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More of Nevada’s wacky and obscure published in new book

Rhonda Costa
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer

Richard Moreno, author of “Backyard Traveler” and former Northern Nevada resident, began his latest book as a list of oddities and curiosities in Nevada.

“I wrote way too much on the first draft, and kept coming up with more and more stuff,” Moreno said.

Moreno’s latest book, “Nevada’s Curiosities ” Quirky characters, roadside oddities and other offbeat stuff,” is a compilation of fun, entertaining and downright mind-boggling pieces of information. Like a $3,000 cocktail, a $2,000 martini or a $45,000 magnum of wine.

After moving to Nevada nearly 30 years ago, Moreno said he made a trip to the Berlin-Ichthyosaur National Park and traveled through a ghost town. That’s what first piqued his interest in Nevada and its history, and he started reading everything he could get his hands on. He now has a collection of more than 400 books on Nevada.

“I enjoyed seeing the buildings and the history and got hooked,” he said.

“A lot I learned (about the state) because the Nevada Appeal had me write a column for 19 years; just having to come up with stuff all the time.”

Moreno is author of seven Nevada-related books, including “Endless Nevada,” “The Roadside History of Nevada” and “The Nevada Trivia Book.”

He is former director of advertising and public relations for the Nevada Commission on Tourism. He is also the 2007 recipient of the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame Silver Pen award.

Moreno is director of student publications and an instructor in the English and journalism departments at Western Illinois University in Moline, Ill.

Moreno said he still finds things in Nevada that surprise him, like the 19th-century farming community of St. Thomas near Overton. When the water level of Lake Mead is extremely low, remnants of the community are visible.

“You can only see it from the road and it’s really mucky to walk out there,” he said. “I heard about it in Nevada Magazine and was curious.”

Moreno will be at Barnes and Noble from 4-6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, and at Border’s Books at 911 Topsy Lane from noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10 to sign his new book.

“The book seemed like it took forever to finish,” Moreno said. “You just lug along and then you’re done. It’s the first book I’ve ever written that my daughter has read the whole thing.”

While Moreno is in Nevada, he will be researching photos for his next book, “Nevada Mysteries and Legends,” which is part of another series.

“Then I’ll start working on an Illinois book,” he said. “It will take some time. I need to look around (Illinois) more.”

Contact Rhonda Costa at rcosta@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.