Archive for the ‘Nevada’ Tag

Apocalypse Now – Smithsonian Magazine   Leave a comment

Dreams from the LORD 2007-2010
6 October 2010

Smithsonian magazine
October 2010 issue

“Winner Take All” by J.R. Moehringer
The Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist rolls the dice on life in Sin City

Here are some quotes from Moehringer’s article:

“And it’s not just about books. Vegas discourages everything prized by book people, like silence and reason and linear thinking. Vegas is about noise, impulse, chaos. You like books? Go back to Boston.”

“Just after I moved in, Caligula, rang my bell. He invited me over for an afternoon ‘cookout.’ I didn’t yet know he was Caligula. Wanting to be neighborly, I went.

“I met several statuesque young women in his backyard, in his kitchen. I thought it strange that they were so out-going. I thought it odd that they were named after cities—Paris, Dallas, Rio. But I didn’t dwell on it. Then I wandered into a room where the floor was covered with mattresses. An ultraviolet light made everyone look super tanned or vaguely satanic. Suddenly I got it. I told Caligula that I just remembered somewhere I needed to be. I shook my head at his offer of a grilled hot dog, thanked him for a lovely time and sprinted home to my books and earplugs.

“As a kid I was a gypsy, as a young man I was a journalist, so I’ve lived everywhere. I’ve unpacked my bags in New York, New Haven, Boston, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, Tucson. Each of my adopted cities has reminded me of some previous city—except Vegas, because Vegas isn’t a real city. It’s a Sodom and Gomorrah theme park surrounded by hideous exurban sprawl and wasteland so barren it makes the moon look like an English rose garden.’

“ . . . transience is in the DNA of Vegas. Transient pleasures, transient money, thus transient people.”

“More than 36 million people go through Vegas each year.”

“Though people enjoy coming to Vegas, what they really love is leaving. Every other passenger wanting to board a flight out of Vegas wears that same tell-tale look of fatigue, remorse, heatstroke and get-me-out-of-here-ness. I spent two months reading Dante in college, but I didn’t really understand Purgatory until I spent five minutes at McCarron International Airport.”

“Years from now my clearest memories of Sin City might be the ceaseless stream of commercials for payday loans, personal injury lawyers, bail bondsmen, chat lines and strip clubs. . . From TV, I concluded that a third of Vegas is in debt, a third in jail and a third in the market for anonymous hookups.”

“I have a front-row seat at the apocalypse.”

Las Vegas: An American Paradox
Las Vegas Earthquake
This is Sodom! This is Sodom!
apocalypse santa rosa

A Conversation with a World War II U.S. Navy Frogman   2 comments

I believe it was back in September of 1999, when I was walking north on U.S. 95 somewhere near Beatty, Nevada when this older guy picked me up. He looked like he was in his 70s. He was coming from Mexico and going back to Northern California where he made his home. He told me that he was a Navy Frogman in World War II.

As a Navy Frogman, he would go onto an enemy beach at night and prepare it for a Marine amphibious assault. They would cut barbed wire, take out mines, get rid of enemy infrastructure and so on. One time he and his fellow Frogmen were trying to defuse a mine in the ocean and the mine exploded. I guess several Frogmen were killed; he and another guy survived.

He said that after the war, he did a job as a mercenary somewhere in Central America. He got caught by the local government or warlord and was thrown in prison. He heard a man screaming because he was probably being tortured–and, he thought, being killed.

I don’t remember how long he spent in that prison, but he told me that he thought he was a goner. Then one evening something profound happened. He had an intense spiritual experience: he saw a vision of Jesus and this overwhelming sense of peace came over him. A few days later, he was released from prison and he did no more mercenary work after that.

He spent twenty or thirty years in the merchant marine as a cook. He had been retired for some time. His intestines were shot, so that is why he wore a bag on his side. He was married and divorced from an exotic dancer. His son was thrown in prison for robbing convenience stores. He seemed pretty wore out from living on the planet.

He told me something interesting. He said that whenever you go to a bar at a naval base where Marines and Navy personnel hang out, if you see a guy sitting at the bar drinking by himself, it is usually a Navy SEAL. So I asked him why. He said that you go through hell to become a Navy SEAL and so it separates you from the rest of the crowd. Also, he said that SEALs go on top-secret missions that nobody can know about, so they can’t talk to anyone about their work. So who can they talk with?

It is lonely at the top.

