Our first week in Elko

We’re finally at the end of a long week which was quite eventful. I spent Monday in the new starter induction which was mainly all about choosing the right health plan, insurance and coverage, and then a whole lot of employment and tax forms. Julie and Harrison attended the first part till about 10:00am and then I did the rest of the day. Breakfast was provided as was lunch.

Tuesday to Thursday was the MSHA (Mine Safety Health Administration – federal department) ‘New Miner’ training which is basically an introduction to mining and safety. It’s geared towards new people in mining, but everyone has to do the 3-day course before stepping onto a mine site. After a year you then do an 8 hour refresher course. It’s similar to the induction you do at Boddington and also including the area specific inductions.

Each of the days finished at about 3pm which gave us time to go look for a car. Newmont has an employee discount scheme, with several places around Elko honouring discounts. One of these is Gallagher Ford, so we decided to see what they’d do for a new car. Julie went and had a look at the Edge and Escape, both are SUVs with the Escape being slightly smaller. After talking figures it seemed they were going to apply the Ford rebates but not the Newmont discounts, as the Ford rebates were greater. We’d also visited Jeep to have a look at the new Grand Cherokee but the salesman wasn’t the most persuasive (which is good in a way).

After a lot of discussion with Ford, where it was apparent they weren’t going to do much of a deal, I went to Jeep and said we’d take a Grand Cherokee Altitude. Luckily since we first went on the Sunday and when I went on the Thursday, a white one had come into the car yard, as they only had a grey one. White was our preference anyway. The Jeep dealer has a different way of doing business in that they publish their best price which is non-negotiable. It takes a lot of the haggling out of the situation which is always annoying. So on Thursday evening we picked up the Jeep and are very happy with it. It has a much better finish and build than the Ford and a lot more power too which you need when overtaking at 80mph in the Interstate.

I went and bought a pair of boots today from the Boot Barn as they are the standard dress in the office. The RMs are good but I felt ‘inadequate’ given they are only ankle type boots (everything is big in Nevada, second only to Texas!). I’ve never seen so many boots as in the Boot Barn and all are very reasonably priced compared to what you’d pay in Australia. The brand I bought is Ariat which are popular boots, and I also got some beeswax based boot conditioner to soften them. I’ll use that on the new boots as well as the RMs (which I’ll still wear). Julie’s turn next to get some nice ladies boots, and she could never say there’s not enough to choose from!

Typical office attire - western boots
Typical office attire – western boots

Below are some photos of the large RVs we see quite often here and on the Interstate. Most have a car towed behind, either with the front wheels jacked up, though a lot have all four wheels on the ground. Not sure what that does to the CV joints or the miles on the odometer.

IMG_0070
Towing behind the RV
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Towing behind the Dodge RAM 2500

Tomorrow we’re going to see an apartment complex called Ruby Vista which has the potential for a 2 or 3 bdrm apartment for us to rent. Julie has already been and seen them but we’re going so I can take a look and put our application in. They are the ones we saw when we came in March and have the gas fireplace (like yours Yvonne) in the lounge room and a modern design throughout. Some even have a view of the snow-capped Ruby Mountains. After that we’re going to drive up to the Lamoille Valley (Google Maps it – about 40 to 50 mins away near the Ruby Mountains) to see the snow. Apparently the snow is still 6’ thick at the top of the valley and you can get out of your car and stand next to it where the snow plow has cut a path for the road. In Elko we can still see snow here on the Ruby Mountains even though the outside temperature is in the 30s C (although today was windy and 24, tomorrow 23, Sunday 21 and Monday 10 degrees! Most morning are cool and the sun rises at 5:10am and sets at 8:20pm).

We’ve found a lot of things are cheaper here – petrol for instance ($US2.65 for a gallon, about AU55c per litre), beer is about $US9.99 a six pack and with much better variety for craft beer. Variety is the thing you notice at the shops (but still no Vegemite!). There is an abundance of bread types, a whole aisle of cereal, different types of teas and coffees – so much to choose from. For example, today we bought a stir fry pre-pack of fresh veggies for $4 and there was about 5 different packs of these to choose from depending on your meal type – just so much variety and convenience compared to Australia.

You can’t miss you’re in the US as there are huge flags flying all over Elko. There’s one in the centre of town that must be 6 – 7 m in size on a flagpole 50-60m high. Harrison even has two crossed US flags in his bedroom now. He seems to be enjoying the US now as it appears his initial concerns were more around the flying. When we went to register our car today, the lady asked where the best place was he’d lived. He said here! He’s met a few a kids in the apartment complex we’re in and next week he’ll meet a few more as Julie is going to the swim club to enrol him.

Everyone here is very friendly with every one very interested to know where we’re from. Most can’t guess the accent and when we tell them they are quite surprised. All say “Welcome to Elko” with many saying this is their home even though they are from different parts of the US. The business manager at Jeep was originally from Akansas but now calls Elko home due to the mountains, snow and National Parks. Something we’re all looking forward to experiencing.

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