Having fun in Nevada usually means gambling and some other nasty stuff. I was trying to find others ways to entertain myself. I like taking my SUV off the beaten paths and I was going to get through the American historical sites in eastern Nevada.
My first stop was in Virginia City. The most famous inhabitant of this city was Mark Twain; he actually held his first real job here – he was an editor of the local newspaper. The town remains pretty much alive and is now a famous tourist destination.
I had a lunch in the town, and then I went, through the Six Mile Canyon Road, toward highway 50. The road crosses the highway and continues as gravel Fort Churchill Road. This road leads to the Fort Churchill state historic park. The roads winds along the Carson River. This road roughly takes the same route as the historical Pony Express mail service of 19th century. Fort Churchill was serving as the defense center for the local part of the Pony Express.
While on this trip, I was using primarily Canon Digital Rebel XT with 28-105mm II USM lenses. The black&white pictures were taken by the ancient Soviet-era fully-manual 35mm film camera Zorky-6 with Jupiter-8 50mm lens (this is a rough copy of Leika-2).
Eventually, I arrived to the Fort Churchill. The fort defended local communities against Indians, ensured Nevada and California loyalty to Union during the Civil War, and helped to keep the order in the rough mining towns. Currently, this is state-operated historic park, with a decent campground.
My next destination was the east shore of the Walker Lake. The lake is struggling because the people are taking too much water from the nearby streams and the lake is gradually getting saltier and smaller. But still this is a large magnificent desert lake. The east shore is desert, and the west shore goes along the mountain range. In recent years, lots of efforts were made to save the lake and hopefully it will be around for the next generations.
The sandy gravel road goes side-by-side with the railroad tracks. The railroad is serving the military base at the southern end of the lake.
The railroad tracks
I had a good night sleep in the Hawthorne’s El Capitan hotel. Good service and clean rooms for the modest price.
Next day I decided to visit another Mark Twain’s place – the Aurora ghost town. He had lived in Aurora before he left for Virginia City. He had no luck in Aurora, and when he got a job offer in Virginia City, he left the town.
The gravel road to Aurora starts at the southern end of the Hawthorne. It quickly climbs to the mountains. This time of year, the snow was expected. Not much of snow was present, although. The snow drive was temporary postponed.
When I came to the Aurora, I found that there is not much to see around, just some ruins, but the cemetery was pretty much well preserved.
After Aurora, I continued my route toward California; I was heading to the Bodie ghost town. I had more snow along this road. The snow was intact; I was the first driver after the last snowfall.
Then I came to the Nevada-to-California border. Nobody was present on the border line, no control, no customs, no truck weighting, and no checkpoint. There were some ruins, probably once there was a station. The whole border crossing was just a mudhole. That was a rare opportunity along this route for the 4Low and for the locker.
The Bodie ghost town state park was snowy and relatively empty. Not many visitors were present this time of the year.
After Bodie, I went through the mountains to the Bridgeport, California. That was the most colorful and interesting part of the whole trip. The road was covered with snow, and the mountains were just great, and there were some nice rocks along the road. I enjoyed this scenic drive.
In the night, I came to Bridgeport. This is a county seat, a pretty nice and calm town. The court house is simply gorgeous.