Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day With Alex In The Old West Town Of Virginia City


Song:  The Theme to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Composer:  Ennio Morricone


Today, I took Alex to Virginia City
(just 45 minutes from home).

It is an old mining town of Bonanza fame
(however, this was a true town).

It still has many of the old structures standing and in use...
although the town is on a much smaller scale now.

In its heyday, it had over 150 Saloons to tempt, and take, the hard earned money 
from the miners.  Judging by the sheer number of Saloons which had flourished...
they had succeeded.





The famous American writer...
Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
(after having worked many other places out East...including as a River Boat Pilot)
worked as a miner here...
and later went on to work as a reporter for the Virginia City newspaper...
The Territorial Enterprise.

He soon decided to move farther west...
to San Francisco... and on to writing fame.












Alex, and I, went into this Saloon and went on a guided tour 
of one of the many failed gold mines in the area
(of over 1,500 mining claims...only 15 made the owners money).





The guide took us on a short...
but interesting tour.

He told us many stories of the town and of what the miners had to go through
as they made their living underground...by candle light.


Although these timbers were added for extra structural support...
the original timbers were still in place also.


The guide showed us how seemingly normal rocks consisting of valuable minerals
may be determined by how they fluoresce under ultraviolet light.


The guide had shown us the earlier 6 foot drill bit...
which was hand held by one man...
while his partner struck it with a 12 lb. sledge hammer.

Also pictured is the later used pneumatic drill.


All of the timbers used in the mines were held together by the pressure exerted
on the pre-hewn joints of the timbers...nothing else.

The design came from a miner from Germany who had studied mining engineering...
and had played extensively with Lincoln Logs as a child  :)


An interesting anecdote the guide had told us...

When they first started mining here...
they were looking for one thing...
and one thing only...
Gold.

Although they had found much of that...
they were throwing away all the other rocks as worthless...
until some miners from Mexico...
who had mined Silver...and had known what the ore looked like...
had pointed out what they were throwing away by saying...
"Mucho plato...mucho plato!"  ("much silver...much silver!").

The mines soon became the world's top producer of silver.

Nevada is known as the Silver State as a result.






"I'm a cowboy...on a steel horse I ride"...  :)
(Jon Bon Jovi)


Later this night...
Alex, and I, went to eat out at one of my favorite restaurants in Reno...
The Naan and Kabab (Mediterranean food)...
for my Father's Day meal.

However, it wasn't our little day trip or the Father's Day meal that made my day
(which, as always, was absolutely delicious)...
it was this little handmade card Alex had given me this morning:


So...
the mine owners of the Comstock Lode were wealthy?

NO...

I am a wealthy man.

2 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a fun Father's Day with your son. Interesting to see the remains of days long ago... that guy in the saloon looks like he could have actually lived in those days. :)

    Nice sentiments from Alex... it is wonderful to receive such a personal expression of appreciation for you as a father.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, the old man in the saloon somehow fit the decor of the saloon.

    I hadn't realized it was Father's Day until Alex told me. What a nice surprise.

    ReplyDelete

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