Towns, Trains and Trails of Nevada 2004
                          By Michael Green of Off-Road Experience                                             Copyright MG 2004

In April of 2004 my wife, Danielle, baby Andrew (7-mo) and I took a week off to tour Nevada, something we have never really done.  With our newly restored 1967 Land Rover 109" Station Wagon loaded with equipment, and of course baby supplies, we departed Livermore, California on a Monday morning and headed for the Sierra Nevada mountains via Highway-88 over Carson Pass.

Once in Nevada we turned north on Highway- 395 for Carson City, then east on Hwy-50. Just east of Mound House we turned left and made tracks for the famed mining town of Virginia City.

Looking north up "C" Street in Virginia City.

Leaving Virginia City we headed down Six-Mile Canyon for Dayton, the first mining town in Nevada. From there it was back onto Highwya-50, where we’d turn left onto 95-Alternate at Shingle Springs, stopping for the night at Best Western Fernley Inn… our ORE headquarters for the area. As usual when in Fernley, we dined at the Wigwam.

On day-2 we departed Fernley at 9am, heading southeast for Highway-50. Our plan was to drive the length of Highway-50 across Nevada; titled the "Loneliest Road in America". I couldn’t wait, the lonelier the better, I hate traffic! As we traveled east at 70+ mph we passed by Sand Mountain, a huge sandbox play area. Near Westgate we passed the famed Shoetree, a Cottonwood tree filled with shoes! Here we stopped to feed baby, and it gave me an opportunity to explored the creek, where I found big cat tracks.  On the road again we would pass the ruins of the Overland Mail Stage, and the original Telegraph Station from 1861. About a mile and a half to the east is the Cold Springs Pony Express Station, something worth visiting (by foot only). Highway-50, for the most part, follows the Pony Express route of 1860-1861 (it only lasted 18-months, then telegraph wires connected east to west). At New Pass we stop momentarily to view more ruins of the Overland Stage. Through this portion of our trip the 109" was running at a steady 80-mph with no trouble.  We stopped for lunch just west of Austin, at a place called Jacobsville.

Note: Highway-50 was at one time the Lincoln Highway, and it goes right past our home in Dublin, CA. Here's a link...

After lunch we stopped in the old mining town of Austin. Austin is "the" center of Nevada, and is quite a fun little town to explore, with plenty of history. Sadly the railroad is long gone.  There are three church's in Austin, and like most church's there is an organ inside. How the organ made its way from the east coast to Austin is quite a journey...  one came by ship via Cape Horn to San Francisco, then from SF to Austin by way of wagon! Stokes Castle is "must see" relic of the past, you can't miss it towering into the sky. Take the dirt road next to the Chevron station. 

Below: Stokes Castle in Austin; Note the railroad track used to separate the floors.