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Us 40 Old Alignment Rediscovered Over Golconda Summit


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#1 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 08:23 PM

Talk about your old road serendipity! This post is a follow on to the post under General Discussion titled “A Wish for You from Northern Nevada”

To briefly recap that dialog, I recognized an old alignment east of Winnemucca, Nevada, over the Golconda Summit, and photographed it last Wednesday on a little road trip. I even buried half a dollar bill under a fallen road post and offered a $20 reward to the first to find it.

I was traveling without the benefit of my maps and guides, so when I got home I needed to do a little research. I opened George R. Stewart’s US 40 book, and to my amazement, there was the old alignment, when it was the main road. Obviously it isn’t exactly an undiscovered section of old US 40, but the surprise of finding it in so notable a book, was quite a delight. And to add to the pleasure, I had also identified an even older alignment in the process.

The image below is from Stewart’s landmark book and looks toward the west, with the village of Golconda, Nevada in the distance. You can see this road section by locating coordinates 40.93092, -117.41182 on Google Earth or looking at the next photo.






Stewart must be standing on the top of the cut (Point A) that is visible in my photo below grabbed from my video. He is looking toward where I am standing (Point B ), which is about midway between the first and second trailers in the Stewart photo.



My second photo grab from the video looks the direction he is looking (west...opposite the direction of my first photo), with the cut (Point D) in his photo and mine clearly visible on the right.



Play the 51 second movie and see the whole scene. (The narration was live on site. Ignore the reference to the Lincoln...I was suffering road fever.)

Now to add a little extra. Look carefully at the right edge of Stewart’s photo (at tip of arrow). You see the culvert or bridge in my movie that is on the old road (which here intersects and is buried under the old US40)! Now a big hint for treasure hunters.

Elsewhere on this forum I said “There is one half a dollar bill hidden at coordinates 40.93092, -117.41182 under a fallen road post on the old alignment of the road over Golconda Summit. You do not need a shovel or anything more than the ability to turn over a partially rotted old road post, lying all by itself in clear view” Hint: Look on top of the culvert shown in George Stewart’s photo.

Note, Roadhound, you can have a few gallons of gas on me if you do return to the site before anyone else!

While it is not in Stewart's photo, you may also want to compare the three alignments in a video as seen from Point C looking to the left (west). Point E is the huge modern road cut.

Finally, here is a video look at the cut seen in Stewart's photo as I first approached it from the opposite direction, and I start to note the older alignment to the south west (left side of Stewart's photo.

Keep the Show on the Road!

#2 roadmaven

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 08:57 PM

Dave,
I know I'm never going to get this in words the way it's in my head, but you've captured the very essence of what drives me as someone with a passion for abandoned alignments. This post is everything those like me live for! I can all but see and feel the ghosts of roadtrips past in your photos from old 40 when compared to the Stewart photo. Thanks for the "present"! sSig_goodjob.gif

#3 roadhound

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 10:56 PM

QUOTE (roadmaven @ Dec 2 2007, 08:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Dave,
I know I'm never going to get this in words the way it's in my head, but you've captured the very essence of what drives me as someone with a passion for abandoned alignments. This post is everything those like me live for! I can all but see and feel the ghosts of roadtrips past in your photos from old 40 when compared to the Stewart photo. Thanks for the "present"! sSig_goodjob.gif


Thanks a lot Keep, now I have to figure out how I am going to fit in a side trip to Golconda Summit in the next family vacation. "Really Honey, this is just as much fun as a cruise to Baja." I can hear them yelling at me from the car "Damn it Ansel, take the picture already" as I stand on top of the cut looking over the old roadbed. There's got to be a phsycological term for this obsession that seems to have us all in its grip.

While you were out there did you happen to stop at the Button Point Rest Area just east of Winnemucca? The road into the rest area is the old US 40 roadbed.

