There was a time I would go to Virginia City eight times or so a year. It was back when my idea of fun was driving to the base of Geiger Grade off Highway 395, hopping on a racing bicycle, heading up to Virginia City, dropping down to Carson City, climbing up Spooner Grade, pedaling by Lake Tahoe, struggling up Mt. Rose and then pushing it to the limits downhill often topping 55 mph.
It was 88 miles of pure bicycling bliss involving 8,200 feet of climbing that allowed me to make two trips to the Sizzler’s salad bar for heaping full plates plus dessert in south Reno afterwards.
One time after doing the loop the guys I was with decided it might be nice to see what was in Virginia City instead of pedaling through it at 18 mph without stopping. That is when I fell in love with the place as well as the history of the Comstock.
Most of us — okay, those over 55 — probably remember Hoss and Little Joe telling their pa they were riding into Virginia City from the Ponderosa on the Western TV show by the same name.
At one time Virginia City boasted of 25,000 residents and was the most important city between Denver and San Francisco. The storied mines, several of which are beneath the actual city, produced untold riches, primarily of silver. The three mines that trigged the “Big Bonanza of 1873” yielded $300 million of silver alone.
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