The Long Road to Beatty, Nevada
What started out as a simple journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco, albeit via Death Valley and Yosemite, yielded the pleasure of hospitality in the wonderful town of Beatty, Nevada.
Death Valley and the adventures of getting anywhere near Yosemite are tales for another time, recovery from which remains a work in progress.
Before Beatty, however, there was Rhyolite, a ghost town on the north-eastern edge of Death Valley. A mining town at the beginning of the last century it went bust not long after booming and any function left with a pulse moved to the nearby town of Beatty. Population of 1,154 as of 2000.
Small towns anywhere and everywhere have so much in common and never more so than on an early Saturday afternoon. A quiet, silent laziness sits in the air of the deserted street. Not for the first time, nor will it be the last, speculation loomed as to who lives in places like this? We were about to find out.
Pinning the tail to the donkey we picked a bar and walked right in to the Happy Burro Chili and Beer. It looked OK, like any other place in the town. The stand out features were sitting in the tiny bar and once in there was no way out. Feeling as though we had crashed a local party of sorts, strangers in town, we took the two remaining seats at the bar and ordered chili and cold drinks.
Two of the customers gave us welcoming smiles, one with the query of “where you from?” The rest carried on, either in conversation with each other or on their own in stony silence. All of them drinking and smoking.
The chili was good and like all good chili it wins prizes. But the prize was Frank who came to Beatty 30 years ago, all the way from St Louis Missouri. Somehow he forgot to keep going and he stayed. He likes the place and he likes the bar so much he is almost the unofficial tour guide. He is particularly proud of the bathrooms. Check out the website and see for yourself!
What was a long road to Beatty, Nevada, was however a short trip down memory lane which took me all the way back to Nevertire, a tiny, dusty town in the middle of nowhere in another country far away. Another pub, another place, another lifetime. Where youth blossomed and love was discovered. Where people live their measures of forever. Where strangers driving the hot dusty plain stopped in at the pub and wanted to know “Who lives in a place like this?”