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Old 11-21-2014, 11:24 PM   #1
Old Henry
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Default Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

This was my annual birthday trip to wherever I wanted to go. One of my favorite getaways is to Milford, UT, a little pig and railroad town 200 miles south on back roads - the location of our 7° Road Trip in December 2012 (here: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=93137). I really didn't expect to take any pictures nor video. We were just going to get away for a few days. (Well, not totally away since AnnaRae's mother can no longer be left alone so had to come with us. She and Pepe don't get along with each other very well so Pepe stayed home with Morgan.) Little did we know how eventful the trip would turn out.

After a night in the motel we drove to breakfast at the local diner. The back right tire seemed a bit low and the generator wasn't charging. Oh boy. Here we go again.

At the end of breakfast one of the waitresses asked me, "Is that your old car out there?" "Yeah." "Well, it has a flat tire on the back right." Oh boy. So, I pumped it up with the electric pump I keep in the trunk and drove to the only tire and auto repair shop in town. When he took the tube out he found two leaks where the tube had been folded in the tire all this time and shouldn't have been.



The tire was just too big. I had a spare in the trunk but, unfortunately, it was the same size - TR13. That's what Coker Tire is sending now for 6.00-15 tubes. So, he put my new one in and while he was doing that I wiggled the wires to the generator a little to see if that would get it going again. Then, we headed down the road. Fortunately, the generator started working again but I was a bit uneasy about its brief problem.

We headed south on old state highway 130 to Cedar City (one of the last two roads in Utah I had never driven) then headed west toward Nevada on Hwy 56 (the last road I hadn't driven). We had seen a town called Modena on the map near the Nevada line but had never been there. When we got near it we saw it off the highway a bit. I looked quaint so we left the highway to take a look.



Modena history:

The all important railroad found its way to the location of Modena in 1899. Water in nearby Desert Springs made this a natural stopping point to replenish the steam engines.

Eight miles from the end of the rail line at the Utah-Nevada border, Modena was the most central area between Southern Utah and Nevada. Merchants from as far as Mesquite, Nevada and St. George would come to pick up their commodities. The U.S. mail came by train along with the time's most notable dignitaries. Both were delivered to their destinations first by stage coach, then by automobile.

By 1903 a U.S. Weather Bureau and Forwarding company were working full-force in Modena. The area was very important to livestockmen. In one week of May 1908, 140,000 sheep were sheared in the stock yard east of town. The gold and silver that miners pulled out of the local mountains attracted notorious highwaymen that plagued the land. Both miners and outlaws would come to town to get their supplies, take advantage of the local saloon, blacksmith, and maybe attend a dance or two.

The only telephone terminal in town belonged to the mines. Modena itself had one phone in the local store which was shared by all. Electrical power did not come to town until the early 40's.

Homesteaders that did not succumb to offers by local livestockmen or fall victim to bitterly cold winters and months of drought made Modena their home for many generations. Unlike the steam engine that originally drew railroad builders to Modena, the new diesel engine did not have to stop for water and the Modena depot became obsolete.

The Lund Hotel and Mercantile: (The hotel says "Lund" on it because it was built when the town was called Lund before it was renamed Modena)



Downtown Modena consisted of the hotel and a shop next to it.



The little shop next door.



Inside the shop.



An abandoned house.



The one next door.



The former Modena School built in 1936 no longer used.



Here's the movie to see the rest of the town including the train coming by - the only thing to break the peace of this little abandoned community - and even a little "urban exploring" inside the two haunted houses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSoYIqvVFLU NOTE: I did all pictures and video of Modena in B&W as I felt the shapes and shades of grey were much more impressive than the colors. Some colors were actually distracting from the whole mood of the little place.

From Modena we continued west across the Nevada line 'til we hit US 93 and turned north for Pioche. Not far after the turn we came upon Cathedral Gorge State Park with miniature formations very similar to those in southern Utah. Another pleasant surprise.




Approaching sun down we arrived at Pioche - a ghost town considering its population peaked at 6,000 at one time and is now only 1,000.

Pioche history:

The first modern settlement of the area occurred in 1864 with the opening of a silver mine. The settlers abandoned the area when local Indian tribes launched a series of raids and massacres. Recolonization launched in 1868, after this was stopped and François Pioche bought the town in 1869. By the early 1870s, it had grown to become one of the most important silver-mining towns in Nevada. It reached a peak population of 6,000. Over five million dollars in ore was taken out by 1872, and by 1900 Pioche was nearly a ghost town.



At the entrance to town are the remains of the old aerial tramway. The aerial tramway carried buckets of ore from the mines to the Godbe Mill. The tramway ran during the 1920s and 1930s and was used for the transportation of silver and nickel ore. The tramway was mainly gravity powered with the aid of a 5 horsepower motor. The weight of the ore in the full buckets going to the mill pulled the empty buckets back to the bin. In 1928 the cost of delivering ore via the tramway to the mill was 6 cents a ton. The abandoned tramway used cables which still stretch over parts of the town, with some original ore buckets intact.



