Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day Trip: Genoa

So the other day we decided to take a day trip to see if we could spot some bald eagles in the cattle birthing fields nearby, and also wander over to the small town of Genoa, which history claims is the first settlement in what was then 1851 Utah, now Nevada.  Genoa was originally a trading post founded by Mormons and was at first called 'Mormon Station', and it's main street is smack on the Overland Emigrant Trail.

Genoa sits right at the base of the Sierras near a truly frightening stretch of road called Kingsbury Grade--one of those 'straight up and more kinks than a can full of worms' type shortcuts.  It saves you time on the drive to Tahoe but makes for wear and tear on your nerves.  Hell, it was years before they even paved the last three miles of it since the road was constantly being destroyed by landslides.  The kid is dying to traverse it but we told her she had to wait until the snow was gone before we'd drive the thing since her father and I already know what that road is like.

Anyway, in Genoa there is a replica of the original Mormon Station fort/stage/stop/trading post since the original had burned in a fire in 1947.  They've added a small museum, which sadly was closed for the season when we were there.

Like everywhere else up here back in those days, prices were outrageous.  Snowshoe Thompson was a local figure back then, he routinely would traverse the mountain range on skis to carry the mail back and forth--a three day trip one-way--and did this several times a month for something like 20 years.  Even if this statue of him looks like he's skiing on a mushroom.  Also, EVERYTHING regarding this man shows and tells of him traveling on skis, so don't ask me why they called him 'Snowshoe'.

Plaques abound at the little park.  I like how the one beneath this one at Snowshoe's statue talks about how the rock they are mounted on was a 'gift' from some organization...ya know, because if there is one thing we are short on up here, IT'S ROCKS.

Mark Twain was here...

The little museum's door.

It had a small slot you could drop donations through with alittle sign.  The kid and I amused overselves by popping coins through the slot and listening to them hit the concrete floor inside and roll away to parts unknown.

Nearby was the oldest bar in Nevada!  One of the first things they built in the Old West back then was a saloon.  Priorities and all that.

No horses, damn yer hide!  Gotta have SOME standards.

I think I'll take a pass on the buffalo chips.  And God only knows why you'd wanna swap 'em.

And of course, E Clampus Vitus has been here!

One thing I noticed was that they are pretty free and easy about the spelling of Snowshoe's last name--meh, either 'Thompson' or 'Thomson', take yer pick.

Next to the saloon is a small cluster of old buildings that include an antique/junk shop (sadly closed that day).

Detail of the little building.  I think that little green sign should be put up freakin' everywhere.

The entrance to the little yard out back had a sign inviting people in to look around, so we did.  Luckily no ice on the walk that day.

The next-door neighbors had a different sentiment, they could take you or leave you.

An old sign in the time-honored condition of most old signs around here.

A really cool stack of old bottles that had somehow escaped idiots disturbing or stealing them.

One of the little sheds had some pretty fancy detailing.  A lot of German folk setttled here back in the day.

On the roof, the old square nails were slowly working their way loose.  Hell, just grab a hammer and pound 'em back in, that outta hold 'em for another 100 years or so.

The lady who ran the place lived up on the small slope directly above the shop.  We weren't shopping so we didn't ring the bell, we just gave her a friendly wave from the yard.

Gorgeous old doorknob.

Various cool old things sat around in the yard, like this old stove.

Home-made barbed wire!
Another old sign...

Around the front of the place there was more cool stuff on the porch and in the yard.

'Heat Indicator'.

 Another cool doorknob & lock.

Probably a good idea to keep this old girl inside.  She was front and center in the big storefront window.

Maybe she got that way waiting an eternity to have her luggage brought in off the stage.

Fancy stuff!

We then wandered over to the saloon since we'd promised the kid we'd take her inside.  Not sure why they needed a hard candy agency back then...

The inside of the bar was just as quirky and fun as you'd expect.  They also take great pride in NEVER cleaning or dusting any of the old junk hanging from the rafters, so the place has a weird semi-abandoned air to it.  This old sheriff's office safe full of money and bras sat next to the fully functioning pot-belly stove.

Over the years people had carved their names into the brick that lined the hallway to the restrooms.

This was a pretty laid-back place, although I think I'd at least close the door to the booze storage room, if not lock the thing.

The light fixtures and some patrons out in the bar.  Since it was off-season it was locals only.

...and a warning to tourists.

Back outside, this cool thing squatted in the front yard of the bar with picnic tables clustered around it.

A bottle-window on a shed out back of the bar.

And a side door to the bar.  I didn't look too close, but the threshhold pavers look suspiciously like recycled headstones from the old cemetery up the street.

Across the street are more old buildings.  Genoa is a dead-cute little town.

We got back in the car and toodled around town a bit more.  An old ceramic streetlight from what looks to be the 1910-1930 era, still functioning.

Someone's back yard visitors.

VERY cool 'found junk' art.  Now I want to do this on my chicken coop.

The old courthouse, now a museum.

As we drove along there were suddenly about 30 mule deer crossing the road, and in no big damned hurry to do so, either.  Their attitude was , 'Eh, you can wait.'  Especially the little guy on the far left.

They just kinda wandered across the road and stopped RIGHT THERE to eat.  No concern whatsoever, even though we were calling to them and waving to get their attention.  Nope, sorry--busy.

Oh well.  Snubbed by deer, we went to investigate the cemetery.  The arch overhead may date from 1865, but I suspect that they were planting people there since the 1850's.

I thought the 'No Dumping' sign a bit creepy considering where it was and all.

We did our usual and wandered around checking out the old headstones, which are so beautiful.  Nothing like that now days.

One of the German folks.

And hey, here is ol' Snowshoe!  With Variant #2 of his name spelling.

Some were more plain than others.

Requisite spooky graveyard photo.

The cemetery was very well kept, even though some of the headstones had suffered damage.  The winters in this area are super harsh and the wind blows HARD here.

Don't know who they are, but they are at least marked.

Someone's cool carved wood angel from the 1970's.

After this we headed home.  We wandered down several roads with cow pastures on either side but never did see any bald eagles, I'm pretty sure we missed them this year. 

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