Thursday, April 17, 2008

Capers in the Comstock

Rich in history and full of interesting characters, Virginia City, Nevada is a place I haven't visited since I lived in Reno seven years ago.

But this weekend I traveled to Sacramento to see friends and was swooped up for an adventure back to the brown Sierra of my discontent and up the Geiger Grade to the home of the Comstock Lode to listen to a band of a friend.

This strange trip back in time had the memories flooding back of places and people I used to know. It was weird and fun at the same time.

The four of us made our way to the historic Gold Hill Hotel and after dumping our bags headed directly to the bar for our first drinks of the night. It was after all 4PM.

We then headed in to town to the Silver Dollar Saloon located down a set of steep stairs, where
we were greeted by the sounds of a local man singing "El Paso" among others. He changed the words frequently to add color and interest.

We also met the barkeep, her daughter Cat and Cat's husband Stone. Yep, that's right his name was Stone. Apparently, his mother wanted to name him Rocky, but his dad didn't, so she settled on Stone. Cat and Stone had returned to Nevada from an undisclosed location in Texas where their six children were taken away from them because of Cat's meth problem. She's now sober three months and working in her mom's bar trying to get her kids back. (Insert the irony here.)

All of this story telling made us hungry and we went to dinner at the only restaurant in town.

Having nourished ourselves with tasty TexMex for the night ahead, it was time to go to the Old Washoe Club to see the band. Tony G and the boys were good and the local characters of Virginia City were shakin' it on the dance floor. It's really true that white men can't really dance. The people watching was spectacular. After two sets and what I think was four gin and tonics, it was time to call it a night. Or so I thought.

As you might imagine, there's a lot of talk of ghosts in this old western mining town.
So, as the four of us exit the bar, the guys become intrigued by a dark stairway and some commotion about ghosts and head up the dark stairwell. They disappear for a good length of time and us girls decide that we no longer want to wait out in the cold, cold night. So, we get in the truck and 'cruise' up and down the main street a couple times for no particular reason other than to kill time. We call the boys and they promise to be waiting on the sidewalk when we return. This is of course not the case.

So, we go back into the bar where it's warm and have another drink. We are then approached by a dude, Don, who asks us if we like magic and could he and his friend, Mike, show us a trick. Ugh. That's all I have to say. I give all the credit to my friend who makes it difficult for these dorks but she eventually plays along.
So, we chat with these clowns and my friend helps them with their little magic trick. Then things start to get sketchy when Don tells us that they had been watching us and were disappointed when we left but were glad to see we had returned. Then he asks me why we are in Virginia City. To which I reply that I'm visiting my friend and her husband. He's disappointed by this news and then asks me if I am married. I tell him no but the tone has changed in his demeanor and I can't wait for the guys to return from ghost hunting so we can get out of there!

And then my friend abandons me for the bathroom just as the guys come in. So, there I am talking to these clowns trying to figure out how to get away. I eventually escape but not before Don starts saying some inappropriate things that force me to tell a little white lie about our tall friend being my boyfriend. Which works like a charm, thank god.

Then the four of us make our getaway back to the Gold Hill bar, where we started, for one more cocktail to settle our nerves.

In the morning, we all feel fine and have one last hurrah in town at the Bucket of Blood saloon for the traditional bloody mary.

And back down the five mile road back to Reno and on to Sacramento we went, another adventure completed.