I’m a sucker for small towns, where I play at being an amateur archeologist, looking at the town through as much history as our minute visits allow. This is one of the joys of traveling, particularly when we stop for the night near the center of the town, away from the Interstate, close to the town park (there’s always one) and the public library (there’s always one, even if not open more than 8 hours a week and operating out of spare space in the firehouse.)
Some towns, not to be mentioned by name, are not only on an Interstate but intersect two states, one forbidding liquor, sex, gambling and fun and the other, documented by a great flashing overhead sign, just the opposite. I will illustrate this unnamed hole with one anecdote and one photo.
We ate breakfast at MacDonald’s — it was by far the best option we could find. And when I went to take this photo, I discovered the overflow parking lot for the above Casino was right next to the parking lot for MacDonald’s, separated by a thin strip of grass. Or rather, separated by a strip of grass and a rose bush on the MacDonald’s side and a piece of artificial turf on the other side. In the kind of territory we were in, I could sympathize with not wanting to waste water on green grass. But artificial turf??? Nuff said.
The next day, however, we dropped south on a nice lonely two lane, getting gas in the town of McGill before we reached Ely, Nevada.
McGill, a mining town mostly shut down and quite tiny, still had a tad of charm:
The McGill Drug store, meeting place for a society segregated by class and finances, and operating from 1908 through 1979, has been made into a museum, with most of its interior furnishings intact. It wasn’t open, but peeking through the windows was like being transported back to my youth, when cherry coke was made with coke poured from a tap and then cherry syrup added from one of the flavored containers that lined the counter. The old stools that you could swing around and around on are still there.
We stayed that evening in Ely, Nevada, another town of which I grew very fond. True, it has its share of casinos, although there was no slot machine in the lobby of our funny little motel. But the main town Casino had a couple of truly funny signs — and was not obnoxious in its lighting and pushiness:
The Nevada Club advertised that it had live gambling, meaning, I think, real people playing poker and such what.
Moreover, the town has an art group that is quite active. More about that tomorrow. –June