I was hitchhiking in Iowa back in 1986 and I was talking with this guy about the Marines (I enjoy reading military history). Then he told me about the SEALs that they are the best-trained warriors in the world. He told about these four Marines that were sitting at a table in a bar and they were drunk and obnoxious and trying to pick a fight with somebody. Then this guy walked in and sat down at the bar and drank a beer quietly by himself. The Marines began making fun of him–they were trying to provoke something. The bartender walked over to the table of Marines and told them that the guy at the bar was a SEAL. The Marines quickly left the bar and never looked back.

“At the rebuke of His presence they fled.” “A quiet word breaketh a bone.” “The idols of Egypt are removed at his presence.”

I guess you can say that that Navy SEAL’s reputation preceded him.

[Originally published by]

Freedom to Bear Arms
At a Cafe in Merriman, Nebraska
No Jump Tonight!
Chance Phelps
100 Decisive Battles by Paul K. Davis
Alvin C. York
A Navy SEAL, a Broke-down Car and Karl Malone

Ronald Speirs:  Absolute Legend

Battle of the Denmark Strait – a study of the Prinz Eugen film

Battleship Bismarck in action – Denmark Strait – Colourized

Bismarck:  Battle of the Denmark Strait

Operation Rheinubung:  Hunt for the Bismarck 1941

A Dream about General George S. Patton


They Are Fighting People   2 comments

California and Nevada

Dreams from the LORD 2007-2010
10 October 2007

On the 5th of October, I slept outside in my tent just a few miles west of Barstow, California. The next morning I walked several miles west on Highway 58 till this truck driver picked me up. His name was Chi and he was originally from Thailand. He had been in the United States since 2001. Chi drove to Bakersfield where he took me out to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. We were driving north on Highway 99 when Chi asked me where my family originated. I told him that my ancestors came from Germany and Ireland. When Chi heard the word “Ireland,” he said. “Oh, you are Irish. They are fighting people.” I began to laugh and I told him that SOME Irish like to fight.

We drove through Fresno and then he stopped at a truck stop at Ripon, California. Chi got me a shower ticket, so I was able to get cleaned up. From there we parted and I walked north to the outskirts of Manteca where I slept in an orchard that night.

The next day I was walking on Highway 88 heading east towards Carson City, Nevada when this guy picked me up and took me to a small town called Lockeford, California. We stopped at a small shop that sold meat and sausage. As we waited in the shop, I noticed this street sign on the wall behind the cash register. I casually saw the word “Rush” on it, so I assumed it meant “Rush Hour” or something. On closer inspection, the sign read: “Reserved for Rush Limbaugh fans only.” I thought it was pretty funny. This guy bought me a big piece of teriyaki beef jerky–it was the best beef jerky I have ever had–it lasted me for the next couple of days. That shop is supposed to have the best meat and sausage in the area.

After Lockeford, I got dropped off in Clements and walked a number of miles on Highway 88 to the Ione turn off. I finally got a ride to Pioneer where I walked to a grocery store and bought two packages of raisin bagels.

The next day I got a couple of rides to Lake Tahoe, Nevada. There I got a ride with a beautiful young lady named Dee. She drove me to Carson City where we stopped and I prayed for her. She was drinking alcohol and seemed pretty depressed and in pain, so I talked about the Gospel as much as I could. We stopped at this city park and sat down at this picnic table and talked about various things. Dee then dropped me off and I walked to the north side of town where I got a ride to Reno.

This guy’s name was Jim. We were talking for several minutes and then he looked at me and exclaimed, “Hey, I picked you up earlier this summer!” Jim then asked, “Didn’t you give me this disk with your writings on it?”

“Yup, that was me,” I replied. We drove to Reno where he went to see his daughter. Jim’s daughter was staying with this lady and her daughter. Jim’s wife was addicted to crack cocaine, so his daughter was staying there. We stayed at their place for half an hour. The lady gave me a nice supper and then Jim and I left. Jim dropped me off at the final exit east out of Sparks. I slept at this construction bone yard that night.

Garry Owen

Posted July 9, 2012 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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Branding Calves   1 comment

Yesterday, I helped some friends brand over 200 calves in Nevada and California.


Fixing Fence and the Emigrant Trail
Branding Calves and the California Outback
On The Road Again . . .

Posted May 27, 2012 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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The Short, Short Hitchhiker   10 comments


The Short, Short Hitchhiker
By Stanley Gurcze
Edited by Richard Menzies

This afternoon I finished reading The Short, Short Hitchhiker by Stanley Gurcze.  I thought it was very good.  It reminded me of my own hitchhiking experiences.  The unique thing about Stanley Gurcze is that he has no feet—his feet were amputated at the age of 10.


