Monday, October 15, 2018

It’s Over!

img_1002-1Monday dawned sunny, but colder, and as we woke this last morning in Lake Tahoe, the Wedding Weekend was officially over.  We’d spent most of Sunday saying goodbye to folks.  Starting about 9:30 in the morning when our friends Denise, Chris, Patti, and Meade headed out, continuing a couple of hours later when our oldest Billy headed back to North Carolina, and ending that night when our daughter Krissi and future Son-in -Law Mike, along with several other New Yorkers who were on the Jet Blue red eye to JFK , said their goodbyes.  Most of us headed to bed early, and after another visit from Mr. Bear, we hunkered down for the best sleep we’d had in several days.  Susie and I knew we had a 7-8 hour drive ahead of us, so we were up, had the car packed, and we were on the road, after saying goodbye to the boys and David and Lexi, a little after 9:30.  Grandma and Aunt Kim slept in that morning, so unfortunately, we didn’t get to say goodbye to them in person. 

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Our trip out of Tahoe Vista was very picturesque, as we traveled around the lake and back into Nevada from California.

One would think that between two major cities in Nevada like Reno and Las Vegas, there would be a 4-6 lane Interstate Highway, but the reality is the route is US 95, and for most of the distance between these two cities, it’s a 2 lane road.  It’s a quiet, lonely trip, and what you pass along the way is interesting.  One of the first things you pass heading south towards Las Vegas is the US Army Hawthorne Ammo Depot.  Covering 147,000 acres or 226 sq. mi, the depot is where the US stockpiles ammunition to be used after the first 30 days of a conflict.  The depot has 600,000 square feet of storage space in 2,427 bunkers, most of which are underground, so there is not a heck of a lot left to see, beyond the entrance sign.

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Susie and I agreed, that this road has a certain Route 66 feel to it, as many of the buildings you pass, and the towns you go through, are leftovers from the days of active mining in the area.  You’re traveling along at the 70 MPH speed limit, when suddenly the speed drops to 50, then 45, then 35, and then 25, and they are serious.  Not this time, but when we did this drive the other direction last year, we did see folks run afoul of the law, when they thought the 25 MPH speed limit was just a suggestion.  Some of these towns still seem to be making a go of it, but others are just abandoned buildings, rusted-out cars and trucks, and visible remnants of mining activity.  Take a look.

As I said, it’s about 7-8 hours from Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas, and the road just keeps going on and on.  As it’s a 2 lane road, there’s always the fun of trying to pass a slow moving truck, or a truck pulling a travel trailer.  

One of the last things you pass of interest, as you get near Las Vegas is the Creech Air Force Base in Clark County.  On first look, you’d assume that it’s no longer an active Air Force base, as you see no planes as you drive by.  But when we researched it last year, you discover that Creech is the main headquarters for all the remotely piloted aircraft systems which fly missions around the world!  Drones that are currently flying in  Afghanistan and Iraq, are piloted from Creech.  We certainly do live in a video game world!

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Not a great picture, but that is Creech’s Entrance Gate!

img_0997-1And then, before you know it, we were in fabulous Las Vegas!  We had one free night at the Rio Hotel and Casino, a Caesar’s property we’ve stayed at lots of times.  We were tired and hungry, and shortly after checking in, we were down at Guy Fieri’s restaurant, El Burro Borracho, which I believe means the drunken donkey!  We’d eaten here a couple of years ago, and were in the mood for some good Mexican food. Their table side Guacamole and their Margaritas are second to none!  The food was good too, but sorry, no before pictures!

After dinner, we headed into the casino.  The Rio has a lot of old machines that you no longer see in many casinos, and we headed to a couple that have disappeared from Atlantic City!  We had very good luck at a Top Dollar machine, hitting the bonus 20 times and racking up Tier Credits equivalent to putting $1500 through the machine, and all we contributed was a 100 dollar bill.  It was a successful stay in the casino.  Even though we didn’t walk away with money, we played for close to 90 minutes, and for us, that’s almost as good as winning!

Then we slept like dead people!!

