Roughing It on my birthday
The Lady had a day off for Veterans Day; pretty handy as Veterans Day is also my birthday. My birthday was so long ago that my Mom and her family always called it Armistice Day, the holiday celebrating the end of World War One.
My birthday, a day off midweek, clear weather, what should we do?
"Anything you want to do for your birthday!" was the Lady's answer.
"Let's go look at graves. Would that be appropriate?" I asked.
The Lady trusts me and we were off.
After breakfast at the Gataway Cafe in Meyers - it was 12° outside - we headed over Luther Pass and dropped into Hope Valley. This was a day trip and we were enjoying the Lady' new Subaru XV Crosstrek. This cold morning we were learning about modern features in new cars, such as heated seats. Returning to the car after picking up a warmed up cinnamon roll at Sorensen's, we looked at each other. It was 10°.
"Think it's cold enough to try the heated seats?" I asked the Lady.
"Yeah, let's do it!" the Lady said while looking for the controls. "High or Low?" was her question after finding the switches.
"High," I answered.
That lesson learned, we now call heated seats Butt Burners.
SnowshoeThompson is a legendary figure of the Tahoe Sierra and the patron saint of all Sierra Nevada backcountry skiers. He had the honor of our first stop.
He rests in the Genoa, Nevada cemetery. A large bronze statue is downtown.
Dan DeQuille also wrote for the Territorial Enterprise, Virginia City, Nevada's famous newspaper, during Mark Twain's tenure with the paper as a writer. DeQuille was responsible for many of the contemporary stories about Snowshoe's exploits. A local historian has just published the newest book on Snowshoe.
Genoa is Nevada's oldest settlement and had its beginnings as a trading post along the Carson River Route of the California Trail.
In 1873, a fellow named Von Schmidt had the task of surveying the boundary between California and Nevada. He didn't get it quite right and his line is a bit east of the now, more accurately surveyed, official state line. A few of the old markers on the "Von Schmidt Line" still exist, such as this one that shows the line running through the center of the Genoa Courthouse.
Mark Twain's classic, Roughing It, paints a humorous, wonderful picture of Twain's time spent in Nevada, the Sierra Nevada, and the Mother Lode area of California. His stories in Roughing It immortalized many local historic figures.
Hank's grave in Carson City's Lone Mountain Cemetery was our second stop to pay our respects.
Many other historically significance people rest nearby in the older section of this graveyard.
Three graves marked with small headstones piqued my curiosity, all young men from Japan.
Lone Mountain Cemetery was properly appointed for Veterans Day and we did take time to reflect on and honor the veterans interred here.
On this clear cold fall morning - a perfect time to visit - we returned to Carson City's Historic District. We enjoy walking the quiet streets and seeing the historic homes.
John Wayne's last movie, "The Shootist" was filmed in the Historic District. Here is the home used for Lauren Bacall's boarding house in the movie.
With the fall storms dropping snow in the high country above, deer have moved down into Carson City.
We would not have been "Roughing It" if we didn't find Mark Twain's brother's house.
This was a delightful way to spend a few hours.
Have you ever wondered who started the tradition of sending holiday cards? Louis Prang is the guy to blame, the "Father of the American Christmas Card".
Our last stop was right across the street from the Governor's Mansion. The Bliss Mansion was once the largest residence in Nevada.
In celebrating my birthday we stepped back into time, walked quiet streets in a busy city, and paid our respects to characters brought to life by the writings of delightful characters themselves.