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Published: June 25th 2017
Hawthorne Navy Depot
The depot covers 147,000 acres or 226 sq. mi. and has 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) storage space in 2,427 bunkers.
Geo: 39.5245, -119.812
Back in the days when divorces were a little more difficult to get, Reno was the divorce capital of the world (very convenient since the quickie wedding capital of the world, Las Vegas, was just down the road). You might think that after a few years of non-stop, close-quarters travel, I would be a little worried that, largely at DH's insistence, we were heading for a town with a reputation for offering up quick solutions to nagging marital problems. Not only do most places seem to offer up quickie divorces these days, the reason I wasn't particularly concerned is that DH is still mulling over whether or not to marry me in the first place. Seventeen years ago I popped the question and DH, after quickly plucking the ring out of my grip, said she'd have to think about it and get back to me. Apparently she doesn't want to make any rash decisions and she's still considering her marital options so a quickie divorce is the least of my concerns.
Before Reno, however, we wandered into the most heavily armed part of the U.S. we had yet seen (and that's saying something since we had been
in the weapons section of a Walmart in Texas). Hawthorne Military Base surrounds Hawthorne, Nevada and its most obvious feature are the thousands of munitions bunkers that dot the landscape. Despite being in the same neighbourhood as the highly secretive Area 51, there doesn't seem to be any attempt to keep the location of a big percentage of the U.S. Navy's munitions stockpile under wraps. If ever there is a zombie apocalypse, DH and I will be heading to Hawthorne where there's enough ammunition to hold out for the time it takes to figure out how to cure any virus that's turning people into flesh eaters.
At DH's insistence, we then headed to Carson City because of some strange childhood crush she had on Ben Cartwright of the TV show, Bonanza (the legendary Ponderosa Ranch was set just outside of Carson City). This was the same woman that couldn't see the extraordinary value in visiting the hometowns of Popeye and Superman. Apparently the tall foreheads of Carson City don't share DH's passion for Ben, Hoss, and the gang, and there's no tributes to this classic western show that we could find in Carson City. There used to
be a Ponderosa theme park of sorts, but as the fan base of the show grew out of their theme park stage (or died off) it was relegated to the Boothill of good ideas gone bad.
Virginia City was also featured on Bonanza the odd time so we made our way up the mountain trail in search of DH's Hoss Cartwright fix. Because of a silver mother lode, Virginia City was reputed to be the richest city in America at its peak (mining wealth also hastened the admission of Nevada into the U.S.). In much the same way that Tombstone tries to give you a sense of the Wild West, Virginia City is a stuck-in-time glimpse at what an old mining town might have looked like. As with most mining towns, colourful saloons took over the main drag and many of those same saloons continue to ply their trade, encouraging drunken tourism instead of drunken mining.
The saloon with the best name was undoubtedly The Bucket of Blood Saloon but I fully expected a flurry of action in The Silver Queen Saloon. As much as DH is still assessing my long term suitability, her favourite
Hawthorne Military Base
Hawthorne Army Depot surrounds the small town of Hawthorne, Nevada, where most of its employees reside.
duo from her rockin' seventies, The Captain & Tenille, actually got married in the chapel at the back of this saloon, so I suspected that, in a fit of Muscrat Love, she might imagine following in her hero's footsteps. But not only was the chapel in use when we were there, DH seemed much more interested in the slot machine that had a gold plated gun as the top prize. A quicker solution than a Reno divorce??
From what we saw, Reno has moved to the express Vegas style weddings and has dropped the divorce industry. We're also thinking that with Vegas claiming the gambling centre crown, Reno has decided to focus on a particular type of gambler- the heavy smoker (I can already hear Deb P scrambling to find her atlas so she can book a trip to Reno). There are casinos everywhere but they are universally filled with thick blue smoke, and most of the slot machines are manned by glassy eyed types covered in ash with a cigarette dangling from their lips while holding another, and balancing a third lit ciggy in an ashtray by their drink. We were on the 14th floor of one
Hawthorne Navy Depot
WAD is the "Worlds Largest Depot" and is divided into three ammunition storage and production areas, plus an industrial area housing command headquarters, facilities engineering shops, etc
of these hotels and the smoke was bothersome even that far away from the casino floor- I think Vegas allows smoking but they've figured out how to more effectively purge the smoke. Since we couldn't tolerate the casinos, we spent far more time than we should have in another of Reno's landmarks- the Bowling Stadium and Bowling Hall of Fame.
Time to head back to the Pacific Coastal Hwy.
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