AS WE DRIVE INTO A SMALL, DUSTY TOWN, A GRIZZLY LOOKING OLDER MAN WHO HAS JUST GOT OFF HIS ATV GREETS US. GREEN HILLS, A HANDFULL OF DERELICT HOMES, AND EMPTY BUILDINGS SURROUND US.
He graciously says we can see the inside of the long-closed Ore House Saloon. He unlocks the door, and we step back in time – to around the first half of the last century, when this place hummed as the home of some 600 people mining silver, gold, and mercury.
We also sneaked a look inside some of the abandoned homes, where we found newspapers with dates in the 1940s and even some unbroken jam jars. The humidity is so low that, apart from surface rust, there is little decay. Aside from a handful of hardy souls who truly love the quiet life, this is a ghost town. We’re almost alone in Ione, Nevada, just a couple of hundred miles from Las Vegas. What a contrast.
To too many tourists, Las Vegas is Nevada. In the distance they might see sandy-colored mountain peaks peeking through the bright lights on the Strip, but they can barely see desert anymore. For the thousands who drive up from Southern California, the desert is the boring section in a long, monotonous drive. It’s something to avoid.
Of course, the desert need not be viewed with disdain, and there are many who go out of their way to get away from the lights and hustle of Las Vegas.