St. Augustine, The Oldest Catholic Church in Nevada – Road Trip Day 8 Ep.19

Neek sez:

With a glint in her eye and an infectious laugh, the lady at the Trading Post who stamped our Highway 50 booklets continued on with her story about the abandoned buildings in Austin, Nevada.  The owner of the Main Street Shops who had to sell because of her son’s illness also owned the St. Augustine’s Catholic Church.  She had deeded the church to the St. Augustine’s Cultural Center for them to renovate and restore for its use.  The shopkeeper told us that it was abandoned for now and that we should go take a look.

Typical of many old mining towns, the building was situated on a steep hill so Sar decided to stay in the car and take a nap.  Lex and I huffed and puffed our way up the road to see an imposing red brick church with a beautiful tall white steeple. Continue reading


A Living Ghost Town – Austin, Nevada – Road Trip Day 8 Ep.18

Lex sez:

Driving along the expansive landscape of Highway 50, it’s hard not to imagine what it must have been like to be riding along the Pony Express over 150 years ago through the same desert terrain.  Fittingly, the legend of the next stop we visited, Austin, is that the town arose in 1862 when a Pony Express horse kicked over a rock that opened up to a cavern full of silver.  The Pony Express agent riding that horse, William Talcott, made the discovery that within one year made Austin the seat of Lander County and in two years grew the population of the town to 7,500.  Neek, Sar and I were curious to see this old mining town that at one point was the second largest city in Nevada.

Austin’s history is filled with unique memorable characters.  There was Reuel Colt Gridley, who operated the general store built in 1863, which was restored in 1984 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  Continue reading

Historic 1881 Eureka Opera House in Nevada, Road Trip Day 8 Ep.17

Neek sez:

Eureka is nicknamed “The Friendliest Town” on the Loneliest Road in America. With that kind of reputation, how could we not visit? This would also be the 3rd stamp in our Hwy 50 book. Only 5 more to go!

Eureka was settled by some silver prospectors from Austin, Nevada in 1864 when they found silver/lead ore in nearby Prospect Peak. By 1873, Eureka was Nevada’s second ranking mineral producer next to the Comstock Lode. In 5 years, the population of Eureka would swell to 9,000 people. Their economic mainstay would be in operating the smelters that would separate silver from lead. With all of the black smoke and soot coming from 16 smelters, Eureka would be known as the “Pittsburgh of the East”. Continue reading

Abandoned Mystery Cabin on Highway 50, Road Trip Day 8 Ep.16

Lex sez:

Whenever we go on a road trip, there is always an agenda we have in mind, but it’s never rigidly set.  Part of the wonder and excitement of the road is that you never know what you’re going to see along the way; the journey is just as important as the destination.  So we always try to allow time for the unexpected.  That certainly paid off for us in this episode of our trek through “The Loneliest Road in America.”

Neek, Sar and I left Ely, Nevada after having breakfast in our hotel room that morning.  We headed out on Route 50 with our first planned destination that day being the Old West town of Eureka, Nevada.  But on our way there, we came across one of those unexpected sights we just had to check out. Continue reading

The Best Food in Jail – The Cellblock Steakhouse in Ely, Nevada, Road Trip Day 7 Ep.15

Neek sez:

Lex was delighted to see an old cigarette vending machine at the entrance of the Jailhouse Motel and Casino in Ely, Nevada. He and his older sister used to pull the levers pretending it was a game when they were children. Sar and I used to buy chocolate cigarettes and bubblegum shaped like cigars when we were kids. The good old days!

We walked into a cacophony of electronic bells, fake clanking coins, and real people yelling in glee. Continuing on, we passed through a short corridor and till we were seated at our very own jail cell. The Cellblock Steakhouse is a themed restaurant where you can sit and have your (possibly last) meal. Continue reading

Great Basin National Park in Nevada – Road Trip Day 7 Ep.14

Lex sez:

Just a short drive away from Route 50 within the town of Baker, Nevada is the entrance to Great Basin National Park.  It is filled with ancient natural beauty, such as the iconic Bristlecone Pine trees throughout the park, as well as spectacular scenic views.  Neek, Sar and I decided to start our exploration by checking out the Great Basin Visitor Center for information and advice.

Before we ventured inside the Visitor Center, we noticed when we parked our car outside of it that there was already a spectacular view to see.  The horizon was filled with beautiful mountain peaks!  Continue reading

The Loneliest Road in America – Hwy 50 in Nevada, First Stop – Road Trip Day 7 Ep.13

Neek sez:

In the distance, we saw a lonely little motel with a lonely gas station and a lonely casino. We were at the start of Highway 50 – The Loneliest Road in America! The motel, The Border Inn (aptly named since it stood right on the state border of Utah and Nevada) was our first stop on a challenge that would take us approximately 287 miles through lonely roads, living ghost towns, roadside attractions and a quirky steakhouse.

In 1986, a Life Magazine writer declared Highway 50 from Ely to Carson City, Nevada as one of the most remote areas that he had ever driven and declared it to be “The Loneliest Road in America”. Truthfully, there are probably more deserted roads around but this one has a guidebook and challenges you to take it. Continue reading