A Travellerspoint blog

Steaming through the rain

held up in Keystone NV, then on to Las Vegas to be robbed there too, perhaps?

Room 12042, Aria Hotel & Casino
16.26 Wednesday , 11th May

A lot of rest and recreation here in Sin City (not much of that around here). And properly learning the strategy for playing Jacks or Better on Video Poker seems to be paying off.... or we've been lucky. Don't worry, Colette, we have a very strict bankroll policy! When it's gone, it's gone, until the next session. We lose no more than the cost of a meal but currently the kitty is looking very healthy.


Meanwhile, back in the little desert town of Ely, Nevada, it was a very wet Sunday. Grey and raining quite heavily, and it looked set for the day. And we had a ride booked on the steam North Nevada Railway at 9.30.

By the time we got to the depot (or station) it had all but stopped. We were in a covered carriage though we could walk through to an open car and, luckily, the rain held off for much of the trip.

As we were there early (we had to collect the tickets) John was invited up to the footplate. Wow!




A volunteer gives a scripted running commentary


Someway out of town, after going through 2 rickety and haunted tunnels, we spotted some horseriders near the old copper mine at Keystone. Before we knew it, we had pulled into the little town and masked bandits boarded the train. It turned it was a posse hunting for a train robber who was caught and shot before our very eyes. Though we don't think he was quite dead.


The robbers relieved us of a few dollars "tip". First time we've had to tip at gunpoint.

We returned to town and were then treated to a tour of the machine shops. They are planning to restore another locomotive and have projects to restore various cars and coaches. Most of the staff are volunteers though they do employ a few permanent staff.


The permanent resident of the shed was this rather oily cat. She was perfectly happy and fit. Of course, she is covered in oil, as we would be if we'd lived there! We were assured that giving her a shampoo was not recommended. She adopted the one member of our party, a lady from Texas, who did not like cats, and she rubbed her oily self all round the Texan's legs!



An amazing steam-powered snow clearer

After a fabulous morning, despite our worries about the weather, we drove to historic downtown, Looked at the old Hotel Nevada which was, at 6 storeys, the tallest building in Nevada until the 60s. We then crossed the road to the Jailhouse casino where we 'd planned to have dinner in the Cellblock restaurant. We must have looked a little lost, the barman came out from behind the bar and took us to find the maitre d' to book a table (arms round John). How friendly all the staff were. Quite unusual in our experience in casinos in Nevada. But even in Las Vegas, we have found everyone to be polite, friendly and chatty.


After rest in our hotel room, we returned to the Cellblock to be locked in our cell where we had probably one the best meal we have had in the USA, ever!


John's New York steak with stuffed potato, fresh and perfectly cooked asparagus and carrot with cowboy beans. Delicious.


Bob's Basque-style lamb cutlets marinaded in port. Almost unbeatable lamb chops!

After a short gamble, we returned for a good night's sleep before the longish drive to Las Vegas.



We did not need to leave too early so a leisurely oatmeal and fruit breakfast at the hotel then on the road through the very empty desert of Nevada, though for most of the journey, it looked quite green. After 20 miles on US-6, we turned onto Nevada Route 318. This was a magnificent drive on an empty road with straights of up to 50 miles, then a bend, then another straight nearly as long. Anyone who wants an iconic drive on an American highway should look at this drive. We flashed past a sign which said something about the road being closed ahead. So we worried about that till we hit the only place to stop on that road, a coffee house and cafe at Lund. It emerged the road had been closed for much of Sunday for a road race so it was a good job we travelled on the Monday! We then turned onto a slightly busier US-93 which got even busier, mainly with traffic in the other direction leaving Las Vegas after the weekend. For the final 20 miles we took I-15, turning off at Downtown, which seemed frighteningly familiar to us.


Be prepared, at a rest stop on US-93


"Viva Las Vegas" never did come on to the Elvis channel on the satellite radio fitted in the car. (The rental company had included a daily fee for this but we got it taken off when we explained we had not ordered this. Though, of course we still had the radio in the car.) But. as we drove past Bellagio fountains on The Strip, guess what was playing? Yep, Viva Las Vegas, by Elvis. We had come back to our 4th home.


The checkin at the hotel and all about the room will be covered in another, Las Vegas, part of this Blog.

Meanwhile, thank you so much for your comments and support on Facebook. It does make all the difference.

On Friday we move to the other extreme. A room in the lodge at Zion National Park in Utah where we will have none of the luxuries and amenities we have in this incredible corner suite they gave us.

Tonight we will be pushing our luck again, on the Video Poker machines.


Posted by Johnash 19:46 Archived in USA

Table of contents


Yum lovely food! Did they keep you locked in the cell until you'd cleared your plates? The train ride looked great. Mum has been on the footplate of a steam train, you should compare notes. Enjoy Las Vegas!

by Louise

that amount of toilet rolls in the rest room shouts dont eat here

by Ian Maitland

Glad food much improved. Railroad experience looked great - a big contrast in look'n'feel with our Swanage Railway experience years ago! Enjoy your remaining time in Vegas & have fun at Zion NP ....

by Ian T

If you lose all your pocket money in Vegas you deserve to kip in a mean 'ole Lodge at Zion! We remember Zion (cue for a song?) from our long ago NP tour. We're jealous guys!

by Lin and Norma

Another great and interesting journey.As previously said hope you haven't lost all your pocket money, but more importantly your shirts.Keep on rolling.My very long trip today is Eastbourne to Hernia Bay.

by Bren

It was BIG fun to read this latest blog entry, John and Bob. I am so happy that you finally found some good food in America! I love the photo of all the rolls of toilet paper...a bit different than Spain where you should always take in a small package of kleenex into a public bathroom!

by Colette

love this, especially the bit about the cat rubbing its oily self on the lady who didn't like cats..... made me giggle. Good Luck in Las Vegas. x

by sally

What a beautiful old steam train.....would love a trip on that :) On your drive through the mountain to LV did you happen to see a road sign pointing towards Pahrump by any chance?

by Cherry and Chris

Boy what a lot of toilet rolls hope that many was not needed after the meal. Was you locked in the cell until you paid your bill? Keep lucky xx

by vivienne

Blimey at last....some decent looking grub. Even if would have eaten and enjoyed that....a proper carrot too instead of processed veg. I think you've finally made it boys even though lol you did have to eat it locked up in a cell. Made me chuckle, very funny indeed. The scenery looked amazing and I hope the steam train satisfied your train fettish Mr Ashplant. Keep it coming, fab blog so far xx

by antonia

Oh, thank you all, so much.

Yes, C&C. Indeed, on last trip, we had breakfast in Pahrump, (pron?) at Ma's Kitchen where Bob was asked by Highway Patrol in there where he got his silver belt buckle.

by Johnash

Don't know how but we'd missed this blog but glad we found it. What a great train experience, a bit more exciting than York Railway Museum!! Like the look of your steak and lamb, definitely made our mouths water.

by Sue and Gordy

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