Travelogue:

At home in Nevada — here, there and anywhere

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Matt Hufman

A Nevada Northern Railway train goes around a bend by a copper mine outside of Ely on Sept. 30, 2013. The rail line was put in originally to handle loads of copper, but it no longer does.

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Tour guide Bob Dollans shows the shop of the Nevada Northern Railway on Sept. 30, 2013.

It’s always nice to come over the Apex Summit on Interstate 15 and look into the Las Vegas Valley — it means we’re home.

Of course, we’re Nevadans so the entire state is our home, right? (A chorus of “Home Means Nevada,” anyone?)

Each time we come back into Southern Nevada, there’s a greater appreciation for home — both Las Vegas and the state. Nevada is wide open and diverse, and in more than 2,000 miles, we’ve experienced quite a bit of the state and met many people along the way.

On this trip, we’ve logged more than 1,000 miles and there are many miles still to come.

This was a different type of trip for us. We typically expect to drive to another town every day, but on this trip we stayed in Elko for all but one night due to a mine tour and the Nevada Press Association’s annual convention. That gave us time to try a couple of Basque restaurants. On successive nights. That might not have been the best of ideas. The food was great, the portions were huge and I should have had pants with an elastic waistband. I ordered steak, and they served a cut I think was called “left,” as in the left side of the cow.

But more than trying some different restaurants, including the famed Star in Elko, we have had a chance to see a few different parts of the state and hear some great stories. I’ll tell more of those in the days and weeks to come.

It’s fascinating to hear why people live where they do. We have met people whose families pioneered an area, and we’ve met transplants who came for a job or a new start and have come to call the state home.

In Ely, we went to the East Ely Railroad Depot Museum to ride the historic Nevada Northern Railway, and we met tour guide Bob Dollans, who seemingly knew everything about anything to do with the operation. When a rail car was made? Check. Who made it? Check. What type of wheels it had? Check. I’m not sure he could be stumped.

So, I asked about his background and if he had worked for a railroad. Nope. He retired after a full career in sales and moved to Ely a decade ago because of the museum. Trains have always been his hobby, and in retirement, he said, “I didn’t want to play with toy trains on the floor, I wanted the real thing.”

And in Ely, he has had that opportunity and made the most of it.

That’s one of the great things about our state — there’s opportunity seemingly around every corner.

Now we’re back to a city where people have taken advantage of those opportunities to create an international destination. We’ll be back out on the road soon, and we’ll explore Southern Nevada in the coming months as well.

In the meantime, keep looking and reading — there are a few more stories to tell.

Thanks for taking this journey with us. If you have a story to tell or have suggestions about what we should see, who we should meet or what we should do, please email us at: finding.nevada@lasvegassun.com.

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