Friday, September 3, 2010

The Amazing Sourdough Saloon Omni-Mug

We stood atop the high plateau looking to the west. The vast expanse of Death Valley was spread before us, nearly 4500 feet below. Some of the areas that we had explored in the week prior to this gray morning were visible, the mineral tinted hues presenting us a wonderful palette of earth-toned color.

A large storm was visible across the valley, the dark clouds and heavy precipitation warning me that the good roads we had enjoyed up to the remains of Chloride City might soon be gone. We had driven through several snow flurries on our trip up, some of it sticking enough to make the rocky, mid-slope road slippery. I had put the truck in four wheel drive as I didn't want to start sliding as we climbed the trail. Looking at the approaching storm, I decided that he had better start down, rather than spend a cold night in the Chloride cliffs.

Looking at the map, determined that if we dropped into the canyon then turned east, rather than west, several dirt roads would lead us to Beatty Nevada. We had never been to Beatty, so that is the path I chose. Little did I know, that decision would change my recreational life.

An hour or two later, we rolled into Beatty. Beatty is a small town, about 1100 people call it home. It is a typical desert small town, built to support an industry no longer around - surviving in hopes that a new one will spring up. After checking our culinary options, we decided on a place called the Sourdough Saloon.

I wish I could tell you that we decided on the Sourdough because of the unique exterior of the place or the several cars in the lot despite it being mid-afternoon. Though those might have been factors, it was the sign that read "PIZZA" that sealed the deal.

We entered the saloon and found a charming bar with the usual suspects enjoying a brew at the bar. As we had kids, we were required to go to the "restaurant" at the back of the place. We were served promptly, ate a great pie and enjoyed the warmth of place. Of course, I enjoyed a cold frosty adult beverage along with my meal. I didn't pay too much attention to the container it was served in, though it did it's job well.

It wasn't until we had paid the tab and were leaving the place that I saw the sign. "Sourdough Saloon mugs for sale - $6". Suddenly, I had an epiphany. That WAS a damn fine mug. Only six bucks, I'll buy two.

The rest is history, my camping life was dramatically improved.

My Sourdough Saloon mug is such a handy and versatile device that I have renamed it the "Omni-Mug"

I use it throughout the day while camping, it's mere presence makes my recreational experience so much better.

Who would have thought a container designed to hold beer would
be such a fantastic coffee cup. It holds lots and it enhances the
flavor and texture of the fire - brewed coffee.

I know the original designer of the Omni-Mug would likely not 
approve of lowly water being used in a vessel made for beer.
 I must say however, that each glass tastes as if was pulled from a 
mountain stream.

Another use for the Omni-Mug is for eating cheerios. It holds slightly over a single serving, and it easily transitions from a coffee drinking device to a cereal eating device. Remarkable. I apologize, I neglected to photographically document this handy use of the Omni-Mug. My bad.

The versatile Omni-Mug really shines when used for what it was
designed. It is nearly ergonomically perfect and enhances the
complex flavors and textures of finely brewed beverages. I think
it photographs well too!

If you ever get to Beatty Nevada, stop in and purchase one of these fine camping implements . It is equally as handy around the house and almost as handy at work. If you have the time, give it a test run while at the Sourdough. You will be pleasantly surprised. 

A word of  caution however. If you do test-drive the Omni-Mug at the Sourdough, be careful not to sit in front of the Mercedes Benz front end that hangs on the wall to the right of the bar. It's haunted or something.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Captain Schmoe, I've been bit by the photography bug, and I'm starting to notice how much of a good shot is the lighting. I gotta say, the lighting in that last shot is great. And out camping, I know it wasn't some fancy studio light. I guess it goes to show that it's not tons of money that makes a great picture (and that gives me hope). Should I be firing up the Coleman lantern for picture taking?

  2. Wayne,
    It is a wonderful, yet horrible disease that has consumed many. I played with it as a young man, the cost of processing 35mm film and the acquisition of other costly hobbies made me set it aside.

    Digital photography has changed the world. When you include cell-phone and I pod cameras, the world has never been more photographed than it is right now!

    I too am learning about light. The photo you mentioned was at the end of a string of 10 or so. The early ones had some light provided by an LED Coleman lantern set at a low power setting. The harsh nature of the led took the "warmth" out of the picture, so I slowed the shutter to 3 seconds, bumped the ISO up a bit and you can see the result.

    The light was provided by the campfire, shining through the mug and the bottle, plus a little moonlight.

    Thanks for the compliment, I must be honest, I like it too. For me, it captures the warmth of the fire and of the experience.

    Thanks for reading Wayne.