What a glorious day in the life of a blogger!
On Sunday, April 20, 2008, Jim Scripps, myself, and Charlie Johnston took a trip to the Republic of Molossia for a visit and tour. My interest in Molossia began here. When His Excellency, President Kevin Baugh noticed what I had written, I was surprised and delighted to be invited to visit the republic. The agreement was set and we decided upon today as the day for the visit.
President Baugh greeted us as we arrived and we all introduced ourselves. From there the tour began. We visited Republic Square and spoke about how Molossia came to be. He explained to us that we were literally just feet from a foreign nation, the United States, and that his relationship with the US is a friendly one, although he would appreciate it if the aid he sends the US each year around April 15 would go to improving the roads in and out of his nation.
The tour continued on to the Directions Sign. This might be the single coolest attraction among many very cool attractions in Molossia. President Baugh built it himself. It shows the distance from Molossia to other property-holding micronations in Imperial Nortons. The issue of property holdings came up in our discussion on micronations in general. According to Baugh, it’s common for a micronation to be formed by someone living on another’s property, e.g. a teenager declaring his or her room a nation in and of itself. The legitimacy of such a micronation is questionable, mostly because the mood passes and the person moves on to other things. So President Baugh linked his sign to micronations with property because of their ability to persist.
Norton Park was our next stop on the tour. Named after the famed Emperor Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, this recently-renovated park was immaculate. Norton Park includes the Molossia Railroad, a nicely-built model train that circles a display of mountains and two towns—one a western town and another a replica German town.
Just outside of Norton Park lies the Tower of the Winds and the Trans-Molossia Trail. We walked along the trail and saw the markers denoting important locations and events in Molossia’s history.
After completing the trek across Molossia on the trail, we took a seat near the Summerhouse and enjoyed some El Presidente water and squares of cookie dough. President Baugh also passed around souvenirs for all of us to take home, including some of the money issued by the Bank of Molossia. Some more discussion took place and we heard of the plans to simultaneously launch rockets with another micronation this summer.
The day’s final activity was the stamping of our passports. Since none of us brought them, President Baugh issued honorary Molossian passports to us and stamped them. We are now honorary citizens of his great nation.
The trip out to Molossia was well worth the short drive over the Virginia Foothills into Dayton Valley. It’s also another reason to enjoy Nevada. Here is a guy who has turned his childhood fun project into a full-blown adult hobby. All throughout his property are markers denoting the significance of a particular spot on the land or an event that took place. It’s a lesson in familial documentation. Many of the historic spots happen to be places his kids played when they were younger. Another spot denotes the time there was a neighborly dispute, which was ultimately resolved. Perhaps most importantly, Molossia, as a project, is a reason to keep the house in great shape. The yard looked great and everything was very tidy. The back forty, as he calls it, which contains the Trans Molossian Trail, is left natural. Kevin Baugh explained that in a growing area such as his, land is often stripped of all natural vegetation to make way for homes, so he means to leave his as natural as he can, including Lone Tree. It might be the only tree we saw that was not planted by a resident.
Kevin Baugh deserves a ton of credit for taking what he does seriously enough to care for his micronation to the extent he does. I can’t say for sure, but I’d guess that Molossia is a model micronation. What he has done there has to rank among the best int he world and with his upcoming hosting of dignitaries from other micronations, he should be one of the more known rulers. I’m not sure of I’ll ever make it out there again, but if I do, I’m sure it will continue to be among the cooler short day trips I could take from my house here.
Molossia’s news service has posted about our visit.
Molossia is even more famous now than after we visited them
Ryan Jerz is an all-around good guy who shoots photos and video, builds websites, and works at the University of Nevada. Ryan formerly taught digital production at Nevada's Reynolds School of Journalism.