Explore Nevada Trip Report
October 23-27, 2017
Leaders: Bob & Sue Jaussaud
Photos: Sue, Mignon, Glenn & Nelson
Oh noooo…! From the rear view mirrors, we could see billows of smoke pouring out the back of our truck as we climbed the grade into Boulder City. Not a good thing! I hastily pulled over onto the shoulder and stopped. There was so much smoke everywhere, the truck must be on fire! I grabbed the fire extinguisher, but luckily with the engine off the smoke slowly started to dissipate. However, oil was still running out underneath the truck and a large pool formed quickly. Something major must have blown!
Sue called for a tow truck. Finally getting through to the Auto Club help line, she was informed it would be 45 minutes before someone could arrive to assist us. Time to think. First, we texted the others on the trip to let them know they were currently leaderless. Then we analyzed the situation. It was definitely transmission oil pooling on the ground and it was leaking out from the radiator area. Could it be that a transmission oil line to the transmission cooler on the radiator had broken? Being on a grade, we were able to roll the truck back off the pool of oil and I crawled under to remove the skid plate. Yes! A clamp had worked loose and an oil line had come apart. It was an easy fix. By the time the tow truck arrived we were repaired, except for no transmission fluid in the transmission. John, the very friendly tow truck operator, said the easiest thing to do would be to load our truck on his vehicle and he would take us to an auto parts store to get oil. In Boulder City, he off loaded us at the store and stayed with us until we had refilled the transmission and tested the truck. Everything was good and we were on our way. Happy days!
The truck ran fine and we were able to make up some lost time, getting to our group rendezvous at Goldfield a mere 15 minutes late. Nelson and Ellen, Ron, Mignon, Jim, and Glenn were waiting for us. Our host, John Ekman, President of the Goldfield Historical Society,was there also. John had arranged for the local photographer, Jeri, to escort us on a tour of the historic Goldfield Hotel. A unique opportunity. The hotel is under renovation and scheduled to be reopened in two years. Currently it is only inhabited by its infamous ghosts. Jeri alerted our senses with many stories of paranormal happenings. Time to leave!
Back in the sunshine, we explored a bit to find the “International Car Forest of the Last Church”, a conglomeration of weird car sculptures painted with weirder symbols. Leaving the weirdness behind, it was good to find a smiling face at the Goldfield Radio Museum. Our host,“P.K.,” was fun and friendly. Reluctantly leaving P.K. and Goldfield, we gassed up in Tonopah and headed to Belmont, our camp spot for the first of several cold nights.
Tuesday morning we departed for the Toiyabe Mountains where we took a short hike to the Toquima Mine. We found historic buildings, an old tractor and an impressive kiln beautifully built into a cabin wall. Back at the vehicles, we continued our drive up the mountain in search of the old 1920’s mining camp of Van Ness. Mercury was the primary product at Van Ness, which operated sporadically into the 1940’s. There are several buildings still standing there. From Van Ness, we continued up the mountain to the remains of Barcelona, a silver camp dating from 1874. At one time Barcelona had 175 miners, three boarding houses and an assay office. From Barcelona, our steep rocky road climbed over a 9000 foot pass and down to the remains of the San Pedro Mine and then Flowers Camp, where the road finally improved.
After descending to Monitor Valley, we turned south instead of north, as planned. It seems that when Sue and I had texted that we might not make it due to a smoking truck, the leadership void had been quickly filled and the new leaders’ itinerary was considered preferable to the original. On a previous trip, Glenn and Mignon had discovered a mill in the Kawich Range that everyone wanted to see. A bloodless coup! We were going to drive over Manhattan Pass, so as to camp at Peavine. That would enable us to gas up again in Tonopah the next morning before heading east to the Kawich Mountains.
It was a very cold, but beautiful, night at Peavine with Fall colors and a cozy campﬁre. Next morning, everyone was in such good spirits that I was able to persuade them we should explore a few more items on the original agenda before heading east. So, we detoured into the San Antonio Mountains to find the Cimarron Mine and the townsite of Potomic. The Cimarron was well worth the effort, but when we arrived at Potomic, we realized that we had been there before with Bill Gossett. We made a hasty drive back to Tonopah for gas before heading to the Kawich Mountains.
It is strikingly beautiful driving through the loneliness of Nevada. Descending into Reveille Valley, we arrived at Warm Springs and were treated to the sight of at least ten Desert Bighorn grazing near the springs. Leaving the sheep well photographed, we turned south on a dirt road paralleling the east side of the Kawich Mountains. After a lot of dust, we arrived at the first Reveille Mill site complete with a large pond and many gold fish. This mill was a long ways from any mine, but the abundance of water may have been the explanation for the location. Turning west into the setting sun, Glenn led us to the considerable remains of Eden Creek Ranch, where we camped for the night.
Thursday morning we started into the Kawich Mountains. Approaching the mouth of a canyon, Glenn showed us the remains of the Old Reveille Mill site. After a brief stop, we continued driving west and deeper into the canyon. We encountered water and a lot of vegetation, but the road had been recently graded and it was easy going. When it seemed we were reaching the end of the canyon, the mill suddenly came into sight. It was so incongruous to find such a large mill in such a remote setting, but there it was! It was at least four stories high. As we climbed the stairs to the top, we saw the drive wheels and engines still in place. What a find! From the mill, Ron and I wandered up the canyon and discovered the historic townsite of Eden. There were several cabins in various stages of decay, some almost hidden in the lush growth. Nelson continued driving to the end of the road and reported finding heavy equipment at an operational mine site, thus the reason for the graded road.
Ron, Jim, Sue and I realized that it would be difficult to top finding Eden and the mill. As the weather was predicted to get a lot colder, we decided to turn toward home. Glenn, Mignon, Nelson and Ellen stayed to explore another day. I hope they stayed warm and found another Eden. ~Bob
Explore Nevada Trip Report - Part II
Story and photos by Mignon Slentz
The internet conspired to waylay this part of last month’s Nevada trip report by Mignon... She perservered:
The group split up at Eden Creek Mill site, leaving Glenn, Mignon, Nelson and Ellen to cross Reveille Valley into the Reveille Mtns to look for the mining camp of Reveille. Silver was discovered in 1866 and the camp was active until 1875. We Camped overnight on top of a mine dump at Tybo. Silver ore was discovered there in 1870 and by 1875 had a peak population of over one thousand people. There were several boom and bust cycles up to 1944. We visited the very well preserved charcoal kilns, the old store, mill sites and cemetery. We said goodbye to Nelson and Ellen in Tonopah and continued on to Bullfrog where we camped at the red barn. It was Beatty Days and tours were being conducted at Rhyolite. We were the third group to see inside the train depot in 18 years. ~ Mignon