Pacific Northwest 2016:
Day 8 - Reno


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Pacific Northwest 2016: [Day 1 - Seattle] [Day 2 - Seattle] [Day 3 - Portland] [Day 4 - Portland] [Day 5 - Portland] [Day 6 - Lake Tahoe] [Day 7 - Chico] [Day 8 - Reno] [Day 9 - Reno]

Saturday, April 9, 2016: We were up early the next morning.
Tom pulled the car around to the street in front of the hotel and we were off.
We saw a few more of the sights of Chico as we were leaving, including this large hands sculpture, ...
... and the amazing roof on this little house.
The landscape is interesting, with buttes scattered along the prairie.
Cows!
Ben had suggested that we take a side trip into Nevada City to see the well-preserved, historic town.
He was right - the buildings were beautiful and it would be a nice place to spend an afternoon.
We were headed toward Lake Tahoe, then Reno, so we drove through Tahoe National Forest.
This far up, we were almost in the clouds.
We decided to stop at historical monuments, and stopped here not knowing what it was.
It was a tiny grave for Julius Albert Appeson, a small pioneer child who died in 1858 before his third birthday and was buried here.
His gravestone was surrounded by toys that visitors had left for him. If you look up other photos of this grave online, you'll see that the toys are different in every one, so they are removed as they fall victim to the elements.
We stopped at a scenic overlook that had the potential to look like this, ...
... but looked like this instead because of the low cloud cover.
Near Donner Summit, there was still a great deal of snow due to the altitude.
Here is is, folks: Donner Summit.
The view of the valley just past the Summit is stunning. In the far left of this photo is the Donner Summit Bridge, also called the Rainbow Bridge because of the arch-shaped support.
We drove down to it and got out at the parking lot there to look around. It was opened in 1928 and refurbished in 1996.
The original plaque is long gone, but a photograph of it remains in its place.
Next, we drove down to Donner Lake and took a look.
Donner Memorial State Park is near the east end of the lake.
It is the home of the Pioneer Monument, built in the early 1900s to honor the pioneers who crossed the country to move to California during the 1840s.
There's a museum there but we weren't interested in paying the entrance fee when we had very limited time.
We arrived in Truckee in time for lunch and finally decided on Port of Subs, which was new to us but turns out to be a regional chain of sandwich shops based in Reno. It was a little chilly out but we ate outside anyway.
As we approached Lake Tahoe, we drove past the Olympic Village, built for the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.
We followed the Truckee River for a while ...
... until we reached drizzly, overcast Lake Tahoe. After a full week of sunny skies in the Pacific Northwest, our weather luck had temporarily run out.
We drove around the lake to famous Emerald Bay. The parking lot to access the hike down to the water's edge was full and had at least 10 cars waiting to get in, so we kept on driving to the Emerald Bay overlook parking lot.
It was inexplicably closed for the season so cars were parking any place they could find along the road, and we did too. We can't imagine how impossible the situation would have been if it had been nice weather.
Here's what we had wanted to see up close at the previous stop.
Instead, we had to settle for seeing Vikingsholm from afar.
There's Fannette Island, ...
... and here's a sign that can tell you all about it.
Here's our closeup shot.
We continued to drive south and east around the lake, ...
... eventually making it to South Lake Tahoe after a brief stop for ice cream cones at McDonald's.
Here's the California/Nevada state line. Can you tell that gambling is legal on the Nevada side?
Whoa. Chris D'Elia was likely within a couple hundred yards of us, since he was performing here this evening.
We passed through the shortest tunnel imaginable, ...
... then we drove through the mountains away from Lake Tahoe ...
... toward Carson City, which is the capitol of Nevada. Here's the legislature building ...
... and here's the capitol building.
It was all in very good taste until we passed the casinos.
This is one of the coolest onramps to a freeway we've ever seen. We passed this huge eagle sculpture as we drove under 580, ...
... and these metal deer scupltures greeted us as we veered toward the left and merged onto 580.
The drive along 580 to Reno passes Washoe Lake, shown here on the right.
Soon, we could glimpse downtown Reno.
Who knew that our friend Scott owned a casino? Those are his initials right there!
Nice decorations on the freeway.
So here we are, ...
... driving slowly through downtown past all that Reno has to offer.
Here's the famous sign!
We passed some casinos and hotels ...
... on our way to Harrah's, where we were staying.
We checked in and got a perfectly nice room ...
... with a perfectly nice bathroom. The only down side was the crowd of drunken young men who spent most of the night talking and yelling in the room next door and the hallway outside all night long. Fortunately, we both had white noise apps on our phone and we used them.
Here's our view. Those are the mountains between us and Lake Tahoe in the background, and several bars on the street below that saw more action at 6:00 AM than they did at 9:00 PM.
We headed out to see Truckee River and found another Reno sign.
On the first bridge we came to, here's the view looking downstream, ...
... and here's the view looking upstream toward the main river walk area.
First, we walked on a terrace on the right side of the river, ...
... then we crossed over.
This bridge was just a couple of days away from opening, but for now, it was closed off behind a fence.
This park along the river was really beautiful, with lots of places to sit and get up close to the water, including steps that led right to the water's edge.
This little channel seemed specifically designed for kayakers, since there was a river exit point at the end.
In the center of Truckee River is Wingfield Park.
We spent a little time here enjoying the weather ...
... and watching these elusive ducks. Every time we tried to get a photo of a pair together, they'd dive under the water.
Here's the more colorful of the pair.
We had a very early dinner at Thai Corner.
We pretty much had the place to ourselves as we enjoyed some bubble tea and Thai food to the sweet sound of Ed Sheeran singing "I See Fire." Such a great song. Go look it up if you don't know it.
We took the long way back to the hotel so we could see the famous Reno sign up close. That's Harrah's in the background.
Right next to the sign, and therefore, right across the street from Harrah's, is this giant climbing wall.
We took the diagonal walkway back into Harrah's, ...

... and were greeted with a large display of entertainment bills from the 70s and 80s. Remember stars like John Davidson, Jim Stafford, and Lynn Anderson? Good times.

On our way back to our room, we decided to play the penny slots when we saw this Game of Thrones machine. We each put in $5 and played until we were ahead. It turns out that those penny slots require a minimum of 50 pennies a time, so that's a little misleading.
No problem, though, because we came out 65 cents ahead. Yeah, baby. Pure profit.
Since we no longer needed good weather when we returned to our room, we were more than happy to see a storm roll in across the valley.

Despite the nearly black sky, there was a pretty rainbow out.

Day 9 >


Pacific Northwest 2016: [Day 1 - Seattle] [Day 2 - Seattle] [Day 3 - Portland] [Day 4 - Portland] [Day 5 - Portland] [Day 6 - Lake Tahoe] [Day 7 - Chico] [Day 8 - Reno] [Day 9 - Reno]

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