How To Get To Town

Going to town from the Diamond A in Northern Nevada is usually an all-day affair. If it doesn’t take all day, it takes 15/16ths of a day, so it might as well take all day. The two-hour drive to Twin Falls, Idaho, the closest hub of civilization with a grocery store, is peaceful and beautiful. The baby sleeps the whole way, my makeup is fresh, my coffee cup is full, and I’m as rested as a mother can be.

Here’s the scenic route, which is actually the only route in and out of this place.

I start here, at – need I say it – the Diamond A.

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Then I follow Buck Creek, the source of our electricity and summertime fishing adventures, about four miles to our mailbox.

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At the yellow bridge, I hang a left. If I hang a right, I will end up in Jarbidge, population 15 people, 2 bars, after about nine miles. That 13-mile trip takes 45 minutes one way. That’s what happens when the road follows a winding river and your average speed is 7 mph.

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Even though the way to Jarbidge is clearly marked with not one, not two, but THREE red arrows spray painted onto a large rock, we still have lost tourists regularly knock on our door asking how to get to Jarbidge. It’s like they’re not used to looking for handmade road signs on rocks or something.

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After turning left at the yellow bridge, I follow the Jarbidge River for several miles. Doesn’t the sunrise look pretty on the rimrock?

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This picture wasn’t crooked; the tree is leaning into the river.

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Because I was totally thinking about reaching up for third gear. Not.

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I pass the tiny village of Murphy’s Hot Springs at the bottom of the steep hill, where motorists are cautioned to watch for stock, not campers or druggies, the more commonly seen life forms.

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Going up this steep hill isn’t too bad on dry ground, but the washboards will nearly skitter a person off into the canyon. I try not to look down.

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But when I stop on the shoulder, I see beautiful sights like this. That’s Jarbidge Mountain on the skyline.

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Ah, pavement! Hello, overdrive.

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Now it’s only about 45 miles of this to the interstate.

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On the right, we have some more scenic mountains and sagebrush. Lots of sagebrush. More sagebrush than you could shake a stick at, if you could find a stick on this desert.

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As I drive by the Three Creek ranch, I like to say hello. Hi Brent, hi Kristy! Hi unborn baby Lily Ann! Does anyone else say hello to their neighbor’s fetus on the way to town? No? Yeah, that is kind of weird. Bye, unborn baby Lily Ann! See you March 17-ish!

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Their road is named after the ranch’s iron. I like to point out the obvious.

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It doesn’t hurt to have plenty of help when feeding cows, like this cowboy at Devil’s Creek Ranch. Also, driving on the right side of the road is optional out here, like seatbelts and registering your horse trailer.*

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You definitely want to be going nice and slow when approaching the dam, as the sign says one lane only and it ain’t joking.

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White wooden crosses by the side of the road are a somber reminder of how fortunate we are each time we have a safe journey, and how suddenly things can go so terribly wrong.

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I wanted to take a picture of the whole dam, then realized I was in the picture, and it just seemed rude to not smile.

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That is a long-a$$ way down to the bottom of that canyon. Yikes!

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A nice, fairly straight stretch of pavement takes me past the Jack Ranch, home of Clair and Christine and their four rugrats, and Matt and Anna and their three munchkins. Who says there’s nothing to do way out here?

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The non-town of Rogerson, unincorporated. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s on their sign. Rogerson is 65 miles from the Diamond A, a drive that normally takes 1 1/2 hours, 2 in the snow, and about an hour and forty-five minutes when you stop to take a picture every seven miles.

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The interstate! You better watch your bum bum on Highway 93, because people drive like nutcases on this stretch of pavement, and there is hardly any shoulder to pull over onto in most places. Only 18 miles of this madness, though, and I’ll be in Twin.

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I made it to the big city of Twin Falls, Idaho, population 44,000. Now I can’t wait to do my shopping and hurry home to my husband and little white house on the edge of the wilderness.

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*We have NEVER let the tags expire on our horse trailer.

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27 comments

  1. This was WONDERFUL!! Thanks for writing and sharing your pictures!! We lived in Jackpot for 18 years, but are now back in Wisconsin. We have actually been by your ranch, and we weren’t lost – we were taking an alternate route from Elko to Jarbidge, for fun. I’d say next time we’ll stop, but I can’t promise to be back on those back roads again. Your writing and pictures brought back great memories!

  2. I liked reading this, mostly because I know the area well and I’m related to the cowboys in Devil Creek who drive all over the road and Matt who works for Simplot. A great way to ride along!

