Off Topic: Riding the Flume

Here’s something different from a random reader who stumbled across our little world on the internet, reprinted with permission… The strange result of a cheesy amateur video I once posted on YouTube. Enjoy!

Hello Diane — This is probably an unusual email. I just Googled South Verdi Road, Reno Nevada, and came across your video about the Steamboat Trail. I am 71 years old, and in 1947 as a ten year-old boy, I spent the summer on the Triangle D Dude Ranch with my mother.

I have been advised by the Reno Historical Society that this ranch was located on what is now South Verdi Road. This was part of those once famous Reno Divorce packages that were offered in the 1940s to middle class Eastern women who wanted a quick no-fault divorce. I believe the lawyers operated in conjuction with the hotels and the dude ranches to offer these comprehensive packages. I think the prospective divorcees had to spend something like 8 weeks in the Reno area to establish residency. And a lot of them stayed on these working ranches which had been converted into Dude Ranches.

Of course, for a ten year-old boy who had only limited understanding of divorces, staying on a real ranch, riding horses, sleeping in the bunk house with the ranch hands, and exploring the territory around the ranch was a huge adventure. This whole divorce business and the associated Dude Ranches are just an all-but-forgotten part of American history now, I suppose.

The particular reason I am writing to you though is this — I remember, up in the hills just above and behind the ranch was what we called a flume — a raised wooden irrigation aquaduct that brought water down from the mountains to the neighboring ranches. If I remember correctly, it was about three feet deep and three feet wide, and the water rushed through it at a very fast rate. As kids we were of course forbidden to play up there — so, naturally we went up there every day. We called it riding the flume. You’d get in and lay back and then just let go. And you’d be carried away by the fast cold water and you could look down over the side of the aquaduct as the countryside passed below you.

I’ve remembered these rides my whole life. And in looking at these Google photos, the Steamboat Trail caught my attention. I’m just wondering if you or any of your associates in that area might know what I’m referring to. From what I can see of the surrounding area, what was once wild country is now of course heavily developed and all but unrecognizable. Such is life.

Any information you can come up with would be deeply appreciated. I am a writer and I have my own website — Drop by and pay me a visit sometime.


  1. Roger W. Gardner

    Well, what a nice response to a definitely “off topic” question. I also mentioned in another email a place in the vicinity where we used to go swimming called Laughton’s Pool. I think the name of the family who owned the Triangle D in 1947 was Hale.

    It’s been fun corresponding with you Diane, you have been very gracious.

    If any of your friends have any information about any of these old memories, please pass it along.

    One way or another, though, it’s been a pleasure meeting you.

    Best wishes,
    Roger W. Gardner

  2. Tom

    Since this thread is acknowledged as “off subject” let me mention something about those old dude ranch residences for the matrimonial plaintiffs awaiting Nevada residency. There is an entertaining movie about the Reno divorce business of that era and those dude ranches where the divorcing plaintiffs resided. It is called “Desert Hearts” and you can probably find it in your local DVD rental shop. I know it was put into VHS format, I am not sure it was ever converted to DVD as it is an older film. It was produced through the collaboration and support of a local Reno businesswoman and our former client, now deceased, Moya Lear. Many `old Reno’ scenes are in the film. Caution: it has some R rated scenes, and would not be suitable for your kids’ viewing. I liked the old Reno historical feel of this movie.

  3. smarten

    Tom, I like the same sex “feel” of the movie. Pretty heddy stuff for its time.

  4. UndeskcrensePeelf

    hello it is test. WinRAR provides the full RAR and ZIP file support, can decompress CAB, GZIP, ACE and other archive formats.

  5. Sweelavaw

    I am going to get a new wheels. Wish to have a luxury model, but don’t know for sure what to choose… Can somebody advise me smth?

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