After breakfast, I called for my car from valet parking for an 8:00 departure and headed over the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the Nevada side to Carson City, the capitol of Nevada. The trip was through beautiful forests and snow covered mountains. Along Lake Tahoe the ride was flat and straight, but when US-50 turned east, I was winding up the mountains to an elevation of 7,100 feet. Luckily, there was hardly any traffic so I didn’t have to worry about someone on my tail. Plus, it was a four-lane highway the whole way.
Along the route I saw a sign about a controlled burn ahead, and a little later at a pull off I encountered three trucks and men beginning to put on their fire-fighting pants and jackets.
Then I wound down the other side of the mountains and the highway flattened out for Carson City which has an elevation of only 4,660 feet. I traveled north along Carson Street to the capitol complex and found a free parking spot in the Nuggets Casino lot next to the capitol! Only in Nevada. It was now 9:00.
I walked over to the Capitol Complex which was decorated in green ribbons along the fence and entrances, lamp posts, etc. I learned later that they were in celebration of Earth Day from a capitol guard. I walked the grounds to take a few pictures, especially of the silver dome instead of the gold covered domes you encounter in other states. (Nevada’s nickname is the Silver State because of the Comstock Lode)
I then walked up the steps into the capitol building. No security screening to walk through, just sign the visitor’s book and pick up a self-guiding tour brochure. I was able to walk anywhere in the building. The capitol used to house their Supreme Court and Legislative branches, but no longer. They have their own buildings now. Only the governor, lieutenant governor and treasurer are house there. It is more a museum and meeting rooms. The Senate Chamber is now a museum about what has made Nevada great. The Supreme Court and Assembly Chambers are now meeting rooms.
It was a small capitol building and didn’t take me long to walk the building and exhibits. So I walked over to the grounds surrounding the Supreme Court and Legislative buildings to take pictures among the flowering trees. They had a lot of white birch trees in the complex which you do not encounter that often. I remember we had a nice sized white birch tree at the house growing up, Mom liked them.
Crossing the street, I headed north towards the Nevada State Museum passing a whole block of buildings that were the State Attorney General’s offices. Along the way some business were open and others opened at 10. I guess I didn’t realize how early in the day it was still. Along the way I encountered historical markers pointing out that this was along the Pony Express route and also had been part of the Lincoln Highway.
At the state museum, which is housed in the old Carson City U.S. Mint building, I paid my $8.00 and explored the Ghost Town exhibit. There were many towns that popped up during the silver and gold rushes in Nevada and then when the mines ran dry, were abandoned. I descended down into a mine exhibit, complete with railcar tracks that I walked along learning about mining. It really felt like you were in a mine as you walked along (watch your head, the mine beams were not very high). Of course you didn’t feel the cold for being so deep, or the stuffy air your normally encounter in a mine. (The newer building attached to the mint building looks like a mine shafthead frame as a nod to their past.)
I then saw two movies – one about mining and the other about the history of the mint in Carson City. The locals wanted the mint in Nevada because of the exorbitant cost of transporting the silver and gold out of the region.
FYI: The current mint facilities are in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, and West Point with the bullion depository at Fort Knox. But mints were once also located, besides in Carson City, in Charlotte, NC; Dahlonega, GA; New Orleans; and even in Manila, Philippines.
I then walked over to see the coin press and mint exhibit. There was a nice collection of Carson City (CC) coins. (This is the numismatist in me. I just started rebuilding my coin collection after decades of neglect.) They also had the silver serving set used aboard the USS Nevada, a Nevada-class battleship. Quite impressive and very costly. Unfortunately, if I could have returned on Friday (there is a demonstration on the last Friday of each month), they have a demonstration of the working coin press, but I will be in the San Francisco area attending a stamp show. Bummer!
There were other exhibits about the history, flora and fauna, Native Americans, etc. of Nevada that I perused amongst the many school groups that were learning more about their great state. I stopped at the gift shop on my way out and purchased a coin they make with the press. Of the eight coins on display, I purchased the last Pony Express coin. When I asked for that coin, the gentleman behind the counter said he didn’t think there was one available looking at the last inventory. But he said “Let me double check.” And going through the boxes, he found one! (Moral here – it never hurts to double check.) I bet you I know which coin they will be minting during the demonstration on Friday.
On the way back to my car, I saw a coin store next to the casino. So, I entered the store to look at the various CC mint coins they had on display. Now most of the coins minted in Carson City were silver dollars. And not knowing much about them, I talked with the coin dealer and asked to look at one that was not uncirculated. Wow, can I pick them. It was only $900.00 (I had expected maybe $100.00). I did not purchase it. I thanked him and said I had to rethink this. He then offered me his card with the store’s website and told me he ships to New Jersey and other states all the time. We’ll see down the road if there is an affordable one available.
I walked through the very small Nugget Casino (it was not very busy) and out the back door to the parking lot to my car. I drove over to the US Post Office to obtain some post card rate stamps. And then headed over to the Galaxy Fandango 10 movie theater to see the 12:45 showing of Missing Link. I was early, it was just about noon. So I purchased my ticket, got a foot-long hot dog for lunch. The young man behind the counter gave me a slip to fill out for my hot dog. I had to check off what kind of hot dog, what condiments, etc. Then he would make the hot dog and deliver it to my seat. So, while I waited for my hot dog to arrive and the movie to start, I played Sudoku on my phone.
The movie was enjoyable and humorous. Not a must see, but if you have a chance, you might want to view it. Afterwards I stopped at the local Wal-Mart for a SD card reader so I can download my pictures from my camera. I left mine at home.
On the way back over the winding road, I again encountered hardly any traffic. I could now see the controlled burn from the smoke in the sky. I had set my phone to find the local Subway in South Lake Tahoe. As I crossed the state line I had to laugh. My phone announced “Welcome to California.” Ah, technology. It always knows where we are. At the Subway, I purchased my dinner to take back to the room. After I had my dinner, I walked over to Stone Cold Creamery to purchase desert and use the 10% off discount.
I worked on the blog and read the USA Today newspaper before hitting the sack.