Reno, Nevada: We were cleaned, laundered and ready to hit the highway this morning and actually left Bishop at 8:30a. From Bishop (4000 feet elevation), Highway 395 shoots straight up over 7000 feet, then levels out, before reaching over 8000 feet. 201 degrees was the highest our coolant temperature reached. This is well within normal range. We have traversed this route several times prior, but cannot explain the beauty you will find in this part of California. Some see for yourself!
Eventually 395 becomes a two lane highway, following the Walker River - the banks filled with many fisher-people. At 11a, we found a wide spot on the road along the river for sandwiches and a little rest. Thirty minutes later, we entered Nevada at Topaz Lake. Diesel was advertised at $6 per gallon - and we saw it later at $5.60.
We found ourselves at the Grand Sierra RV Park. We have camped here twice previously and both times it was under different owners/casinos.
Wait, let me pour myself a glass of wine and tell you about the first time we stayed here. 1982. Lisa was still under one year, and I was still nursing. We left Lisa two nights with Dave's parents in Merced while we went to Tahoe and Reno for a two-night get-away (we were living in Manila, Philippines at the time). We arrived late to the hotel, and our room rate/class had been sold out. (No doubt the cheapest room available, and can anyone remind me how we would have possibly made a hotel reservation before the internet was invented?) The hotel upgraded us to a suite! Nice... but it was so late when we arrived, we were only interested in food and sleep. We went out for dinner, and no doubt drinks and maybe some gambling, and fell into our bed.
Imagine our surprise when we woke in the morning to find ourselves in the Gone With The Wind suite! (The hotel was owned by MGM in the 1980s.) The suite had green velvet curtains - ala the drapes from the Tara Plantation - complete with the twisted fringe. Portraits of Scarlett and Rhett adorned the walls. We had our own his/her bathrooms/dressing rooms and all the clothing in our house could not fill the closets. Probably $69 a night? (Can't recall what a hotel room would be going for in the 80's in Reno.) I am a huge Vivien Leigh fan, so was probably in heaven.
Then we rushed back to Merced, because... well... breast feeding.
Back to today:
It's been a while since we have been to Reno and there have been so many changes. The downtown area along the river has been transformed with a Riverwalk situation along the Truckee River. Where the river often flooded Reno, walls have been built up and the natural island in the middle of the Truckee River has become a park. Natural and man-made water falls have been created (2008) for fun swimming holes along the river. Shops and restaurants line the river banks. It was over 100 degrees today and there were so many people/families swimming in the Truckee River.
Not going to sugar-coat this situation: there were so many homeless and beggars along this park as well. We were asked for money so many times. When we said no/ignored one woman she told us she hoped we fell into the river. (We did not.)
This dog (and his equally famous attorney-owner) are at the river nearly daily. The owner tosses out this massive limb and the dog drags it back to his owner. Why chase a stick, when you can fetch a limb?
No explanation was to why there is a whale sculpture in Reno. Dave says its just art.
We tried to walk to the famed Reno Arch, but were so accosted by beggars, I began to feel uncomfortable and a bit unsafe... so this is the only shot you are going to get.
Back to our bus for Giants baseball and enchiladas. Tomorrow, we hit the highway north - planning to reach Track Town USA Wednesday. Don't fret if you don't hear from us tomorrow. Seriously in the middle of nowhere.
Until my next update, I remain, your Reno correspondent.