I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ponies and Prostitutes

On the last day of our felting retreat, we washed all the sheets, cleaned up the kitchen and packed up all of our roving and equipment for felting.
We cleared the tables, folded them and carried them to the garage.
Then we put our flowers and hats out on the counter for a photo shoot.
Aren't they just the most wonderful bunch of flowery, felted hats ever? We all "felt" a sense of accomplishment.
We packed up our two cars, and headed toward Carson City. On highway 50, just outside of the Carson City city limits, there are two things that you need to see. One is the Wild Mustangs, the beautiful wild horses of the Nevada Range... and the others are the  "Ranches", with names like "Mustang", "Chicken" and "Bunny".  The thing is that these "ranches" aren't raising any horses, chickens or bunnies. It's a different kind of ranch.
We drove up one road and I spotted the wild mustangs right away. There they were. A herd of them, on the hillside... beautiful, free and looking like they have no cares in the world.
Some of them had babies.

One (on the right below) had the most gorgeous mane and forelock. It looked pale and silky.
 This one was a huge horse that looks strong and seems like it was a leader.

And then there were the colts. Oh, my... the sweet little colts. Most stayed right next to their moms, but this little one was by itself, even though it was still within range of the whole herd. A little adventurer...charming and so cute.
I had a hard time getting clear images of these animals because they were quite a distance away. 
 Everyone was waiting for me to "get the shot" with my Nikon, so we could continue on to Carson City. I got back into my car and we traveled back to the highway. The next road we turned off of was called Kit Kat Rd.
Our hostess said that she would show us one of these "ranches", but that we would not be going inside one. As we drove up this road, she pulled over and pointed to the sign on the side of the road.
We didn't see any bunnies hoping around, so we continued up the road.
The next sign had my age on it... no wait... it was a speed limit sign. How odd. Then I realized that no one in their right mind would go 69 miles an hour on this road anyway. When we drove closer I saw the small letters and numbers below the speed limit. This must be "Nevada" humor.
Then we saw the last sign and realized just what kind of "ranch" this was. (I have covered this sign with an X rated sign of my own as to not offend any of my readers.)
This is the famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch, just a normal looking building at the end of the road, except for the pink neon signs...

and the strange red flag and stop light on a pole. I guess the flag is kind of like, "This is the place."

  Clean, cute and rather "western" looking isn't it? Well guess what goes on here?
This is one of the 19 licensed Brothels, in Nevada. Yep! This is a LEGAL establishment.
The state of Nevada is the only jurisdiction in the US where prostitution is permitted. Strictly regulated brothels operate in isolated rural areas, away from the majority of Nevada's population. Prostitution is illegal in the following counties: Clark (which contains Las Vegas), Washoe (which contains Reno), Douglas, and Lincoln. Prostitution is also illegal in Nevada's capital, Carson City, an independent city. The rest of Nevada's counties are permitted by state law to license brothels, but only 8 counties have done so.
(information source from Wikipedia)
So we drove though the parking lot, stopped for a minute so I could take a few more photos and then drove on down the road. Didn't want them to think they might have some "business" coming in. Didn't want to make trouble. It didn't look very busy. But I read, as I "researched" this topic, that there is a gate and another parking area in the back for the discriminating client. I also learned that they accept credit cards and the transaction doesn't show up on your bill as Bunny Ranch, but rather "Lake Tahoe Cash Advance".
So off we drove, feeling that we had rubbed elbows  the "real" Nevada.
We did see more wild horses up another road. I got so excited that I drove up over an embankment and onto a dirt road . I was going to follow the road alongside an old railroad track and drive right up to the horses. MJ, who was riding shotgun for me, said that I might not want to get into the dirt or drive off the road this way. She was calm but firm... "You might scare the horses off."
 I realized, right away, that I had over reacted to the whole wild horse experience and was probably going to get stuck. The other car with our travel buddies in it, was parked on the road and they were all looking at me like I was crazy. I turned the car around and drove back to the main road, but not before I stopped, got out and took a couple of shots of these beautiful creatures.
This group above have three or four colts with them. These horses are not in danger of being an extinct species but they are endangered.  This is a dilemma beyond proportion and out of control. There are too many of them and there is no place for them to go. Civilization is closing in and some of the so called "solutions" to the wild horse problem are unacceptable. Please read this and learn about the problem these animals face. Again, we have caused great harm to another species. The Government and the Animal Rights activists are waging war with each other over yet another human caused crisis.
I took one last look at these peaceful animals on the hillside and that's when I saw this.
Some guy was walking up to the horses, with his little girl, what appeared to be a baby in a carrier on his chest and a dog tagging along. That was when I realized that trying to be one with the wild horses was crazy. Did this man know what he was doing? Even if the "baby" was camera equipment (I couldn't tell at that distance), this was an insane thing to do. I know I got carried away and wanted to get closer to the mustangs. I understood the feelings involved, the emotional responses... but walking up to the horses with a child and a loose dog? What was he thinking?
These horses are wild animals. Maybe he had done this before. Maybe he knew something I didn't, but this just seemed kind of crazy to me.

