When I was a kid, I LOVED the TV show, Bonanza. I mean, loved it. Every day after school I would excitedly sit down and watch the exploits of the Cartwrights: Pa, Hoss, Adam, and Little Joe, on the Ponderosa, their ginormous ranch near Virginia City, Nevada. Gunslingers, cattle rustlers, gold seekers, and lots of cowboy love affairs. What more could you want from a TV show?
So, in honor of my love affair with the Cartwrights, we decided to spend a night and most of a day in Virginia City. What I never knew was that, while in actual miles it wasn't that far from Interstate 80, it actually is in the middle of the mountains, and so takes a while to get there. No, strike that, it hangs from the side of a mountain, and the only way to get there is by driving a road with hairpin pins, and ever more alarming drops just on the other side of a skinny guard rail. My children, Illinois plains kids all, were suitably alarmed.
But once we got there we loved it. Virginia City was once a wild and whoolly city flush with wealth (and all the vices that go with it) from both gold and silver strikes. The Comstock Lode, the richest vein of silver ever discovered in America, was here. Now it's a charming Old West throwback; population: 1600; main industry: tourism. There's wooden boardwalks, and Old-Timey shops (the kids' favorite is below) and a chugga-chugga-choo-choo steam train that takes you out to where the strikes were, on a rail that hugs the mountain side and offers incredible views. Here's some pics of the day:
Annie and Brennan on the "stagecoach."
The kids on the train:
A pretty hokey Wild West show we took in, which the kids loved. Mark and I are trying to balance things we love to do and see , with things like this which the kids are thrilled by. Like, for instance, we'll take them to a cool historical museum, and then in return, we'll let them take us to the Jelly Belly factory. :)