Reno, Nevada

Louise Speaks:  Luckily today was another clear day, and we were able to come out from under the snow.  Since we didn’t see Reno on the up to Lake Tahoe, we decided to take a day trip today and see this town since it is in Patricia’s book, “1000 Places To See Before You Die”.  The ride up was an adventure in itself.  We had decided to leave the snow chains on the car as we didn’t know what kind of weather we would face.  There was snow on the ground as we were leaving Lake Tahoe but once we reached the main freeway the roads were clear.  Since I have never driven with snow chains, and since I figured Thelma is from Iowa, she should know how to drive with snow chains.  Well as you probably guessed, you’re not suppose to drive with snow chains when there is no snow.  So since that is what we were doing, the chain on the passenger side broke and what a racket it made as we are driving 60+ miles an hour.  So we pull over and take the chain off and we’re off again.  Of course at this point, we think the chain just broke because they were cheap Wal-Mart ones and the plan was to take them back.  Well we were not on the freeway more than 5 minutes when the other side broke.  We pull over again, take that one off, and away we go.  While in Reno we did go to Wal-Mart, and there were signs every where saying you can’t return or exchange snow chains once they’ve been used, I guess what happened to us must happen to a lesson learned.

reno archReno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada, United States.  As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 225,221.  It is the most populous Nevada city outside of the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Reno sits in a high desert valley at the foot of the Sierra Nevada.  Reno is famous for its casinos and is the birthplace of the gaming corporation Harrah’s Entertainment

They call Reno, “The Biggest Little City in the World”.   In fact there is an arch across main street that says just that.  The “Reno Arch” was erected on Virginia Street in 1926 to promote the upcoming Transcontinental Highways Exposition of 1927. The arch included the words “Nevada’s Transcontinental Highways Exposition” and the dates of the exposition. After the exposition, the Reno City Council decided to keep the arch as a permanent downtown gateway, and Mayor E.E. Roberts asked the citizens of Reno to suggest a slogan for the arch. No acceptable slogan was received until a $100 prize was offered, and G.A. Burns of Sacramento was declared the winner on March 14, 1929, with “Reno, The Biggest Little City in the World”.

Reno is a miniature Las Vegas downtown,  without all the glitz and glamor.  I for one was NOT impressed.  We did walk around town, because, of course we had to look for post cards.  It was a week day so people were working in the downtown area, and there was traffic, but it seemed very dirty to me.  Of course they had just had a blizzard a few days ago so maybe they hadn’t been able to clean the town up…regardless I was not impressed. 

nevada museum 2There were only two stops in Patricia’s book so we headed on our way to stop number one.  This was the “Nevada Museum of Art  which was located right in town.   The Nevada Museum of Art, is the only accredited art museum in the state of Nevada that serves as a cultural and educational resource.  The museum participates in the Scholastic Art Awards program by providing secondary school students from northern Nevada a place to exhibit their works. A museum school provides various art classes to help develop art related skills for artists and teachers.  You all know by now how I feel about museums, and this was no exception.  I just don’t like them.  The lobby had several pieces of art and paintings, and they wanted a $10 admission fee to see the rest.  I personally had better plans for $10 than to go inside the main exhibit.  I just don’t know how these places makes Patricia’s book.  Of all the things one could have seen in Reno, this would not make my book.

The next place was the  “Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center ” It is located on the campus of the University x2of Nevada Reno, and had they beaten the U of A, I would have been more impressed to be here.  The planetarium offers public star shows and large-format films showing daily in the dome theater, and public star observing courtesy of the Astronomical Society of Nevada. The planetarium was built-in 1964 and originally called the “Fleischmann Atmospherium-Planetarium.” This was the first planetarium in the world to project full-dome movies of time-lapse clouds and weather phenomena.  After recently undergoing upgrades, Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center is now one of the first of a handful of planetariums around the world to utilize the Spitz SciDome digital projector, a high-resolution, state-of-the-art immersive visualization tool that produces extraordinarily bright and colorful 3-D images. The new projector is also adaptable to a number of disciplines and uses, supporting collaborations among the planetarium, other University departments and programs, and community organizations.  The planetarium’s uniquely shaped building, officially termed a “hyperbolic parabaloid,” was designed by famed Reno architect Ray Hellman, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. 

Again this was another “museum” type attraction, and it just didn’t impress me.  Maybe if I was interested in astronomy I would have oooed and awwed, but seeing that I’m not, it was a very short visit.

In my opinion, neither of these places would be on by list of things to do while in Reno.  In fact unless you really have reason to go to Reno, I wouldn’t even make it a stop.  That being said, I’m giving Reno and it’s attractions a D…don’t bother.

The trip back to Lake Tahoe was yet another adventure.  We stopped at O’Reiley’s Auto Parts to see about getting more snow chains in case we would need them going over the pass to Sacramento.  While we were getting ready to leave, we discovered that Thelma locked the keys in the car.  So we waited patiently for a locksmith to come to our rescue.  So not only was I not impressed with Reno and what it had to offer, I must say the journey to and from Reno was more interesting and adventurous.

 AM…page 733

Thelma Speaks:

Tahoe Rim Trail, Lake Tahoe, NV

Louise Speaks:  Well it’s Christmas day and we do have a white Christmas.  The weather is gorgeous and we are able to go out and finish the Rim Trail drive.  We will go in the opposite direction and see how far we get.  We entered Nevada very quickly, but the views were just the same.  I could see the lake clearly for the first time, and I realized there are mountains all around the lake.  I wasn’t able to see that from our room as it has been so overcast and snowing that we could barely see three feet in front of us.  The drive this way seemed longer, but it was actually about the same.  There was more life going this way.  By that I mean we saw more cars, and commercial business such as hotels, parks, places to launch a boat etc.

