Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Return from Tonopah

This morning we were able to sleep in for a while, which is good because we both were quite tired after all of the Tonopah facilities discussions. I do so much wish I could tell y'all more about what we discussed, but it's best if we wait for our facilities liaison, Mike Willmoth, to follow up with the hotels and convention center to get formal confirmation of things. The short version I can think of is, "Lots of those things we complain about with larger facilities in big cities don't apply at all here."

Because I was late off the mark, the coffee service on our floor was empty by the time I went to get some. I went down to the restaurant, and they kindly filled my 24 oz. travel mug for me.

After checking out of the room, Lisa and I went down to Beans and Brews at the south end of town for breakfast, as we didn't want a big meal. Then, after some other photos coming up shortly, we went back down to the convention center to re-shoot some video.

When Lisa reviewed the "rushes" from our work yesterday, she discovered that the video she shot of me standing in front of the convention center was out of focus, so we went back and redid it. We did several takes, one of which we threw out completely because several cars came roaring through as we were recording it. Lisa then put the tripod away and put the camera on her shoulder to record me walking the approximately 450 ft / 140 m down Brougher Avenue (and the newly rebuilt, step-free, curb-cut sidewalk) past the Belvada Hotel to the Mizpah Hotel. There we also shot video showing how close the Mizpah, Belvada, and Jim Butler Suites are to each other (they're three corners of the intersection of Main and Brougher, which is effectively the center of town) and to the Old Brewery Hostel.

Tonopah Library

After shooting the video, Lisa put away the camera, rubbing her shoulder. (That camera is heavy!) We then walked over to the library. This is a picture taken from just outside of the historical Tonopah Town Library. (The newer, larger library is just out of shot beyond the building on the left here. The actual entrance to both the old and new buildings is via the ADA-accessible ramp visible behind the cars.) In the right distance one block away is the Tonopah Convention Center. The TCC representative said that we might be able to use the Historic Library, which has a lounge area, for author readings or the like, and I think it's a good idea if we can pull it together. The TCC and the library are only 375 ft / 110 m apart, which makes them closer to each other than many function rooms in facilities that have hosted Westercon in the past.

Stargazing Park

Earlier, we stopped by the Tonopah Stargazing Park so we could take pictures of the facilities in the daytime. The TCC representative said that we're welcome to organize events here during our proposed dates (it's a public town park) except for July 4 itself because the town fireworks are launched from near the Stargazing Park, so we (like everyone else who might want to see the show) will need to stay back a safe distance.

Raley's Tonopah

Next to the Tonopah Station Hotel (about which I've written many times) is the Raley's supermarket (formerly Scolari's), the only full-service grocery store in town. We got some beverages for the drive home. I expect that any groups hosting parties during our Westercon (should we win) will be spending time here buying supplies. It's about 1 mile / 1.6 km south of the convention center.

Something I wrote earlier may have left a misconception about parking at the Mizpah, especially for people with mobility issues, so I took a photo to clarify what's available.

Mizpah Parking

There is a limited amount of fully-paved parking, including the handicapped-accessible spaces, located in between the Mizpah Hotel and the Mizpah Club Casino. From here there are ramps leading up to the front entrance of the hotel and to the casino, and beyond the casino entrance to the attached cafe, which is also where the elevator that leads to the floor above is. There there is a 150-seat function room above the cafe that I hope we'll be using. Note that this means that it is possible access all function space without having to go through a casino or smoking area.

Housing Alternatives in Fernley

Heading out of town to the north, we saw this sign, which suggests that there are alternatives if you somehow can't get a hotel room and want to stay for slightly longer. We did not stop to investigate the modular housing units here, but if I read some of the signs right, if you planned on staying for more than a few days, it might actually be cheaper (compared to the most expensive hotels, not the more budget-minded ones like the Clown Motel or the Old Brewery Hostel) to rent an apartment for a month and not worry about the extra days. Lisa and I have been weighing whether we should investigate renting such a place for the period before and after Westercon 74 should we win the bid.

Finally, after refueling at the Giggle Springs gas station next to the Mizpah, we left Tonopah about 1 PM. We did make two detours, however.

Crescent Dunes Solar Thermal Power Plant

The Crescent Dunes power station was down today (although it was in retina-searing full force yesterday), but we went out the approximately 10 mi / 16 km to the plant to have another look at it. We stopped here to see if Lisa could get a better photograph of the place. We may end up using some of the plant's own publicity photos from their media center. We've asked the TCC if they could put us in touch with the plant's management to find out if we could arrange tours of the plant for some of our members during Westercon. We can't promise anything at this time, of course.

Kuma up a Tree

Returning to the highway, we set off north, but stopped to use the facilities at the Miller's Rest Area. Kuma Bear investigated the funny spiky trees around the rest area entrance.

Then it was off to the races up US-95. The more we've done this drive, the more familiar it gets and thus somewhat easier. Lisa drove from Miller's to Hawthorne (with a stop at the rest area in Luning), where we stopped and had a late lunch at the El Capitan casino. Hawthorne is roughly halfway between Tonopah and Fernley (around 100 miles each direction). I drove us the rest of the way home. For variety, we went home via US-95 from Schurz to Fallon, then west on US-50A, having come down via Yerrington and US-95A.

We made it home around 6 PM, unpacked, and tried to relax a little. We're both tired. And I'm sunburned. You'd think I would remember by now that Tonopah is at 6000 feet and sunny. While it wasn't hot, that has nothing to do with sunburn. Furthermore, to do the video we shot, I wasn't wearing my hat because it throws shade across my face (of course; that's what it's supposed to do). Having forgotten once again to apply sunscreen, I am now paying the price for it. I'm sure I'll start remembering this eventually, especially as if things go the way we hope, we'll be making quite a few more trips to Tonopah over the next few years, not just traveling through it as we plan to do to drive to the SMOFCon in Albuquerque next December.

I'm sure glad that we got home today though, giving me tomorrow to recover from the trip. It wasn't all that far — shorter than driving to Fremont and my company's office there — and because US-95 is a pretty fast highway (except where it slows when it passes through the small number of towns along the way), but we worked pretty hard these past two days, and we're both tired.
Tags: driving, nevada, tonopah
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