Windy Days & An Old Fort – Silver Springs, NV

C-20140421 Lohonton SRA (86) (JPG)
Welcome to Spring Winds, baby!

A few days ago we mosey’d on north around 60 miles or so to the next big blue thing I could see on the map. Lake Lahonton State Recreation Area covers 69 miles of shoreline of a man-made lake just south of the little town of Silver Springs and it looked like the perfect place to wait out the next storm. You see we’re right in the middle of the time of the Great Spring Winds, those famous blows that run across most of the southwest during the fickle time of season’s change. Unless you race to the coast, or go all the way east of the Mississippi you’re pretty much guaranteed to run into them and when you do your best bet is simply to put your arse to the wind and wait it out. There’s really no plainer way to say it…

Not a bad little view, eh?
Not a bad little view, eh?

We’ve already had a few encounters this April and the last couple of days were just run-of-the-mill extras. Weatherbug had forecasted gentle blows of 20-25 mph with soothing gusts of 50 mph. Not the best kind of weather to be stuck in the middle of an empty, dusty desert with no covering. Panning around on Google Earth I noted the spot here appeared to have {{gasp}} trees, so with that little carrot on the horizon we motored in and discovered a rather pleasant, rather (somewhat, kinda) protected campground with not another rig in sight. Site to ourselves, check….miles of abandoned beach at our disposal, check….front window full lakeside view, check. It wasn’t free, but it was worth the sacrifice. Oh yeah, I think we can hide out here a while.

And so we rocked….and rolled….and rocked….and rolled, but much, MUCH less than we would have done in our last spot, and all with a rather pretty view. In the calm between the storms (say, around 12 hours) we squeezed out some longer lake-side walks and even managed a little sightseeing because, as you well know (if you know me, by now you will know this…if that makes sense) there’s always something of interest in every place you go. As it turns out just down the road from our spot lies the remains of one of the oldest forts in Nevada, and the captivating history of the Pony Express.

This is rough country out here.
This is rough country out here…

Prior to the 1850’s Nevada was a quiet place inhabited by the Washo, Shoshone & Pauite Indians. The discovery of silver in the Comstock Mines in 1859 changed all that. People poured in, riches flowed, out-lawlessness reigned and tensions with the Indians ran high. The 1860’s saw establishment of the amazing Pony Express (which delivered mail from St.Joseph MO to Sacramento, CA) , the telegraph, stage lines and the formation of the territory of Nevada. Two key pieces of history remain in this area from that time -> Buckland Station, one of the earliest ranches in the area supplying travelers, and Fort Churchill. The latter was established to guard the Overland Trail and stayed firm in the area until 1870. It was a dusty, lonely, rotten outpost and many of the enlisted deserted. Today only the crumbling adobe remains are left to speak of it’s history, but it’s a wonderfully preserved piece of the story of Nevada. Plus, it’s dog-friendly & it’s got a few fun Geocaches to boot.

Note/ Fort Churchill State Park costs $7 to visit (day-pass) and allows dogs on all the trails, including around the ruins.

We’ve just about finished our little rock n’roll here in Silver Springs and, weather-permitting, will be heading further west and back into civilization in Carson City tomorrow. We’ve got days of fine dining & stocking-up ahead, maybe with a few day-trips thrown in before we finally motor on out of Nevada and into our next state. You see we’ve got the Pacific Northwest on the brain. Our past 6 months or so in the desert have been amazing (stunning, breathtaking, super-fabu-licious) but now our eyes are dreaming of greeeen and our hearts are beating towards Oregon. I might even be missing the rain…just a bit you know. There’s a few more days left, but I think I’m ready for these crazy winds to pass and the glorious warmth of summer to begin…

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    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks. I really enjoy nature photography & changing weather always makes for the most interesting shots.


      • Living on hope says

        We live in central Oregon and just sold our 2,500 square foot house on four acres to move into our 39-foot 2007 Fleetwood that we bought last fall. We’ve never owned a motor home but decided to jump ship while we still have good years and our health. It’s very arduous and sometimes emotionally painful to give up “things” but know it will be liberating in the end not being owned by all the stuff!! Love your blogs. They are very inspirational.

