A Nevada Thanksgiving

Greetings everyone,

Hope all is well with all my followers and readers. We returned a few days ago from a two week stay in Nevada where we experienced all kinds of weather, snow (even in the desert), a bit of rain, wind, and some of those nice sunshiny days one would expect in the Southwest this time of year. This morning, here in South Central Wisconsin, we woke up to our first snowfall of the season, about 2 inches so far and no end in sight! A good day to do some writing and watch a little Packer football.

As mentioned above, we spent our Thanksgiving holiday in Fernley, Nevada with Donna’s sister Becki, her husband Darrell, their daughter (our niece) Lacie and her three kids Logan (7), Junie (4), and Jordy (2). Our daughters, Melanie and Melissa and Melanie’s husband Daniel were all there. Lacie’s husband, Ben, was a work in Alaska so didn’t get to see him at all and Darrell left for his work the Monday before Thanksgiving. He works on Sakhalin Island off the east coast of Russia and just north of Japan. So it was a fun, nice but noisy family get together.

On our way out to Nevada, we had a layover in Dallas (yes it was the long way around) and I couldn’t resist taking this photo as we waited for our flight to Reno. I think the scene is self explanatory, a group of tired travelers!nevada-thanksgiving-0341

During our two week stay, we had a lot of adventures and one misadventure. The first day we were in Nevada, Donna slipped and sprained her ankle while helping Becki set up a learning experience for fourth graders in the Carson River watershed. So for the rest of our stay she hobbled around doing the best she could to keep up with everyone! A big shout out to Renown Urgent Care in Fernley, very quick and excellent service. Of note, Donna and kids made several batches of cookies and a layered Jello salad for Thanksgiving. Here are a few photos from the watershed learning day.

Carson River
High School Students Off to Meet 4th Graders
A view from the River (note the rock bank as a fire break)

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving was “pie serve” at the preschool that Jordy and Junie attend. Families are welcome to come in for pumpkin pie and be treated to a short program by the kids. The following are some photos from the event.

Junie likes a little pie with her whipped cream!
Junie Performing
Jordy going for the whipped cream!
Jordy and Gramme Becki

Later that day, Becki took Melanie and Daniel (Donna and I rode along) to visit the FFA program at Gardnerville High School south of Carson City. They were going to do a presentation to one of classes on global agriculture however the students were harvesting turkeys the class raised at the school. It was fun watching them work, really great kids, the future looks bright.nevada-thanksgiving-0495

The ag teacher showed us around their facility, a green house, chickens, turkeys, sheep and a llama. And they are working on a garden.

Melanie, the ag teacher and Daniel looking at the sheep pen

One morning, Logan and I helped with a food drive sponsored by his Cub Scout Pack. It was fun meeting the other parents and boys all the while doing good for their community.img_1633img_1691

This was most of our crew for Thanksgiving Dinner. A great meal and a lots to be thankful for.nevada-thanksgiving-0599

Before the Thanksgiving meal, Melanie, Daniel and I did some exploring in the area. First, we head down I-80 to USA Parkway to look for the ever present wild horses. We did a little off roading until we accidentally drove on some private land that was posted with no trespassing signs! Didn’t see the signs at first but we got out of there without getting shot or ticketed. We did see a few bands of horses, here’s one photo from a distance. More than 85% of Nevada land is owned by the Federal Government, mostly the BLM and some by the military. The wild horses are kind of like deer in other parts of the country, wandering on the road and getting hit by cars and trucks.nevada-thanksgiving-0554

After that little adventure, we stopped by the Truckee River thinking there might be some wild horses coming down to the river for a drink. No horses, but we did surprise a couple who quickly pulled up their pants! A surprise for us too, they weren’t teenagers by any means, must have stopped for a quicky on their way to Grandma’s house! No photos of them but a panorama of the Truckee.img_1653

We also drove out to Pyramid Lake on the Paiute Reservation, north and west of Fernley. Here’s a panorama of the Lake, see off in the distant left, the land mass that gives the Lake it’s name. Of interest, the annual Burning Man gathering is held in the desert north of Pyramid Lake. img_1666

The Friday after Thanksgiving, we drove out to Ft. Churchill State Historic Park and historic Virginia City. Ft. Churchill was build by the Army in 1861 to provide protection for early settlers and served as a way station for the short lived Pony Express. Here are a few photos from our stop at this historic site.img_1651nevada-thanksgiving-0503nevada-thanksgiving-0530

Virginia City was founded in the late 1850’s as a boomtown after silver was discovered at the Comstock Lode. After the silver deposits petered out in the 1880’s, the population declined to its current level of about 900 residents. Its main industry now is tourism, with almost 2 million visitors per year. Of interest, Samuel Clemens is said to have gotten his start in Virginia City as a newspaper reporter and first used his pen name, Mark Twain. I always remember Virginia City as the home of the Ponderosa Ranch and Cartwright Family from the TV show, Bonanza. A few photos from our stop in this historic town.nevada-thanksgiving-0535nevada-thanksgiving-0536nevada-thanksgiving-0537nevada-thanksgiving-0534nevada-thanksgiving-0532nevada-thanksgiving-0531

A visit to Nevada wouldn’t be the same without at least one visit to a casino. While  Melanie, Donna, and Becki checked out the two quilt shops in Fallon, Daniel, Melissa and I visited the Stockman’s Casino across the street. While we didn’t win big, we didn’t lose much either and had some fun.img_1668

In my West Coast Swing #6 blog post describing our stay in this area in 2015, I mentioned the school garden we visited. Becki volunteers at this garden that she helped start a few years back. Since our visit last year, they’ve expanded opening up a new garden area that the kids are digging up and composting. Donna and I were treated to a guided tour by four very enthusiastic fifth graders who answered our questions about composting, planting, and harvesting. Note that under the white cloth in the first photo lettuce is growing to be used in the school cafeteria for a healthy, nutritious lunch. The bottom photo if of the new garden area, once a parking lot!nevada-thanksgiving-0654nevada-thanksgiving-0655

As I wrote a few weeks ago, the wide spot on Highway 50 between Fernley and Fallon is Hazen, Nevada. Hazen, North Dakota is my home town. A few more photos from Hazen, Nevada. This market/gas station and the small railroad station have been closed for many years.img_1672nevada-thanksgiving-0619

A few parting shots below. First Becki at their “Ranch”, a country house they are fixing up located near Fallon, east of Fernley. nevada-thanksgiving-0610

Some of the landscape in the area. Note the snow in the hills.nevada-thanksgiving-0620

This interesting weather phenomena occurred late one afternoon, it was snowing in the desert! One could see it a long way off. nevada-thanksgiving-0656

And my last photo of the trip, a beautiful sunset.nevada-thanksgiving-0673

That was our Thanksgiving, we are thankful we were able to spend it with family in a fun part of the world. What are you thankful for?

It’s still snowing so off to do some shoveling!

Til next week,



4 thoughts on “A Nevada Thanksgiving

  1. Tom,
    I so enjoy reading your posts. Are you in Wisconsin for Christmas or back on the road again? Hope all is well with you and Donna.

    1. Hi Karolyn,
      Good to hear from you and thanks for your comments. We will spend the 24th and 25th with our daughter in Minneapolis then head up to North Dakota for about a week to check on our mom’s. Crazy, huh?! After that our plans are unclear. How about your plans for the holidays?

  2. Cute kids Tom—I don’t think I will be able to make the meeting this month–js

Comments are closed.