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Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 15th of each month and six days later, on the 21st, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of 'DOG BITE High Gravity Lager' (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Sunday, June 11, 2017

HAUNTING OLD VIRGINIA CITY (Or, STINKY HULA GIRLS)

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It had been so long since I'd been on a real vacation that when I decided to drive up from Reno to Virginia City to spend the night, I was going to do whatever I damn well pleased, and the co$t? I would pay it no never mind. In the 2 years and 2 months I've lived here in Reno, I've driven up to Virginia City 6 or 7 times. But this time I decided to "get a room".

Why Virginia City, Nevada? Because that's home to me. As a recently freed Black slave and preacher of God's Word in the late 1800s, I moved to Virginia City. I may even be buried there. Am I joking? What do you think?

FUN FACT: Virginia City is where Samuel Clemens first began writing professionally (as a newspaper journalist) and where he became "Mark Twain". 

I stayed at the Silver Queen Hotel. No TV. No A/C. 1800s, baby!


And in the saloon at the Silver Queen, I paid 4 bits to the Ol' Miner to tell me my fortune.
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"I see a trip ahead in your near future and a great deal of money. Your life may take you to many distant lands, but you will always return safely again. I see much adventure for you! There will be a special letter awaiting you in the mail. Your future looks bright and promising. A bald man brings you luck, but beware of a young woman in a red sports car. Wearing a green stone will bring you peace of mind."

Got it! While in foreign lands, I'll be lucky if I can stay away from bald, red-headed women in green sports cars!

I'm reminded of the fortune I got in a cookie at the Hong Kong restaurant in L.A.'s Chinatown in the 1980s:

"Your road to glory will be rocky, but fulfilling."

OK, the "rocky" part has been fulfilled. Now when is the "fulfilling" part fulfilled?

After an unfulfilling breakfast (good coffee though!) I had a great meditation session at Miner's Park. Then it was time for some "Evidence", some "Clam Chowder", some "Rub-Of-The-Brush". In other words, it was time to wet my whistle with liquid refreshment at the Virginia City Brewery & Taphouse.
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Sadly, the brewery is no longer brewing. They're open but pouring beers from other brewers, and even their own 601 India Pale Ale is not their own. It's being made for them by another brewer and it's not the same.
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Then it was time to stroll up my favorite street in America to see what be happenin'.
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C  STREET,  VIRGINIA  CITY,  NEVADA
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In that photo above, if you look at the hillside in the background, toward the left you can see one somewhat oblong-shaped boulder by itself, clinging to the mountain. In all the years I've been coming up to Virginia City (the first time circa 1972) I've wanted to hike up to that boulder. Well, this time, on my last day, I "fulfilled" that rocky climb.

At times, I was down on all fours going up the mountain, hoping I wouldn't put a foot down on a rattlesnake or a hand down on a poisonous spider. I was surprised to find just how large and non-oblong-shaped that boulder really is. It's not a boulder at all, but an outcropping of dark rock. I also found the remains of an old 1800s mine up there.

In coming back down from the "boulder" I discovered a couple of paths that I could easily walk. That is to say, all of that "down on all fours" to get up there had been unnecessary. Don't ya hate it when that happens?!
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On a couple of prior trips to Virginia City, I hiked up to the tip top of Mount Davidson above the letter "V" in this photo: 
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This time I was determined to explore that "boulder" at the other end of town.
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Again, I took a ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad to Gold Hill and back. I highly recommend it! The conductor / narrator has a wonderful sense of humor and relates a lot of interesting historical information on the 35 minute round-trip.
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In the early evening, I walked the one mile down C Street to Gold Hill to have a few drinks at one of my all-time favorite bars, The Gold Hill Hotel Saloon, founded in 1859. 
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And for the first time, I added a dollar of my own to their stapled collection on the ceiling and door.
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At the saloon, I had a shot of Beam & a Beer, and then after that, two "Yellow Jacket" Margaritas (which includes Grand Marnier). I like to live dangerously! Then I had to stumble up that steep, narrow, zig-zagging road with no sidewalks back to Virginia City. This should be attempted only by professionals! (God watches out for professional drunks like me.)
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The next morning I had a good breakfast at the Delta Cafe and then another excellent meditation session at Miner's Park. After that, I paid my respects to Virginia City's dead:
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I was originally planning to leave in the late afternoon or early evening on Friday, but I just wasn't ready to go yet. And since I'd promised myself that this time I'd pay no never mind to the co$t of anything, I checked in at the supposedly haunted Sugarloaf Mountain Motel. I've stayed here many times in the past...
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...but the first time was in 1986. My buddy Pooh and I were on an extensive road trip -- heading to Virginia City by way of Cheyenne, Wyoming. When we got to Reno, I wanted to stay one night but Pooh said, "I think we should keep going. I have a bad feeling about this place!" But would I listen? NO-oooooo! We got so drunk that we couldn't even find our motel afterwards. We were aimlessly wandering the streets of Reno, and nobody helps drunken cowboys in Reno! (The full story of that night and the following day and night is pretty damned hilarious, but I'm not telling it here.)

