Travels in the American Southwest

(Continued) Belmont, NV & The Monitor Inn

While ice is precious in Belmont, the same does NOT hold true for water! Pumped from the depths of a "deep well" comes some of the purest, sweetest, tastiest water imaginable. If all water tasted like this, soft drink manufacturers would be bankrupt. Since I would be traveling in an area where potable water is scarce, I had obtained permission to fill my water containers at the Inn when making my reservation. I felt almost guilty as the liquid goodness flowed from the spigot through my food-grade hose and into the 1000 liter water buffalette! "Water we got plenty of," smiled the host as he invited me to see the generator, pump and infrastructure which allows the Inn to operate. For you readers that are wondering about water pressure for middle-of-the-night activities - a large water tank with gravity feed assures an ample water supply!

Walking in the kitchen door, I could smell biscuits cooking in the propane stove/oven. The massive wood-burning stove is used only in the winter when it can also function as a source of heat. All the kitchen equipment runs off propane including the refrigerator. While waiting for breakfast, I wandered through the Inn. From the old photos on the walls to the equally ancient clawfoot bathtubs, I was captivated. Lost in thought, I heard footsteps at the doorway. I half expected to see Wyatt Earp or his brother Virgil knocking the dust off their boots...But it was only the other guests strolling down the well-worn wooden sidewalk. The Inn has three bedrooms and as expected for something built a century ago, they are on the smallish side. Two of them have doors leading to a balcony which affords a panoramic view of the valley below.

Guests and hosts gathered in the dining room under the watchful stare of a picture of a previous owner of the property. Back when she ran the place, it was known as the Philadelphia House, perhaps hoping to use the name as a reference to "big city civilization". It might have been a selling point to weary travelers in a rough and tumble time and place. Fresh fruit, ham & cheese quiche (yes, real men do!), freshly baked sweet rolls and those heavenly smelling biscuits had me letting my belt out another notch. Knowing I was leaving shortly, I was quizzed about my planned route, what I'd hope to see and how difficult it was to find Millers? Everyone roared when I said, "West from Tonopah. Hang a left at the first rest area you come to. Drive until you see a long trail of transmission fluid on the right hand side of the road and just follow it!"

Fully stuffed, I thanked my hosts for the hospitality and a most enjoyable stay. I paid the solo traveler's charge of $70. (Had "Most Significant Other" been with me, it would have been $90.) A final surprise awaited me as I hopped into the van. Out came the hostess with something in aluminum foil. "I saw you how you enjoyed the biscuits. Here are some more in case you get hungry while exploring. Come back and see us again!" Be assured I will.

Because it only has the three bedrooms, reservations are a good idea. (775) 482-2000. The phone is answered by a service in Tonopah. Cell phone service is spotty at best in Belmont! The owners plan to be open year around and will be providing stables for horseowners who wish to explore this fascinating area on horseback.

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