Then we drove off into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
...down into sagebrush country. I love the east side of the Sierras. It's so different than the west side. No foothills... well, none to speak of. The high mountains of the Sierras just drop right into the high desert. It's dramatic and beautiful. With the late winter weather this spring, there was a lot of snow on the mountains and made the views even more lovely.
We drove into Minden, where we had lunch and then got onto a bypass that took us into Carson City.
We drove on into Reno and went straight to the train station.
The train arrive a little late but what excitement. Never having met a train, in person before, I was overwhelmed by it all. I remember, a long time ago, when I was a little girl, my parents would take us up to Reno. The tracks were street level then and we would run across quite a few tracks to reach the other side before a train came. Now, they have tunneled the train below the streets.
The Central Pacific Railroad (CPRR) started laying tracks in January of 1863. This was part of the track from Sacramento that ended in Promontory, Utah and formed the first transcontinental railroad. For more history on the railroad and the town of Reno, go to Wikipedia here. The Reno arch photo is courtesy of Wikipedia too. I didn't get a good picture of the arch so I borrowed one from Wiki'.
Then the train pulled into the station.
We found "M", gave him a hug, grabbed his small bag and went back into the station. He loved the trip and we decided, right then and there, that we would take a trip on the train soon. Our son highly recommended it.
We drove to our hotel, The Plaza Resort, across town near the Truckee River. This was our first view from the room. The weather was cold and clear.
"M" had a room right next door to us with a door in between. This worked out well. We were able to have our privacy at night but could eat together, make plans and visit with each other easily. This is a timeshare that belongs to my mother-in-law. It has a small kitchen area so we brought food for breakfast and lunch.
We all took a nap and later went to our favorite casino, the Cal Neva. It's old vintage Reno. You see the real cowboys and ranchers in this casino and the odds seem better. Yea, hope springs eternal.
We have "history" here. I saved my mother in law's life in the Top Deck Restaurant here a few years back. She choked on a piece of steak and I was able to give her the Heimlich method to dislodge the piece of meat from her throat. I had just finished a lifesaving course at the school where I was working. The casino big wigs were impressed with my skill. I was just glad that I remembered what to do. So was my grateful MIL.
The story is told every time we have dinner there.
We had dinner and did a little gambling. I ALWAYS leave a "donation" on the roulette table. If I ever won a lot of money the shock would probably kill me before I could enjoy winning.. But, we have fun and there are always the slots. They even have 1 cent machines now. You don't use coins anymore though. The machines only takes bills now and gives you a voucher when you "cash out". It's easier to play. You don't have to pull the handle anymore on most of the slots but you loose your money faster. Also, and I'm sure you who have sat in front of a slot machine for hours on end, will remember how dirty your hands got from the coins. The fingers would be black by the end of the night. They are still addictive machines but you don't get black fingers anymore.The drinks are still free and you can still buy a snow globe with the Reno arch inside.
This is an amazing place and of course doesn't hold a candle to Las Vegas casinos, but I still love to come here once in a while. It's prettier than Vegas and smaller. It's very easy to get around town and has a lot of things to do besides gamble.
The next morning I took my camera down to the river and snapped some shots of the area around our hotel.
This is the view looking south from our room....
We are in good company here. That's the Methodist Church, one of the old originals in town. The Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, is just around the corner on Second St.
I love these old churches. The Methodist Church is beautiful and has birds nesting in the vines on the side of the building....
The Truckee River walk is a happening place. The river walk is a great place to walk, jog, ride bikes, walk your dog and meet friends. It's so beautiful. The river splits into two right at Keystone Drive, where the Kayakers practice in the water on one side and some other people have picnics in the park area.
I've got to break this up so I don't put you all to sleep.
God bless all of those poor people in the south that got hit by the tornadoes. I cannot believe the destruction. It's hard to believe that these twisters can do that much damage. A prayer for all of you.