Well, somehow, "somehow" we woke up the next morning in our motel room -- neither of us could remember finding it the night before -- and we had hellacious hangovers! We walked to Harold's Club (now Harrah's) and I tried the "hair of the dog" cure -- one 7&7 strictly for medicinal purposes. Then we packed our shit stuffs and started driving toward Virginia City.

But while we were going up Geiger Grade, I could feel that 7&7 coming up, too. I told Pooh to pull over, and somewhere on the side of that mountain, I spilled one 7&7 and my soul. (I later memorialized that event and feeling in a poem titled 'Trying To Up-Chuck Your Life On Geiger Grade'.)

In Virginia City, we checked into the Sugarloaf Mountain Motel, and I had the worst hangover of my life. Imagine the worst hangover YOU'VE ever had. Now multiply it a godzillion and six times!! Now you're in the ballpark. It was probably about 10:00 AM and my day was already done. I spent the entire day in bed, on my back, staring at the popcorn ceiling.
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Pooh, meanwhile, went out drinking on C Street. Sometime that night, he came stumblin' & bumblin' into our room, fell face-forward onto his bed, kicked off one shoe and then passed out. I spent the whole night waiting for that other shoe to drop. 

To this day, that was the worst hangover of my drinking career. Experiencing something like that today would, I'm sure, literally kill me. Hell, it almost killed me even in my youth of '86.

Friday night, I went back to the Gold Hill Hotel Saloon for a couple more of those "Yellow Jacket" Margaritas. Upon entering, the first thing I said to the bartender was, "OK, I was a bit wobbly at the end of Round One. But I survived the round. Now, let's get it on! I'm here answering the bell for Round Two!"

The place was packed and Squeek Steele was there playing for the Hotel's New Ownership Party. Squeek is the "Guinness World Record Holder for most songs performed by memory on piano".

While at the bar, some woman was clearly showing extra interest in me. Then later I went into The Great Room where Squeek was playing, and I was there for only a few minutes when another woman walked past, tapped me on the arm and said to a group of women at a nearby table, "Now that he's here, our photos will be much better!" I laughed. But, seriously, can someone e'splain this to me? When I was young and lean, females rarely seemed to notice me at all. But now, at the age of Heinz-57 -- old, grey and softer -- the women around me are like flies on shit! ...Wait! That doesn't sound quite right.

Squeek Steele is the composer of the hauntingly beautiful 'Virginia City Waltz'. Something about that melody really stirs my soul:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-X1ZLb2T0Q


Just as I was about to walk up and request a song, Squeek got up from the piano and took an appetizer plate to a long table where a lot of her friends were sitting. So I walked up and slipping a $5. bill next to her plate, I said, "Excuse me, Ma'am. I have to leave now, but... later, would you play Ain't Misbehavin'? 

Squeek said: "I'll play it RIGHT NOW!" And she started to get up from the table.

But I waved her back down and replied: "No, no! Take your time. I don't need to hear it. Just so long as I know you played it." A number of people Ooh'd and Ahh'd as the mysterious cowboy (me) walked out of the Gold Hill Hotel and into the rainy, windy night.

(And speaking of wind and rain -- I'm sure glad I thought to bring my all-time favorite shirt with me. It came in handy, and Virginia City is probably the ONLY PLACE I would ever wear it in public these days. Somehow, it still seems right for Virginia City...)
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["Can You Wear Me Now?"]

The thing is, the first time I ever stayed in the supposedly haunted Gold Hill Hotel, I was with "The Countess", and AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' was "our song". Especially THIS version of it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I3P8uqCG_c


Another thing I did was take the Old Washoe Club haunted tour.
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THEY  SAY  SOMETIMES  THE  CREEPY  DOLL  ROCKS  HER CHAIR  BY  HERSELF.
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I was undoubtedly the only person on the tour who wasn't interested in the spooky stuffs. I was simply interested in hearing the history of the building and getting to see the previously off-limits 2nd and 3rd floor rooms of "The Millionaire's Club".