Roadhound

#4 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 11:16 PM

QUOTE (roadmaven @ Dec 2 2007, 05:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Dave,
I know I'm never going to get this in words the way it's in my head, but you've captured the very essence of what drives me as someone with a passion for abandoned alignments. This post is everything those like me live for! I can all but see and feel the ghosts of roadtrips past in your photos from old 40 when compared to the Stewart photo. Thanks for the "present"! sSig_goodjob.gif


Thanks roadmaven, your comments mean a lot to me. And you said it well.

I have always enjoyed the road less traveled, and the discoveries along the way. The three alignments would have been reward enough, but to then discover the Stewart photo was a real “rush.” My only regret is that I had no reason to climb the cut and take the photo I later learned Stewart had taken there. Maybe another of our Western Reporters will pick up the challenge, find the half dollar, win the big $20, and bring home a winning photo.

Keep the Show on the Road!

#5 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 11:30 PM

QUOTE (roadhound @ Dec 2 2007, 07:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks a lot Keep, now I have to figure out how I am going to fit in a side trip to Golconda Summit in the next family vacation. "Really Honey, this is just as much fun as a cruise to Baja." I can hear them yelling at me from the car "Damn it Ansel, take the picture already" as I stand on top of the cut looking over the old roadbed. There's got to be a phsycological term for this obsession that seems to have us all in its grip.

While you were out there did you happen to stop at the Button Point Rest Area just east of Winnemucca? The road into the rest area is the old US 40 roadbed.

Roadhound


Roadhound,

No. I didn’t discover the old alignment into the rest area. As you know, I was lucky to recognize which highway I was on at all!

It was your advice that led me to go east from Winnemucca. I’m glad I did. However I took Mr. Model Airplane guy too seriously, and didn’t look as carefully as I should have for the old road. I would have missed the Beautyrest sign had I not needed gas.

I know how tough it is to get the rest of the family to want to follow some old abandoned road. But tell the kids that if they find the half dollar bill they will “win” $20. I’m thinking that maybe I have discovered a way to engage the family in the old road adventure!

Keep the Show on the Road!

#6 mobilene

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 06:50 AM

QUOTE (roadmaven @ Dec 2 2007, 08:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Dave,
I know I'm never going to get this in words the way it's in my head, but you've captured the very essence of what drives me as someone with a passion for abandoned alignments. This post is everything those like me live for! I can all but see and feel the ghosts of roadtrips past in your photos from old 40 when compared to the Stewart photo. Thanks for the "present"! sSig_goodjob.gif


sSig_iagree.gif sSig_iagree.gif sSig_iagree.gif

Ditto to the max. Keep, what you found is nearly a holy grail of abandoned alignments. To go home and find that you stood where George Stewart did -- wow!!

jim

#7 Alex Burr - hester_nec

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 12:01 PM

Great write-up and loved the videos - enjoyed the narration on the old alignment much more, now that I got the sound back on my computer system.
Don't know what I liked best about the 1962 film clip of Virginia City - the old buildings, or the old cars (which weren't so old back then. LOL)
Keep up the great work.

Hudsonly,
Alex Burr
Memphis, Tenn.

#8 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 01:08 PM

QUOTE (mobilene @ Dec 3 2007, 03:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
sSig_iagree.gif sSig_iagree.gif sSig_iagree.gif

Ditto to the max. Keep, what you found is nearly a holy grail of abandoned alignments. To go home and find that you stood where George Stewart did -- wow!!

jim


Mobilene,

Substitute, “stumbled on” for “found,” and you have the reality. You followed this one as it developed, so you know I was just out looking for the two lane roads less traveled. But that doesn’t make it any less sweet. Unlike your careful research, I just decided to follow a likely dirt road.

I took several other movies, and in one I comment on how deteriorated the road I’m on has become. Looking at the Stewart photo and at the site today, it is amazing how fast the road is reclaimed by sagebrush.

