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Heaven is a Plum Poking Town

Updated on August 10, 2015

Population 3000

As a kid I lived near Battle Mountain, Nevada, between the years 1972 and 1984. Battle Mountain is small town in Northern Nevada with a population of around 3,000 people (and I think that might be counting people outside of the official city limits). It is such a small town that when you poke you head out of the window; you are plum out of town. There was one traffic light in town on Main Street also known as Interstate 80.

There was Nothing on TV

Before cable TV came to town in 1982 people who lived in and around Battle Mountain had a choice of two TV channels to watch, ABC and NBC out of Reno, Nevada. My best friend and I skipped school the day after her parents had cable TV installed at her house. We thought that we would get to watch some really cool stuff seeing that there were 25 channels to choose from, instead of the meager two. My friend and I should have gone to school that day, because there wasn’t anything on worth watching. We had the choice of watching soap operas, news, old movies and a really weird play. We ended up watching the play. All I can really remember about the play was that their where a group of women worshiping a huge neon sign in the shape of a male body part. Now, I am sure that if my friend and I had been more sophisticated, the social commentary of such a play would not have been wasted on us.

Battle Mountain, Nevada

A
Battle Mountain, Nevada:
Battle Mountain, NV 89820, USA

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A Plum Poking Town

Battle Mountain, Nevada

Have you ever been in Battle Mountain, Nevada, for more than 10 minutes?

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No news is good news

We had a weekly newspaper the Battle Mountain Bugle. The articles covered mostly town events like town picnics, parades, school award ceremonies, sporting events and concerts. Occasionally there would be crimes in the Battle Mountain that would be reported on in the Bugle. The three such newspaper worthy crimes I can remember from my 12 years living in Battle Mountain where: The local bank was robbed and shot up by 'out-of-towers', The Pizza place being robbed by 3 high school boys (the boys where caught right away because they were recognized, even though they whore nylon stockings over their heads.) and A woman shot her husband (He was had cancer and he had asked her to end his suffering.) We received reports of crimes in the outside world, but it always seemed so far away that it didn't affect our state of mind too much. Well, the reports of crime in other places did bring on warnings of being careful when we traveled to big cities like Winnemucca (53 miles west of Battle Mountain), Reno (53 miles west of Battle Mountain), Reno (218 miles west of Battle Mountain), and Elko (70 miles east of Battle Mountain).

From my front porch I could see BM!

Dirt Road

Snow and dirt

Hill Top Road

My Dad was owned and operated a truck. He hauled ore from a mine on Hill Top Road to the train tracks that ran alongside Interstate 80, just outside of town. My parents and I lived on 28 acres of land just off of Hill Top Road. The 20 families who lived off of Hill Top road live in trailer houses. We were the 11th family to move out to Hill Top Road. I know this because our phone number and address was Hill Top 11. Hill Top Road was a dirt road. When I was 13 I got what was called a farm license. I was able to drive any vehicle legally as long as I didn’t drive on paved roads. My Dad taught me to drive everything from a motorcycle, tractor, to his big truck. Whatever you do, don’t play that song “When Daddy lets me drive”! I will cry like a baby.

Alan Jackson - Drive

Fun in Battle Mountain

From time to time I would get together with a group of my friends and we would tip over tombstones and cows just for fun. Most of the time we found less disruptive entertainments like fishing, swimming, camping and my favorite of all was exploring the mountains around Battle Mountain. There were all sorts of wonders, like ghost towns, abandoned mines and old miner shacks. Most of which you could only get there by horseback, motorcycle or on foot. We found an old coal smelt made out of rock. Inside the walls were turned to what looked like glass from the heat of them processing the coal. Another discovery of ours was a ghost town with belonging of the original occupants still in the buildings. Behind one of the houses there where two tombstones, one tombstone said “Here lays my cheating wife” and the other one said “Here lays the bastard I caught her with.”

Main street

Almost all my friends and I talked and dreamed about leaving the sticks and “having a real life in a real town.” Well, in 1984 my parents and I moved to Sacramento, California, there I graduated from high school, got married and raised two daughters. I would tell my girls stories of my childhood, but I was not able to provide the experiences of my childhood for my daughters. 2008 I moved to Los Angles County. When I am in my car trying to get anywhere on the freeway system in L.A., I really miss my Plum Poking Town.

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