A morning walk around Elko.
What was mid-town railroad tracks is now Green Belt Park. Old Western Pacific RR rolling stock seems as faded as rail travel. Great Basin College has a wan and lonely look. Copper-domed Elko County Courthouse is a classic of its time. There is no “lunch crowd” at either of Old Town’s casinos (is there a bigger play out at the edge of town where newer budget motels collect?) The 1868 Pioneer Hotel/Saloon now hosts a delightful Western Folklife Center Museum.
Considering it is Saturday mid-morning, a steady throbbing of pick-up truck exhausts noisily gives rise to a question about whether there is any relationship between beat-up pickups and Trump voters? Is there some surrogate of power at work in each?
Another thought centers on our stereotype lean and laconic cowboy. If last night’s casino crowd is accurate, a newer mode exists: big, beer-paunched, ham-handed men in company with blowsy, busty, heavy-haunched women. Is a puzzlement.
Finally, a third “leg” of this falls into place: US culture was formed by rule-breakers (whether English convicts sent to NC/SC/GA; or Europeans dissatisfied with rules they resisted) and circa 1776 rebels. Being against prevailing rules tempts a sense of being “right” and a necessary sense that “standard” options must be “wrong”.
No wonder our country is so confused.
Back on I-80, another long drive:
Pause in West Wendover to marvel that what was once a tiny town now sports state-line casino palaces which would look appropriate in Reno or Las Vegas.
Stop for a few moments to be impressed with Great Salt Lake Flats. Even seeing it, it is hard to accept.
Finally, into Salt Lake City, where, overnight, am treated to an old-fashioned thunderstorm.
It’s a great trip.