I was very surprised that when we got to North Lake Tahoe, it is an actual city, with high downtown1rises and everything.  Of course there were plenty of casinos, but it’s an actual town…I mean people probably actually work here.  After going through town we were back into the views and it was so beautiful to be able to see across the lake.  This has got to be gorgeous in the summer.  As we guessed, we were stopped at Emerald Bay due to the avalanche.  So technically we didn’t go ALL around the lake, but we went all around, minus the part known as Emerald Bay…something to see on the next visit here.

Although we stayed on the North side of Lake Tahoe, where it is quaint and has many hotels, bed and breakfast, as well as many vacation homes.  I couldn’t help but feel like it was very crowded and congested, and this is with 5+ feet of snow on the ground.  The buildings were very close together, so close that you couldn’t even get a glimpse of the lack in between.  It’s a two lane road so when you had traffic, you really had traffic.  If it was this congested in the winter, with very few people around as compared to the summer, I can only imagine what it must be like in the summer months.  In fact all along the Rim Trail there are trolley stops.  I’m guessing people just don’t drive.  You catch the trolley and go from beach to beach, actually a very smart idea.  My reason for bringing this up is that even though this is a great place to visit I don’t think I would want to live here…not in any season.  With wall to wall business, it took away from all the charm that I’m sure was here many years ago.  I would like to come back in the summer, but if I do, I plan to just sit by  the lake and relax.

Thelma Speaks: 

Resort at Squaw Creek, Olympic Valley, CA

Louise Speaks:  Since we couldn’t go all the way around on the Tahoe Rim Trail,  and we still had half a day of good weather, we decided to see the other things that were closer to our resort.  The next thing to see from Patricia’s book, “1000 Places to See Before You Die”, was the resort at Squaw Creek .   I didn’t realize that Olympic Valley actually held the 1960 winter olympics.  I’ll get into that later.  But there are so many resorts around here, and so many places to ski, I was curious as to why this resort made Patricia’s book.

front of hotelSquaw Creek Resort is located in Olympic Valley California. This resort offers the ideal location for a Tahoe ski vacation for couples, families, and friends. Regarded as one of the best family hotels in North Tahoe and Olympic Valley, the Resort at Squaw Creek offers family-friendly winter recreational activities, like skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating, perfect for those planning a family vacation or getaway with the kids.  With its luxurious spa and romantic amenities, this North Tahoe resort makes for an ideal destination for a romantic getaway. After undergoing a complete, multi-million-dollar renovation, the Spa at Squaw Creek offers a variety of spa treatments, day-spa services and boutique products, allowing for a complete escape of soothing comfort while capturing the beauty of Squaw Valley.  This Four-Diamond Resort is ideally situated to offer access to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, now accessible with one lift ticket. The dramatic lobby, through its floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooks a cascading waterfall and the breathtaking Sierra Nevada Mountains

room2The resort offers luxurious accommodations with grand picture windows that reveal sweeping views of the Sierra Nevada range, ancient ponderosa forests and lush meadowlands. With the recent $53 million renovation of the Lake Tahoe hotel, each of the 405 guest rooms, suites and penthouses have been remodeled to match the luxury resort’s new, more relaxed and residential feel. Muted tones and rich textures create an inviting ambiance that helps you feel at home – right here in the heart of the Sierra. Ranging from deluxe rooms to fireside suites and bi-level penthouses, the resort can provide luxury lodging for parties from two to nine people. You will enjoy custom furnishings, slate entryways, ceramic-tiled bathrooms, granite vanities, and LCD flat-screen TVs. The suites and penthouses feature gas fireplaces and resort kitchens.

LobbyThis is no ordinary Lake Tahoe hotel. The gracious hospitality and full-service amenities led Conde Nast Traveler magazine to rank this Resort among the top 50 ski hotels in North America, and one of the top 150 mainland resorts. Recreation enthusiasts love the resort’s true ski-in, ski-out lodging, 18-hole championship golf course, on-site cross-country ski center, fly fishing center, ice-skating rink, heated swimming pools, waterslide, and scenic hiking and biking trails. And if that’s not enough, they also feature their own shopping promenade, four distinct restaurants as well as other dining venues, extensive meeting and wedding facilities, a full-service spa, a complete health and fitness center, and Mountain Buddies, a comprehensive children’s program.

100_3876This was a beautiful resort.  Although I’m not a skier, just the feeling you got from walking through the lobby made you feel like you were on a vacation.  Seeing the Olympic flame at the entrance made me feel like I was seeing some historic icon, like the leaning tower of Pisa…well not really, but it was great to see something that once was.  This resort easily made Patricia’s book, but then very few of the resorts she selects  don’t.  I would rate this resort a B, and would love to stay here and learn to ski.


Thelma Speaks: We had snow and the skiers were out in full force.  Watching all the activity around Squaw Valley and the ski lifts made you think back to the olympics and all those that were here.  The Resort at Squaw Creek was beautiful and if you are a skier I am sure you would love to stay here.  I would enjoy being here just to watch the snow and those that enjoy skiing.  I would rate it a B like Louise and the Olympic flame would be my favorite from this part of the trip.