Blue Lakes – Glacial Lakes in Northern Nevada

Northern Nevada has an amazing number of beautiful spots for exploring and camping. I often think that someone looking for adventure travel would find northern Nevada a dream come true. Exploring the outback of northern Nevada often requires driving on very bad roads, following the very thin dotted line roads on the maps, (We use Benchmark Nevada Road and Recreation Atlas), and being without cell phone coverage . The rewards are many. They include widely varied scenery, wild animals, beautiful rocks, interesting geology, and lots of solitude. 


 Last weekend Duke and I decided to do some Nevada adventure travel for the weekend. We wanted to collect some obsidian for our back yard and we decided to check out Blue Lake which is described in 50 Classic Hikes in Nevada as follows:

"Not only are lakes in general a scarce commodity in the Great Basin, but glacial lakes scoured out of granite basins are even more unusual, which makes the Blue Lakes particularly appealing. Cradled into a cirque below Duffer Peak and dammed by a moraine, the Blue Lakes offer hikers some incredibly unique mountain scenery."

We left Saturday afternoon and drove north east on Interstate 80 to Winnemucca where we headed north and then west. The last 18 miles were on rough gravel and then very rough dirt roads to our camping spot. There were three cars at the trail head. One left with some fishermen soon after we got there and the other two cars were apparently owned by a family camping at the lake. We had the trail head camp site to ourselves.


The meadow next to our camp site was covered in wild flowers. We enjoyed a stunning sunset and a great steak dinner. After dinner we sat around our camp fire and enjoyed finishing our wine and watching the almost full moon come up.


Sunday morning we got up and hiked the short (.75 mile) hike to Blue Lakes which were as beautiful as they were described. The fish were jumping and we sat by the lake and enjoyed watching them for a while before hiking back to the truck, packing up and heading west.


We explored some of the roads in Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, saw wild donkeys, pronghorn antelope and collected lots of obsidian and other cool rocks before heading home to Reno.

If you would like to see all of my pictures from this weekend they are available on Flickr here.

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop – A Memoir, A History by Lewis Buzbee

I always am reading at least two books at a time. One on my Kindle and one in standard book form. This way if the Kindle battery dies or I am on an airplane taking off I still have a book to read. Yellow Lighted Bookshop is available in a Kindle edition but I borrowed my reading copy from my daughter.


The Yellow – Lighted Bookshop A Memoir, A History by Lewis Buzbee is a wonderful book .It describes book stores, their history and the book selling business. I love book stores! Buzbee knows and describes many San Francisco Bay Area bookstores that I know and love. Many of these bookstores like a Clean Well Lighted Place for Books are no longer around but just thinking about them brings back fond memories.

We Finally Visited the National Automobile Museum in Reno

Bill Harrah who built and owned Harrah's Casinos had a enormous car
collection (over 4000 cars). When he died in 1978 most of the cars were
sold. But 175 of them became the core of the National Automobile Museum
in Reno
. It is located right on the Truckee River downtown across from
the Reno Aces Baseball Stadium

Duke's brother Jim and his wife Marilyn were visiting last week. Their visit gave us the perfect excuse to finally visit the National Automobile Museum. We have lived in Reno for three years and this was our first visit to the car museum. We took a docent lead tour. The guide was fantastic. He knew a lot about the cars and he made the tour really interesting. I can't over emphasize how much I enjoyed the museum. I'm ready to go again.


I especially liked the early camping displays.


and this 1956 Corvette and matching pedal car.


After touring the Car museum we were hungry so we headed over to the Nugget Diner and shared a couple of Awful Awfuls the best hamburger and fries in Reno.


If you would like to see all my pictures from the National Automobile Museum and the Nugget Diner they are available on Flickr here.

John Tyler, The Accidental President by Edward P Crapol

A few days ago I finished reading John Tyler, The Accidental President by Edward P. Crapol. I have set myself a goal to read a biography of each American president. The list of the books I have read so far is here. 

John Tyler was the 10th American President. He served from 1841 to 1845. He was the first person to become president as a result of the death of the President. When William Henry Harrison died there was controversy about whether Tyler should actually become president or should just be designated as acting. His adversaries referred to him as “His Accidency”.

This biography focuses on what Crapol describes as ” Tyler’s mystical faith in America’s national destiny and closely examines  his life-long commitment to territorial expansion as the means to preserve the  Union as a slave holding republic.”

Crapol describes Tyler as: having “the stigma of being the nation’s only traitor president, a distinction lie gained from his support for secession  and the Confederacy.”

During Tyler’s presidency there was a horrible accident when a cannon exploded during a party on a boat near Washington.  Crapol says “To have a secretary of state, a secretary of the navy, a high-ranking  naval officer, and two other well-known public men perish in a single misadventure   was unprecedented in the nation’s history and remains the case  to the present day.”

Tyler was probably proudest of the significant roll he played in bringing Texas into the union. There were many opponents to annexation of Texas and Tyler worked both secretly and openly to make Texas a state.  Texas did not actually get admitted to the union until after Tyler was defeated in 1844.

I found Crapol’s biography of John Tyler very interesting but I wished he had talked more about Tyler’s background and his personal life. I would have liked to know a little more about Tyler’s wives and his relationships with them.

In preparation for this post I reviewed John Tyler’s Wikipedia article and I was surprised to learn that Tyler had 15 children! I don’t recall ever reading this in Crapol’s biography.

When I use my Kindle to search John Tyler, The Accidental President for references to Leticia, the name of Tyler’s first wife, I found only 5 references in the whole book. This absence of almost any reference to Tyler’s personal life made me feel like I only got half the story.

John Tyler

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

On our road trip I finished reading
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
and I am adding it to my
list of books completed in 2010

I saw the movie Blind Side
with Sandra Bullock and I really enjoyed it. I assumed that it probably
wasn't worth reading the book since I already knew the story. But as
happens to me a lot, I enjoyed the book even more than the movie. I am a
fan of Michael Lewis' writing. His
baseball book, Moneyball
, is one of my favorite books.

Blind Side is a very readable book, it gives you the real story of
Michael Oher but it also educates you about football, college athletics, recruiting, and everything a poor black kid from an inner city slum faces in life. It is impossible to overstate how disadvantaged Michael
Oher was. The Blind Side really makes you think about our society,
poverty and of course football. I highly recommend this book. I am putting Lewis' most recent book on my to read list.