Posted by: Tina M | 7 May , 2012

I have been busy and broke, two things that do not add up to a fancy vacation. So as a way to celebrate surviving and in an attempt to enjoy the life we’re working for- my hubby and I took a trip to Reno. The Biggest Little City has been charming to me since passing through 5 years ago on my way to settle in the Bay Area, and was the location of our mini-moon (our version of honeymoon since we have grand dreams of an Alaskan Cruise).  So we packed up and drove to Reno on a Thursday afternoon.  It’s April, so we had some fantastic views in the mountains of NorCal.

And of course, the magic of snow. Since my partner is Bay Area native, he is unaccustomed to the mysterious reality of winter weather. I still enjoy looking at it and reminiscing about snowmen and sledding in years past, but mind you this is from a sunny seat in California. So when we saw mounds and mounds of snow, I wanted to give my partner the opportunity to enjoy natures wonder- of course, the great organizers of highway transit must’ve foreseen this desire and the obvious problem it would be if folks we’re just sledding down the side of a steep ravine emptying onto a 2-4 lane highway, and so they had signs every 100 years declaring “No Stopping Except Emergencies.”  So we still disobeyed and let the car idle while I instructed him to jump into the snow. I didn’t expect him to dive belly first onto the snow- but it made for a perfect pic.

Not that I’d trade it for anything- but note to self: That snow was full of salt from clearing the road so it can dry you out and make you itchy! Even coming home I was wearing flip flops and my toes were itchy the rest of the way home!

Since we were “on a dime” on this trip, we spent one night in an “upscale” casino and then the other two nights in a mid-range hotel. The Silver Legacy proved to be a fun and fancy spot. Our room was upgraded so we ended up on the 27th floor. Gorgeous view, but somewhat anxiety provoking for two paranoid people who know too much about fire safety to realize firetruck ladders can only reach to the 9th floor at most.

We were excited to find the pool, but only discovered after we’d dressed in our swimstuff and traipsed around the hotel in towels in pursuit of water fun that it was off-season so we were out of luck. So we had to take advantage of the good views, the good food, and the bright lights and excitement of a casino.

Once we left the Legacy and moved to our more humble hotel, we decided to explore the strip. I was excited by the mix of artwork and nostalgic decay that peppered the businesses that we explored. We first had to find our favorite spot, the Spy Shop- filled with fantastic gizmos and gadgets for all of your home and personal security needs. As I look through these hidden security cameras, discrete weapons, books on deadly force- I wonder to myself how they screen the consumers of these products. Mind you, this is a question of basic rights- but I can imagine a lot of idiots causing a lot of harm.

So I asked the guy, and he told me some funny stories. First, he said that he always asks people for a scenario of what they have in mind for the product they’re looking at. What are you trying to do? Now of course, this is a basic part of salesmanship, identifying a customer need, but somehow it felt like the answers were obvious- and meant to be discreet (aka. shady!). But he gave some funny examples of mom’s wanting to put cameras in their son’s bedrooms because they’re afraid they’re doing drugs- and he had to gently remind her that there would be a LOT of screening that would need to be done to review all that footage, and that there is probably a lot of stuff he does in there that she DOESN’T want to see. LOL. He also mentioned that a lot of people buy the hidden storage containers (like boxes that look like books to hide on bookshelves) and then forgot where they put them or they were so well hidden they were thrown away. Apparently a paint can with a false bottom was holding the hidden honeymoon savings and an unknowing wife threw out the paint in the garage that she knew wasn’t used on anything in their home.

Anyway, definitely appeals to the nerds in us!

We also tried to explore some other Casinos-

Atlantis was just a pit stop as they didn’t have what we were looking for. But I did enjoy how haggard it looks- did someone say it hasn’t been updated since the 70’s?

But Circus Circus is always one of the highlights- I love the kids games!  Carnival games are my addiction so I’m happy that I only rarely have a chance to indulge them. They tend to be such a rip off! But I found two games that I actually won. The first was like plinko and you had to catch the ball. It really always came down to two slots it might come out of so I had a pretty good chance of winning and got a cute Eeyore knock-off. Then, there was a game where you had to knock down the teeth of these cutout monsters- pretty straight forward and I won a Domo (which I’ve always wanted)

Here’s my victory pic with my prize!

Other highlights included seeing a laser light show to Pink Floyd’s Darkside of the Moon. This was so exciting for me because I grew up with the planetarium in Dayton doing similar shows, and my Mom and I going and enjoying Pink Floyd’s The Wall at the midnight saturday showings, or making fun of the Grateful Dead as we shared our love of harder rock.  The planetarium was a little small and really hot- so I was happy that it was a somewhat short show.

And before we knew it, it was time to head home. While I normally dread the drive home as it reminds me of the closing credits of movies as what has just been becomes sealed into memories, I can’t help but fall in love with the scenery each time I drive through it. I made a few stops to just breath in the mountains and trees before diving back into the daily grind of life. I came home rested, in love, and refreshed until I can next run away on an adventure.

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