Because of the remoteness which had allowed the Indian raids to occur, the town had a reputation for being one of the roughest towns in the Old West. Local lore says 72 men were killed in gunfights before the first natural death occurred in the camp. This legend is immortalized by the creation of Boot Hill, now a landmark in the city.

Pioche is known for its "Million Dollar Courthouse", built in 1872. The original cost of $88,000 far exceeded initial estimates and was financed, and refinanced with bonds totaling nearly $1 million. Pioche currently contains the county administrative offices and has one of the oldest grade schools in the state.



Next door to the courthouse sits the old Mountain View Hotel, where President Herbert Hoover stayed in 1930. Built in 1895, the hotel served the lodging needs of dignitaries visiting Pioche on court business. Many U.S. senators and Nevada governors and many other notables. The food, the wines, the accommodations and the unmatched service was renowned throughout the west. Although the building no longer serves as a hotel, it is an example of turn-of-the-century western architecture.





There is another hotel, the Overland, which is still operating, with 14 themed rooms on the second floor over the main saloon. (Seen in the video. We stayed there during our last visit at the end of our first road trip on Route 66 in April 2010. This picture is from that trip.)



Here's the video of Pioche: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtCEGva4POo

It was getting dark as we left Pioche up 93 to our next destination of Baker, NV 115 miles away, with intention of getting home that night. It was dark. Much darker than I or anyone that lives in a city is used to. There was no moon and the sky was overcast so no light from sky, stars, or anything.

About 50 miles north of Pioche we started smelling what seemed like a burning smell in the car. But, it wasn't the usual electrical ozone and insulation burning smell and the battery gauge didn't dive like it does when there's a short. So, we carried on. After a few more minutes it started to smell like wood burning and we wondered if it was coming from outside. We opened the windows but couldn't tell. I finally stopped to get out and see if the smell was outside or inside. It wasn't outside. So I lifted the hood to see what I could see.



There was a high revolution buzzing noise that at first seemed like it was coming from the engine but didn't make sense. I couldn't smell the odor under the hood so I closed it up and carried on down the road. Then I started hearing the buzzing from inside the car so I got out again and lifted the hood. The buzzing was coming from the generator. I wasn't sure which end. The belt seemed really tight so I loosened it a bit to take some load off of the front bearing and squirted a bunch of WD40 all around it. The buzzing went away and we carried on down the road. It wasn't many miles before the generator started cutting in and out. That was a bit scary but not as much as when it quit charging all together. We were 70 miles from our destination of Baker and had little confidence we could run with lights on that far without a generator but, what else could we do but try?

When we got to US 50 (the loneliest road in America) it was 9 miles shorter to go west to Ely than to continue as planned east to Baker and home so we turned that way - away from home.

It was nothing short of a miracle that the lights got us to Ely and went totally dark as we pulled up to the Motel 6 for the night. That was 60 miles running with lights on and no generator!!

I found a plug to charge the battery overnight. I figure the brushes were just worn out again in the generator that I'd just put in a couple of thousand miles ago and had spares in the trunk but didn't really want to rebuild the generator on a park bench in Ely. So, we decided to just try to make it home - 250 miles and 4 hrs driving - without a generator!!

Got to throw in one cool picture of the stretch of highway from west of Baker to east of the border - 18.4 miles straight as an arrow.



Well, we actually made it home with stops along the way to eat and get gas - each time having to turn the engine off and start it up again - and still had enough battery to start the engine after we got home. Maybe another miracle. Here's evidence of the miracle the night before: Tonight, after charging the battery all night last night, I thought I could surely take AnnaRae out to eat - 6 miles round trip - with the lights on, right? Why not after driving 60 miles with them on the night before? No way. By the time we got to the restaurant the battery was already too dead to start the engine so I parked facing down hill to start it. But, to keep the engine going to get home I had to drive with just the parking lights on and eventually jump across the coil resistor to get full remaining voltage to it. I asked AnnaRae, "How do you explain this?" "Last night I was doing a lot of praying all the way to Ely." Worked pretty good, don't you think?

Total miles 680, 310 of those miles without a generator!

Previous trips:

Million Dollar Highway, Durango to Montrose, Colorado in June 2014 https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=142975

Transcontinental Railway Grade in May 2014: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=139471

City of Rocks, Idaho in April 2014:https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=137684

Capitol Reef National Park in March 2014: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=133018

Grouse Creek and the AAA garage in February 2014: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=130966

Grand Canyon in January 2014: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=128820

Moab, UT in December 2013: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=127222

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument November 2013: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=123694

Across Nevada on US 50, "The Loneliest Road in the Country", October 2013: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=120098

Mount Evans (the highest paved road in North America) August 2013: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=115013

Canada in June 2013: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=109872

Monument Valley in March 2013: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=99523

Bryce Canyon in February 2013: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=97822

Milford, Utah in December 2012: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=93137

Nevada and Idaho in November 2012: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=89080

Rocky Mountain National Park in September 2012: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=83966

Yellowstone National Park in May 2012: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=72864

Death Valley in February 2012: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=62705

Pike's Peak in July 2011: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19141

Route 66 in April 2010: https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=57511
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"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” *Ursula K. Le Guin in The Left Hand of Darkness

