Ranch Country photography
by Robert McCune
May-June 2011. Part Eight
Three days later and 250 miles east-southeast, we were in the Clover Valley area of eastern Nevada at the base of the East Humboldt Mountain Range. Lots of snow at elevations 7,000 to 11,300 feet. The valley itself is 5,700 feet altitude. The above photo is of the Clover Valley Volunteer Fire Department’s Station 2, dug into the road-side embankment. Behind the metal doors is the station’s Type 6 engine.
We made camp across the road from Station 2, and were plagued the rest of that afternoon and late into the night by a constant cold wind of 25 mph blowing down off the snow-covered mountains. After dinner, SHADOW CATCHER was subjected to sustained buffeting by gale-force winds of 40 to 45 mph. Reminded me of when Maggie and I were on the Linda and Larry Fritz ranch in North Dakota in early November 1998.
Clover Valley has a twenty-member volunteer fire department, equipped with one Type 3 engine, one Type 6 engine, and a water tanker. Fire engine’s bodies are constructed with an aluminum load-floor and fire resistant composite fiberglass body, and a 500 gallon tank for Type 3 engine, and a 300-gallon tank for Type 6. Both carry a minimum of 1000 feet of 1½-inch hose and 800 feet of 1” hose.
All Clover Valley VFD firefighters have received State Fire Marshal Firefighter I and II training for structure protection, and have received training from the Nevada Division of Forestry and cooperating agencies to meet the minimum National Wildfire Coordinating Group basic wildland standards.
The 2nd truck is a Type 6 fire engine.
Photo below was taken just down the road from Clover Valley’s Fire Station 2. We spent the next two days slowly making our way along 70 miles of dirt road to paved highway. Finally reached the city of Ely on highway 50, “The Loneliest Road in America.” Had our first restaurant meal in...how many days since we left home? Six? At McDonald’s.
First photo below, we were parked for the night near a water tank, storage shed, and small corral. Water is drawn up into the tank by a fuel-powered pump. The windmill has been removed.
Camped here that night. Thought it would rain. Maybe snow? Luckily, it did neither. Would have made a muddy, maybe impassable mess of the road. All around the area were the usual signs of a recent gathering of cattle. Fresh splats of cow-pies everywhere. Another reason to keep Shih Tzu Murphy on a leash.
There was a lengthy search for a bottle of white wine for that evening’s dinner. Maggie looked high & low. I remained on my bunk - out of the way, and had sense to not offer any suggestions as to where the bottle might be. Finally, she gave up. A search by yours truly also failed. We settled for splitting our last O'Douls.* Our marriage continues to survive these irksome events with little or no damage to the pleasure we find in each others company in such confined Cracker Box quarters. The name of the wine? A Chateau Ste. Michele shiraz, I think it was. From the Columbia River winery of that name. (*Get ourselves another case in Ely).
Wednesday. 3 p.m. A few miles east of the remote town of Tuscorora. Almost at the Idaho state-line. At 7500 feet, some snow alongside the road. The roadway itself is muddy in places. Will be very cold in this area tonight at this altitude. So, it’s go to Plan B again. Back to Elko, and then east and south on “America’s Loneliest Highway.” Spend the night at a lower altitude. Share a McDonald’s salad to-go, for dinner.