(September 3 – Written by Dave)
Today was all about going back in time with Pete (and his brother Paul). Last night we started where we left off the other day at Pete and Inge’s house –having wonderful dinner and drinks at their place (nice work Inge). Today we dawdled a bit getting started – it was nice to read the Sunday papers over brekkie.
It was already heating up by the time we took our “goofy” starting pictures and were heading out of Minden. Pete knows all the back roads so we avoided the highway south until a good bit out of town. We had a nice ride out through “Ranchos” and down to the Carson River.
Eventually we had to join Highway 395 and the Labour Day weekend traffic. The traffic was interesting. Cars seem to alternate between “Burners” (people leaving the Burning Man event up in northern Nevada) and “non-burners” (fire fighters heading south to work on the forest fires in the area). We amused ourselves calling by making up the name “non-burner” but the “Burner” name is really what the folks attending Burning Man are called. It was all fun and games until Pete got a flat and we realized just how hot it had become. While Pete fixed his flat, Nancy tried to stand in the only shade around – from a roadside snowplough pole – see below, it didn’t really work.
There was lots of smoke today from all the fires and we were not feeling too fresh (even though we’ve had some days off lately). As Inge was driving down to meet us for dinner later in the day, she sagged our bags one last time – we are not expecting any more sags until we reach the bottom of South America!
After a quick stop for a cold drink at Topaz Ranch Estates, we fought off the mid-day sun and pushed onto Costa’s Ranch in Smith Valley. Here’s where the back in time part came in. Pete and his brother Paul have family roots that go back some 150 years in the Valley. Paul is now living in the ranch house that their mother and grandmother were raised in. When we arrived, Paul gave us a cold glass of water and a tour of the ranch. The holdings are smaller now but there is still a lot of history.
When I was growing up, I knew their grandparents. As Paul gave us the tour of the potato barn, his shop and all the farm kit that he’s been working on, you could almost feel the presence of “Gramps”. Paul and his wife Julie have done some great restoration work on the farm house and Paul has a hundred cool projects going. I particularly liked the old army dump truck that he’s purchased. Pete was temped but didn’t go for a real spin – just the fake “run Dave over” photos below.
Inge, Julie, Paul, Pete, Nancy and I all headed into Wellington and the Heyday Inn for dinner. This is a traditional small town Nevada dinning establishment where everyone knows everyone and the food is plentiful. Pete insisted on getting me hooked up with a Picon – a famous Basque drink. I’m not sure that I’m sold but a good dinner and hearing all the old stories made it a fun night all the same.
Tomorrow we head towards Bridgeport and another bunch of places that are full of Costa family history. We don’t need a map for riding out in these parts as Pete know all back roads – many of them being named after a distance relative. Thanks again to Paul and Julie for hosting us and showing us around.