The first night out from California took me and the Special Lady to Reno, Nevada -- a fitting place for a buzzkill, if you're in the market. The depressive-phase Liberace decor of the Grand Sierra provided no additional comfort, as the scent of stale tobacco and unanswered calls of slot machine music only served to amplify the sour whiff of despair. Not to mention the insanity of such a place in the current economic situation.
Needless to say, I wasn't in the mood to press my luck, though I have to admit I was intrigued by my view from the 30th floor of the reservoir/driving range, whose island pins net huge prizes for those sinking holes-in-one.
Tempted as I was, we had a big drive charted to Sun Valley the next day and wanted to make time to offset the loss of an hour in the crossing into the Mountain timezone.
We were on the road early, blazing Northeast up I-80 with the T-Mobile G1 playing tour guide.
Here are some interesting notes about Nevada:
-Lovelock Correctional Center is pretty much the visual highlight of I-80 between Reno and Winnemucca and is also famous for being the current and future home of inmate #1027820 - O.J. Simpson.
-A battle never occurred in Battle Mountain, Nevada, but their artifacted fame is no less colorful for that little inconsistency. Consider that GQ Magazine labelled Battle Mountain the official 'armpit of America' and the town quickly capitalized by spinning it into a sponsorship deal with Old Spice. Then also consider that the town was inhabited in a state of postbellum disgrace by the Civil War's "greatest coward," James H. Ledlie (whose spectacular cowardice flipped the brilliant script of the 'Battle of the Crater' into a a Confederate victory.
-Elko, Nevada is the home of the annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering as well as the Fire Sciences Academy, where I, and any red-blooded American boy, would dearly love to study. Approaching from the West, that day's plume of smoke was visible from at least 25 miles away, and as we passed by their movie-set town was mucho en fuego as students ostensibly studied the awesome effects of fire while others readied their marshmallows, or prepared to get down to dousing with flame-retardant chemicals.
-The Ruby Mountains (pictured above) are refreshingly beautiful amid the starkness of surrounding parts of Nevada and likely merit further exploration if I ever get the chance.