Day Eight – Wednesday October 10, 2018

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Day Eight – Wednesday October 10, 2018

Plans went back and forth and so did start times, but eventually around noon, 2 car loads of Fox/D’Elias headed up the mountain to Virginia City.  Perched on the Eastern Slopes of Mount Davidson at 6200 feet, Virginia City sprang up as a boomtown with the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, the first major silver deposit discovery in the United States, with numerous mines opening. At the city’s peak of population in the mid-1870s, it had an estimated 25,000 residents. The mines’ output declined after 1878, and the city itself declined as a result. Today, the population of Virginia City is about 855, and that of Storey County, which is the County Seat of at about 4,000.

The trip up is a winding switchback 2 lane road, with pull-offs so that you can let the crazy drivers go past you.  I had 2 today!  First a black BMW I pulled over for, then a black motorcycle that came out of nowhere, and passed me on a curve with a car coming in the opposite direction!  Around the next bend, I saw the two of them up ahead of me, looking like a chase seen in a James Bond movie!   Yikes!! 

 We were scheduled to meet at the Bucket of Blood Saloon, and when we drove up, David had reserved us a place right out front (or so he said). It’s a fun place, very reminiscent of the old western bar we’ve read about, or seen in movies and tv.  Take a look!

There were slot machines, beer, free popcorn, and a banjo player.  It was fun! 

The rest of Virginia City is made up of bars, restaurants and stores.  With its wooden sidewalk, it’s a fun place to walk around, explore, and shop. The day was beautifully sunny up there, and much warmer than any of us had expected. Fall has definitely arrived to the Reno area of Nevada. 

We thought we were going to eat lunch up there, but plans changed again, and we were headed to the Western Village Casino, and their Mexican restaurant.  So down the mountain we went, and headed in our new direction!  Unfortunately,  the Mexican restaurant wasn’t open yet, so we had to gamble. “Had to” I say!  Everybody seemed to be having luck. David and his Mom were playing and split a $300 purse.  Aunt Kim took $237 out of a Quick Hits machine.  Susie had the Quick Hits machine she was playing up to $200 and change.  I was playing the Quick Hits machine next to her and just holding my own! By “holding my own” I really mean I was feeding $20 bills into it. Well, until I wasn’t.  

Just before I was about to give up on this machine, I won the free game jackpot, which gives you a number of spins for free. I think I got 10, and although I kept getting spins that raised the multiplier on winning spins higher and higher, I never won anything to multiply!  By the 10th and last spin, which it proudly spells out THIS IS YOUR LAST SPIN, I had the multiplier level up to 8, but a total of like 12 dollars in winnings.  I was sure my 10th and final spin would be a bust, but I was wrong.  Rather that a bust, I got 7 Quick Hits, which when multiplied, translated to a hand-pay of $1608!  As they say, all’s well that ends well!

 

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Then we were off for some Mexican food.  A couple of small (ha ha!) drinks, some food and we were out of there!  We had to get home, change, and return for the Reno version off Kenny and Chris’ Batchelor Party, planned and orchestrated by sister Michelle!!

For the Batchelor Party, we Ubered over to a beautiful new bar in the Arts District called Rum, Sugar, Lime.   From what everyone told us, just a couple of years ago, this had been one of the worst areas in Reno, but it has been turned into a meca of hip bars and cute little bistros.  What a perfect place to wander the night away!

Here’s a look at Rum, Sugar, Lime as the attendees gathered. 

Then it was off to Noble Pizza for dinner, and some very good pizza, after which it was time for the mature folks to head off, and leave the youngins to their fun.  Lexi, David, Aunt Kim, Susie and I Ubered home, telling the boys and their friends to have fun and be safe.  No calls for Bail Money, so we hope all went well!

Here is a pic from Noble Pizza and after we left.

Thursday is a busy day, with last minute details that have to get done before Saturday’s magic day.  We all have our lists of tasks, but then tomorrow, we’ll once again get together at Lexi and David’s for one last party before we all head up to Lake Tahoe.  Lots of family and friends arriving tomorrow, and we’re looking forward to that too!  Kenny will be happy that his twin sister Krissi and her fiancee Mike will be here, as those two are about as close as two people can be!  Born 2 minutes apart, and getting married 8 months apart (Mike and Krissi tie the knot next June)!

As David and I have said multiple times the last few days, “Who’s luckier than us?”

Things are heating up, with the wedding just days away, so please understand if there are no updates till after the fact!

Sue & Frank…the Proud Proud Parents