Off to South America travel blog

Rog with his tractor

Mining equipment

Mechanical excavator

Wonder rock

Mining buildings

Intriguing hinge on one of the buildings

View from the casino in Laughln of the Colorado River

The other Aquarius tower

In the morning of October 19 we stopped at the Central Nevada museum In Tonopah. Roger found an old tractor from the 1920s, and we wandered through the mining shacks, outhouses, equipment and other paraphenalia from the early mining days. The previous afternoon I had chatted with one of the museum staff; she and her husband used to farm, but he has passed away and she has leased the land to some young hemp farmers. She says they may know hemp but they don't know farming.

After a look around the museum we drove to Laughlin, Nevada, a gambling mecca for Arizonans. Closer to Arizona than Las Vegas or Reno, it has boomed with casinos. We booked into one located by the Colorado River and thought we would take a walk by the river walk. However, as soon as we stepped on the path we were greeted by an infestation of insects. They were different from regular flies, but they swarmed in thick clusters around all the vegetation. We decided the sidewalk by the casino road was a better option, so we headed up to the highway. One of the casinos, the Colorado Belle, is supposed to be like an old paddle wheeler; we also walked by the Golden Nugget and the Tropicana.

On our return to the room I researched the insect infestation. The critters are caddisflies, and they are truly annoying. I found an article about a retired couple who thought they had found their dream home on the Colorado River only to discover that the bugs were so bad they could not spend time outside. The gentleman has since passed away, but a few years ago he mounted a one man campaign with ads on a billboard alerting everyone to the "plague of Biblical proportions." Bullhead City is the neighboring town with the same problem. Evidently the cause is the damming of the river. Once the dams are in place, no more silt; the larvae of the caddisflies like the clean clear water and attach themselves to the rocks. Fish can't get up between the dams, so there aren't enough predators to keep them at bay. The towns have hired a bug slayer, but so far no solution has been found to figure out how to get rid of the critters. The earliest mention I found was 2017, but definitely the problem has not been solved yet. Reminds me of the visit to Australia; the sugar cane attracted a beetle, so the people imported the cane toad to tackle the insects. The cane toad is now a major problem.

Since Washington state has taken out the dam on the Elwha River the fish are running again, and nature is restoring itself. It is a tricky situation; we need power, but there are consequences. It is not always easy to figure out the right balance between what we need and what we think we need.

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