We drove 70 miles west of our home on US-50 to Austin, Nevada on Valentine’s Day. We had planned on having breakfast at the Toiyabe Cafe, but we got there too late and had lunch instead. We wandered the streets of Austin by foot for a few hours taking lots of photographs, 95 digital images with my Canon 5D and 24-105 lens and 96 frames of Ilford FP-4 120 film through a Holga plastic camera. It was a warm (50 degrees) sunny day with some high wispy clouds in the sky. We then drove the short distance to Stokes Castle. We didn’t spend much time there. I shot one roll of film through the Holga, but didn’t shoot any digital images. The fence around the site is distracting and unappealing photographically. Hopped back into the car and drove down the hill to the Austin Cemetery.
I love the Austin Cemetery, it’s one of my favorite cemeteries right after the Virginia City Cemetery. Austin’s cemetery is very ornate with wondrous monumental headstones. I shot several more rolls of film and plenty of digital images here, I switched to my Canon 35mm f=1.4 lens for this location. Next we were headed back though Austin over Austin summit to Spencer Hot Springs for a soak before going home.
After cresting Austin Summit but before Scott Summit there is Grass Valley Road. Neither of us had ever driven the road, and were both wondering what’s up that road? So off we went. Ten or so miles and after passing a couple of active ranches we came across an abandoned ranch with many stone and adobe out buildings. The roofs were sticks and sod, and still keeping the buildings dry. I managed to finish all of my remaining Ilford FP-4 film and shot some more digital at this old ranch. Grass Valley Road continues north of US-50 passing through Crescent Valley and Beowawe before connecting to Interstate 80. We turned back on the pavement and headed to Spencer Hot Springs. As we approached Spencer, we encountered several other vehicles wandering around trying to find an open spring to soak in. The road to the top spring was still covered in slushy snow and we slipped and slid our way to the top and found it to be free of others. The water was perfect! The sun was shining on the Toiyabe Range, it was a glorious sight! We soaked for almost an hour before driving back to US-50 and on home. We both had a wonderful Saint Valentine’s Day.