Last edited by Old Henry; 02-01-2015 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:50 PM   #2
mfagan
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

You're just having too much fun!! LOL...
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

Wing and a prayer. : ). More great work..
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Old 11-22-2014, 12:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

I love it! You've found ways to keep creating memories and having a lot of fun in the process. How is the new engine running?
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Old 11-22-2014, 12:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

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I love it! You've found ways to keep creating memories and having a lot of fun in the process. How is the new engine running?
Engine runs smoother than it ever has ever. Could cruise at 75 mph without any problem, even without OD.
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Old 11-22-2014, 05:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

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On the Pioche Courthouse, what are the "S" shaped things on the front of the building behind the downspouts? And what appear to be pipes going toward the back on the side?

Also, I think the generator commutator will have an interesting tale to tell.
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Old 11-22-2014, 07:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

When you see S shaped brackets on an older brick building they are normally there to stabilise the structure. Very often they will have iron rods running right from one side of the building to the other.

Prof, thanks for the travelogue. It might be worth having a known good generator as a spare.

Mart.
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Old 11-22-2014, 07:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

GREAT, GREAT, Great stories and photos!!!!
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:23 AM   #9
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

Another great experience Professor! Love your stories and adventures! God is looking out for you on those lonely backroads...
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

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Prof, thanks for the travelogue. It might be worth having a known good generator as a spare.
Mart.
Wish spares were just laying around for the asking. I'm tired of messing with this generator I have but can't find one to replace it much less one to have as a spare. Even the usual sources don't have any ready to buy. You have to send yours in for rebuild for $250.00. I guess I'll just keep putting brushes in mine. Wish I knew why they kept wearing out so fast. Darned inconvenient.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:40 AM   #11
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

Great pics and videos.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:49 AM   #12
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

Fantastic!!! Thanks for the ride. Wish I was alittle younger and could travel, I'd be there in a heart beat. Paul Garagan took me for a 3 week tour of the back roads of Colorado back in in "06. Wish I had a movie camera, but I did take over 900 pics. Thanks again and keep em comming.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

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Wish spares were just laying around for the asking. I'm tired of messing with this generator I have but can't find one to replace it much less one to have as a spare. Even the usual sources don't have any ready to buy. You have to send yours in for rebuild for $250.00. I guess I'll just keep putting brushes in mine. Wish I knew why they kept wearing out so fast. Darned inconvenient.
I can't imagine that there isn't a generator for sale that will fit. Anyone here have one for sale? When I'm driving a ways from home I keep a spare in the tool box along with other goodies I can't easily buy on the road.

I suspect the commutator on your generator needs to be turned. If it gets rough or burned it will eat brushes, after all they're only carbon.

Good story, always enjoy your travelog.
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Old 11-22-2014, 12:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

You need to be always on the lookout for parts, constantly, all the time. If you only start looking when you suddenly urgently need something, you will not find it. Things like starters and generators are what you get when you buy motors.

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Old 11-22-2014, 12:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

You are truly an inspiration to all who own 'em and drive 'em! Your photographic skills are also incredible. You could put out an incredible collection of drivers logs that I bet would sell very well. Thanks for so skillfully taking us all along on your adventures.
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Old 11-22-2014, 12:49 PM   #16
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

Your Pioche, Nevada pictures bring back some fond memories. 35 years ago I used to hunt old Ford parts in that area, and I drug what was left of a Model A pickup out of Pioche. The pickup had lived a rough life hauling ore in and around that mining town. That pickup's bed is currently out in the barn, and I'll never get it mixed up the other two or three Model A pickup beds stored there with it because it's the one with the least rust, but the most dents. Thanks for the tour and some revived memories.
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Old 11-22-2014, 01:11 PM   #17
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

Great Photos!!! Thanks for posting.
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Old 11-22-2014, 01:53 PM   #18
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

install a 6v pos ground single wire altanor ez to install cheaper then a gen rebuild no mod needed & much less trouble
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Old 11-22-2014, 02:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

I tend to agree with Richard Crow, for as much driving as you do, and in such remote locations, an alternator would eliminate some potentially dangerous situations.

Glad to hear the engine itself is "done, done, really done"!

I spent a couple days in Milford in '81. It was headed downhill then, I can't imagine it has had any kind of renaissance. Neat old train station there!
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Old 11-22-2014, 03:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Two more ghost towns in Old Henry - Modena, UT and Pioche, NV

I appreciate the suggestions for easing the effort of the trips by modernizing. I guess if I really wanted to eliminate all risks we'd just take my wife's RAV4. But, I am still totally committed to a totally authentic experience with totally authentic equipment including the generator - having to keep the idle up when stopped to keep it charging, replacing the brushes, oiling the bearings, going without it on occasion, everything. I've certainly entertained the thought of an alternator before but I'm afraid it would just be too un-authentic for me. I'll just stay totally in 1947 . . . at least for now. Attitudes can change and mine my well some day. In the mean time, I'll keep my AAA paid up, just in case. (Even being towed on occasion is part of the totally authentic experience. )
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