Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poinsettia or Bust

A brief note:

Graham and I are spending time together again. It’s hard to find someone that you have things in common with and a connection. And time spent away from one another can truly be beneficial. I have made alot of changes in the last 7 months and although there were times that I hit some really low points, I would not trade any of the experiences I have had or the amazing people that I have met that have become apart of my life. At the end of my life, I only want to regret the things that I did….I never want to regret the things that I did not do.

So, I certainly did NOT want to squander an opportunity to spend time in Poinsettia… This past weekend we went to a ghost town deep in the heart of the desert in Nevada. I can’t disclose the location…the beauty of the experience is knowing that only a select few have knowledge of its existence. It is seriously out in the middle of nowhere and I would guess that the closest water and electricity is 40 miles away. Needless to say, as all good things go, there is work and effort for such an amazing payoff.

Glen, Marites, Anna, Graham and I piled into a rented SUV literally stuff to the gills with luggage, camping equipment and food. All of us had to forgo some item in order to get everything inside….Since we stopped a few times on the way, I am not sure exactly how long the drive was, but I would venture to say 6 hours. Considering the cramped quarters, it was actually a happy car trip.

There is a small town called Gabbs where our ghost town hosts (The Alkali Flats) were playing live on Friday at R & D’s Bar. And as far as I can tell, they are the only live band ever to grace this little community. As is their custom for such an important event, the town had a potluck at the bar to welcome the band before their performance. Slowly throughout the evening, more ghost town attendees coming from all parts of California and Oregon started to arrive at the bar to enjoy the entertainment before we all made our way back to the ghost town.

Now, there were some general rules to adhere when being invited to the ghost town as the place is pretty much on an honor system. First off, there is a formal dinner held on Saturday. Yes, there in the middle of the desert you are expected to dress up in formal attire and sit down to an amazing sunset meal on top of the ridge overlooking the great expanse. Second, there is a saloon that is rather well stocked and you must bring a bottle of spirits and a shot glass to add to the provisions. And finally, you must prepare a dish for the formal dinner. Let me tell you, these people bring their A-game. You will not find a tub of potato salad from Costco or seven layer dip. Nope, these people are serious and the expectation is already set.

On Saturday, everyone dispersed throughout the ghost town to kill time in the hot desert sun. Graham and I took a long hike along the ridge, some played Scrabble and cards on the porches of the few ramshackle homes, a few fellas enjoyed skeet shooting, while others took refuge in Whitey’s Saloon to throw back drinks and tell some stories. Tim White, the town “mayor” to which the saloon was named after, notified everyone that dinner was set for sometime after 8:00. On occasion, someone would yell out a countdown to dinner. With that, everyone took to getting their dish prepared and suited up in their formal attire to join everyone at the top of the ridge.

As previously stated, the food was amazing and we were lucky to enjoy some killer dishes made by way of a few Dutch ovens. After dinner, as is the tradition of this formal dinner in the desert, 15-20 fire lamps were lit and released into the sky to mark the end of the meal. As an added benefit, some residents of Gabbs had joined us at the formal dinner and came bearing an entire fireworks show. Seriously, a fireworks show that went on for a couple of hours. Of course, after the end of a very long day the ‘pyrotechnic’ staff was three sheets to the wind and the commentary coming from the launch point was more entertaining than the fireworks themselves; especially when one would go haywire and fire off in the wrong direction. No one had issue until some came dangerously close to the saloon. That would be alcohol abuse and it would not be tolerated.

It was a wonderful weekend and I felt honored that I was invited to experience such a special place with such truly awesome people.

Not even a spare inch of space

Thunderclouds and lightning on our road trip

Enjoying the expansive view

The offical notification of no man's land....a road beer

It always tastes better when you are breaking the rules

A windmill made of car parts....not as cool as the sky

The infamous R & D's Bar in Gabbs, Nevada

A beautiful rainbow after the thunderstorm

The Alkali Flats LIVE!

You gotta love a small town....

I am pretty sure that the gas station is a cash business

That little speck in the middle is the Poinsettia Ghost Town

The skies were so clear that you could see the moon all day

Killing time in Whitey's Saloon

The gentleman in the middle is a resident of Gabbs and an honored guest at the ghost town

Mayor Tim on the right.

The Sunset Dinner

Another honored guest of the ghost town and the largest flask I have ever seen

The fellas in all their finest

More dinner shots

The lighting of the sky laterns....at one point there were 15-20 in the sky.

The last day at Poinsettia


Carrie™ said...

How freakin' cool is that?! Sounds AWESOME!! Thank you for sharing the pictures & the story. Loved it!

Michelle Ann said...

It was the cooooolest. I felt so honored to be there. I want to go every time!

Rick said...

Wow! I'm inspired to pack up and head out on a road trip!

Ed said...

Hello - I was looking up info on the Shoshone Mountains and saw a little town called Gabbs on a google map - did a search and ran across your blog. That really looks like a fun time! I looked at your profile and wondered if you have seen the movie called Big Night. I don't cook much but should. Being a chef I thought you might like it - I sure did.

sewa mobil said...

Very nice, thanks for sharing.

deb said...

What a grand adventure.