Fun times in Ely!

We arrived Ely, Nevada (pronounced, eeeeleee) and headed straight to The Nevada Northern Railway Historical Landmark and Museum.

NOT necessarily to see this 56 acre, well preserved and operating historic railroad, NOR to necessarily be taken back to a time when, ”the iron horse ruled the rails”, BUT with the primary purpose of meeting Dirt, the cat.

I first learned about Dirt, the Cat, when months ago I posted in a Facebook group looking for info about heading west on Highway 50. Amongst the various and sundry comments was one about the Railway Museum in Ely and Dirt, the cat. A number of other folks jumped on that thread to say they too had either met Dirt, the Cat or wanted to. I was intrigued and as some of you well know, my sister LOVES cats, she always has, so I knew she’d be interested in meeting Dirt as well.

When purchasing our tickets at the Museum, I asked if Dirt was around and if it might be possible to meet him. The attendant replied in the affirmative and told me we’d find him in the Machine Shop/Engine House and to be careful not fall into any of the pits while there. I asked if many people came in looking to meet Dirt and she replied, “oh yes, he’s quite famous”. So off we went to find the Machine Shop and Dirt, the cat.

Elo, Ron, the volunteer, and Engine 81

Upon arrival at the active and working Machine Shop we found Ron, and announced we were there to meet Dirt, the cat. Ron is a volunteer with 30 years under his belt and very kindly designated himself our guide. He loves his trains and took us through the workings of the shop and some of the engines, but our persistent questions about the whereabouts of Dirt, the cat made him realize we might be more interested in the cat than the trains, so he took us to the area of the building where we were most likely to find our feline friend. As you can see, we found Dirt, the cat and enjoyed meeting him enormously. The story goes that Dirt was found as a small kitten up in the workings of one of the many dormant engines housed there. He was of course, covered with Dirt and has remained so for the past 13 years since. He seems well attended and giving him a bath seems futile given his living arrangements, plus, Ron says Dirt would never allow it.

Dirt doesn’t want for love or attention

Pausing for a head rub while coming our way

Feeling satisfied by our time with Dirt, Ron, and the Railroad Museum we set our sights on a grocery store and a place to park for the night.

Our options for places to camp overnight in Ely were definitely limited. I had read earlier that we could park at the Casino with no problem, so off we set to find said Casino. Turns out there are several “casinos” in Ely…not your Las Vegas style casino mind, but some far distant cousin from the other side of the tracks casino…basically a dark room filled with slot machines and smelling of desperation and stale cigarette smoke. After a little bumbling, find it we did. Elo went inside and was granted permission for us to stay. Can you see her van there? It’s right there….beyond the sign and behind the dumpster. Ha!

Waking early the next morning after a fortunately uneventful night, we stepped out onto The Loneliest Road in America which stretches from Ely, NV to Carson City, CA.

In July of 1986, Life magazine dubbed Nevada’s Highway 50 the “Loneliest Road in America.” The article claimed there were “no points of interest” along the route and “warned” readers not to risk traveling it unless they were confident of their “survival skills.”  Nevadans and many others responded with a resounding, “Game On!”  It is now a somewhat sought after road trip that many enjoy.

I’m searching my phone for photos, but alas, I guess I didn’t take any.  You’ll have to Google it up if you’d like to see the scenery….welcome to the “do it yourself’ section of your reading.  

We did enjoy the trip across Nevada and really enjoyed stopping in Eureka, but after that there wasn’t a whole lot going on and it got quite hazy from the fires.  I’d definitely drive Highway 50 again.  It beats interstates by about a million miles.

Oh, I just found this photo of the Courthouse in Eureka. Built 1879

We arrived Lake Tahoe yesterday and blessedly, the skies are clear and smoke free so stay tuned.  Spoiler Alert.  Its GORGEOUS!!!

Until next time…



  • Rusty Hunt

    July 22, 2021

    I love the photo with Elo and Ron. Elo’s beaming! Glad you finally got to meet Dirt the cat.
    “basically a dark room filled with slot machines and smelling of desperation and stale cigarette smoke.” The image is sad, but your way with words made me smile.😂

    • Anonymous

      July 23, 2021

      Hey RooTowne! You know, thinking back on it, maybe apathy would have been a better word and it was a bit sad.

  • Lorie Saltzman

    July 23, 2021

    I delight in reading your posts! Keep them coming! 💖

    • Margie

      July 23, 2021

      Thanks Lorie! So glad we got a chance to speak today.

  • Tena

    July 25, 2021

    Thanks for taking us along with you. Stunning pictures, always.


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