Hanging out in Elko Nevada

When you get to Elko, go outside. Preferably to the Ruby Mountains.

Ruby Mountains

There’s snow on the mountains out here until summer. Sometimes as late as July. But there’s an extensive network of hiking trails and camping spots all through this mountain range. We found a delightful half mile nature walk around a river and a beaver dam, definitely the best place to take an almost three year old who loves running

Casey

And jumping

Casey

And giant sticks

Casey

His little brother dressed appropriately gangster but did a lot less running

Kyron

After an afternoon of herding kids, throwing snowballs and collecting a million rocks to throw into the river, my sister and I finished the evening with a picon punch at The Star Hotel, Elko’s best Basque restaurant

The Star Hotel in Elko

Basque sheep herders came to Elko during the gold rush of the mid 1800s and The Star Hotel opened in 1910 to provide a boarding house for these herders and ranchers. It’s been open ever since, serving picon punch made with brandy and a Basque digestif called amer picon (those drinks will knock you over so have some respect…)  and huge family style dinners

The Star Hotel in Elko

The Basque have a love affair with garlic. The Star serves excellent steak covered in sliced garlic, their salad comes with creamy garlic dressing and many of the side dishes like the cabbage soup, spaghetti, chick peas and sausage and green beans all have garlic in them. Give in, eat it up. It’s delicious and good for you. Just bring with you all the people you plan to kiss later.

Dinner was fun and the company was excellent.

I’m going to miss this little rascal whose favorite words are “come here!” and “Watch!” and loves to be tickled and cuddled

Casey and Kaitlyn

And his squeezable blue-eyed little brother

Ky and Kaitlyn

I’m so lucky that my favorite girls have had such great babies. I never see them often enough.

Tomorrow, my last day in Nevada.

 

 

Alien Roadside Attractions in Nevada

Dusty Nevada

Nevada isn’t my favorite road trip state because there’s so much nothing.  It’s just hours and hours of driving without even a town in sight and multiple signs warning me that the next gas station is 100 miles away. All that nothing has a bleak dusty beauty to it but seriously… there’s literally no one around while I’m driving for hours. Close to zero supervision, is that a good thing? I just know if makes me want to do about 100mph and I probably shouldn’t.

Fortunately, I found the extraterrestrial highway on my way up to Elko

Extraterrestrial Highway

How can this highway can have existed since 1996 without my knowledge? Probably a conspiracy by this big guy

Alien Research Center

He stands guard outside a gift shop… which seems like a relatively important task. And across the way is the research center

Alien Research Center

I always thought Area 51 had something to do with Roswell but apparently I’m confusing my UFO crash sites with actual government work. Or something. And what all that has to do with this research center is another mystery. I didn’t go in. Didn’t seem like a good day for probing.

Most people passing through Nevada have seen Alien Fresh Jerky, but now there’s also ET fresh jerky

ET Fresh Jerky

The website takes pains to clarify that the jerky is neither alien flesh nor made in outer space, both of which are a considerable disappointment to me and probably all other visitors. But perhaps they think the abducted cow is misleading…

Probably the aliens are too busy planning a stagecoach robbery to make jerky…

Alien Mariachi

I think there are more UFO sites to be had. I’ll check them out on my way back down to AZ.

nevada sky

Nevada, I have to give it to you. When you break up the nothing, you go all the way.

The Calm Before the Storm

A lazy sunday with the Barretts in Louisiana starts with coffee on the porch of The Camp, overlooking Moss Lake

Moss Lake, LA

Lake Charles, LA

Several hours later, it progresses to Chris and Stephanie’s on the banks of the Contraband Bayou

Lake Charles, LA

where I expect to see a pirate ship at any moment but instead got a gator

A relaxed game of washers continues unabated

Lake Charles, LA

Light a fire

Lake Charles, LA

open some wine

Perhaps the less said about the pomegranate tequila the better…

Except for these empty glasses and smiling faces!

Lake Charles, LA

Play with the dog, Loux

Lake Charles, LA

Watch the sun set over the bayou

Lake Charles, LA

And finish the night with Bev’s amazing gumbo

Lake Charles, LA

The secret: use deer sausage and don’t skimp on the butter!

And the piece de resistance, Mardi Gras cupcakes:

Lake Charles, LA

Because the Mardi Gras madness starts tonight!

Brace yo’selves…