Next time you are in Nevada, try pointing the family vehicle to some of the other fun attractions we will serialize – starting now.
The Great Bathtub Race at Cave Lake
June 2010 was the first “official” year of this east central Nevada sun-filled party, and it promises to become an annual Nevada favorite.
The site of the event is Cave Lake State Park, a lovely 32-acre mountain reservoir located 15 miles southeast of Ely, Nevada.
Also known as, the Cocktails and Cannons Event, the memorable audio highlights include music, several reports from a very loud Civil War cannon, and a deafening homemade jet bathtub that was powered by a BBQ propane tank.
A unique flagship vessel
The “engine” on the flagship jet-tub was activated by what looked like a four-foot long leaf blower – and off it roared. The crowd went wild.
This conspicuously loud technical marvel had a surprising top speed estimated at somewhere between 4 and 5 miles per hour.
The super-tub’s slow screaming circular saunter around the lake was accompanied by incessant cheering from the fans on shore.
The revelry continued
Next came the first heat for “motorized bathtubs non-jet powered” category. That was immediately followed by the somewhat less thrilling, but equally entertaining heat for “other than motorized bathtubs.”
The merriment included a wide variety of spirits and plenty of All American camaraderie and good cheer. There were kids splashing in the lake and picnic baskets and blankets everywhere.
Arthur Forest Lampitt, Jr., the Libertarian candidate for governor was there working the happy crowd with hearty handshakes.
After the races, there was a presentation of awards for the participants. Some of the goodies were generously donated and handed-out by the local “house” Madam. Yep, only in Nevada.
Food for the masses
When the sun dipped below the neighboring mountains, it was time for a killer seafood BBQ dinner buffet with all the trimmings. There was an excellent selection of vittles – including Alaska King Crab, Salmon, clams, and crab cakes. What a feast.
Fire in the sky
As darkness fell on the high desert, it was time for the Rangers to set off the grand fireworks display from a floating barge. It was a bigger than expected extravaganza that was accompanied by something you just don’t see everyday – floating bathtub bonfires – Viking style.
No one went home empty
If anyone did not have a wonderful day at the Nevada Bathtub Races, it wasn’t because of the event, or the hard working Nevada Parks Rangers and members of the White Pine Tourism and Recreation Board. Nor would it be because the highly hospitable people of the great state of Nevada weren’t at their best.
Ranger Steve said, “The state is going to try and make the Bathtub Races an annual event.”
If they decide to publicize the event as “The Great Nevada International Bathtub Race,” Cave Lake in Nevada may just get to be a big international draw like the Pamplona Running of the Bulls, or even the Monaco Grand Prix. OK, maybe not that big, but it will still be grand entertainment for anyone attending.
If you are thinking, “this is my kind of fun,” click on www.TravelNevada.com . Next year’s event dates will be posted in the free e-newsletter available from the website.
Where to stay
The most famous lodging around (for miles and miles) is the Hotel Nevada on Hwy 50. The highwaywas once described in Life magazine as the “Loneliest road in America.” The hotel can best be described as “interesting.”
The Hotel Nevada and Casino was the tallest building in the state when it opened with great fanfare in 1929. Right from the beginning, it became a round-the-clock favorite for bootlegged booze and gambling. Its colorful history has left curious traces.
Unique collection of quirky memorabilia
There’s the miniature cowboy scenes carved by a blind ventriloquist, and one of the most complete stuffed animal “heads and horns” collection west of the Mississippi.
Taxidermied striking rattlesnakes adorn the showcase at the entrance to the hotel’s restaurant. The staged snakes are poised just across from the cherry 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead that is displayed on an elevated platform.
Anyway, you get the idea. Check out more of the hotel’s collectables in their photo gallery.
The Hotel Nevada isn’t the Ritz-Carlton, but it is genuine funky fun.
Our next article will feature more outstanding Nevada State Parks and attractions. For a list of other travel adventures click here.
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