes,
ruffle the towns.
Good times and hard times and men who mine ore, sheep herders, railroaders, rowdies that roar.
Will James and Waddie, speak of her heart;
Nevada’s stories and poems that set her apart.
She whines and she cries with a whinny and a slap the spin of the wheel
and the toss of a hat.
The echoes of Indians who once rode her trails, The Basque and the Spaniards, who together prevailed,
between saddle creaks and sunsets she calls out her name
may you always remain.
Corinne Joy Brown
I want to tell my story of why I love Nevada. As helicopter parents of a Nevada transplant, my husband and I decided to embrace Nevada when our son moved there for work in October of 2006. Prior to this, we had never been to Nevada. Well, embrace it, we have. We will
be making our 18th trip there this year. Where else can you see the wildest sights in the world and just moments later, the most serene! You look out into the distance and can always
see something thought provoking, whether a mountain, or the new giant wheel. When I ’m at work in Michigan, or driving through snow drudgery, I think about my next trip to Nevada
and this cheers me up! The picture I’m sending is of Red Rock Canyon. We love the canyon
so much, we have many pictures like this one enlarged and hanging throughout our house.
Diane Owensby – Sterling Heights, MI
DEEP ROOTS FUEL THIS NEVADA FAMILY
I guess you’d say I am “embedded”—it’s in my blood. Nevada is where I was born, where my mother and father were born, where my paternal grand- father was born; yes, we go back 122 years. Our family roots grow deeper, to when our forefathers emigrated from European countries, lured to eastern Nevada in the 1880s by mining and the hope of unearthing treasures.
These photos are of places near Ely where my family has lived. The Yellands are my mother’s family, and the Lanis from Hamilton are my father’s family. Most of the Spring Valley pictures are relating to the Yellands; however, the Lanis also lived in that area in the 1930s.
Karen M. Lani Cazier —Ely
I Want To Go Home
BY JOHN STETZ
The general perception of Nevada is that it’s Las Vegas and a lot of desert; occasionally, a soul might mention Reno and Lake Tahoe. Vegas is, without a doubt, a world-class destination and for some, a state of mind…“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” The town has the dubious moniker “Sin City” but I’ve heard that the residents of Las Vegas have the largest Sunday church service attendance for a city of that size in the nation! Yes, Las Vegas can be crazy, racy, etc., but like most cities, there is both sinning and praying going on in equal measure.
On my last trip, after spending a few days in Sin City, I headed north on U.S. Highway 95 to Tonopah and Reno. There I found the other Nevada, or as a friend up north says, “there is Vegas and the rest of us.”
Even in Las Vegas, you will see Nevada’s contribution to the nation’s defense and technology, like Nellis Air Force Base. As you head north you pass Creech Air Force Base, the Nevada Test Site, and the infamous Yucca Mountain nuclear depository.
Further north is the ammo depot in Hawthorne and the Naval Air Station Fallon that is home to the Top Gun pilot’s school. Nevada’s contribution to this nation’s defense runs the gamut from mystical Area 51 to the drone command at Indian Springs. Nevadans have always served with pride, from the silver Abraham Lincoln needed to win the Civil War, to the technology to compete in 21st-century warfare.
As you leave Clark County, Nevada becomes a vast encompass- ing and dynamic experience. In many ways, this world of rural cattle guards, wild horses, small mining, and ghost towns, is a journey on what poet Robert Frost called “a road less traveled.” Rural Nevada is vast and serene and has a calming influence and natural beauty that has not been a casualty of historical progress.
The first crossroads leads to Amargosa Valley where there’s a gas station, store, and little else—a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. Just a nudge north is Beatty that sits at the tip of Death Valley National Park. It’s a small town—where I stopped for gas. There, I met a local gentleman with a sun-worn face who told me he was done with city life. Not too far from Beatty is Rhyolite, a ghost town with a unique bottle house and an amazing arts colony.
The highway was fast and wide open and the sky seemed engulfing. A short time later, I approached Goldfield. I came to a sudden stop, followed by red lights. “Twenty-five miles an hour means 25 miles an hour,” a local constable told me. He gave me a warning and told me to “watch the limit in town.” I drove away without a ticket and the recipient of some western hospitality.
