Day 2

Las Vegas  + Rhyolite + Beatty +Tonopah

7:30 am breakfast Freedom Beat Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino
Although we have the standard breakfast, the menu, created by Chef Scott Commings (Hell’s Kitchen Season 12 Champion), is a culinary road trip featuring Las Vegas favorites – Chicken Fried Bacon, Beer Can Chicken, and Red, White & Blue Velvet Waffles. The cocktail and beer program feature regional boilermakers, craft beers and signature drinks. Freedom Beat is both a dining destination and an intimate, state-of-the-art performance venue.

8:30 am enjoy Downtown Pop Culture Tour on foot, in a drizzle
From Richard Hooker, Cultural Urbanist, we learn about Las Vegas as an enduring American West outpost, defined first by its rail road history and then as America’s first gambling Main Street. He shows us what a million dollars looks like! We see antique pianos and furniture, beautifully carved wood work, glass globes, fabulous stained glass windows, in a number of casinos. Richard walks and talks very fast. We trail behind focused on his last statement. If your mind wanders for a second you’ll need Cliff Notes to catch up! Do this or one of his other tours.

9:30 am leave for ghost town of Rhyolite 11:30 am arrive and tour Rhyolite and Open Air Museum
This Nye County ghost town is in the Bullfrog Hills, about 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, near Death Valley’s eastern edge. Mining formed the town which ballooned very quickly to 8-12,000 people. At first, most business was done out of tents. Eventually, two train lines served the town, street lights were strung, schools were built. A 4-story bank went up, a post office was added, 49 saloons flourished, and various other businesses filled out the community. Between the crash of 1907 and the mines playing out by 1909, the town lost its residents until only a handful remained – creating a real GHOST TOWN. Today a volunteer caretaker oversees what is left of the town. The grounds are too wet to explore the many acres by foot, but that is the best way to see and feel the ghosts.

noon depart for Beatty 12:15 pm lunch with Beatty cowboys/gals/floozies at Stagecoach Hotel Casino
Beatty is an unincorporated Town in Nye County established in 1904. At the crossroads of Hwy. 95 and State Route 374, it offers easy access to Death Valley National Park but In addition to ghost town exploration, off roading, bird watching, hiking, camping, photography, filming, star gazing, geocaching – the list goes on. We meet the Beatty Cowboys, Floozies and Petticoats – local folk who re-create Old West Gunfights and other events of that time to take us back to when the “West “was “Wild”. Before lunch cowboy hats and bandanas to get us in the proper mood for what is to come….a hold-up, arrest, escape and shoot-out. So much fun!

1:30 pm depart for Tonopah 3 pm arrive and tour Tonopah Historic Mining Park
Over 100 acres with all buildings open to enjoy. This “Queen of the Silver Camp” had 4 major mining companies here. It’s rich history is brought to life through preserved and restored equipment and buildings, historic exhibits, video presentations, and a self-guided tour. The re-created underground Burro Tunnel features a walk down a mine tunnel that intersects one of the ORIGINAL discovery STOPES. At the end of the tunnel we step into a steel viewing cage and look down a 500’ deep stope. We arrive in a rainstorm and cold howling winds. Unsafe to walk off the main path but we manage to see some major preservations and working equipment and learn a lot about mining techniques developed in the West and later adopted by mines worldwide. Need another visit to learn more.

4:30 pm check into Mizpah Hotel
This historic hotel opened 1907. A member of Historic Hotels of America, it was a wonder in its day. The 5-story building, first permanent city structure, was tallest building in Nevada until 1929. Built of reinforced concrete, faced with stone on front and brick on sides and rear, it had steam heat and the first elevator in Tonopah. It was the social hub of Tonopah. Renovated and reopened in 2011. From moment we enter we’re aware something happening here. Head spinning Victoriana-velvet Parlor sets for lobby seating, antique marble top tables, dark woodwork, vintage ceilings and lighting set the tone. We walk into history and immediately meet inhabiting ghosts. A Mizpah ghost haunting (“the Lady in Red”) was featured in season 5 of Travel Channel Ghost Adventures. Legend is she is the ghost of a prostitute beaten and murdered on the 5th floor by a jealous raging lover. Cline Vineyards has created a wine – Lady in Red – to honor her memory.

6 pm dinner/beer tasting Tonopah Brewing Company
We’re ready for cold craft beer and slow-smoked barbecue in a clean, friendly atmosphere. Tonopah Brewing is recommended so we are here to verify! Upon arrival we find the place in total darkness – storm related power outage. We are game to eat and drink in the minimal light thrown off by a large candlelabra placed on the table. The IPhone lit menu is useless as the kitchen has very limited capacity without power. We take whatever we can get under the circumstances and do a Beer Tasting of 4 brews. Living up to its reputation – food great. Tried roasted chicken, ribs, pulled pork and barbecued beef – all great! Found out they use old wine barrel staves for the barbecue fire…which must add to the meat’s flavor. Good stop.

overnight Mizpah Hotel
Our snug hotel room is comfortable with fast internet that makes it easy to stay in touch while on the road. Today we learned and experienced so much and we are very tired.


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