Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Operation Snowbound Not Needed

Yesterday, we finished off the last of the field-work tasks we had planned for Tonopah, and after an early dinner at the Stage Stop Cafe at the Tonopah Station, we headed back to the hotel. Light rain had started to fall as we managed to snag what I think is the best possible parking space in their lot because it's the closest access to the side door through which we load and unload the van.

A little while after we got back to the room, we looked outside and were surprised to see that the weather had changed in a way we wouldn't have expected on Memorial Day Weekend.

Snowtel Tonopah

The rain had turned into snow. This was the view from our second-floor window shortly after the snow began to fall.

We decided that before it got any worse, we would pop out to the Giggle Springs mini-market, which is just the other side of the Mizpah Club, and get some things to drink for the evening. Our gift basket along with previously-purchased supplies was more than enough to eat.

Memorial Day Snow in Tonopah

By the time we got out to the street, the snow had already gotten heavier, and there was a cold wind blowing in our faces. (For some reason, the mini-market has two gas stations, labeled differently depending on which side of the building you are on, which is why it says Gasoline Alley on the south and Giggle Springs on the north, although it's actually all one station.)

Unhappy Bear

Kuma Bear was Not Amused at being taken out in the snow without at least his warm hat. He later had to spend time sitting by the blow dryer in our bathroom in order to get dried out.

Memorial Day Snow in Tonopah

We walked back (carefully) to the Mizpah along the back street that parallels Main Street. Trucks drove by at inconsiderately high speeds, but we didn't get too badly splashed. But the wet, gloppy snow was accumulating at a surprising pace.

Memorial Day Snow in Tonopah

Stopping by the minivan, Lisa measured the accumulation at that point at 3 cm. We got back into the hotel room and turned up the heat. However, the cold spell solved another minor issue. The Mizpah rooms do not have refrigerators, and we'd bought some milk. Also, Lisa wanted the remaining Martinelli's sparkling juice cold. The windows in the Mizpah rooms consist of an outer window and an inner window, both of which can be opened, with a space between them. We opened the outer window about 2 cm, put the beverages on the sill, and closed the inner window. This acted as a refrigerator and kept the cold drinks cold for the evening.

After seeing so much snow build up so fast, we were a little bit worried about leaving on Monday morning. I have the tire chains, but I really didn't want to have to use them. We confirmed that there was availability at the Mizpah, so had it been necessary, we could have stated over Monday night, I could have then worked from the hotel room as late as the hotel would have let us stay on Tuesday morning before heading home, assuming that things would have cleared by then. Fortunately, we did not have to activate Operation Snowbound, as the snow stopped around midnight.

After the Snow

By this morning, the roads had cleared and most accumulated snow was melting. When we opened the rear door of the Astro to start loading our stuff, a lot of water ran into the bed of the van. We mopped it up as best we could and put only things (like Lisa's Pelican case for her recording gear) that could stand getting wet near the rear, filled up the van, and checked out of the hotel.

We went back to the Stage Stop Cafe at the Tonopah Station for breakfast (they have an omelette that Lisa likes and chop steak and eggs, which I like), then refueled the van at the 76 station across the street while I got a coffee for the road from the station's Beans & Brews cafe. We hit the road at Noon.

We were not in a hurry. Most of the other people going our way were. Lisa and I spent a lot of time dodging people wanting to drive 80 or 90 mph on the 70 mph US-95. Including a dogleg over to Carson City and Reno for some groceries we couldn't get in Fernley or Yerrington, we didn't get home until about 7:30 PM.

It's been an extremely productive weekend for the Tonopah bid. I only hope that once we finish publishing all of the photos and producing the videos for which we shot material this weekend, people will have a better understanding of what sort of place Tonopah is and that this will help dispel some unfortunate misconceptions based on stereotypes of what people who live in rural Nevada are like.
Tags: astro, snow, tonopah, weather
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