Friday, September 27, 2002 - Sparks, Nevada
What an interesting night. Hard to get to sleep and then I began to feel the effects of some type of gastric problem. (I'm blaming it on the chicken wings at Atlantis.) I had to make two bathroom trips and then tried to get back to sleep.
I woke again at 5:42 a.m. and knew I would never get to sleep again, so I got up, washed and combed, had some orange juice, turned on CNN and dressed.
Prior to coming to the Reno area, I had exchanged e-mails with Grumpy, who was planning to come up from the central valley and was thinking he might meet me for breakfast. I called his cel-phone at 7 a.m. and got his voice mail.
I grabbed my helmet and jacket, went downstairs in the (very slow) elevator and outside, where it was quite cool, then walked over to the parking garage and got the bike ready to roll. While I was talking to the Security guard, Grumpy called on the cel-phone, said he was still at home, several hours away, and would be leaving soon.
So I launched Plan B for breakfast, got onto Interstate 80 and rode about 12 miles west to Exit 4 and pulled into the parking lot at Boomtown Hotel and Casino in Verdi NV at 7:50 a.m.
As I entered the lobby, I noticed something I had not seen elsewhere. They have large signs with photos of the different accomodations available: double-rooms, queen rooms, suites, etc., and their rates. In a lot of other places, employees can explain what they have, but with pictures and prices posted, you can choose more intelligently.
I waited a few minutes at the Players Club, then signed up and got one of their cards, good for 10% off at the gift shop, and of course they track your play and send offers in the mail. There was no breakfast deal but the clerk did say that breakfast at the Sundance Cantina was good, or I could wait until 9:00 a.m. and eat at the buffet.
I found a 50 cent machine that looked promising, and indeed I did "improve" my financial condition slightly, but while awaiting another hopper fill, I "changed" my financial condition again.
I made a short stop at the Gift Shop. Like many gift shops I've visited, they had a lotta stuff, but I bought nothing.
At the Sundance Cantina, before I even went in, I asked the cashier if I could get a non-spicy breakfast, and was assured that I could. I took a seat and ordered a Boomtown Scramble (ham and cheese), bagel and cream cheese and milk. It was good, if not especially healthy. (But it was 2% milk!)
I stopped at a Wild Cherry machine on the way out and broke even, quitting while I was ahead, but had fun doing it.
I went back into the cool air of Verdi, got on the bike and rode back into the Reno area. While pulling away from a traffic signal on McCarran Boulevard, the cel-phone rang, so I pulled over quickly, took the phone from my hip and removed my helmet.
It was Rick, saying he'd heard from Mark, who was waiting for me at the Reno Hilton. I was not far from there and easily found Mark right in front.
We decided to go into the Hilton and try our luck. I cashed a check at the main cage, then "changed" my financial condition slightly, then we were outta there.
We rode over to Reno H-D to look around for a while. There was a pretty good size crowd. We rode downtown, around the closed area, and parked in the Silver Legacy parking garage. As expected, parking was free all weekend and the first few floors were motorcycle parking only.
You just cannot imagine what it looks like to see five floors of parking, all of it motorcycles, unless you've been there and seen it. And then there is the noise. Some people kept their ear plugs in until they left the garage.
We decided to go into Victoria's Buffet at the Silver Legacy for lunch. Mark was kind enough to pay the tab. I didn't make note of what we ate, but they had a wide variety of stuff from fruit to salad to meat to pasta. All of it was great.
After lunch we wandered out to Virginia Street, past some of the vendor booths, went into the pavilion to see a bunch more vendors, then up and down Virginia Street for a few blocks looking at motorcycles and people and vendor booths full of stuff we didn't need. We enjoyed looking at the Harley-Davidson Motor Company exhibit, full of brand-new bikes festooned with chrome doo-dads and custom paint jobs.
After we'd had our fill, we walked back through the Silver Legacy and to the parking garage, then rode out of the downtown area and north on Interstate 395 to the Red Rock area.
As we took the Red Rock off-ramp, we stopped to help a guy who had fallen over (injuring only his pride), then continued out to Rick & Helen's house, arriving there at 4:15 p.m. We were offered cold beverages before we even got into the house, then enjoyed the tour of the house and sat around catching up on current events for a while.
