Day 6

breakfast Green Valley Ranch go
Enjoy buffet breakfast - select items to keep us fueled until lunch.

 239 miles / 385 km

9 am travel north along I-15 to Nevada Highway 93 to travel to Ely, NV. First stop: Alamo, Nevada go
Off to Lincoln County, least populated county in Nevada, on the scenic Great Basin Highway with wide open vistas in every direction. Alamo is here to serve tourists and truckers traveling from Las Vegas to northern Nevada and Idaho. Attractions include nearby warm springs, wildlife refuge, Extraterrestrial Highway go and Area 51 go. We stop to see the charming Windmill Ridge go cabins (just up the road from A Cowboy’s Dream), pick up box lunches, and visit with the chef/manager. He invites us to peek at cozy, private western-themed cabins overlooking the river, foothills and snowy mountains. Good rooms/food here, special menus, and lots to do in the area – good setting for an overnight stop.

11 am we reach Cathedral Gorge State Park go near Panaca, Nevada
The park sits in a long narrow valley (occupied by nomadic Native Americans since 10,000 BC) carved in dramatic, unique patterns. Here the soft bentonite clay (aka silt stone) erodes outside and inside creating cave-like formations, slot canyons and cathedral like spires. We explore this photographer’s dream – wonderful, fanciful, fantastic formations – with a Ranger who helps us understand the geology as we traverse well defined trails. Our visit is way too short to fully savor all the beauty here but energized by our walk and on a visual high, we rejoin our van, leave reluctantly and set off again.

1 pm now a long slog to Ely Nevada go
We lunch/snooze on the bus. Observation: this coach travel, relaxing and fun, allows for power napping, photography, walks to stretch and chats with fellow adventurers. Our congenial international group represents USA, England, Korea, Hong Kong, Dubais, Germany and India.
3 pm arrive Ely (pronounced Elee) go where they are waiting to give us a COMPLETE tour
Remotest town in Nevada, whose loyal year round population is devoted to its small town charm. Surrounded by snowy mountains, the town is a blend of new and old; it was on the Pony Express Trail. Most buidlings are one story, the standout is the Hotel Nevada. When built in 1929 it was the tallest structure in the state – 4 stories high!

We drive the town briefly and hustle over to the Nevada Northern Railway go, a fully functioning historic railroad museum for a private tour. A cadre of proud volunteers who maintain the steam engines, repair shops and run special events to keep this legend alive proudly show us around. “Safety first”, the railroad motto, is displayed prominently on many surfaces. Shafts of sunlight give the spaces an eerie beauty. Tools of the trade are all around us. We’re told each part of the engine must be oiled every day. Turns out we’re just in time for something very special — the Winter Steam Spectacular, a RR buffs delight go. Photographers (professional and amateur) love (and pay) to photograph belching steam engines at this depot photo op  - and we get to share in the experience! Past photo shoots have captured well recognized visuals – many seen around the globe.

Next up, a tour of the town’s murals depicting the town’s history, followed by a stop at the Renaissance Village. The village structures, original to an earlier era, were used by various ethnic groups who came from far flung places to find their fortunes and create a new life. The murals and village are living reminders  and celebration of common values’ ability to create community despite cultural differences.

6 pm reception All Aboard Inn and Café
A newly opened historic Victorian hotel and café are open to us this evening. The town’s movers and shakers are there and willing to talk about their town. An album of photos from the early days is especially interesting. Light snacks will hold us until dinner.

7:30 pm quick tour Hotel Nevada
We make a must stop to check out the “celebrity” rooms and the lively casino. Lots of western themed art, taxidermy, and old photography decorate the bar, lobby and route to the elevator. Has a really old timey feel to it.

8 pm dinner Cell Block Steak House go
Where guest tables are built into a cell block with bars and locks on each. Private and fun. Friendly wait staff dispense good beer and huge Vegas style portions. Anyone for a 16 oz. steak? We enjoyed our selections and shared a bevy of desserts.

stay La Quinta Inn & Suites go
Our refuge for the evening. Excellent hotel, modern rooms/baths with every amenity including an indoor pool, wifi and breakfast included.

Day 6 photos
photos change automatically – touch thumbnail or number for specific image