Thursday – Carson River and Virginia City

My parents were in town visiting all week, so of course we went out on a few tourist-y type field trips with them and Sammy. Actually, they were just here to see Sam, so we probably could have stayed home while they went out with him, and they wouldn’t have noticed. But no, we all went out together. Since there were six of us, we had to rent a bigger car, because all we have are five-seaters. I guess it’s time to buy that minivan!

Our rental for the week, a Ford Explorer. We were a little weary after our past misadventures with Ford, but this one surprisingly did not burst into flames or have the transmission drop out of the chassis on us. Go figure!

On Thursday the 23rd our first stop was down at the Carson River for a little picnic lunch consisting of Weinerschnitzel hot dogs and fries.

The river is still running high after the usually wet winter we had this year.

Trust them when they say the bridge is unsafe. There are holes in the middle of it where someone set fires that burned all the way through the wood deck.

Green by the water, brown everywhere else. This is summer in Nevada.

After lunch we headed up the hill to Virginia City for a ride on the V&T railroad. I’ve been writing a lot about it lately, but this was my first ride on it in years.

Yes, they still have that ugly diesel engine. They must really be doing some work on their steam engines, because they’ve been out of service for two years. Either that or they ran out of money.

On the train, pulling out of the station.

Sammy and Grandpa are watching out for the bridge up ahead.

A long view of the work they’ve been doing on filling up the Overman Pit. This project has been in the planning stages for over ten years. Now they’re finally doing it. By August the Pit should be filled in, and the V&T tracks will travel a full mile further than they do today. By next year they’re supposed to extend over ten miles more down into Mound House, and they’ll reach all the way to Carson City by 2008. That’s the plan, at least.

Gold Hill, with the Gold Hill Depot in the center and one of the huge open-pit mines from the mid 20th century in the background. These mines were the last gasp of trying to pull money out of the Comstock Lode. Now most of Virginia City’s money comes from tourism.

The end of the line. At least for now. The right-of-way is almost graded down to where it needs to be, and soon they’ll start laying track. There is already a load of wooden ties on a flatbed car right next to where the train stops. For an idea of how much work they’ve done and how fast, look at this picture, dated April 6th 2005. Notice particularly how there is now an entire mountain missing.

Sammy and Kiki on the train, headed back to the station.

I have a six-minute video of the train ride that I want to post on Ourmedia, but the site’s down right now. I guess I’ll have to do it later. Keep checking back – I’ll put up the link here once it’s working.

Update: Okay, I finally got the video working on Ourmedia. It took long enough! The link is here: Nearly six minutes of footage from the rails. Check it out!

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