Rick & Helen and Mark & Christine were neighbors when they all lived in west San Jose a few years ago, so they've known each other a long time. Rick barbequed steaks on the grill and Helen make an excellent salad and all the other stuff to go with it. Another excellent meal with excellent company!
Mark still had to ride home, so we departed around 9 p.m. and rode together for a few miles until I pulled off the freeway and Mark continued south, heading for Hy 50 in Carson City.
I went back to Virginia Street and parked in the closed area, then went into the Silver Legacy, where I found another 50 cent machine that I liked. I was kind of lucky and "improved" my financial position somewhat after a jackpot paid 240 coins.
I headed back to Sparks, and after a stop for cold beverages, I parked at the city garage, cabled to the concrete post at 9:30 p.m. and went up to the room to stow my jacket and helmet. The night was still young, so I walked across the street to the casino, where I had fun but finished "even" for the night.
I got back to the room a little after 11:00 p.m., took a shower, caught up with my notes, watched CNN and went to bed.
Miles for the day = 74. Miles for the trip = 453.
Saturday, September 28, 2002 - Sparks, Nevada
It had been another interesting night. Although I slept well, I awoke around 6:35 a.m. to the sound of many inconsiderate people talking loudly in the hotel hallway, then more people starting and revving their engines downstairs.
Since I had failed to put the "do not disturb" sign on the door, I was jarred awake again at 9 a.m. with an insistent knock on the door from Housekeeping. I got up and exchanged towels, then observed that sometimes being a "slug-a-bed" is more tiring than getting up and going.
I made some notes, turned on CNN, had some juice, combed, washed and shaved, then went out to the Road King, rode to a nearby gas station, then went over to a friend's house (south-east Reno), left a note and returned to Virginia Street.
I stopped at a Smith's grocery store near Atlantis. When I got out a few minutes later, I saw friends Keith & Bonnie in the parking lot. Keith is a former co-worker who rides another brand motorcycle. They'd had a good ride up from the bay area and had seen my bike in the parking lot, so they pulled over to wait for me.
While we were talking, a local resident pulled into a parking space, and I mentioned to her that her left front tire was extremely low. She got out and looked at it, then thanked me and drove off.
Keith & Bonnie and I continued talking, and the lady came back with the tire fixed a little while later. The lady thanked the dirty bikers for the safety tip!
Back downtown, I took a few minutes to explore the closed area, then went out onto city streets and parked. I went into the Cal Neva for breakfast. This place was very crowded, very confusing, and very hard to find anything, even though I've been there before.
I found the Copper Ledge restaurant (upstairs), waited a long time for a server, and was surrounded by inconsiderate smokers. Breakfast was slow in coming and not very good. I've scratched the Cal Neva off my list. With or without a coupon, it's not worth it.
I wound my way back to the street and found the bike, then rode out of town on U.S. 395, stopped at Carson-Tahoe H-D again, then worked my way across the north and east part of Carson City, avoiding the downtown bottle-neck, and east on U.S. 50.
I took NV Highways 341 and 342 (the "bypass") through Gold Hill and into Virginia City. I turned right at the flashing yellow light, then took another right and parked at the "V&T" (Virginia City and Truckee) railroad depot about 2:30 p.m.
I had been to Virginia City a few times but had never taken the time to ride the train. I caught the 3 p.m. departure. The route is just a few miles and the speed is slow, but the donation ($6) goes to refurbishing and expansion, and the docent-lead tour was interesting. Lots of history along this short route.
After the train ride, I got back on the bike and rode through downtown Virginia City on NV 341, back to U.S. 395 and north the few miles to Reno.
I arrived at the Silver Legacy parking garage at 4:30 p.m., spent a little time at the Eldorado Hotel Casino, went out on the street to watch people, spent a little time at the Silver Legacy, and was outta there at 6:15 p.m.
On the way back to the Silver Club I noted a few nearby convenience stores and gas station locations, to be noted on my map for future reference.
I got back to the Silver Club shortly before 7 p.m., stowed my gear and walked across the parking lot to the casino and up to the second floor to Victoria's Prime Rib Buffet. I had prime rib (!) and salad, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.
