Monday, October 20, 2014

Yellowstone and Geezer VII - Elko to Jackpot, NV via Jarbidge, NV

September 26

Today our final destination is Jackpot, NV, which is a short drive, but we will be taking a much more interesting route to get there. We will be going through the remote town of Jarbidge,NV, which is north of Elko and about eight miles from the Idaho border.  Jarbidge is a town with a summer population of about 40, and about 20 through the winter months.
Our route for the day highlighted in yellow.  Highlighted in red is our
starting point of Elko at the bottom, and then Jarbidge in the center near
 the top, and finally our stop for the night, Jackpot at the upper right.
The only way to get to Jarbidge is on a long dirt road that winds through the mountains and crosses a couple of 8500 foot passes.  There is slightly easier access (and the only access open in winter) from Idaho, but it is still a dirt road through some rugged countryside.  Our plan today was to head north out of Elko and get to Jarbidge in time for lunch, then continue on to Idaho until we hit US 93, which we would take south a few miles to Jackpot, NV where we would spend the night.

We wanted to get an early start so we were up at seven and left Elko just after eight, but not before we made sure we had a full tank of gas.  The first 50 miles is on NV Hwy. 225, which is a good paved road.

The morning starts heading north out of Elko on NV 225.
Soon we reached the turnoff to Jarbidge and we were off on our adventure.  The road was a gravel and dirt road which was rough, but in good shape.  Four wheel drive is not required, but having a high clearance vehicle is advised.  We were told that the road was fairly easy unless it rained and then the road became very slick with mud and would be dangerous on the steeper sections.  The scenery started out as typical high dessert, but as we started to climb in altitude it gave way to more trees and more alpine-like scenery.  The road was sparsely traveled, but it must have been hunting season as we ran into a few hunters and could see hunting camps along the way.  The scenery got better and better as we went along, with some fall color in the aspens and sweeping vistas off the high passes, as well as heavy forest as we came down into the valleys.  There were streams and ponds adding to the beautiful scenery.  Although rain threatened it turned out to be beautiful day, with blue sky filled with huge white clouds.  Below is a photo tour of our trip to Jarbidge.

The beginning of the road to Jarbidge.

We're getting closer.
Hunting season was underway and we saw a number of hunters' camps.

This is what's left of the town of Charleston.
Nice to know we're still on the right track.

The last high pass, and then we begin our final descent towards Jarbidge.
Around noon we started coming down from the high country towards Jarbidge, which is at 6200 feet.  The town of Jarbidge was bigger than we thought with quite a few homes, a very small store, cafĂ©, saloon and even a gift shop.  We stopped and had a good lunch at the Outdoor Inn and talked to the friendly owner who told us she would open up the Community Center, which served as a small town museum, for us to go into.  Here is a photo tour of the town.

We made it, and we're entering Jarbidge.
Val walks along Main Street.
The Outdoor Inn where we had a good lunch and friendly service.
The Community Center which also serves as a town museum.

There is even a motel in town.
And a gift shop.

And of course a saloon.
This is the original town jail that is no longer used.
After finishing lunch and checking out the museum we explored the town a bit and then continued our journey.  We followed the Jarbidge River (which eventually empties into the Snake River) out of town and most of the way into Idaho.  As we continued to descend out of the mountains the trees became sparser, and as we drove further into Idaho the land became very arid.  Eventually we hit the pavement again and made our way to US 93 where we turned south and drove the 17 miles to the border town of Jackpot.

We followed the Jarbidge River Canyon out of town towards Idaho.
The arid flat lands of Idaho.
Jackpot is a typical Nevada border town with a cluster of hotels and casinos.  We had stayed at Cactus Pete’s a few years ago and found it to be a nice hotel so we planned to stay there again.  We arrived around five and after a bit of rest, we of course headed down to the casino.  This turned out to be a good night for Val and an excellent night for me.  She ended with a little more than she came with, and I ended up doing even better.  Even though this is not really a gambling trip, I have done really well which is pretty unusual for me.  Tomorrow we turn north again and head for West Yellowstone, Montana.

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