After the Geiger Lookout Wayside Park, it was another thirty minutes to Virginia City. Give or take a minute or two or three. Or something like that. I hadn’t been here in over twenty years. Probably more like twenty-three years. Maybe. I remember being awed the first time around. So full of life and promise and vestiges of the old west! It still seemed like that to me even now, but I felt like I was able to appreciate it on a different level than I did over two decades ago.
I first stopped when I came across the “Welcome to Virginia City!” sign. It was situated just a short distance outside town, off the road enough so that a few cars would have room enough to pull aside and snap photos. Like I did. I snapped a couple. Another car showed up and the occupants piled out, jabbering away amongst themselves. I shyly hung back while they took photos of each other in front of the sign.
I saw my opportunity and offered to take a photo of them all together. They liked this offer and, once I had done so, they took a photo of me in front of the sign.
We piled back into our respective vehicles, now friends of a sort, and went our separate ways.
It was easier than I thought to find a place to park. I drove down a San Francisco-steep hill to a thankfully flat side road that ran parallel to the main drag. I drove south and spied an open spot.
Natalie: 1. Virginia City: 0.
I had to pull a donut in the middle of the road in order to acquire this spot. There were no cars and the road was wide enough. I got the parking space and that’s all that matters. Right?
It was hot outside, and my bottled water, warm. Yuck. I left it in my car while I trekked up the hill to the main road. Right away a coffee shop screamed out my name, so I gravitated toward its cool, air-conditioned interior.
Since it was so warm out (and it wasn’t even the hottest part of the projected 97-degree day yet! What fun!), I bought myself an iced latte. Worth. It. Not to mention delicious. I sipped it tenderly while I wandered up and down the rows of buildings. There were plenty of souvenir-touristy shops and more than a few saloons (how fitting, amirite? Because, you know, stereotypical old west town). I didn’t buy anything, but I enjoyed looking nonetheless. My more cynical side declared that most things I saw and wanted I could buy online while my less cynical- but more practical- side told me I was trying not to spend a lot of money. A small part of me, my inner child, tried to push my hands and wallet into buying everything I laid eyes on.
I remembered last time I was here, over twenty years ago, there was a blacksmith. Wasn’t here this time. I remember also going on the train to Carson City last time, but I didn’t do that this time, either. But if you ever happen to venture there for the first time, or second time, or whatever time, give it a look-see!
Up one side of the road I went, crossed the street, and then down the opposite side. Browsed a few of the stores. I considered buying a blanket that had been hand made, but then I realized it wasn’t a blanket so much as a rug.
That won’t keep me covered up and cozy come winter time. Sad face.
At one point, I passed by an elderly man, with a long, well-cared for beard. He was dressed as a prospector and sat next to a mule.
Another place I stopped at was a museum dedicated to Virginia City’s fire department: the Comstock Firemen’s Museum. It wasn’t big, but full of history. Just the kind of museum I like! All sorts of interesting things (including an old-timey fire truck!) packed into a small space; I think it may have been part of the old fire department, but don’t hold me to that. I didn’t need a lot of time here to soak in the history- probably twenty minutes or so- but I loved it! Admission was free, but I donated a little something anyway. I am a supporter of local businesses and I like to do my best, even when I’m not from a place.
I wandered the main drag for at least an hour and a half, possibly two hours total. By that time I figured it was probably time to get going back to Reno- except I had two more stops to make. Details to come!