Friday, June 22, 2012

Silver & Gold

Day three in Lake Tahoe brought high winds.  So high in fact that the nearest gondola shut down for the day.  There went our plans!  Since the gondola was shut down, we figured that hiking at a high altitude probably wasn’t a good idea either.

So what were we to do? 

We hopped in our car and drove about an hour west to Virginia City, Nevada, a town central in mining the Comstock Lode.

We arrived in Virginia City around lunch time, and we slipped into the Ponderosa Saloon for a bite to eat.

Ponderosa Saloon - Virginia City, CA

Did you see the sign?  The saloon is an old bank.  The Bank of California.  And one of the vaults is still there!

Bank Vault in Ponderosa Saloon - Virginia City, NVBank Vault in Ponderosa Saloon - Virginia City, NV 

And did you see the rest of the sign?  About the underground mine?  Yep, we took a peek at it too!  The shaft of an old Best & Belcher mine runs behind the saloon, and tours are run out of it.  We learned that the mine is more profitable now than it was when it was an actual working mine.  Best & Belcher apparently didn’t have the good fortune that most of the surrounding mines had.

Ponderosa Saloon Mine Tour - Virginia City, NVPonderosa Saloon Mine Tour - Virginia City, NV

After our mine tour, we walked a couple of blocks to hitch a ride on the Virginia Truckee Railroad.

Virginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NV 

We took a trip to Gold Hill, stopped for a bit, and then rode back to Virginia City – a 35-40 minute roundtrip.  Along we way, we learned about the area’s gold and silver mining history and about the local landscape.  It was amazing that we were only an hour from Lake Tahoe, but the landscape was entirely different.
 
Virginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NV

Trenton has always had a fascination with trains.  That fascination has rubbed off his little sister, who is still talking about the train that she got to ride!

Virginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NVVirginia Truckee Railroad - Virginia City, NV 
On our walk back into town, we spotted the Comstock Firemen’s Museum, and stepped in for a bit.

Comstock Firemen's Museum - Virginia City, NV
I didn’t get a chance to snap any pictures inside because we were so busy learning about the old fire engines that the museum housed.  Trenton thought that it was really neat that the fire engines had lanterns instead of headlights.  He also liked hearing about how junior firefighters helped out with hoses, equipment, etc.

We stopped in to get a snack at an ice cream shop (yes, we like ice cream if you haven’t noticed!) and then headed back east to South Lake Tahoe. 

Even though the weather changed our original plans for the day, we’re really glad we got the chance to visit Virginia City.

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