Having grown up around Reno I couldn't guess how many times I've visited Virginia City, the quintessential old West town. There were umpteen family excursions when Nel and I were kids, always including a visit to the museum that featured the desk where young Mark Twain worked as a reporter for the Territorial Enterprise, and always including a soda pop at the Bucket of Blood Saloon where kids were welcome with their parents right there in the bar where the most colorful cast of musical characters played old-time tunes on piano and banjo. Later, it was a popular place for dates and I once rode on the back of a motorcycle on the steep, winding road (since then greatly improved) without a helmet, on a wing and a prayer. My last visit to Virginia City was with Mike when we were in Reno for my 30th high school reunion. We attended the dinner but the next day opted out of the picnic and drove to VC instead. Mike hadn't been there before and it was such fun showing him around (hardly anything had changed). We most enjoyed spending close to an hour at the historic graveyard. And, of course, we had a pop at The Bucket of Blood.
What does that have to do with this Wednesday's postcard? you might be wondering. The lovely western setting that you see in this old postcard of Trinidad, Colorado, is remarkably similar to the Trinidad, Colorado of today. And this town was voted #3 by True West Magazine in its listing of Top Ten Western Towns for 2008. Known as Southern Colorado's Victorian Jewel of the West, Trinidad beckons to me in a way reminiscent of Virginia City's lure. Trinidad looks greener than Virginia City's dry high desert landscape, and it's 10,000 population far exceeds VC's population of 1,000 (at its peak 30,000 people lived there). Trinidad's sidewalks are paved, where they are still wood in VC. Favorite tourist attractions in Trinidad include the Sante Fe Trail Festival and the County Rodeo and Fair, but in Virginia City the special appeal of being in a semi ghost town and the annual camel races are big draws. (And, yes, with prostitution legal in Nevada there are bordellos in them thar sagebrush hills.)
I love and admire the old towns in the west that preserve and celebrate the unique history bestowed upon them. Living in or near a town such as Trinidad or Virginia City gives to your psyche a dusting of the wild child, at least it worked that way on me.
Since my old postcard stash does not include any of Virginia City I thank beautiful Trinidad, Colorado, for sharing the spotlight in this post, and for stirring such vivid memories. John Denver sang with haunting sweetness about these areas. I'm having trouble with Blogger accepting the html from YouTube so am including links to two songs from his 1995 Wildlife Concert.
Darcy Farrow is one of my favorite songs. There's reference toward the end to the Truckee River that runs through Reno (I had a dog named Truckee) and Virginia City, too.
I Guess He'd Rather Be in Colorado...I miss John Denver and his special light.