But if YOU are into all the supernatural haunting stories, you will find YouTube is filled with videos about the Old Washoe Club. Things like these:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAeRxu5bz9U


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCEjsQMPeDE


Anyway, I had a terrific trip! "Chuck The Truck" ran great and I got to do and see every single thing I wanted! Definitely spent too much money but I stuck to my guns and, for once, I didn't let the co$t of anything interfere with what I wanted to do or buy.

In closing, as a veteran of a great many road trips, let me pass along to you a few tips that have always paid off well for me:

1: When packing for a trip, ALWAYS include a pair of good earplugs (preferably the highest Noise Reduction Rating of 33dB). Noisy neighbors in the hotel / motel won't be an issue if you can block out their partying / overly loud TV set, etc. Because I always travel with good earplugs, I have slept like a babe at times when my traveling companion(s) suffered from noisy neighbors or hallway activity late at night.

2: Bring along 3 or 4 safety pins. In a lot of hotels / motels, the curtains don't close sunlight tight. If you think you might want to sleep in and not be awakened by sunbeams sneaking in and/or reflecting off a mirror and into your face, safety pins will close up any curtain gaps.

3: Pack a plastic kitchen garbage can liner (or larger plastic trash bag for longer trips). You can put your dirty laundry into the bag, tie it closed, and even store it in your suitcase without any odor anywhere.

4: Always pack one extra shirt, pair of socks, and boxers (or "unmentionables" if you're a lady). You just never know when something might happen or plans change. If you've got "one more of those things" than you thought you'd really need, it could save ya.

A perfect example was this trip of mine. I only expected to need one change of clothing, but I brought along an extra shirt and boxers anyway, and I was sure glad to have 'em when I decided to stay an extra night and checked into the Sugarloaf Motel.

However, I accidentally neglected to include that one extra pair of socks. I thought I had put them in my suitcase. So, on Day 3, when I hiked up to that "fake boulder" on the side of the mountain, I was wearing my Hula Girl socks for the second day in a row. Damn stinky!
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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15 comments:

  1. Love them socks, almost as much as Virginia City!

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    1. No self-respecting "real man" would EVER wear socks like that. (Yeah, I love 'em, too ;^)

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

      Delete
  2. An old man aught never to be stinky.

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  3. Sounds like you had a great time! Loved the pics and the stories.

    ~Mary

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    1. Thanks, MMQE! I can't take any credit for any of the pictures. I found them all online. Unfortunately, with my $25. a month Cricket flip-phone account, I have the ability to take photos but not to upload them to the Internet.

      Someday when I'm wealthy enough that I could afford to get drunk in an airport bar, I'll also upgrade my account so I can share some of my own photos with the world. I think I've got some pretty cool ones on this phone, just sitting there where only I can see them.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

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  4. Thanks for sharing your vacation, Stephen. I love old buildings and the history behind them. Virginia City looks like a place I'd really enjoy! We follow most of your travel advice, except the ear plugs. Could have used them a few times. It's a lot more fun to not worry about every penny when travelling. Cute socks! ☺

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    1. I appreciate the comment, DEBBIE. Virginia City was the richest spot on Earth during the mid to late-1800s due to all the silver and gold found there.

      I mentioned the earplugs first because I consider that the most important piece of advice. They've saved me from a miserable night on the road many, many times. And, really, there's not much worse than feeling lousy for a whole day of one's vacation due to lack of sleep because of noisy neighbors and/or thin walls.

      Plus, earplugs can also save a life. I remember one time camping in Monument Valley circa 1990 when I didn't have earplugs and I was nearly forced to shoot four drunken young men from Heidelberg who were camping nearby me. The only reason I knew they were from Heidelberg is because while everyone in the campground was trying to sleep, they kept shouting, "WE ARE FROM HEIDELBERG!!" I finally stomped up to their tent, told them they were all drunk and had better go to sleep NOW! They immediately did, so I didn't have to shoot them. :o)

      I've had a lot of adventures and misadventures "on the road". Ha!

      ~ D-FensDogG
      [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

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    2. Sixgun McItchyfingerJune 12, 2017 at 9:55 AM

      They were making a German spectacle of themselves.