The video thing has a huge advantage I haven’t recognized until now. I was able to get sharp 640 X 400 jpgs out of the video.

The fallen road post I hid the half dollar bill under is on top the bridge/ culvert at the tip of the arrow in the Stewart photo. If you look carefully, there is a guard rail along US40 just above that. I wonder if the post was part of the guard rail, and was dumped over the side onto the old culvert. Pure speculation...but could be.

My further research in a 1921 California - Nevada Automobile Blue Book shows that the road at that time followed (was on top of) a railroad bed between Valmy and Golconda. No railroad could have gone over Golconda Summit, and my maps show one that swings far north to skirt the hills. Thus the oldest alignment in my videos was built after 1921.

Stewart has another photo (Tie House) that might be identifiable near Valmy. So someone needs to make another trip to the area...perhaps in the spring!

Keep the Show on the Road!

#9 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 02:07 PM

QUOTE (Alex Burr - hester_nec @ Dec 3 2007, 09:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Great write-up and loved the videos - enjoyed the narration on the old alignment much more, now that I got the sound back on my computer system.
Don't know what I liked best about the 1962 film clip of Virginia City - the old buildings, or the old cars (which weren't so old back then. LOL)
Keep up the great work.

Hudsonly,
Alex Burr
Memphis, Tenn.


Alex,

Thanks for the comments! I am delighted that you enjoyed the videos. The live narration too often reveals my ignorance, but since that isn’t the only thing that does that, rolleyes.gif I guess it does add to the “You Were There” feeling.

Did you recognize/ enjoy the little Vera Lynn video piece? You have about 3 years on the calendar on me, so her WWII songs may have been a part of your childhood. I recall my mother playing and singing Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you? which I think was popular about that time. I wish I could understand the kid’s songs today...ours were so clear! biggrin.gif

I have a few more road related short shots from my 1960's home movies that might be road worthy. I note from the number of times they are played that they are not exactly crowd pleasers, but they may be significant to a few people.

Keep the Show on the Road!

#10 roadhound

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 07:26 PM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Dec 3 2007, 01:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My further research in a 1921 California - Nevada Automobile Blue Book shows that the road at that time followed (was on top of) a railroad bed between Valmy and Golconda. No railroad could have gone over Golconda Summit, and my maps show one that swings far north to skirt the hills. Thus the oldest alignment in my videos was built after 1921.

Keep the Show on the Road!


Do you have that posted on your historic maps site?

I have read that quite a bit of the original transcontintental roadbed through Nevada was later used as the first roadbeds. The section between Cobre and Wells is one example that I could find and unfortunately didn't follow last summer. I had suspected that the same was true between Valmy and Winnemucca but could not find conclusive proof. It makes a lot of sense that the first roads would use whatever path was readily available and an abandoned railroad bed was probably a lot better to drive on than an old wagon road.


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#11 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 10:01 PM

QUOTE (roadhound @ Dec 3 2007, 04:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Do you have that posted on your historic maps site?

I have read that quite a bit of the original transcontintental roadbed through Nevada was later used as the first roadbeds. The section between Cobre and Wells is one example that I could find and unfortunately didn't follow last summer. I had suspected that the same was true between Valmy and Winnemucca but could not find conclusive proof. It makes a lot of sense that the first roads would use whatever path was readily available and an abandoned railroad bed was probably a lot better to drive on than an old wagon road.
Roadhound

Roadhound,

You are certainly correct. The 1921 ABB makes it clear that you are getting on an old railroad bed that has been graveled at Valmy going westbound. The California Emigrant Trail and the railroad bed go northwest from Valmy around the hills, and back southwest into Golconda. It is pretty evident in Google Earth or Virtual Earth.

It looks like the old road followed the road that runs from Midas into Golconda for some distance. Too bad I wasn’t prepared or I would have backtracked on the original alignment around the hills to see what I could see.

I don’t suppose the family can be bought off a trip to Baja for $20, can they?

