Monday, May 16, 2022

Basquing it On The Road: A Pit Stop in Elko

We're exploring more of the area around our new neighborhood in Northern California. This includes crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains and exploring the deserts of Nevada on the other side. This time, we're spending some time in the northeastern area around Elko.

We've got one whole day to spend here so let's get to it. We're starting off with a drive along highway 225 from Duck River Reservation from the Idaho border down to Elko.

From wild mustangs to teepees in the back of almost every home here on the rez, we head south into Wild Horse Canyon for a windy and gorgeous drive along the Owyhee River.

Wild Horse Reservoir greets us at the other end and we make a pit stop at Wild Horse Ranch where some clean restrooms await at the convenience store, bar, and restaurant. You can also camp the night here, if you wish, but it's just a nature break for us while we admire the snow covered scenery nearby.

More high elevation Nevada desert scenery unfolds at we make our way to Elko, a city in northwest Nevada that will be our home for the night.

Our room is a functional, clean but not spectacular room with two queen beds and a roll-in shower at the Hampton Inn, next door to the Gold Dust West Casino that would be a great place for breakfast. The Hampton has a decent and free breakfast but for our second morning, we splurge on the $5.99 special of bacon and eggs at the casino.

We want to do two things while we're a pub crawl and have a nice Basque dinner. The pub crawl will be featured on our Sunday Cocktail Hour post. For the dinner, we head to the Star Hotel, an old Basque boarding house that used to be next to the railroad tracks (the trains moved, not the hotel).

Unfortunately, when we walk in, we find everything covered in plastic sheeting. The restaurant is under renovation and is not open today. We'll have to go to our plan B, the Toki Ona, the city's other Basque restaurant. 

Along the way, as we pull out from the parking lot, we find out that the block down from the Star Hotel is the city's red light district with about a half dozen brothels with names like "Inez's Dancing and Diddling" (prostitution is legal in much of Nevada and operates openly in regulated brothels).

At the Toki Ona, it's more of a diner atmosphere but has the standard Basque setup and entrees...start off with a tureen of soup to be shared with a loaf of bread and red wine. Then a bowl of salad. Then a plate of spaghetti. Then a dish of green beans. Now another load of rice with your potato selection (fries and au gratin for us). Finally the entree with was a plate of beef tongue in gravy and a rib eye covered in garlic and big enough for the three of us.


As always, it's a ton of food and we're only able to get through about half of each dish.

We take a drive and see the fairgrounds and the nice, shady neighborhood nearby with great tree-lined streets that reminds us a little of the walking tour we did in Carson City.

It's only a day but the city is nice enough that we decide we'd like to make a return trip...maybe when the rodeo or fair is in town.

Darryl Musick
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