Don’t mess with Nevada — or else!


Matt Hufman

The International Car Forest of the Last Church is an artist’s creation in Goldfield, seen here on Sept. 20, 2013.

Click to enlarge photo

The steps of the Belmont Inn & Saloon, which was once the home of town "guardian" Rose Walter, are shown here on Sept. 18, 2013. The building was also a stagecoach stop in the 1880s. Below the steps is a "stagecoach stone," which is where passengers would step on and off.

I was accosted this morning as I was checking out of a Tonopah hotel. When I told the woman at the front desk that Mike and I were roaming the state and telling stories for the Sun, her eyes narrowed. “Oh! You’re the guy,” she said. “I have a bone to pick with you!”

It was more than a bone. She called a colleague over and told her that I was the guy they needed to beat up.

Me? Had my reputation preceded me?

She pulled out a copy of the Sun and put it on the counter in front of me. On the front page was a picture of the Belmont Inn & Saloon.

“That’s not the Belmont Inn,” she said.

Actually, it was the Belmont Inn.

“But it doesn’t look like that!” she said. “It’s a nice place!”

It is indeed a nice place, and the picture was a nice picture, at least on the computer. But sometimes it doesn’t transition to paper, especially on early press runs, and those papers tend to go to outlying areas, like Tonopah. After I assured her it was the way the paper was printed and that I was not trying to make the Belmont Inn look bad, I was not beaten up.

Regardless, I liked her. A lot. The fact that she was offended over a photo that she thought made Belmont look bad spoke volumes about her love for the region. And it’s wonderful that she cares that much — and didn’t have me taken out back.

• • •

A reader writes to tell me that it is my duty let you know that Tonopah is the “biggest speed trap in the world.” I don’t know that it is, but it would be wise to go through any of the small towns on the highway at the speed limit. (But you always obey the speed limit, right?) As I type this (Mike’s driving), we’ve just passed a car pulled over by sheriff’s deputies just on the edge of Goldfield. You have been warned.

• • •

We’ve spent much of the day in the Goldfield area, where we’ve met some great people. We also bought lemonade from three girls who set up a stand outside the still shuttered Goldfield Hotel. It was ironic — the opening of the hotel in 1908 was marked by champagne flowing down the front stairs. Today, children were playing on those stairs.

If you’re ever in Goldfield, the Esmeralda County Courthouse has a great display of historic information. (A reader told me I should mention that the courthouse also has a public bathroom, one of the few in town. Good to know if you’re driving through.)

We discussed the history of Goldfield with a woman who has had a number of ghost sightings in her store. And we’ve seen a few incredible things off the beaten path, including an artist’s desert installation called the International Car Forest of the Last Church. It’s quite a sight.

I’ll write more and post pictures as soon as I can.

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