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#12 roadhound

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 12:33 AM

QUOTE (Keep the Show on the Road! @ Dec 3 2007, 10:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Roadhound,

You are certainly correct. The 1921 ABB makes it clear that you are getting on an old railroad bed that has been graveled at Valmy going westbound. The California Emigrant Trail and the railroad bed go northwest from Valmy around the hills, and back southwest into Golconda. It is pretty evident in Google Earth or Virtual Earth.

It looks like the old road followed the road that runs from Midas into Golconda for some distance. Too bad I wasn’t prepared or I would have backtracked on the original alignment around the hills to see what I could see.

I don’t suppose the family can be bought off a trip to Baja for $20, can they?

Keep the Show on the Road!


I'm gonna work on it. We've talked about heading out to Yellowstone next year, just have to convince my wife and daughter that a 40 mile diversion on a dirt road is just as much fun as a ride at Disneyland. Convincing my son will be no problem because every time we're on a dirt road he thinks he will have the opportunity to drive again.

Alternate plan will be to camp again with my son and father, in which case I will figure out a destination that requires me passing through there.

There is an old road out there that is calling me to explore it. Somehow I will figure out a way.

Roadhound

#13 DaleS

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 02:01 PM


My further research in a 1921 California - Nevada Automobile Blue Book shows that the road at that time followed (was on top of) a railroad bed between Valmy and Golconda. No railroad could have gone over Golconda Summit, and my maps show one that swings far north to skirt the hills. Thus the oldest alignment in my videos was built after 1921.

================================================================================
====================

I was camped on Golconda Summit when I stumbed on the thead.

I drove the old road over the railroad grade, some place it looks like it may have been paved at one time. Some of the places where the road bed was raised, you had to drive beside it because a narrow bridge would be out. I went from the Golconda-Mides Road to Pumpernickel Valley off ramp.

There are a couple of historial placks a long the way.

For a bonus, got to see a large 3 point buck deer, it ran away and jumped a fence without any effert.

Dale


#14 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 02:16 PM

QUOTE (DaleS @ Jul 23 2008, 11:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My further research in a 1921 California - Nevada Automobile Blue Book shows that the road at that time followed (was on top of) a railroad bed between Valmy and Golconda. No railroad could have gone over Golconda Summit, and my maps show one that swings far north to skirt the hills. Thus the oldest alignment in my videos was built after 1921.

================================================================================
====================

I was camped on Golconda Summit when I stumbed on the thead.

I drove the old road over the railroad grade, some place it looks like it may have been paved at one time. Some of the places where the road bed was raised, you had to drive beside it because a narrow bridge would be out. I went from the Golconda-Mides Road to Pumpernickel Valley off ramp.

There are a couple of historial placks a long the way.

For a bonus, got to see a large 3 point buck deer, it ran away and jumped a fence without any effert.

Dale


Dale,

It sounds facinating! And you say the old rail bed may have been paved? Wow! That deserves some attention.

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

#15 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 04:48 PM

Dale,

Your email said you were planning to travel between Pumpernickel Valley and Stone House and that you were camped at Valmy, Nevada.

George Stewart’s US 40 book identifies a “Tie House” (constructed of ties) a few miles west of Valmy. His quote follows:

“A few miles west of Valmy a spur of a mountain juts out close to the highway and on its slope a miner (his claim is a little way up the mountainside) has constructed a typical Nevada house.”

I’m thinking that is “Lone Tree Hill” at the Stone House exit (212). There is a Stone House Spring on its northern slope. But alas, looking at the hill in Google Earth, the whole south and south west side seem to be part of a open pit mine. However, the northeast side may be less disturbed, and that is probably the location of “Tie House.”

Another hint as to the location of the Tie House is that there is a little spring there. Plank Spring on the Delorme Topo maps fits that location well. It is too much to hope that Tie House has survived, but I include the possible coordinates:

W40.842707, W117199915

Road Hound has traveled that area and may be able to add some more here.

