Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bar-B-Que Beef Sandwich at the Bonnie Springs Ranch ~ Red Rock Canyon, Nevada!

Bonnie Springs Ranch celebrates their 60th anniversary!
     This desert spring oasis has been around for a long time.  The Spring Mountains did not get their name for no reason at all.  The Spring Mountains have many natural springs with good fresh drinking water.  Everybody knows how important it is to have a source of water in a desert.  
     In 1843 this mountain spring at the ranch, near Las Vegas now is located, was a major stopover for wagon trains that were headed to California on the Spanish Trail.  This spring was a major watering hole.  The springs in the Red Rock Canyon were the major destination, until Las Vegas became a town.  When cars became the mode of transportation, the springs were pretty much left to the ranchers.  
     In 1952, the ranch and spring was purchased by Bonnie.  Bonnie was a champion swimmer and her father did stunt work in Hollywood westerns.  Bonnie fell in love with the quiet peaceful beauty of Red Rock Canyon and she set out to turn the ranch into a success.  She turned the ranch into a great tourist destination.  Over the years replica western town and a resort hotel was built on the site.  
     Old Nevada Town at the ranch has exciting staged gunfights everyday.  The tourists that watch the gunfights also have to act as jurors and witnesses for the trial in the jail house.  The gunfight show is one of the prime attractions at Bonnie Springs.
     Old Nevada Town has a wax museum and guided ghost tours too.  People seem to be interested in ghosts of the west these days. 
     There is a petting zoo and pony rides for children at the ranch.  There are stables for horses and plenty to see.  Guided horseback tours of Red Rock Canyon and horse rentals are available at Bonnie Springs Ranch.  There is nothing nearly as gratifying as seeing the beautiful landscape of Red Rock Canyon on horseback!  
     The ranch has a hotel that was built with an old western architectural style.  The hotel looks like the old west!  There is a miniature train that carries people from the remote parking lots to the ranch via the scenic route.  
     I spent the afternoon at Red Rock Canyon National Park taking pictures and seeing the sights.  Bonnie Springs Ranch is just a short distance away on state road 159.  State road 159 connects with Blue Diamond Road and Charleston Road in Red Rock Canyon on the west side of the Las Vegas valley.  Bonnie Springs official address is in Blue Diamond Nevada.  The town of Blue Diamond is located in the south end of Red Rock Canyon on SR 159.  
     Many people who visit Las Vegas never realize that there is a beautiful canyon on the west side of Las Vegas that runs along the edge of the Spring Mountains.  Red Rock Canyon is nearly hidden from view if you look up from Las Vegas.
     After having a fun day in the Red Rock National Park, I went to Bonnie Springs Ranch to take pictures and get something to eat.  Of course I was greeted by wild burros when I parked my car.  The burros are docile, but the are wild animals.  The do bite and kick!  It is against the law to feed wild burros, so keep that in mind.  Burros by their own nature are friendly animals.  
     The bar has been at the ranch for much longer than when Bonnie bought the springs and ranch in 1952.  The bar really was an old rancher's and hunter's watering hole.  Whiskey and beer is the water that crowd preferred!
     I went to the old Bonnie Springs Bar and Restaurant for a late lunch.  Of course I sat at the old historic western bar in the restaurant and immediately ordered an ice cold beer, because I worked up quite a thirst in the cool dry desert winter air.  
     After a few sips, I took the time to take a look at the bar and restaurant.  This place had a very comfortable old west charm.  I really liked sitting at this historic bar!  The decor was very authentic and there was an open hearth fireplace between the bar and dining room.  The restaurant was very busy and the smell of chili and bar-b-que was thick in the air!  This was my kind of place! 
     The barmaid was very nice and friendly.  She had the right kind of character for working behind this western bar.  I ordered a bar-b-que beef sandwich for lunch.  I played video poker at my bar stool seat while I waited.  I noticed that hundreds of dollar bills with peoples marks and names were tacked to the rafters of the bar.  That too is an old western tourist tradition.  
     Antiques, antlers  and western memorabilia decorated the restaurant and bar.  There was a wall with pictures of Bonnie and the owner of the ranch.  I had a window directly in front of me across the bar and I wondered how many people have gazed out that window over the years.  The atmosphere at the Bonnie Springs Bar and Restaurant was more than just inspirational!
     The menu offered chili and everyone knows that good chili is very popular on a chilly day.  Elk and buffalo burgers were also on the menu.  Steaks, BBQ, salads, soups, fish, sandwiches, chicken and pork dishes were offered too.  The Bonnie Springs Ranch Restaurant has a very appealing western style menu.
     My sandwich was served on an old western style tin plate.  Tin plates were used in mining camps ranches and on chuck wagons in the old west.  I really liked the Bonnie Springs old west touch of serving the food on a tin plate.  
     My bar-b-que beef sandwich was very good!  The flavor of the BBQ sauce was not sweet.  It was tangy and spicy, just how I like it.  The sliced bar-b-que beef was tender, fresh and delicious!  Some really good beer batter onion rings came with my sandwich.  I like good onion rings much better than fries.
     After filling up on a beer and bar-b-que at the Bonnie Springs Ranch, I was absolutely full, refreshed and satisfied!  I really liked my experience at the Bonnie Springs Bar and Restaurant.  Everything was to my liking!
     I heavily recommend the Bonnie Springs Ranch Bar and Restaurant for anyone visiting the ranch or Red Rock Canyon!  Bonnie Springs is a great place for tourists, children and locals.  
     Bonnie Springs Ranch is a place that should be put on your destination list, when visiting Las Vegas.  Book a horse at the ranch and take a peaceful ride through the scenic Red Rock Canyon while you are there.  That is how Old Nevada is meant to be enjoyed!  Yummy!  ...  Shawna

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