The corkscrew road crosses the river a bunch of times, and finally hits the outskirts of the town of Jarbidge
After a reminder of a strict 10 mph speed limit in town, time slows down considerably. The downtown is reached in half a minute, with the bar/restaurant, motel, gas station, fire station, post office, and town hall within a hundred-yard circle.
It is getting dark. The friendly locals are scattered around five or six tables; by the time we roll in, they’ve been shooting the breeze with Jason and Kevin for a couple of hours – so they already know all about us. Chris wipes the dust from his eyes, and we proceed to the bar counter desperate for a cold drink.
An order for a gin and tonic produces an appreciative raise of eyebrows of a lady tending the bar, a glass with cold drink appears in a few seconds, followed by a $2.50 bill. I am in love with the town already.
We chat for a long while, and then roll out in search of a campsite good for four trucks. Our severe demands for the quality of a campsite are met in less than a minute, the trucks are parked, food and kitchen equipment produced, and The Classic White Gas Coleman stove is duking it out with The Cheap Chinese Propane Coleman stove in every category of stove sexiness.
The cool and quiet evening passes wonderfully along with a fifth of bourbon, curry artfully made by Chris, and cheese melts on top of pretzel buns. We expire late at night, to fall dead asleep after about two hundred miles on dirt.
* * *
Last night's curry wakes me up on no uncertain terms - "Boy, you are so getting up now..." The morning is cool, bright, and awesome in every other respect. The kettle is already bubbling on one of the Colemans; a few more pretzel buns go on the frying pan, along with cheese and fresh eggs.
Chris digs himself out of the 110, to discover that his ARB fridge won its own battle with a cheap Whynter counterpart, and froze Chris' milk solid. The bottle refused to hold the contents, and the bottom of the fridge is covered with glass shard-impregnated milky ice.
This delays our departure to somewhat near 11 am. After yesterday's cross-Nevada marathon, my Disco is only good to the next gas pump; the diesel 110 can live a while longer, but Chris joins the pump party nonetheless.
Friendly locals are already perched on the chairs at the bar's veranda. Judging by the blue spots around otherwise brown landscape, they are on their third or fourth Bud Light. Seeing Chris limp, they summon the local medical authority ("she knows her shit!"), who arrives fully dressed in starched scrubs atop of a quad. While Chris is getting his foot taken care of, we join the beer party.
We are advised to visit the local Town Hall - a real proper one, with somebody tickling some decent urban blues out of the ancient upright piano inside. A Town Hall tour is taken; we then proceed to inspect highly-regarded Jarbidge Trading Post. The shopkeeper (Don? or Dan?) is a fixture in town since late nineteen-fifties, and permanent resident of the last thirty years. The assortment of canned goods in the store has changed little in the last hundred years, and can easily support a [solitary] gold digger for a few months. Townspeople must be taking trips up North to Boise to stock up on stuff. There are also maps and numerous low-volume, low-page-count books on the rich history of Jarbidge Canyon, and other knickknacks like reproduction brothel tokens ("Best Screw In Town," "Screw, Eat, and Sleep for 2 dollars," and the like).
Next to town is Jarbidge Jail, with tours offered by the shopkeeper. Friendly locals explained the complicated nature of maintaining order in town with the law arriving from the county seat in Elko, NV, more than 100 miles away (in Summer, about 200 - in Winter), or from next small town across the state line in Idaho. Apparently, the participants of a proper gunfight that erupted in front of the saloon a year ago went away unmolested by the authorities.
By the time we're largely acquainted with the town's amenities, Chris mapped out our escape path from Jarbidge, and off we go in a cloud of dust and diesel fumes. My truck proudly sports a sticker on the roof: "What the hell's a Jarbidge?"
Oh yes... almost forgot. In Jarbidge we were treated to our best, and only, shower during the entire trip, for a princely sum of $2. When you roll in town hot, sweaty, and covered in dust, the choice between a $2 shower and a $2 cold beer grows into a decision of epic intensity.