After dinner I spent some time in the casino, didn't go very well, and got back up to my room just in time to see the smoke clear from the 9:30 p.m. fireworks in downtown Reno. Oh well, maybe next time.
CNN, shower, check for messages (none), to bed about 10:15 p.m.
Miles for the day = 95. Miles for the trip = 548.
Sunday, September 29, 2002 - Sparks, Nevada
Awake a few times in the night but slept well. The inconsiderate loud voices in the hallways didn't start until 6:45 a.m. I got up at 7:00 a.m., dressed, combed and was enroute downtown Reno at 8:15 a.m.
I parked in the Silver Legacy garage then went into Circus Circus, got a replacement player card (they've changed their system since I was last there), gambled a little, then went over to the Grande Exposition Hall, downstairs at Silver Legacy.
It was 9:15 a.m. and what had been scheduled as "breakfast" at 9:30 a.m. was an empty hall. I don't know if they'd changed their minds or everybody else was still asleep, but I took a pass.
While walking down Virginia Street, I saw a tee-shirt that said something like "You never see a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrist's office." Later I saw another that said "Plays well with self."
I walked and walked and walked. Had something for breakfast at McDonald's. Walk, walk, walk. Looked at the J&P Cycles truck at 5th and Arlington (?), and a few other vendors. Walk, walk, walk. Sat and watched people.
I walked back into the Silver Legacy, swiped my player card for a chance at ten million dollars (didn't win), watched some folks play roulette and dice games.
Gambled a little and "improved" my financial position a little. I was hanging around so that I would be in the right place for the 5 p.m. bike giveaway, which I haven't won yet, but had put numerous tickets into the drum. I would like nothing better than to be confronted with the "problem" of having to get two bikes home from Reno.
While playing, I was "randomly selected" by two beautiful young women (what's wrong with this picture, I've never been randomly selected by two beautiful young women in my life - but I digress) to participate in their Greenback Gazebo promotion.
I was to step into a plastic booth, then try to grab money swirling around me and stuff it into a slot. I didn't do it right the first time, so they had me do it again. Obviously, it's much harder than it looks, and I ended up with about $25. They were kind enough to double it to $50, plus they gave me a few more tickets to the motorcycle giveaway.
The two beautiful young women mostly ignored me after they helped me get my winnings at the Cashier's cage. Evidently they had to randomly select someone else. Life was back to normal for me.
After a little gambling, I went back outside for some fresh air, walked down Virginia Street, had a tri-tip sandwich, got some beads, walked some more, noticed that event tee-shirts were not down to $5 yet, kept walking.
I walked up to the parking garage, checked the bike and stowed my baseball cap. I noted that many bikes that had been parked there earlier were gone, folks on their way home, no doubt.
I went back into the Silver Legacy, filled out a bunch more entry tickets and waited for the 5 p.m. drawing.
I spent part of the time watching a drunk young woman and her (rider) husband play the Super Magnificent Seven slot machine, one of those very large dollar machines with a four foot arm. At one point, they got up to $200, but kept playing.
Five o'clock came, the FXD was won by a woman from Washington state, and it was time to go. I rode back to Sparks, parked the bike in the city garage near the Security offfice and went back to my room.
CNN, notes, pack the T-Bag and saddlebag liners, watched Motorcycle Mania 2 on the Discovery Channel, then went to bed a little after 9 p.m.
Miles for the day = a piddling 10. Miles for the trip = 558.
Monday, September 30, 2002 - Sparks, Nevada
Awake and up at 6:27 a.m., downstairs at 7:00 a.m., checked out of the hotel.
Westbound Interstate 80 (cold), southbound U.S. 395 (cold), westbound U.S. 50 (cold), Union 76 Station in South Lake Tahoe at 8:35 a.m.
At 9:50 a.m. I pulled off Hy 50 near Pollock Pines, called Mark and decided to go by there again on the way home. From there I went back down through Ione to CA Highway 88, Interstate 5, Interstate 580, got fuel in Livermore, then jetted back into the Santa Clara Valley.
I stopped at the Credit Union about 3:45 p.m. and got home at 5 p.m. Another enjoyable trip had come to a successful conclusion.
Miles for the day = 292. Miles for the trip = 850.