Monday, January 09, 2006

Head West, Young Man! Part 5

We cheerfully cleaned up camp the next morning, happy to still have all of our limbs, and headed back into the great state of Montana. Okay, no, we didn’t just pick up and hightail out of Yellowstone, we’ll come back to this later…Trust me.
We stopped at a cute diner in West Yellowstone and had a wonderful breakfast as we poured over our plethora of pamphlets. Lo and Behold, what did I find? “Historic Mining Town,” “Ghost Town,” “Operating steam locomotive”…in Virginia City and Nevada City, Montana! It was a long drive up there, but a beautiful one at that. And Virginia City was UNBELIEVABLE! It was all old wood-sided buildings, dirt roads, and a very cool train that we HAD TO ride!
We bought tickets, grabbed the cameras and “All Aboard” the Alder Gulch steam engine! We rode 15 or 20 minutes to the neighboring town, Nevada City, which was EVEN COOLER than Virginia City!
We only had 30 minutes “in town” before the train would leave…so off we ran to the hotel (still operating, complete with antique furniture, creaky stairs, and this cool balcony), saloon (we even played a few songs on the very, very old jukebox—what were they called back then?), and…the “museum.” This museum was FULL of things…oh…how can I describe it all? There were “picture shows” where you put in a nickel and watch a “movie” in moving pictures, and music players where you put in a dime and watch the gears turn to play multiple instruments, and oh, so MANY things! We were just getting started, when we heard the train whistle! No! It was time to go!
Sadly, we re-boarded and headed back to Virginia City. On the way out we saw some old mining equipment, and what did that say? “Learn to Pan for Gold.” Really? Oh, we HAD TO come back! About halfway through our return trip, we heard GUNSHOTS! What happened? We were being held up by a band of local misfits! There were 4 or 5 guys with bandanas covering their faces, holding rifles and revolvers, demanding all of our gold and jewelry! Somehow, we made it safely back to town, only to see the same “misfits” wearing deputy badges and chit-chatting with the “sheriff!”
Of course, nothing in Atlantic City could have held R’s attention—because the words “PAN FOR GOLD” were ringing in his ears. We loaded back up in the car and drove a few miles down the road to Nevada City. We pulled into the parking lot for the gold panning place and went inside. Long story short, a young man brought out all the equipment we would need, told us to pick our “bucket of dirt,” and showed us the CORRECT technique to PAN FOR GOLD! R sloshed and splashed, shook and strained, and at one moment it all came together—he found gold! And, ultimately, I knew that even if we didn’t see another thing for the remainder of our trip, R would be entirely content!

I guess since this post is the one with fewest pictures, I'll go ahead and tell y'all why I've made so many comments about my *lack* of *pictures.* See, over the course of this 3-week vacation, we had taken over 500 picture (I think it was 520 or something like that). Well, throughout the trip I would download the pictures to my computer to "empty" the camera's memory sticks. Once we returned home, I saved 45 of my favorite pictures to a disk so that I could make prints at WalMart. I also saved the rest of the pictures on another disk. A few weeks after returning home, my computer started "acting up." R decided that it needed to be reinstalled (like starting "fresh"). Well, after the reinstall, when I tried to get the pictures off the disk, I found out that there was a problem. Not a single picture had been saved! So, all of the pictures that I've posted (plus the ones that will be in future posts) are the 45 "favorites" that I had initially saved on disk. Well, that's all I can say about that. I guess we're fortunate to have about an hour of video from random parts of our trip, too. So, check out the links I've put up, there are lots of awesome pictures (probably some that I took, too).

Stay tuned...part 6 coming soon...

8 Comments:

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Gary 's valuable input...

wow. great picture. Who took it?

 
At 2:37 PM, Blogger Celina 's valuable input...

ha ha! So funny you asked, that's one of the few pictures I have of us together! I set the camera on a table and used the timer!

 
At 8:10 AM, Blogger ccw 's valuable input...

So sorry about your pictures. I recently realized that I lost every single digital picture of our first vacation together. I am hoping the in-laws have copies for whatever reason.

This part of the trip sounds like so much fun. I am really enjoying hearing about your trip.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger Mon 's valuable input...

Pictures are so important! I would've had a mental breakdown if mine gotlost. I'm nuts like that though! I'm shocked you survived the bandits, I hear those guys are pretty ruthless!!!! LOL

 
At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Judy W 's valuable input...

I almost feel like I'm taking the trip with you guys! Thanks for detainling the trip on your blog. Lots of us have never made it there...the farthest I made it was to the Grand Canyon and it was impressive but....

Anyway....keep it up!

 
At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Judy W 's valuable input...

....Detailing!....darn keyboard!

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Celina 's valuable input...

So glad y'all are enjoying it! I'm having fun trying to remember all the little things, too!

 
At 11:36 PM, Blogger fin 's valuable input...

nice pix!

 

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