Gerlach, Nevada

Bill and I just got back from a quick trip to Gerlach, Nevada. I had been invited to speak about my ‘career’ as a writer for Gerlach High’s career day, and we couldn’t pass that up. It’s a six hour drive to Gerlach from Oakland, and as we drove we contemplated how this kind of spontaneous, semi-unimportant travel just can’t last. When fuel reaches $5 a gallon, a trip like ours would cost over one hundred dollars. We did use a combo of veg oil/biodiesel to get there, but with the price of food skyrocketing, even used veg oil has become a precious commodity. While I do look forward to trips, food, and fuel becoming more and more localized, I do feel nostalgic (already!) for the days when we could just jump in the car and go. I’ll wager the next generation will think us careless and wasteful.
The next generation in Gerlach was delightful, though. About five teens sat at my table to hear about the writing life. The rest of Gerlach High gathered around the National Guard and Marines tables who brought tons of swag to give away. They had posters and baseballs and camo hats. Really crazy. Anyway, my kids were the goth kids who wrote poetry! They were wicked smart and so sweet. I was excited to share my experiences as a writer, and to urge them to continue working on their craft: it will only get better and better.
Not really urban farm related, but I thought it was fun.

6 responses to “Gerlach, Nevada

  1. We don’t do any traveling like that at all anymore. And sometimes I think, sure I would, if I could afford it, but I’m just as glad not to in order to claim I’m not contributing to those particularly problems (and thus be holier you know! LOL!). But I wonder about that nostalgia you talk about. And I wonder what people’s reactions will be when it is not just a side trip they can’t do, but the commute. We watched someone move out of our holler this last weekend. I’m thinking that there won’t be many people left out here after awhile, which suits me fine. But I still wonder.

    And today was our library day. A trip to town. And there will come a time when even that won’t be, thinks I. The days of the bookmobile may come back though!

    sorry for the ramble

  2. you are my hero.

  3. Novella Carpenter

    yeah, well, i’ve taken something like 15 road trips across this great country of ours. it’s pretty amazing–we meet inspiring people, eat the regional food, and get a real sense of how americans live (warts and all). so i’ll miss that. of course, driving is better than flying in terms of co2 output and what not, so i could take the moral high ground (he he). but don’t you find that you drive a lot living in the country cg? trips to town and all? just curious….

  4. 60 years ago you could have jumped on a train and gone to Nevada. You could take Key Route trains all over the Bay area, up to Chico and down to Gilroy. There were trains to Santa Cruz and MOnterey. Express trains to New York, Chicago and other great cities left at least once a day, if not more. NY-SF was like a three day trip in comfort.

    Our fearless corporate leaders ripped up local train systems around the country.

    Now the airline industry is falling apart; cars are getting too expensive; but nobody is talking about reviving the trains. Why not? So efficient, and for those long dreary drives across plains and desert, much easier on the soul.

    PS, if we had a high-speed train like in France or Spain, we could get to LA from Oakland in two hours. Easier than flying when you factor in the security lines etc.

    And fifty years ago you could take a train from downtown Oakland up to the Feather River camp, Oakland’s city camp. Now it’s an 8 hour drive. I really don’t want to drive up there, too much work.

    Bring back the trains! For the environment, for energy efficiency, for our community.

  5. Bookmobile – Oakland has a bookmobile – pretty cool.

    Also if you live near a decent bus line (I live near several) you can get to lots of libraries. Dimond Branch (Oakland) is a brisk, hilly 30 minute walk for me and a seven minute bus ride.

  6. Novella Carpenter

    hi leila: i’m all for bringing back the trains–the key system in oakland/berk was supposed to be amazing. but how do we do it? any ideas or groups that are doing that? i heard portland has great public transport….but how did they do it?

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