Monday, March 30, 2009

Ponderosa Ranch

I loved the Bonanza TV series (NBC, Sunday nights, 9:00 PM/8:00 PM Central/Mountain, 1959-73). Here was a Western with very few cowboys... the Cartwrights were ranchers. In 1966, a theme park based on the series was put up in Incline Village, Nevada, overlooking Lake Tahoe (it wasn't far from Carson City or Reno). I went there in April 1975 and August 2004.

The ranch was great. It looked just like the TV show. I especially liked the family house (pictured here). I've often told people I want to build a replica of this house but I know I can't really have it.

It was the only theme park I know of that had its own line of liquor, a working saloon, and a working gambling casino... Heck, this was in Nevada. All those things are legal for adults past their 21st birthday.

I can't say much about the first time I went there but the second time I went with my (soon to be ex) wife and my parents. We took a week long vacation together in my parents' car. It was a bittersweet trip. My dad died shortly after my marriage of 20+ years ended in divorce.

And the Ponderosa shut down on September 27, 2004, my dad's 77th birthday...

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