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Dave


#16 DaleS

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 09:24 AM

I drove saround the south side of Stonehouse exit yesterday and didn't see much on that side odf the road. Was going to drive US 40 to Pumpernickel Valley, but the mine has a big pipe acorss the road. There was a crossing, but they had some steel plates in the way. You can US 40 from Pumpernickel Valley to the pipe, but you would have to turn anround and go back the same way.

Old US 40 from Valmy west only goes for a mile or so. The pavment stops and the road turns north across the tracks to a ranch. Keep Out! West bound I-80 covers old US 40 from there to Stonehouse.

I'll may look at the north side of Stonehouse today.

Dave, try getting a Benchmark Nevada book, I like it beter than Delorme.

#17 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:39 PM

QUOTE (DaleS @ Jul 25 2008, 07:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I drove saround the south side of Stonehouse exit yesterday and didn't see much on that side odf the road. Was going to drive US 40 to Pumpernickel Valley, but the mine has a big pipe acorss the road. There was a crossing, but they had some steel plates in the way. You can US 40 from Pumpernickel Valley to the pipe, but you would have to turn anround and go back the same way.

Old US 40 from Valmy west only goes for a mile or so. The pavment stops and the road turns north across the tracks to a ranch. Keep Out! West bound I-80 covers old US 40 from there to Stonehouse.

I'll may look at the north side of Stonehouse today.

Dave, try getting a Benchmark Nevada book, I like it beter than Delorme.


Dale,

I’ll look for a Benchmark of Nevada. I use Delorme’s TOPO USA computer maps, which are pretty good. I was using Google Earth to spot the old Tie House site.

It wasn’t clear from the Google Earth aerial shots what the dark lines were, but now I assume they were pipes. The “crossing” was evident, but I couldn’t tell it was blocked.

I’m guessing the bottom line relative to Stewarts “Tie House” is that it is gone, that the spring may still exist, ….and that in any event, the site is now “off limits.” No surprise, but hope springs eternal…and sometimes there is a “discovery.”

Roadhound and I have traveled in that area in the last year or two. He got some great photos of the old road around Emigrant Pass.

Keep us posted. I am enjoying your travels “virtually.”

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave


#18 DaleS

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 02:19 PM

I made a mistake (first one) I was on the north side yesterday and checked out the south side today. You can go to the springs, they are dry.
Here is a picture around Plank Springs. There is a cement foundation from something later.

Attached File  Stonehouse_003.JPG   241.29KB   16 downloads






#19 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 03:46 PM

QUOTE (DaleS @ Jul 25 2008, 11:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I made a mistake (first one) I was on the north side yesterday and checked out the south side today. You can go to the springs, they are dry.
Here is a picture around Plank Springs. There is a cement foundation from something later.

Attached File  Stonehouse_003.JPG   241.29KB   16 downloads


Dale,

Wonderful! I'm so glad you took the photo! That is almost certainly where Tie House was located. The dead poplar tree is a big clue, as is the fence Stewart says was around the spring. You have probably "discovered" a gem.


Great Stuff....

I'll post Stewart's photo of Tie House ASAP...and I also wonder if the guys at the US40 site might like your info as well. Can you return to the Tie House site for a photo matching Stewarts? There is a hill in the background of his shot that would help orient the view...and the poplar and well will help. There is also another well off to the left (northwest) which I think must be Stonehouse Well.

Anyway, my son just walked in the door so I must stop...but I will post the photo within a couple of hours.

Keep up the great work!!

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

#20 DaleS

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 04:26 PM

Attached File  Stonehouse_002.JPG   193.69KB   13 downloads

Here is the spring with a fence around it, about 200 yard west of the other picture. That looked like a cottenwood tree to me in the other picture.

I can't believe that the first picture on the other post counts on the 500k.






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