We went to JoAnn's and then Tuesday Morning in Carson City... and finally stopped for lunch at Shat's Bakery.
Oh my gosh. This is a wonderful bakery/ restaurant that you could follow the scent to. The wonderful aroma wafts out into the street. The food was delicious and the service slow... but it was a Saturday afternoon and very busy. If you are ever in Carson City, NV. check it out. They give you free cookies. When we asked about our lunch order, they gave us more cookies. Just a heads up. Complain and they compensate with cookies. Not bad!
We got into our cars filled to the brim and refreshed... then headed on down highway 395. We made one more stop at Fabric Chicks in Minden. Do you remember the post I did on this place?... the one with the really amazing bathroom?
Yes... this is part of their bathroom!
And all the amazing fabric and kits for making dolls?
And quilting supplies?
These photos are two years old. I swear, there is twice as much in the store now.
This store is eye candy for the fabric obsessed person who can't get enough of sewing, quilting and making dolls. They have everything. Some fabric and misc. items were bought. There was talk about taking a doll class from Elinor Peace Bailey again. Two of the group had taken classes from her last year and the dolls were wonderful.
 It was time to leave our wonderful retreat and go home.We said our goodbyes to each other and parted ways. MJ and I drove up over Carson Pass and down into California, winding our way back over the Sierras and into Amador County.
We got home in the late afternoon. MJ got in her truck and left for her home in Calaveras County. I took a nap... and the next day too. All that driving took its toll.
It was a wonderful retreat and every time I look at my felted slippers and my beautiful flower on its hat, I get a smile on my face.
It's not so much the accomplishment as it is the memories of a wonderful time with friends, new and old. It's about  laughing and having a good time, getting to know someone new and learning how to create.
It's a good feeling.
I still want a ranch in Nevada ,with some wild mustangs in the barn... but I may have to wait until my next life. I'm a little old for bucking broncos and being a horse whisperer. But I'm going to find a place where I can see these horses up close and personal. I'm sure there's a ranch (a real one) that makes this possible. Until I find out, I will just enjoy my life with my chickens and the Corgi Boys here on the mountain. The Prospector says I'm a dreamer... a "romantic". Maybe so. I have too many things I want to do in this lifetime. It's a beautiful blessing... this life. I think it's OK to always have a "I want to ..." in your head. It keeps you going in good directions and life doesn't get boring. It gives you something to look forward to.

Thanks Janice. You are a wonderful hostess and a generous person.We all had a great time.

Oh... and Happy Saint Patrick's Day to everyone.


  1. oh my...i dont know that i knew that about nevada...errr....i would have to have the boys blindfolded as we drove around....ha...so cool on the wild horses though, that would be cool to see....

  2. Enjoyed this post very much. Carson City, Nevada was where my husband and I got married. The photos of the horses are wonderful. The hats are just beautiful. You all did a great job on them. I hope that man knew what he was doing. Have a blessed day and continue your dreaming. Madeline

  3. What a great trip! The felting went very well from looking at all the beautifully flowered hats! They should be so fun to wear!

    I enjoyed the pictures of the wild horses near Carson City. The picture with the most horses in it is really a fine one. And the other "ranches" looked ...ah... interesting. I'm kind of surprised at the signage along the road. Ha.


  4. Another great post! I had a friend who visited the Mustang Ranch many years ago. After all the things he'd heard about that place, he said he went there expecting to be pampered and indulged. What he got was, a harsh "Whadaya want? That'll be XX dollars. He drove all the way up there from Oakland and said the entire "Ranch" experience took about 15 minutes! Now, back to the good stuff. Aren't those mustangs just magnificent!! You got excellent photos. I want to know which hat is yours? They are all true works of art. Love ~Dawn on Ponies and Prostitutes

  5. Mine is the light grey one with the yellow and white flower.

  6. There is a purple flower on it too. It's the flower that is on my header photo. We all made at least two flowers.


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