When David Toll, author of The Complete Nevada Traveler, speaks of “this silver state”, one can easily see the reflection of a deep love, drawn from his own historic roots. As a resident from Gold Hill, south of Virginia City, he is appropriately from Storey County. Toll admits that his own life’s journey surprisingly unfolded into quite a story-telling adventure.
In 1946, as a young, ten-year-old boy, Toll was hosted by his Great-Grandfather, Harry Gorham, on a trip within Nevada’s Gold Hill, Bodie and Aurora rural terrain. The rich heritage of family stories became rooted in his spirit, as many details were engrained upon his heart. The impact of those tales resonated so much, that following his days in the Navy he migrated to Nevada’s treasured lands.
“I say that my great-grandfather gave me Nevada. As a “refugee of Santa Barbara” I never looked back. Nevada offers so much, with the richness of public land and the spacious expansions to explore – anyone can find the charm within our rural counties,” Toll admitted.
With a 40-year career in the tourism industry, Toll’s first recruitment into writing about Nevada came from Bob (Robert) Laxalt in 1976. Laxalt was a well-known Basque-American prolific writer hailing from the University of Reno; the brother of politician Paul Laxalt. Both Toll and Laxalt agreed that the effort of these writings could fill-in the territory of information residing within the borders of each Nevada town, well beyond the lights of Las Vegas or the growing industry taking place in Reno.
“Taking on such a project was slow, but I saw Nevada,” Toll explained. “I connected with Nevada Magazine, a publication which began in 1936 as a literature piece to show paved roads. I met people and saw places that allowed me access to ask, ‘what’s on the other side of that mountain?’ It has been full of adventures and memories, some more pleasant than others.”
Toll’s book came out first under the University Press, being used as a text book for educational purposes within colleges as a History and English literature piece. Since then it has been republished many times over, found locally at the Mineral County Museum.
With his wife, Robin, beside him for over 28 years, they began working with famous clients throughout Northern California’s Sonoma Wineries and with famous Reno-Tahoe Casino’s to build up an advertising web business, just as the internet was gaining ground. In 2001, the nevadatravel.net was launched with Toll’s own Nevada Gram highlighting his personal messages.
Learning that only 7 percent of residents within Nevada, travel out to experience and participate in rural activities, it has been a calling of the Toll’s to keep articles, updates and correspondents out writing about local events, highlights and opportunities. A recent expansion and remodel of their website has now included more staff and son, Sam Toll, joining forces to form an advertising division worthy of the network’s message.
“I tell people that I have a 16-year start-up business called nevadatravel.net, because it has never been a financial gain for us, but it has been full of valuable lessons. As the computer industry evolved, it is more complicated than ever to me. I am better to hand things off, as others know more about it than I do. I just want to see our vision expand and grow with the times,” Toll shared.
As just a rural type-of-guy, Toll is content living in his historic family home on a hill. While writing or getting out to explore more stories within Nevada’s towns, his wife and dog travel beside him throughout the winding roads ahead. With a recent stop in Hawthorne, owner Cal Lattin, presented them with a token mug from Maggies Once More, as they shared stories about the original bakery owned by his mother-in-law many years ago.
To read more about Nevada’s happenings, please visit nevadatravel.net and visit the correspondent pages to learn of special tourist sites or upcoming events.