Drab Nevada Provides Colorful Song Name, Colorful Experiences
As Anderson explains, Winnemucca may be the most memorable and distinctive song location in the entire 'I've Been Everywhere' song. If it's not just the unique sound of the town's name, it is also the first town mentioned in the song and the only one mentioned twice!
Winnemucca is perhaps the most significant Nevada traffic stop town when one drives east-west on Interstate-80 across the barren desert. Anderson had just left Reno. Upon arriving in Winnemucca, one of the first things he discovered was perhaps its star attraction, the Humbolt Museum. It gave him an intriguing history lesson about a place that might seem a lackluster truck stop to drivers plying the long highway journey.
The town is located in the Humbolt River Valley. This was a conduit that fur-trappers in the 1830's and gold prospectors in the 1840's found advantageous in bisecting the seemingly endless wedges of north-south mountain ranges that so characteristically stripe the entire state. Once the heyday of mineral wealth in the state evaporated, hundreds of ghost towns were abandoned and decayed. But Winnemucca survived to present day, likely because of it's advantageous highway location.
How surprising were some of Anderson's highlights in this seemingly middle-of-nowhere, podunk town. For starters, he had an hour and a half meeting with the mayor of Winnemucca. "The first time I was having a proper meeting with an elected official," said Anderson. He would later have the mayor sign his bike and cross off the town.
Some might also find it surprising that Anderson dined in a Basque restaurant. Apparently Basque immigrants came to the region generations ago to herd sheep and cattle.
Finally, an 'Everywhere Man' song destination would not be one of 'Anderson's' song destinations without a trademark iconic photograph. He queried residents as to what the nature of such a photo should be. He finally decided it should be on a dusty road leading to Winnemucca that preferably showed the city in front of Mount Winnemucca with a sign pointing toward the town.
The ideal arrangement finally presented itself albeit void of a sign saying 'Winnecucca'. This was no obstacle for Anderson who insisted on making the sign himself with the added challenge of not spending any money doing so. He did however end up buying some cheap supplies including a collapsible shovel for 'planting' the sign. In the end all worked out fantastically and Anderson got his iconic, if slightly contrived, shot. Anderson has now completed 90 song destinations with only 2 more remaining.
And the sign? It still remains at the site today. For 'quest' aficionados, they can find it since Anderson geotagged it! It's at 40.943041, -117.716734.