Here are a couple of excerpts from his book:

Page 72:  “So back to the highway I went, where if I was going to starve, at least I wouldn’t be working for the privilege of doing so.  I headed west until I reached Indio, California, which is where I found my first hobo jungle.  It was quite an experience.

“A hobo jungle is a camp near a railroad division yard where trains stop and change crews.  It’s also where non-paying passengers get on or off the train.  These non-paying passengers consist of two different classes:  bums and hobos.  The difference between the two is as follows:  Bums will not work, and will steal or beg or do anything to meet their needs.  Hobos, also known as tramps, will work for their needs but no longer than absolutely necessary.  Both classes can be found wherever trains go in the country.

“I was camping alone at the east end of Indio when a man with a bedroll over his shoulder walked by.  I mistook him for a fellow hitchhiker and said, ‘Hi.’

“He looked me over, saw my crutches and decided I was harmless enough.  So he came over and said, ‘Howdy, Crip.’  He paused and then added, ‘You ever been here before?’

“‘No, it’s my first time.’

“‘Thought so.  Let me give ya a little advice.  Git over on the other side of the road by the trees there.’  He pointed to a grove of trees approximately half a mile to the north.

“‘Why?  What’s there?’

“‘A camp where you’ll be safe tonight.  There’s a bunch of ‘bos there, pretty decent guys.  This side’s the jungle with the bums and winos.  They’ll take you for everything you got.  You’d be lucky to wake up tomorrow.’

“‘I sure better get out of here, then.  Thanks for the heads up.’

“‘Okay,’ he said, then added.  ‘You see those two guys back there by them bushes?’

“‘No.  Where?’

He pointed behind me.  “There.  That’s the reason I stopped.  I noticed they had their eyes on ya.’

“‘Yeah, now I see ’em.’  There stood two of the most disreputable looking characters I had seen in quite a while.  One was staring in our direction, the other was sipping from a wine bottle.  Both were unshaven.  Their clothing had the appearance of never having been washed.

“‘Heavens to Betsy,’ I said.  ‘They look worse than I do.’

“‘Come on.  I’ll walk you across the road.  They won’t bother ya as long as I’m here.’


“I got to the other camp as fast as I could.  There I found a group of men with bedrolls and not much else, sitting around a large campfire above which hung a huge pot, boiling.  It contained meat, potatoes, onions, and a few other vegetables all mixed together.  They called it mulligan stew.

“I was informed that anyone who joins the group contributes whatever they have to the pot, which keeps boiling all the time.  Share and share alike.  No one is ever refused hospitality unless they demonstrate by their actions that they’re not worthy, in which case they are booted out in a hurry.  By contrast, the bums across the way aren’t interested in anything but scoring that first bottle of wine to start their day–in any way they can.

“Sometimes bums even steal from one another, taking whatever they believe will get them ‘the price.’  Many awake to find their shoes gone, or any other item of any value they possess.  They are the lucky ones, because there are others who never awake.

“Unlike bums, hobos are men who have left their homes, wives, children, friends, and jobs to seek freedom from their humdrum lives and spend the rest of their days wandering about the country, searching for this elusive thing called happiness–or at least peace of mind.  Some might reach this goal; others may not.  Perhaps they will all find it in the beyond.”


Page 112:  “I cook over an Indian fire—never a white man’s fire.  I learned this from an Apache Indian—in Apache Junction, Arizona, of all places.  Of course, no Apaches live there; they live on the San Carlos reservation east of Globe.  This young Apache worked at the lumber company, which is no longer there.

“I remember I was preparing to build a fire as prescribed in the Boy Scouts manual.  I gathered an armload of dead branches and arranged them in the form of a tepee.  Just then this young Apache came by, sat down, and watched.  He started to chuckle softly.  When I got my matches out and prepared to light it, he stood up, still chuckling, and kicked my campfire in every which direction, which of course made me a bit angry.

“‘Let me show you how to build a fire.’ he said.

“He squatted down, dug a hole approximately six inches deep and twelve inches across, took a few of the smaller branches I had gathered and broke them into little pieces, which he placed in the pit.  He then took the two thickest branches and placed them across the top of the hole.  ‘These two thick branches you use as a grill,’ he said.  ‘Just put whatever you want to cook on top of them.  By the time they burn through, whatever you’re cooking will be ready.’