      Like their Nazi ancestors (or was it the Japanese??), they had "awakened a sleeping giant." You should have reminded them that Americans had kicked their asses twice and you'd be happy to do it again. And that they were lucky Nappy wasn't there.

      You made us wait until the end to discover what the heck you was yakkin' 'bout with those "stinky hula girls." They would go with my favorite church necktie: a topless Hawaiian girl.

      I'm always fascinated by your stories of drunks and being drunk. I have no reference point for these stories, and being that out of the control of mind's logic seems so, so... risky and unpleasant.

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    3. They hadn't exactly "awakened a sleeping giant" because I hadn't yet achieved a somnambulistic state. And at 5'8", I don't qualify as a giant. BUT!... when there's four of you, and ONE GUY comes stomping up to you and hollers, "SHUT UP and GO TO SLEEP!", a wise person (even a drunken one) realizes that a little mad guy fearless in the face of overwhelming numbers probably should not be angered any further.

      I didn't carry my gun up there the first time, but if I'd been forced to return, I'd have had two friends with me: Smith & Wesson. (You just don't mess with my vacation sleep. Ha!-Ha!)

      Lucky for them "Sixgun McItchyfinger" wasn't there. I can imagine that twitching finger on the trigger as I type these words.

      A topless Hawaiian girl? Does she have a sister?

      Yeah, drunkenness can certainly be risky. That level of inebriation is in my past.

      Many, many years ago I saw a movie with Albert Finney and I think it was called 'UNDER THE VOLCANO'. I ought to watch that again sometime. I believe he played an alcoholic diplomat in Mexico. There was one scene where he was heavily intoxicated during a "Day Of The Dead" celebration that I recall really captured that feeling of being out of control and in a potentially very dangerous environment. I didn't think it was a particularly good movie, but that one scene really burned itself into my mind.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

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  5. Enjoyed the storytelling in this post. I've never been to Virginia City nor Reno and not sure I ever will have a chance to make it there unless I somehow acquire a lot of money to spend on trips other than those I take to visit my family. Sounds like a fascinating place to go.

    When I'm on a trip I almost always take more than I need. It's wise advice if driving. When flying these days I might just consider buying any extra clothes that I needed since baggage fees can get absurd.

    I try to avoid being in strange places if I'm going to get drunk and be in the company of at least one person who knows me. It's been a while since I've had a nasty hangover and try to avoid them these days. I'm sure you'd easily outdo me in any drinking contest. I doubt that I'd get much past my second drink, but I've never been much of a drinker. I bought some brandy back in December and that bottle is still over half full. And I still have 3 bottles of beer from the 6 pack I bought in March. No, not much of a drinker.


    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Thank you, LEE. Glad you liked the yarn.

      There really ain't no reason to go to Reno, but Virginia City is another story. It's like a Western semi-Ghost Town, but the biggest and best I've seen. The history of the place is fascinating and of course it has the Mark Twain connection which makes it even more notable. Twain's great and hilarious book 'ROUGHING IT' is about the time he spent in Virginia City and it's a must-read! I have a first edition copy of it that was purchased for about .25 cents at the Fourth Ward School, circa 1972.

      [Link:) FOURTH WARD SCHOOL, VIRGINIA CITY

      I haven't taken an airplane trip anywhere since 2010. Doubt I'll ever fly again.

      I can still drink, but I don't drink to the point of a hangover. At my age, hangovers hurt way too much and are not worth one night of partying.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

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  6. And Stephen,

    I was just thinking about asking you when was the last time you were in Virginia City...thanks for the answer. Now those nights I shudder thinking about...I plan not to ask and let drunken cowboys lie. Those episodes (and perhaps countless others) led me to become a non-drinkin MFer. Next time I visit we need to go there and have some yogurt.

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    1. Yeah, for sure, POOH!

      Plus, they make a mean cotton candy at the BUCKET OF BLOOD SALOON these days, and the Beer Nuts at GREAT BASIN BREWING COMPANY in Reno is the closest you'll ever get again to... beer.

      You're the designated driver if I'm the designated drinker.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      DogGtor of Alcohology &
      King Of Inebriation Nation

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    2. POSTSCRIPT:
      Where dat BOTB bote be, Punk?
      (You only gotta do it once a month from now on.)

      ~ D-FensDogG
      Yadda-yadda-yadda
      & Blah-blah-blah

      Delete

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