Unfinished Business - Fall/Winter - 2017/8 travel blog

close quarters

Is that grass real?

fish tanks

a couple of tourists

indoor ferris wheel

master fisherman


shooting range

bowling alley

Yesterday we were camped deep in the woods, the only rig in the park. The man who checked us in could hardly be bothered to leave his TV show to do this simple task. As we heard about all the forest fires, my overactive imagination began to wonder if anyone would notice if our thick forest went up in flames with us in the middle. The pine trees were rapidly shedding their six-inch needles. Great kindling. Ken had to sweep off the slides before we brought them in.

Now we have driven southeast to the Reno/Lake Tahoe area, parking in a campground that got super ratings. The staff had prepared a check-in packet for us before we arrived and sent a guide to lead us to our site. We got the last site available. The campground trees have brilliant fall colors, but the rest of the area is sand and desert brown. Each campsite has astroturf instead of grass. It looks neat and makes a lot of sense when real grass requires daily irrigation. Dog owners don't like it and have to take their pups to special dog runs, but it means clean floors in our rig.

Because we've been moving every few days, we've decided to stay here a week. There is plenty of interesting nature around, but lots of urban delights as well. We stopped at Scheels, supposedly the largest sporting goods store in the world. With 295,000 square feet of space, we believe it. In addition to a very complete selection of goods, it also had two 16,000 gallon overhead fish tanks, a 16-car ferris wheel, a walk of presidents, a shooting gallery, and a bowling alley. You could easily spend the whole day here. We were met at the door by an enthusiastic sales woman who volunteered to take our photo in front of the fish tanks and called upstairs to the golf department to see if they had any sandals for sale. She walked us to the escalator and her colleague met us at the top and got those sandals on my feet in no time. Now that's service!

When most people hear the words "gambling" and "Nevada," they automatically think of Las Vegas. But in the 1960's and '70's, "The Biggest Little City in the World" was where it was at, especially for folks from northern California. The four hour drive to get to Reno was an adventure, on a highway that crossed the rugged Sierra Nevada mountain range. Once travelers reached the "Welcome to Nevada" sign, they were in a different world where even the grocery stores had slot machines. But then the casinos run by the Native Americans began operating on reservation lands, much closer to the California cities in the north. Today many of the old casino buildings have been repurposed or rebuilt and Reno is an attractive town without the 24/7 energy of its sister sin-city to the south. In our minds it is paired with Lake Tahoe, immediately across the border in California, which is known for its natural beauty. We'll check that out tomorrow.

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