“Well, I cooked a whole chicken wrapped in aluminum foil using only the few pieces of wood he put into the hole.  It works, he explained, because when the wind blows, it passes over the top of the hole and creates a draft.  This results in a hotter fire, and the sparks don’t blow out of the hole.  With a white man’s fire, which is above ground, the sparks fly and start wildfires.

“Another nice thing about an Indian fire is that when you are finished with it, just pour a little water onto the remaining hot coals, then refill the hole with dirt and tamp it down.  When you walk away, nobody would know you ever had a fire there.”

Virginia Avenue Press
Reno, Nevada
Published in 2011

[Stanley Gurcze, 1917-1989]


Book Launch
The Life of a Hobo
Hitchhiking Stories from Digihitch
A Ride in Nebraska, Blue Highways and William Least Heat-Moon
Stobe the Hobo

Nevada Public Radio – The Short, Short Hitchhiker


“Stanley Gurcze, Footless Vagabond” by Richard Menzies

Joseph Middleton Diary, 1849   2 comments


Thursday 4th October

“. . .Three miles on we cross another narrow strip or bulb of grass running for S. to N. similar to the one where we camped except in this there is a fine clear small stream running north in a black mossy bed Massacre Creek–in the other no water ran.  Wells supplied water there in wet swampy places for watering cattle and some good grass in season:–two miles ahead Emigrant Spring they say there is grass, where we will stop before entering on a desert of 16 or 18 miles they say–but I will report when I see.

“2 log chains, lots of burnt wagon irons, ox yokes, rings & staples, a fine iron jack with teeth and wheels for greasing wagons–the wood burnt.  The road goes N.N.W. down the bulb of valley–(another not so much travelled passes across over the sage desert N.W. but we should come to more grassland where we are going to.)

“Down the valley a short way a dead horse.  Dead ox No. 3–Ground strewed thick with stones of black bottle glass but not in the strath or valley.  In 1/4 of mile we leave the strath and travel to the west among the barren sage.  In this part of the valley 5 wagons which (with?) rims and all the iron &ceteras of wagons and scythe snath.  Almost all the wood burnt up except the snath and a wagon tongue, old riding saddle and other things, but have not time to examine and record.  ____hind wagon wheel hoops are piled one above the other, and all the ____iron carefully gathered and piled in the middle of them.

“After leaving the strath of the valley the road take to the S.W. up a low hill and soon joins that which went straight forward avoiding some small hilly places.  After travelling over this rolling or rather kind of hilly country 2 miles further we came to a wet spot Emigrant Springs where there are wells dug 1 or 2 feet deep.  We will camp here and let our cattle recruit on what grass they can find.  I can see none but they say there is some a little way off.

“A grave ‘Dan Wheeler a coloured man; died Sept. 23d 1849’–dead oxen No. 5.–Came up here with some of our old road acquaintances.

“This morning we poured the coffee off from the dregs and sweetened it all before commencing breakfast so that no one got more sugar than another; a plan, which if it had been adopted from the beginning, I believe our sugar would have lasted till this time.  There is a fellow in our co. which I recollect of being in the habit of taking three times as much as was actually necessary for a fair sweetning and many others which took it lavishly–and when I saw it going so wastefully, I did the same; although I don’t like either tea or coffee very sweet.”

Friday 5th Oct

“Thermometer at sun rise 18 above zero, or 14 below freezing.  The grave, of Dan Wheeler, is what in this wilderness is called a cache.–French for a hiding place.  It contains hid the articles of an entire wagon taken to pieces and carefully packed away–besides many other things that the owners could not take along with them.  This is certified by some of my old road acquaintances who were camped here and saw it done.  These wagons with my acquaintances are still here.  About 1/4 of a mile ahead the same operation was going on yesterday before my eyes, by another wagon party.  It will perhaps be finished today, and the men are going to Pack–so they call it.  Many of the larger graves we have lately passed are doubtless caches . . .”


In the spring of 2009, I hitchhiked from Wyoming and helped John and Susie brand their calves near Massacre Creek; it is about 36 miles east of Cedarville, California in the state of Nevada.  John and Susie pronounce it “massa-kree”.  They call this part of the country the California Outback; it is high desert ranch country near the Warner Mountains.  Cedarville is 4600 feet in elevation.

Branding Calves and the California Outback
Fixing Fence and Emigrant Trail