**this post is a bit long. You have been forewarned
Day 8: (5 miles)
Up with the morning sun, we continue our road walk into Atlantic City for breakfast. We eat our last Snicker’s bar knowing that fresh food is “near”. Five trucks passed us going the opposite direction. Not gonna lie, if one was to have been going our way and asked us if we wanted a ride, we would have taken it. But…that didn’t happen. When we reached the turn off to Atlantic City, we made note of the “trail” to South Pass City. It was going to be an overland bushwack for the most part.
When we rolled into Atlantic City, we saw one person. Bob Boyd (his name was on his Air Force Veteran’s hat, and the next day we would have a lengthy and pleasant conversation). We asked him where we could get something to eat.
He directed us to the Miner’s Grubstake. We rolled in just in time for breakfast.
The owners, Dale and Laurel are “expats” from California, and were our server, cook and bartender. Considering that it began to rain while we were eating breakfast, we asked Laurel if she knew of a place to stay for the night. Turns out she had a cabin for rent that included, a hot shower, laundry, WiFi and Cable TV. For the two of us, it was a deal we couldn’t resist.
The cabin, turns out, is a historic building built in 1868. It was originally the Assay Building during the first gold rush era of Atlantic City. This is would have been where the Miner’s had their gold weighed and recorded. We wondered how much gold slipped under the original flooring. And no, there was no easy access to under the cabin… we looked. Laurel got a good laugh out of that.
Day 9:(Zero Day)
The evening before, while dining on the best burgers we have ever had, we asked Laurel if we could stay another night. “No problem”, was her answer. We were worked. We have found that as we get older, our recovery time gets longer and longer. We didn’t need to enter the Wind River Range on half a tank, so we spent another night/day with our feet up.
Business was sort of “slow”, due to COVID-19. This however, allowed us to talk quite a bit with Laurel who is jovial and quite endearing. We hit it off immediately. I asked her how she and Dale found themselves in Atlantic City. She and Dale had been to Sturgeous (the motorcycle rally), stopped in at Atlantic City, and basically “fell in love with the town”. Laurel, a licensed nurse (Graduate of UC Davis) sold her Elderly Board and Care business in California when they moved to Atlantic City, and then they bought the Miner’s Grubstake. They have owned and operated the Miner’s Grubstake for going on 12 years now. They are looking to sell and “retire”, but they have no plans to move. She just wants to be able to “sit on the other side of the bar”. There is no mistaking that both Dale and Laurel love their life in Atlantic City. They enjoy meeting people from “all over the world” and for the most part “being the local hub”, especially during the winter. Laurel said that the town “swells to around 57 residents during the summer”, with around “35 diehards” year round.
The town host an annual “Greater Atlantic City Golf Tournament”. There is, in fact, ONLY one hole that ends into a tuna can with an ATV flag to mark it. It’s advertised as a “Hole 1, par 72 ” 4wd/cross country course.
You have 10 balls to start with, and start way up the hill at the Big Atlantic Gulch “Y”. It sounded like a blast and were dismayed that our timing was such that we couldn’t be around for it on July 11. We have vowed to return and play in that tournament. It’s right up our alley. Three Stooges style of golf.
I asked Laurel who does most of the cooking. She pointed directly at Dale. “I’ll make the soups and salads, but he mostly cooks. He’s the grill master”, she said with a smile.
Laurel’s expertise clearly is being the “hostess with the mostess”, and making killer Bloody Mary’s. “The secret is leaving a little in the shaker, so you can taste it and make sure it’s good”, she told me.
*A little history about the Miner’s grubstake building:
- The building was originally the Green Mountain Inn, bar and restaurant and resided in Jeffery City. It was moved to Atlantic City in 1986
- 1988 it was called the “Red Cloud Saloon”
- 1999, a change of ownership renamed it to the “Dredger Station Bar and Cafe”
- 2006, a change of ownership renamed it to the “Miner’s Grubstake Bar and Restaurant”
- 2009, Dale and Laurel bought the Miner’s Grubstake, expanded it’s footprint and installed two custom bar tops. The wood came from a single Red Cedar tree from California. The bar top measures 22ft long and 4 inches thick. (It is truly beautiful, and beers slide over the top…just like in the ‘Old West’ movies)
When we weren’t eating, we wandered around the town on a walking tour of the historic buildings. It is said that Atlantic City is home to the oldest building in Wyoming.
We also got an inside look and tour of the Miner’s Delight Inn. It’s co-owner, Bob Boyd gave us a tour and told us some wonderful stories of his life. The Miner’s Delight Inn, in it’s original “hey-day” in the 1970’s is said to have “put Atlantic City on the map”. The original owners (Paul and Gina Newman…not the actor Paul Newman) were escaping the hustle and bustle of city life to run a fine dining establishment. Paul was a Cordon Bleu trained chef. Dining was by reservation only, and you ate whatever the chef had prepared for the evening. Prior to the building being an Inn and dining establishment, it was the site of an early military camp, Camp Stambaugh. Boyd lifted the table cloth draped over a long table. “See, this is one of the mess tables from the Camp”. He also showed us the original, still working, stove by which meals from that era were cooked.
History can be found in the most obscure of places. This is the beauty of walking from place to place, and taking the time to speak with the “locals”. As we talked more with Boyd, he told us of his now deceased wife whom he met in second grade and grew up with. Her dad liked him, but she wouldn’t give him the time of day. “She was a beauty and could have anyone she wanted. I was a tall gangly redhead. I couldn’t compete”. He entered the Air Force and specialized in procurement and negotiations. He served during the Cuban Missle Crisis, in Turkey and in Vietnam. When he returned to California, he received a “call” from the girl who only saw him as a childhood friend. They began writing each other. He said he “played hard to get”, but eventually “got the girl of his dreams”. They were married for 57 years, before she died of cancer. When he left military service he became a “rescuer” and collector of Classic cars, and built a 30 year business from it. He said it all started when he saw a bunch (500) of “old” cars on a country farm. The owner was selling them for scrap metal. Boyd bought 350 cars for $25/each. The rest is history. He has a collection of 30+ Classic cars, and showed us pictures of his favorites. He drives a fire red Corvette. I told him of my garaged classic Ford. His eyes brightened, like a kindred soul. As he talked he kept apologizing for “keeping” us “so long”. We told him we enjoyed his stories and thought his life was fascinating. Because it was. We were talking to a well decorated Veteran who served his/our country well. Why wouldn’t we want to listen. Thank you Bob Boyd, for giving us the time of day. The pleasure was all ours.
Ironically, we had never planned on making a stop at Atlantic City, but we are glad we did. The side trip enriched our lives, fattened our bellies and rested our bodies.