Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Where has Farmlady been?

The Prospector and I went on a real vacation.... TOGETHER. We went to the biggest little city in the world: Reno, Nevada. We left last Wednesday morning, entrusting our animals (and our two spoiled Corgis, Carl and Cutter.) to a seasoned house sitter that came highly recommended. The hardest part was leaving the dogs. But... feeling very guilty about it, we did.
Then we drove off into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
It was cold, clear and beautiful. The photo in the middle, above, is Hope Valley. This is the junction for Luther Pass north into Lake Tahoe. We continued East down into Nevada's Great Basin and the Carson Valley....

...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.
The new freeway has these wonderful metal renditions of  cowboys, sagebrush and pack mules travelling across the overpasses. What a great "out west" idea!
We drove on into Reno and went straight to the train station.
Our oldest son, "M", decided to join us for the weekend. He also decided to take the Amtrak train from Oakland because he had never been on a train before and wanted to have the experience going over the Sierras on the train.
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.
It was very noisy and exciting. The train came to a stop.
and the platform filled with people waiting for passengers and others coming on and off the train.
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.
This is the inside of the station. They retained the old building and some of the fountains and light posts of it's past splendor. The whole place was really quite beautiful.

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.
This is the 18th floor.... through the window.... you can't go out on the small balcony.... They have the sliding door bolted.... That was OK! None of us wanted to walk out there anyway. That's the Truckee River park area at Keystone Ave. down there.
"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....
This is our room from the river...
Yep, that a long way up there, but it's kind of a tradition with my husband's family to get the same room when we come up here.
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....
...Hundreds of bird that you can see coming and going inside this huge vine. The sound is wonderful! It's Spring after all. There were happy birds.
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.  
The river is very high and swift right now but in the summer you can swim here. Every block has a road or walking bridge over the river, making both sides of town very accessible.
This is truly a beautiful river. I still have a problem with seeing a river run to the east instead of west. That always takes getting use to.
Looking East, from the walking bridge.
Tomorrow we will visit the University of Nevada and the McCay Museum of Mining.... and Scheels Sporting Goods Store.... unlike any sport store you can imagine.
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.


  1. First of all thanks for your prayers for the people here in Alabama who lost loved ones and their homes. My family are all ok and we were spared the destruction of the places that were hit. Thank you for sharing this vacation trip with us. It brought back many memories when my husband and I used to take $20.00 to Reno and were able to gamble all night. Also we were married in Carson City. Your photo's are great glad you had a good time. Have a blessed evening. Madeline

  2. Thank you for your prayers for the people of Alabama that lost loved ones and their homes. My family are all ok and we were spared the destruction that hit many places here in Alabama. Your post brought back many memories for me. My husband and I used to take $20.00 to Reno and were able to gamble all night long. We were married in Carson City. Your photos are great and I am glad you had a good time. Have a blessed evening.

  3. wow felt like I've been there..good job of posting
    what a great time being with our son M
    I have a son M too
    I have never gambled....
    just can't seem to want togive up my money that easily...but you have fun

  4. It sounds like you are having a great holiday! Thanks for sharing the sights, looks lovely!

  5. I loved Carson City too...Reno was an experience, since you heard about it in movies growing up and then to go there, well you know...glad you two go a trip in!

    Many of my friends have been hit in the south, so I also am thinking of all these days...

  6. I would highly recommend a train trip. My first one was from Chicago, where I was visiting my aunt, uncle and cousins, to home... Okla. City, Oklahoma. That was a 12 hour trip and I slept like a baby after the initial excitement of my very first train ride on my own at 16 years old. I didn't ride a train again until about 3 years ago and I took the train from Norman, OK to Ft. Worth, TX, to visit my family. I have ridden it once since then and plan to do it again. That trip only takes about 3 1/2 hours but it's cheaper than gasoline.

    Love this post!


  7. Charming BagladyMay 2, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    OMG—why didn’t you tell me you were going to Reno so I could remind you about the all-you-can-eat MAINE LOBSTER buffet for $26 at Boomtown Casino? I’m so jealous; haven’t been to Reno or Tahoe since about 1980. I can hear the 3-card poker table calling me now!! Guess I’ll have to get my gambling fix at the OTB on Saturday when we go to Northville Downs to bet the Kentucky Derby.
    Just a note regarding Amtrak—I highly recommend that you do NOT travel overnight unless you pay (the exorbitant price) for a sleeping room. I went from Seattle to Milwaukee and had to spend 2 nights sleeping, no—TRYING to sleep in a lower level coach seat. Example of fares: Seattle to Milwaukee $205, add a “roomette” which is just one bunk above another, no toilet/sink etc, total $610. ~Dawn

  8. Haven't been to Reno in a VERY long time but I do remember that we had fun & it was a nice place t visit very different from Vegas.
    You were "only" about 5 hrs. from Phx! But we aren't there, we are in CO. this week!

  9. Enjoyed this post, and thanks for all the info on Reno. My sister Lori and I stayed there for a night in September, downtown, it was fun. So glad you could get away, its good for you once in a while. Tina

  10. How fantastic to get away together! I know what it's like having all those critters and trying to trust someone to look after them 'just so'. I've never been to Reno but my parents go quite a bit. I love that you've shown other stuff than the casinos. Glad you're not betting the farm!


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