Off to South America travel blog

Lobby of the Mizpah

Basement on the ghost tour

Decor of the restored hotel

Mizpah at night

Last year's Reno experience

One of the Manzanar buildings

Alabama Hills, home to many a stagecoach robbery movie

A cave in the hills

Roy and Dale at Lone Pine

Garden in Manzanar


After leaving Atlantis, we decided to venture into new territory. Last year we drove through Carson City, Las Vegas, and Death Valley; this year we headed to Tonopah, home of America's number one haunted hotel. Tonopah was a mining boom town; the rumor is that Jim Butler's burro led him to his silver claim. His wife Belle had the best one, and the Mizpah Hotel is named for her claim. We did not stay there, but we did have dinner and went on the ghost tour. Actually, Mizpah comes from the book of Genesis. It is the pile of rock that Jacob and Laban threw together to mark their meeting place after Jacob left on his journey.

Last year we visited Lone Pine, California, close to Alabama Hills where many westerns were filmed in the early motion picture days and also to Manzanar, one of the Japanese internment camps. We spent a full day there last year; Manzanar is now a national park with a museum and reconstructions of many of the facilities in use during World War 2. In Lone Pine there is a small museum which has movie memorabilia of the golden era of the cowboy; as we drove out into Alabama Hills we found markers showing where some of the famous cowboy movie stars plied their trade. The Dow Motel was a favorite hangout for the Duke.

This year in Tonopah I am intrigued with learning what makes people want to live here. A widowed rancher enjoyed the farming; a former Californian came to experience a big change after California has gotten so crowded. A hotelier says her kids like the small school. We had lunch in Fallon, Nevada on the way to Tonopah; we chatted with a couple who live in a rural area but come to Fallon to shop. Fallon is also the Top Gun location.

There is a lot more to explore around here: there is a state park called Berlin Ichthyosaurus which houses fossils, and after seeing a sign for the the Sandstone Solar Panels I looked up the project on line. It looks to me as though it is one of those projects that is not going to work. Tonopah is on the road to Las Vegas; there is no gas for 100 miles in either direction on the road. It is a vast area interesting in its own way. There are many ghost towns around; ore is found, rumor spreads, people come filled with dreams, most leave without realizing them. Persistence is what matters; sound thinking is more likely to lead to success. Human nature remains the same. Stories do get better with the telling, and truth is not always the point.

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