        • libertatemamo says

          Well congrats on completing the HUGE move. I know it’s not an easy one. Hope your RV travels turn out to be everything you wished for! Maybe we’ll see ya down the road.


  1. says

    Winds, strong gusts always scare me more so because of the slide topper noise and Betsy’s rock and rolling. Never fun.

    The place looked so desolate!

    • libertatemamo says

      We always pull in the slides when winds are high, specifically to stop that slide topper flapping around. It’s a lot quieter with the slides in…and feels more stable too.


  2. says

    You sure got it right about the spring winds in the SW. Glad I didn’t have to roll on Tuesday with all the gusting. Now I just have to beat the snow fall on the North Rim Saturday night.

    • libertatemamo says

      This storm is pretty intense! Hope you manage to get in before the snow fall. Your summer at the Grand Canyon is starting off cold!


    • libertatemamo says

      You can drive part of the original road here too. It’s a really neat little piece of histor.


  3. Maryanne says

    While in Carson City, consider visiting Genoa, NV to the south near Minden. It’s a small town with a lot of history. Mormon Station was closed when we visited, but the small courthouse museum across the street was a delight. The drive down the west side of the Carson River Valley south of Carson City is beautiful and the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City is interesting if you’re into big iron.

    Enjoy your journey and thanks for sharing.

  4. Doug H says

    Nina, the wind is blowing up here in Oregon also, and rain. we live in central oregon north of Redmond. sure enjoy your blog. we have used several of your boondocking sites based on your info that you have posted about them. now I have another one to add to it.

    • libertatemamo says

      This storm seems to be pounding the entire West, even up by you guys. It’s snowing in the Sierras again!


  5. Beartracksblog says

    I’m ready for the wind to quiet down, too. We’re bracing for rain this weekend and more wind. Your location looks nice!

  6. says

    Another beautiful spot to hang and explore. Thank goodness it is easy to pull the slides in and still have some room to live when the winds pick up.

    I agree that every place has something to see. We have found very interesting things in little town America.

    • libertatemamo says

      Yup, we’re very happy that our RV is fully functional with the slides in. That was dumb luck on our part ‘coz we didn’t actually think about it when we bought the rig.


  7. says

    Fantastic beach and Sun pic. As I read this post I thought of a funny movie I watched a few too many times, The Big Empty. It is about UFO’s that pick people up in giant open desert areas, and a lot more.
    You mentioned Oregon and I guess you will get to drive a tractor again and make me envious. The Light House job is not my cup of tea, but it is the dream of many. Enjoy the big city casinos.

    • libertatemamo says

      I don’t think I’ve watched that movie. Now I gotta go look it up!

      No tractors this summer, but there will be lots of lighthouses. It’s a good thing we love them so much :)


  8. Russ in Ohio says

    Hello Paul and Nina,

    I’ve dreamed for years about living an RV life. I retired from the state of Ohio just over 4 years ago. My wife is 53, I’m 55 and we had remodeled our home shortly after retiring. Our family is pretty much around us. My mom is 83. My father on law is 89, his wife is 74. We are not primary care givers in any way, but the comfort they have in knowing we are close (especially my wife’s dad and step mom) make it very difficult to wish, dream and not feel guilty.

    There’s also the struggle of selling our house, which we would have to do, and leave that known security that’s just minutes from most of what we need or do.

    We do envy your position and wish you nothing but the best in safety and health.

    We have wondered a few things about your travels and equipment.

    Has the AM Solar system continued to serve you well?

    Has the 600 watts been plenty and is recharging working well?

    Also, in all your travels and boondocking? Have you had close calls, threats, thefts, etc. from bandits or desperadoes? (Too many westerns).

    We’ll continue reading your stories and would appreciate hearing from you.

    Russ and Sandell in Ohio

    • libertatemamo says

      I certainly understand the struggles. Moving away from what you know to a life on the road is not for everyone. Perhaps part-time RVing would be the way to compromise?

