#ThursdayDoors: Ely Nevada

ElyDoors3This door leads to the Nevada Northern Museum and Historic Train Ride in Ely, a town of about 5,000 people in eastern Nevada. Ely got its start as a Stagecoach and Pony Express stop. Then copper was discovered nearby in the early 1900s and times were good. But, as with any mining boom, eventually it went bust and the town had to turn to other sources of revenue, the Old Ghost Train run by the Nevada Northern being one of them.

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The engine of the Ghost Train going out for a test drive.

This train runs during the summer and on certain holidays, such as Halloween and Christmas. The round trip to the Ruth mine covers about 14 miles and takes about 90 minutes (that’s not bad considering it’s the oldest still-running steam engine in America). We were there when no runs were planned but happily they were testing the engine.

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Back doors to the platform.

The Old Ghost Train is most famous for Halloween runs, when employees dress in Victorian garb and tell ghoulish tales from Nevada’s colorful past, however there are other themed rides, for example:

  • The Polar Express (with a real live Santa, caroling, etc.)
  • Rocking Rolling Geology
  • Wild Wild West (of course).
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Shack across from the train station. Not sure what it was used for.

Ely is famous for many other things:

  • The birthplace of Richard Nixon’s wife Pat
  • The eastern end of Route 50, the Loneliest Highway in the World (and it is lonely!)
  • The setting for the climatic scene in the movie, The Rat Race. 

And it’s famous for one more thing as well.  Let me think. What could that be?  Ah yes, it’s the setting for that wacky mystery Flipka! (okay, maybe not famous yet but a gal can always dream.)

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Another great thing to do in Ely! Cocktails and Cannons! Oh boy!

But before you get all excited about hopping on the Ghost Train or racing people in a bathtub, keep in mind Ely is a six hour drive from Reno and a four hour drive from Las Vegas. There are plenty of hotels nowadays but my favorite is the original Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall.  They have a huge sign in front that reads “We love Bikers.”  To a hotel staff used to catering to the Hells Angels, Joel and me in our Prius were like visitors from another planet!

This post was inspired by Norm Frampton’s wonderful #ThursdayDoors prompt.  Check out other doors and their histories! 

#ThursdayDoors: Open the Door

Open the door this time of year and you may find . . .

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They hadn’t quite memorized the songs but they got cookies anyway!!

I know I cheated (yet again!) but this is my addition to Norm Frampton’s #ThursdayDoors challenge!  Check out the non-cheaters here. 

Next I’ll be going all Christmasy with a repost of Dem Dam Hippies in Have You Been Saved Missouri!

An echo from my Father

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My Father wrote thus to my mother on 11th April 1946 after he’d been send on board a ship of Jewish refugees then recently arrived in Haifa:

Tuesday:  I told your mother {my grandmother} in a letter that I didn’t like this immigrant catching. I wouldn’t dare say this to the rest of the chaps – they’d think I was getting soft, but I can’t help feeling sorry for some of these illegals. After all, they are only looking for a home where they can live in peace and they are a very pitiful sight when they are taken off the ships. Hollow-cheeked women, terrified children and life-weary men are not quite my mark. I don’t mean that they are ill-treated – those stories are just terrorist propaganda – but their disappointment at being made to go to Cyprus is heart rending…. I would prefer chasing terrorist gunmen.

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Unnatural Settings

MonsonYesterday I received this book in the mail. I don’t know how we missed it when cleaning out my mother’s home but apparently we did.  This is the story of the town where my mother’s family has lived for well over one hundred years.  It’s also the setting for the flashback scenes in Flipka 2 which I’m currently working on and so its arrival was mundo fortuitous.

I could say Monson is your typical small town in New England and in many ways it is, particularly back when I was growing up.

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My great grandfather watering the dirt roads (one of his many jobs).

During summertime visits, I’d run wild through the town, picking blackberries and scoring free cokes at a garage owned by the town’s wealthiest man whose hobby was stock car racing but whose son had been “born bad.”  On his estate there was also a baseball diamond, a swimming pool and a pond with a boat and so the gang of poor locals I ran with happily tolerated the murderous son.

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“You wild heathens better not drag mud through my kitchen!!!”

In the evenings the sticky heat of the day was generally alleviated by cackling t-storms and regretfully we’d head inside to get chewed out by Gram.

However idyllic as it seems, the town and the surrounding area were also the setting for the Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft, one of the core stories of the Cthulhu Mythos.

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H.P. Lovecraft, Master of the Macabre, 1934

Lovecraft felt that area of Massachusetts was a “lonely and curious country” whose residents had “come to form a race by themselves, with the well-defined mental and physical stigmata of degeneracy and inbreeding.”  There were a couple of reasons why he felt that way.  First, the original settlers were from Salem Massachusetts and were therefore the descendants of witches.

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Most likely the rock piles were used by the Native Americans for cooking and not orgies.

Second, there are many mysterious rock piles in the hills. Preachers of the 1800s postulated they were “the unhallowed rites and conclaves of the Indians” who “made wild orgiastic prayers” which were in turn answered by “loud cracklings and rumblings” in the earth. According to Lovecraft, they were the ancient ones demanding to be freed from the bowels of the earth so they could rape the locals and create monsters.

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Another of great grandpa’s jobs – milliner. He is the seventh man from the left.

Hum, I wonder if the Monson library stocks any of Lovecraft’s books.  Somehow I doubt it. 

IMG_1114What is your hometown’s claim to fame that the city fathers probably would not include in a history book?

#ThursdayDoors: I want out

backdoorThis is my back door.  Those of you following this blog will  recognize this sunflower as my Pilgrim. A volunteer onto my shore like Pretty Kitty. We had to bring her inside because the temps have started to dip  below freezing and being inside is her only hope. But she wants out.

faceathedoorI understand because since the moment I first gained consciousness, I’ve felt the same way.  What?  This planet again.

swansongYes, she must release her seeds into the world and yes, their future is unclear.

I feel like her.  I want out of a world where mass shootings are the norm.