|NOTE: Since the time this story took place, Ken Jones has retired. I wish
him the best during his retirement. I learned about this on my second trip through
this fun little town.
This is a story that takes place while I was
cruising along on highway US 50 across Nevada going west. It was a spring day
in June of 2009. I was driving my 2008 Corvette that is painted Velocity Yellow
which makes it very easy to see it coming.
As I entered the town of Eureka, I saw a sign that said, "You
are entering the friendliest town on the loneliest road in America." Right
away I liked the look of this little town. It was like a lot of places I've visited
on the back roads of America. I like seeing historic buildings that give the downtown
area a sense of character of what the town was like and often still is.
Shortly after entering town I saw an old building (the general store) that I tried
to photograph as I cruised past. The building was on the opposite side of the
street from me. Just as I was about to click off a photo a big truck rolled by,
blocking my view. So I continued on down the street while soaking up the charm
of this little town.
I looked for a place to turn around so I could go back to get another shot at
the old building. I located a wide spot where I could make a U-turn safely and
head back to the south side of town. As I drove toward the end of town I noticed
that there were probably a half-dozen cars behind me. After passing the building
of interest, I found a wide place on the shoulder of the road to pull over to
let the traffic pass me so I could make another U-turn.
While the cars behind me passed by, I saw the front of a white, Dodge Charger
that pulled off the road and stopped next to the driver-side of my car. When I
looked over at the vehicle that was blocking me from making a U-turn, I saw on
the side of the car, big letters that said, "SHERIFF." Suddenly my
mind went into high-gear trying to think of something I did that would attract
the attention of a Sheriff Deputy.
The voice from inside the car had bad news
The passenger window of the sheriff car went down and all I could see was a dark
silhouette of the officer at the wheel of the car. I ran my driver side window
down and the officer spoke to me. He said something like, "I've got
some bad news; I'm going to have to impound your car." Now my mind
was really flipping out with me rewinding my memory of all my time in Eureka trying
to figure out just what I had done that was so wrong.
Only a few seconds had passed, but it seemed longer when the officer said,
with a little bit of a smile, "The good news is that you get your car back
on Monday." Suddenly I realized that my "chain" had really been
"yanked" and the officer broke out in a bigger smile. This was intriguing
to me; a police officer with a sense of humor. I had to know more.
Ken Jones, Sheriff of Eureka County, Nevada (Now retired)
I got out of my car so I could lean in the passenger window of the officer's
car thinking I would talk with a Sheriff's Deputy. When I leaned into the car,
the officer inside the car changed from a silhouette to a real person. I was then
surprised to see four stars on the officer's collar. I asked a silly question,
(my mind was still spinning) I said, "You are more than a deputy aren't you?"
I was then told that this man was THE Sheriff of Eureka County, Nevada. We began
talking when I learned that the good Sheriff is not only a car guy, but he owns
Corvettes. Now I understood his little joke on me. This is how I met Ken Jones,
Sheriff of Eureka County, Nevada.
Building I wanted to photograph
my first time through town
As it turned out we are both U.S. Navy veterans. In fact our ships may have been
in the same area when we were both on board our respective vessels. We talked
for a few minutes about things we had in common and I felt a kinship of sorts
with Sheriff Jones. We both really like Corvettes of any vintage.
As we talked I noticed the patch on the upper-sleeve of Ken's uniform. The
patch was shaped like the state of Nevada with various images of state attributes
such as snow-capped mountains and mining. It was like a small piece of artwork.
I made a comment about how much I liked the patch and with that the Sheriff asked
me to follow him back to the office.
As I followed Sheriff Jones, I clicked off a few photos as I drove along. And
I did get the picture of the general store that I wanted in the first place. The
Sheriff's office was at the other end of town. When I went inside the Sheriff
introduced me to his staff and I asked one of the ladies to take our picture with
my camera. So now I have a selfie with the good Sheriff.
The Sheriff gave me a patch like the one I admired on his uniform. That is a very special gift he gave me and it will hold a place of honor in my collection of patches I’ve picked up during my world travels.
This short visit to "The Friendliest town on the loneliest road in America"
turned out to be one of those unexpected pleasures that happens occasionally on
the back roads of America. I enjoyed the historic look of this little town and
I especially had fun talking with Sheriff Ken Jones, another Corvette guy.
Maury with Sheriff Ken Jones
When I began my trip on the Lincoln Highway US-50 back in Kansas, I
thought I would drive this route only once so I could say I drove on the "Loneliest
Road in America." However, after meeting Ken Jones, I will return for another
visit to this great little town of Eureka, Nevada.