Monday, April 14, 2008

Carson City/Reno and Lake Tahoe

Where in the World are Keith and Kathy?

We arrived in Carson City on Sunday, April 6th. After an extensive search of campgrounds we decided to stay at the Gold Dust West casino, which offered a full service campground for a reasonable fee of $23.00/night. It was a good decision. We are surrounded by spectacular mountains and it is conveniently located near the 395 by-pass . When we arrived the casino gave us player cards which enabled us to eat for free or for a very reasonable fee at their coffee shop . The food has been 3COWS consistently.

On Monday we explored Carson City, visiting the local information center and the AAA for maps..

On Tuesday we decided to take a ride to Reno. Our first stop was West Marine for electrical connectors, and then onward to The National Auto Museum, which is listed as a gem in the AAA book. It was indeed a gem! The museum contained over 220 beautifully restored vintage automobiles, ranging from the 1907 Thomas Flyer, which was the winner of the 1908 New York to Paris Race, to a 1981 24 carat gold plated Delorean. Emphasis is on cars that are unique, or were owned by famous persons, or are significant milestones in the development of automotive technology. Examples of the former include James Dean’s ’49 Mercury, Elvis Presley’s 1973 Cadillac, a WW II German Staff car, etc. Technological breakthroughs such as the 1909 Model T and a 1911 Cadillac, the first car to have an electric starter, also were represented. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide who took us on a two tour that was of both mechanical as well as historical significance. Keith particularly enjoyed the collection of 1950 cars from his youth.

Welcome to Reno!

1909 Ford Model T

German Army WW II Mercedes Benz Staff Car

After lunch we took a ride down S. Virginia Street which is the main drag in Reno. It hasn’t changed a lot since we were here in 2004. Parts of it are casino glitzy, and parts are a little on the tacky side. Keith wishes to emphasise once more that Kathy takes these pictures.

The Tackier Side of Reno

On Wednesday we took a ride to Lake Tahoe by way of Spooner Summit Pass. It had snowed the previous night but fortunately the road was open. We drove into the town of S. Lake Tahoe and then up the east side of the lake to Interstate 80. It is a beautiful drive with the large blue lake taking center stage. Eastbound on I80 there are frequent views of the main railroad line across the Sierras. Keith and Kathy enjoyed a very pleasant train ride on this line a few years ago. Also visible are remnants of abandoned train trestles near the current tracks. Keith wonders about the age of these abandoned trestles. Could they be a remnants of the original transcontinental track which was hewn through these rugged mountains in the late 1860’s, or are they later generation structures? Keith doesn’t quite know how to research this.

The Road to Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Abandoned Railroad Trestle

On the way back we stopped at Cabella’s Sporting Goods Store. Cabellas is not just a store, it is a marketing phenomenon. Gear and clothing are sold for many outdoor sports such as hunting, fishing, camping, boating, etc. We had lunch at their grill. They feature various wild game on their menu. Kathy had a bison burger (3COWS) while Keith had fried halibut (1.5COWS). After lunch Kathy shopped and bought 5 sets of “Bear Paws”, one for each of our children. These are devices for safely handling hot meat, such as roasts. If any of you in New England are interested is seeing a Cabellas store, one just opened in East Hartford, Ct., on an abandoned airfield formerly owned by Pratt & Whitney. As a reminder, P&W provides Keith’s pension. Keith can recall flying from this airfield in P&W corporate aircraft many times in the 80’s and 90’s.

On Thursday Kathy toured the interior of the campground laundromat. On Friday morning we toured the local WalMart Supercenter, then drove a few miles east to Virginia City. For half a century, starting in 1859, over 400 million dollars in gold and silver was wrenched from the ground around this historic town. Huge scars from this mining activity are still apparent on the steep hillsides, and abandoned mining facilities dot the countryside. In the past hundred years, Virginia City has transformed itself into a tourist attraction, replete with opportunities for retail therapy.

Scarred Hillsides Near Virginia City

Abandoned Property

Virginia City Retail Therapy Zone

Saturday morning we awoke at 4am to take Kathy to the Reno airport, where she boarded the big silver bird bound for Massachusetts and her family. Sunday Keith moved to the Golden Nugget RV parking lot in downtown Carson City. No services, no cost, except what Keith will spend eating in the casino. Don’t know how long they will let me squat here. I hope they don’t notice that Keith doesn’t gamble. Stay tuned to learn the answers to this and other’s of life’s perplexing questions.

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