Monday, October 20, 2008

The End of the Road

It ain't easy livin' at the end of the road, if you will excuse my Palinism. The folks in Empire and Gerlach, Nevada are finding this out because the little store in Empire that serves both tiny communities has closed due to a dispute.

Now folks have to drive to Reno or Fernley. Reno is 117 miles from Gerlach, over two-lane road, thru Indian reservations where the speed limit dips to 20. There are frequently cows on the road, because the land is open range. The shoulders are soft. Speed at your own risk.

Open range means no fences. Don't Fence Me In. How many of you have driven across Open Range.

If you got a really early start you could get to Reno by 9:30 a.m., spend an hour or more (better have a good, long list) at the supermarket, lug everything into the car and be back in Northern Nevada--Gerlach or Empire or one of the little ranches in the big Area Beyond Reno by 1:00 p.m. if you didn't stop for lunch or coffee or do some other shopping.
Of course if you made it all the way to Reno you might want to go to the drug store, the hardware store, buy a pair of socks and have a bite to eat--there's only one restaurant, Bruno's, in Gerlach (none in Empire) and while Bruno's rocks, a Mexican or Italian meal--a little variety might be good. Of course you would also want to get your teeth cleaned, buy a CD, take Fido to the vet--there are lots of things that aren't available in Gerlach. Did I mention haircut?

Holy freakin' crap! Can all this be done in one day? The end of the road engenders strong people and animals, too.
Is this Palin country? I don't know of any 4th of July parades. There is a kind of live and let live attitude, but people do look out for each other. No more than they would do in a city. Where did this city vs. small town rivalry come from? Guess Caribou Barbie doesn't read the NYTimes Talk of the Town. Of course, she doesn't read much of anything from what we know. Talks like it, too. But onward.

I don't know of Boosterism, at the end of the road, although the high school has a car wash for vehicles leaving Burning Man. This year there was a community garden. Stuff grows in the desert if you water it. You can pick Empire and Reno out ten miles off because there are trees, which bear fruit if you water them. Trees in the desert. A little oasis, and then Gerlach has the restored water tower, compliments of (mostly) city folk who actually do care.

It costs about $45.00 in gas for a round trip unless you drive a vehicle that gets 10 mpg and then it costs $90.00.

Maybe the folks should start a dairy herd and a bakery. And a big greenhouse. I feel sorry for the seniors, and those on disability checks which make up a big part of Gerlach. Empire is a US Gypsun town, but the isolation is still complete. It's a beautiful drive up from Reno. The hills and mountains and weird rock formations and the dry lake beds and little roads to nowhere or mines or ranches--it's a land of mystery and hardscrabble living.

Of course it's hard to eat mountains and beauty and mirages and jack rabbits and someone elses cows.

Life is hard at the end of the road. Read about it in the Reno Gazette.

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