      Our AM Solar panels have served us fabulously and our 600Watts covers everything we need. This entire winter, of which we boondocked the majority of the time, we only ran our generator to exercise it. Our solar covered us 100%. Of course we have a propane fridge which helps a lot. If we had a residential fridge there’s no doubt we would need more solar, and more batteries.

      As for thefts or incidences while boondocking? We’ve never had a single one. The only theft we’ve had in the past 4 years was my old bicycle which was taken from a gated (private) RV park in San Diego.


  9. says

    I never cease to be amazed at the little gems you encounter along your travels. Beautiful photography Nina. Along with the winds out east, we have been blessed with cold and rain for many days. Our Outer Banks experience has been pretty much this, and oh yeah, with a few ticks thrown in. :(

    • libertatemamo says

      Ahhh…bummer about the weather. I’ve heard this little storm we’re having here in the west is supposed to travel east too, bringing along some rainstorms over there as well. We’re ALL ready for that summer weather!!


    • libertatemamo says

      We’ve been SO happy to find lakes in several of our stops across Nevada. Lots of hidden blue out here in the desert, surprisingly so.


  10. Greg Miller says

    Hello Paul and Nina,

    We don’t full time yet, but we do take extended vacations every year. We have boondocked a few times and plan to do so more often in the future.

    My question is when you are boondocking, or staying at an isolated place such as on this post, do you leave the coach and do shopping, or longer day trips in your toad? Do you worry about security while you are away?

    Love your blog! Greg

    • libertatemamo says

      We’ve left our coach to go sightseeing just about everywhere we’ve been. When boondocking, as long as we’re not obviously visible from the main road we’re OK with leaving the rig. We just lock it and try not to leave anything too tempting outside.

      Honestly we’ve found the boonies to be very safe. Most of the crime I’ve seen in my lifetime (and certainly theft) have been in big cities. In the boonies I think you’re less likely to see that kind of problem. Not to say it never happens out here, but the “bang for the buck” for criminals is much higher in a populated area than driving around in the boonies looking for lonely RVs.


  11. locoBob says

    Hey Nina! Love those Kitty Cat photos! If you and Paul like Seafood pan roasts like they have back in Boston and New York, the Nugget Hotel and casino has a restaurant inside called John’s Oyster Bar. They serve the best pan roasts I have ever had. I highly recommend the crab and shrimp combo, or crab and lobster combo. You can see the info on the hotel website. The Nugget is in Sparks Nevada right off of I-80 easy in easy out. They have big rig parking on the west side of the hotel if you hit it just passing through with the whole rig. Also is there a way I can exchange some info with you without the world seeing it on here? I have something you might be interested in when you are in the Deception Pass area. E-mail me and let me know.

    • jonthebru says

      Down on the bottom of this page on the right is a link to send an email.

      I really, really enjoy this blog.

    • libertatemamo says

      Nice little tip! My e-mail is down at the very bottom of this page under the “contact me” link :) I’m very slow w/ e-mails (only check them rarely) so don’t be shocked if you don’t get a response right away. Looking forward to WA area a TON!!


  12. says

    Another great post/review. Looks like a great spot. The wind has just kicked up here and we are bracing for the ride. Sunday sounds like it will be the ‘best’.
    The 600watt you refer to is the total collection I’m sure. What about inverters how many watts on those and are they pure sine or modified.

    • libertatemamo says

      Yes, we have a total of 600 Watts on the roof (6 panels of 100 Watts each). I have details of our entire solar installation & system in our “solar” tab. Click HERE.

      Our inverter is a 2000 Watts Magnum Modified Sine Wave inverter. We’ve been thinking about upgrading to a Pure Sine Wave for years now (it’s on the list), but it just hasn’t happened yet. The 2000 is more than enough to run everything we need, including the microwave for short spurts (although the microwave really doesn’t like Modified Sine Wave).


    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah, we’ve actually been to Virginia City many times in the past (pre-RVing) so we haven’t felt the wish to go back since we got the rig. It’d make a good blog post though so maybe next time…



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