    • Mine, too! Funny, I was just thinking of my (almost) perfect life when I lived in Rogerson! I decided to update myself on the folks out there. Fond memories resurfaced when I learned of the passing of legends, remembered the reason for the cross at the bridge, couples who are no longer together, and kiddos who grew up and moved on. Alas, I couldn’t help but smile when I see familiar faces or hear a familiar name… and all the learning I learned. The unincorporated place that even my parents refer to as my “home”.

  3. Howdy Jolyn Young this is DonnaRae R. Henstock, great to see your drive. I am blessed to work on the Devil Creek Ranch with Keith & David Severe, we have probably meet on my way to work & waved at each other. I love the drive although yours is much farther down the road. See ya out on the road one day or on my 4-wheeler traveling to another meadow to change my water. Thanks for the pics.

    • Hi DonnaRae! Devil Creek is a beautiful ranch, I’m really intrigued with the old building by the sign on the east (I think – I’m bad with directions) side of the road. It must have some great history. I’ll look for you and your four wheeler next trip to town!

  4. Hi Jolyn! I’m Cathy (maiden name Clark) and my family owned the SevenTriangle Ranch where I grew up. I loved your pictures of the “drive” — I’ve done it myself a million times. Just not all the way from Buck Creek! I’m definitely going to be following your blog so I can see what’s going on in the home country. I sorely miss it. Thanks for the memories, feels like I was riding with you. Have you seen any sheep flocks cross Salmon Dam? They jump up and run and crowd on the cement side railings. It’s crazy to watch them, you hold your breath until they all get across. Thanks again and I’ll be watching! ;o)

    • Hi Cathy 🙂 The Seven Triangle Ranch is so pretty, I love that spot! They have a much better view out their kitchen window than we do, down here in a canyon bottom like we are. I haven’t seen any sheep or cattle cross the dam, but I have heard stories about it and it sounds terrifying! The railings are only about a foot high at the ends. I drive about 5 mph over that thing, it’s scary! Thanks for reading 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing your drive to town. We (Marion and JIm) love to take the back roads to explore all the beautiful places that you enjoy living on. We always take the length of Nevada when traveling to visit our children in Calif, and have revisited many roads traveled in the 50’s. When I worked for Elko County Roads and Bridges for a summer job, we did a lot of reconstruction of gravel roads and and bridges in your area! Will always have fond memories of the country and especially the warm, friendly folks on the ranches.

  6. Hi Jolyn! Enjoyed your trip to town very much. I grew up at Clover,so fishing/swimming trips,to Murphy’s and Jarbidge were much enjoyed family outings. It is good to see those views again!

  7. Hi Jolyn, I loved reading this! It brought back many memories of going to Jarbidge from Elko (when the other roads weren’t open yet) and made me think of my Grandfather and Great Grandfather and how they used to get to town! My Great grandfather George H Knight bought the Diamond A from Frank Winters then my Grandfather sold it somewhere around 1943. My mom grew up on the Diamond A at the original homestead. Is there a way to view the article other than on Facebook? I would love to share it with my mom but she is not on Facebook.

    • Hi Deanna,

      We live in the original homestead house at the Diamond A, and a lady named Kristen came out this summer to tour around her childhood home. Is that your mom? To view the blog on the original site besides Facebook, go to desolateranchwife.wordpress.com and it will show up as my most recent post.

      Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day 🙂

      • Hi Jolyn,
        My mom is Roberta (Knight) Skelton. If I’m not mistaken the home at the Diamond A is the home I believe the Larios family built after they bought the Ranch from my Grandfather Robert Knight around 1943. Prior to that my great grandfather George H. Knight owned it. He bought it from Frank Winters who purchased it from the Oldham family. According to my mom the Oldham family originally Homesteaded the Diamond A. I have a picture of a picture of the original cabin that is now pretty dilapidated. If I remember correctly you can get to it (barely see the remains) by going up Deer Creek Grade to the current Ranch. It is off to the right somewhere in there! (Wish I had better memory!) I was trying to post the pic for you but this blog would not let me upload it. If you are friends with Mary Bess on Facebook you can see it under her post about your blog! Thank you for posting your blog it brings back so many good memories of the area. We try and get up there at least once a year! Deanna

      • We must live in a different house than the original homestead then, because we definitely don’t live in a dilapidated cabin 🙂 I saw the picture on Mary’s timeline, thanks for posting that!

    • That’s what I’ve heard. My husband kept saying he would take me over the steep nasty hill to Charleston this summer, but we never got around to it. Another adventure for next summer!

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