Snap, Crackle, and Pop . . .

Apparently neither the US Postal Service nor UPS like me anymore.

This past Saturday our daughter Brandi sent us our mail by a USPS Priority Mail package. According to their tracking website, the package should have been delivered today. However it’s presently sitting up in Kent, WA for some reason

Brandi put it in the mail on Saturday, it left Houston on Sunday, and went straight to . . . Federal Way, WA.

HUH?

I’m in California. The capital, Sacramento, is only 80 miles away. Why send it to Federal Way, WA which is over 600 miles from here. But to compound the problem, the next day, today, instead of being delivered here in South Lake Tahoe, CA, my package moved a whole 5 miles to Kent, WA.

Where it now sits. I even went back and double-checked the address that it’s being sent to, and it’s correct.

Bummer!

As far as UPS, last Thursday I ordered a replacement lower mirror for our rig’s outside passenger-side mirror from RamCo in Elkhart, IN. It shipped out Friday, the 24th, from Elkhart and moved to Hodgkins, IL.

Where 4 days later it still sits. After initially saying, it would be delivered today, the tracking now says that it will be delivered here on Friday, the 31st.

The problem with these new delivery dates is we’re not going to be here on Friday, the 31st. We’re leaving here on Thursday, the 30th, and will be at the Bend, OR Thousand Trails on Friday. I’m going to try to call UPS tomorrow to see if I can get that package rerouted to Bend. I’ll have to see if that’s going to work.

My fall-back plan is to leave some money with the park office and hope they will forward everything.

As far as today, Jan and I headed out about 9:30 for our trip back to Virginia City, but our first stop was at the IHOP a few miles down the road. A really good breakfast and a really excellent waitress, Stacey.

Leaving from there about 10:30, I gave Nick his morning wake-up call as we headed out on a new route to Virginia City. Rather than take the normal US 50 over the mountain to Carson City, we took SR 207 out of Stateline, NV over the mountain near the ski resorts and down through Minden to hook up with US 395 which took us up to Carson City.

Tahoe SR207 1

Tahoe SR207 2

Heading off of US50 and up SR341 we traveled up that 15% grade that we’d seen on our visit to Virginia City last week. Coming into town, we saw the main reason for our return visit passing by, the train ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad.

Virginia City Train 1

I had been hoping to ride behind their steam engine, but they were only running their 1950 GE 80 ton yard switcher this week.

Virginia City Train 2

Virginia City Train 3

They were only running two cars today. The open-air gondola, built in 1925, was originally a cattle car, but was cut down and seats added for passengers. The rear car, originally a box car built in 1916, was remodeled to look like a caboose.

The 35 minute round-trip ride took us down to Gold Hill, where gold and silver were first discovered in the area.

Virginia City Train 4

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A lot of the mine equipment is still standing in the area.

Virginia City Train 5

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This is one of the old railroad tunnels from the 1870’s. It got so unstable that it had to be shored up between trains. When a train needed to go through the tunnel, it stopped at the entrance and some of the crew would get off and remove the shoring timbers. Then the train would go through the tunnel as quick as it could, and the crew would then replace the timbers until the next train.

What could possibly go wrong here?

Virginia City Train 7

They finally built a new tunnel around 1880.

Getting into Gold Hill, we came across several historic buildings. This is the 1869 train station.

Virginia City Train 6

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And this is the 1866 Bank of California building, the oldest one in town.

Virginia City Train 8

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And of course a lot of pretty vistas along the way.

Virginia City Train 9

Virginia City Train 10

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The other thing I wanted to see on our revisit here were two train museums that were not open when we were here last time. But as it turned out, I struck out on both counts.

One of them was never open. It’s actually the storage/work yard of the Virginia & Truckee, and they don’t allow visitors. The other one, the Virginia City Historical Museum, is still only open on weekends. Bummer again!

But I did get a shot of this beautifully restored Central Pacific 1873 American 4-4-0 locomotive through the window. This was used to haul gold and silver ore from Virginia City up to Lakes Crossing where the Virginia & Truckee connected with the Transcontinental Railroad. Lakes Crossing is now known as Reno.

Virginia City 4-4-0 American

At the peak 40 trains a day hauled ore out of here. Four partners of one big mine were making $300,000 a month . . .  EACH!

Everywhere you look around here are old cars,

Virginia City Train 11

Virginia City Train 12

Virginia City Train 13

old equipment, and other mine junk. The American Pickers would have field day here.

Finally leaving town and heading back toward Carson City, we got a look at what’s called the ‘100 Mile View’. It’s called that because the farthest line of mountains is 100 miles away.

Virginia City 100 mile view

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Getting back into Carson City, and after driving around through the old part of town, we made a Wal-Mart stop and a Bed, Bath & Beyond stop before having dinner at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, one of our favorites, before heading home.

One of the things we find funny here is when, as I’ve mentioned before, we buy a bag of chips in Carson City at 4500 feet and then take them up to 7300 feet and over the mountain to South Lake Tahoe. There’s just this constant snap, crackle, pop from the backseat as the bag puffs up like a marshmallow.

Tomorrow, our last day here, is an official goof-off / get ready to travel day before we leave on Thursday.

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Thought for the Day:

"It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows." – Epictetus

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3 Responses

  1. Love the views, the old cars and the trains…Trying to talk Eldy into coming to the Gilette rally, but don’t think it’s going to be feasible, darn it!

  2. Did you get a chance to go thru the Carson City Railroad Museum? We went through it a few years ago. It’s small but it had some interesting cars and a couple of locomotives.

  3. John,

    Unfortunately by the time we saw it this past Tuesday, we found it was only open on the weekends, and we left before then.

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