Ghost Town Adventures

I recently took a three-day vacation with the family, and I thought it would be cool to share what I did in my sketchbook. We went to California’s Eastern Sierras and Western Nevada, and the theme was searching out ghost towns.

Spread of sketchbook

First two pages of sketches, done in gouache and colored pencil

The first major stop was Virginia City, Nevada. It’s not a ghost town, but it was definitely a taste of the wild wild West. We went to the Washoe Club, because we’re fans of the show Ghost Adventures. They taped several episodes there and its known as being full of spookiness. We toured through thirty-something rooms in the old Gentleman’s club. The weirdest thing was that old scents of sweet cigars and rosy perfume were still in the air. They had a fun paranormal museum, and that’s where I drew the above striped shirt, which was a holy Ghost Adventures relic left behind by Zak Bagans.

Spread of second page of sketchbook

More pages from my sketchbook, a collage of all the places we went

In Virgina City, we went on a horse-drawn wagon ride through town. They had magnificent candy shops. We ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant and from our balcony view we saw real wild horses coming into town, and later we saw a jackrabbit. The next day we stayed in Bridgeport, Ca, at a cute motel called the Silver Maple. A major highlight of the trip was going to Bodie, a real ghost town, with the most beautiful abandoned houses. Peering through the windows was amazing, as you could see turn-of-the-century furniture and objects just lying around. But the buildings weren’t completely abandoned… there were little rabbits living in them. So cute!

Watercolor of Nevada

Watercolor done in my sketchbook

The last day, we had breakfast at a great diner in Walker, Ca. They had a birdhouse gallery there and fake weapons on the walls. We ventured back into Nevada and searched for a little ghost town called Pine Grove. Well, it ended up that we couldn’t find it. It was really in the middle of nowhere, in the Pine Grove Hills, and the closest towns were Wellington to the west and Hawthorne to the east. We didn’t have clear directions and after miles of driving unpaved road in a little passenger car, we decided to turn back around. But I did get to put in some sketching of the Nevada desert landscape.

Photograph of artist

Desolate and lonely, searching for the elusive Pine Grove, photograph taken by my sister Lisa

Overall, it was a quirky little trip, filled with plenty of family bickering, peeling Victorian wallpaper, and jackalope sightings. Oh yes, and many opportunities to draw!