Everywhere in Goldfield, there were monuments to Nevada’s past such as the Goldfield Hotel and Esmeralda County Courthouse. I walked around the tiny town accompanied by an old brown German Shepard, who seemed to be an ambassador of sorts.
I arrived in Tonopah a day ahead of my planned visit, so I spent the night at the old Mizpah Hotel. The Mizpah is a part of Nevada’s past, with beautiful rooms filled with antiques. Tonopah is a small resilient place halfway between Las Vegas and Reno and has the most beautiful night skies I’ve ever seen.
After a few days, I resumed my journey to Reno, driving through Luning and Mina, both small towns with gas, food, and little else. Down the road, I ran into a semi-mountainous area that included Hawthorne and Walker Lake, a refreshing contrast to the desert.
After spending only two hours in Hawthorne, I continued north through Paiute Indian country into Yerington. Next stop was Fallon. The town is an agricultural mecca with a small town feel about her. Finally, I arrived to see a friend in Reno, “The Biggest Little City in the World.” Reno to me is home. I miss the events such as the Air Races, Hot August Nights, and Street Vibrations. I love Reno for her innate qualities and her proximity to three of my favorite places—Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, and Carson City.
Lake Tahoe is simply magnificent and is one of God’s jewels on Earth. I have parasailed over it, driven around it, took a glider near her and finally took a tour of her in a biplane. I’ve also skied Mt. Rose and taken the back road from Reno through Incline Village.
I also love Virginia City, with St. Mary’s, the Boot Hill Cemetery, and the Gold Hill Hotel (in Gold Hill). Virginia City is history thriving and kept alive with her many celebrations. And finally, there is Carson City, the state capital. Carson City is rich with history, from the museums to the State Capitol building and the Governor’s Mansion.
I miss Nevada, where history is preserved and cherished. California no longer has the sense of freedom and unwavering hospitality and spirit that is the norm in Nevada. There’s the zany “go-go” of Las Vegas and the “other Nevada” full of nature’s wonders. Nevada is wide open and vastly beautiful with a vibe of simply “Don’t Fence Me In.” In Nevada, I found a place and people very different from the image I was expecting. I found people to be open, free-spirited, sincere, and kind in a down-to-earth place.
I miss this place of tremendous contrasts and beauty and the souls that inhabit her, and an occasional visit won’t cure my desire. Nevada’s State Song is “Home Means Nevada.”
I want to go home and live as a Nevadan.
Mr. John Stetz —Garden Grove, Calif.
Nevada Stole Her Heart
A visitor from the Netherlands recounts her favorite Silver State sights.
STORY & PHOTOS BY RITA VAN IMPELEN
There was a very popular song a long time ago: “I Lost my Heart in San Francisco.” But I definitely lost my heart and soul in Nevada. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been reading fascinating stories about the Wild West. The adventures of a cowboy named Eagle Eye and an Indian named White Feather. I dreamed a lot about the beautiful mountains, rivers, lakes, and the endless desert with the wild horses. And I promised myself when I’m old enough and have enough money saved I have to go there and see for myself.
Well, I did. I traveled almost the entire United States. Thirteen years ago I got stuck in Nevada, because I found everything that I’d been reading and dreaming about when I was a little girl. I found my cowboys and Indians, the beautiful mountains, the endless prairies with the wild horses, the deserts, the lakes, and rivers. What a wonderful diversity of regions! I love your beautifully designed capitol building in Carson City and the countless little villages along your highways.
One of my friends took me on an unforgettable ride on a Harley David- son to Pyramid Lake through an Indian reservation. Thank goodness there was no police then! We went 100 miles per hour…just for a few minutes. It was great!
And of course I enjoyed the Biggest Little City in the World: Reno. I experienced Hot August Nights, the Riverwalk along the Truckee, the cozy restaurants, and the entertainment. I enjoyed the endless rides through Ne- vada with the amazing sunsets, great travel stops, motels, etc. And then, of course, Las Vegas. They call it Sin City, but for me it’s fun, pleasure, amazing shows, entertainment, and delicious food.
On top of everything if you do play whatever, you have the chance of winning your money back! In Nevada I enjoy each and every season, no matter how hot or cold it is!
Congratulations, Nevada, with your 150th birthday!
Mrs. Rita Van Impelen —The Netherlands