Ich Bein ein Berliner.
Those famous words were spoken by John Kennedy… Oops! Wrong place. Wrong story. Our bad.
One of the reasons we left early was so we could wander the backroads and ghost towns in Nevada. Our first stop was Berlin/Ichthyosaur Nevada State Park.
Leaving Fallon (where we spent the night), we passed Sand Mountain – a popular ATV place. You can see why; going up these large sand dunes would be loads of fun. But, the day we’re there the only person on the dunes was walking! Going up wouldn’t be too bad, but coming down you could easily blow your knees out.
The photo of the rocks on the side of the road have been put there by various people over the years. Don’t know what the fascination about defacing Mother Earth is, but what ever floats your boat.
We took the backroads by taking the first right hand turn on the east bound side of Nevada 50, just after you top Drumm Hill Summit. That takes you along the fault line that slipped in 1954 and caused an earthquake of the magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter Scale. Good size quake there and we sure wouldn’t have wanted to be camping in that area when it happened.
After exploring about a 10 mile length of the fault, we turned east on a dirt road that took in the flight path of an F-14 from Fallon as he (or she) flew map of the earth between two mountains. Smart ass. We hooked up with NV 361 turned south to NV 844 that leads directly to the park. Thanks to our wonderful navigation skills we only got lost once. We arrived in the early afternoon, set up camp, then set out to explore.
The first conclusion we came to was that life there must have been TOUGH! 200 to 250 people in camp. Conditions were primitive. No running water, out houses, and terrible weather conditions. Not to mention hard, hard work. And miles from nowhere. There was a couple of boarding houses (of ill repute), an assay office, a salon, and a couple of other places to make living there a little (very little) easier. There was no church; evidently one’s salvation was low on the list.
Oh, and there was a stage building that housed the guys that drove the wagons of ore around and their live stock, while they slept in the next room. You gotta love your job for that!
The town of Berlin has been partially restored and some of the original buildings are still in use – one of the rangers live in an old house.
The road to Berlin and the dinosaur park is ok for just about everybody, but a 25’ rig is the largest that will fit in some spaces. The road in and out of the campground is narrow, one way in some places, and would be a challenge on a busy day; like Memorial Day when they had 50 people in 14 camp spaces!
It’s not cheap, either. $17 a day. The weird thing is that the $17 covers your entrance fee and camping, so basically you pay an entrance fee even if you don’t leave the park.
Knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and humorous, Ranger Robin will take you on a tour of the dinosaur beds. He’s a lot of fun, so be sure to take the tour with him (he’s the only one there, so you’re stuck with him anyway). Be sure to tell him we sent you; he’ll know what you mean.
Sidebar: You will notice that the shape of the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park looks a lot like an Ichthyosaur…