Reno - The Saddest Little City in the World

On Thursday morning Gran picked me, Finn and Sam up at the house.  We then dropped the boys off at school and then Gran dropped me off at the airport.  My destination - Reno.   Michael has been in Reno since last Sunday, so I was on my way to join him for a little R and R. 

I arrived at the airport a little after 8 o'clock.  At the security check point I happened to look to my right and standing beside me was John Apedaile.  It was nice to catch up with John for a few minutes while walking to the gate.  Once at the gate I settled in for a small wait.  While waiting, I recognized a semi-familiar face.  It was Brady Toops, a Christian music artist that lives in Nashville. I had just listened through his CD a couple days prior to the flight. 

My flight to Chicago was jam packed, but I managed to get an aisle seat.  To my left was a girl that probably had the worst hangover that I have ever seen in my life - no joke.  And to my right was Mr. Toops.  Pretty cool. The flight was short (only an hour) but very bumpy - the wind blew us all over the place. 

Next I boarded a flight to Reno/Tahoe.  This was flight was jammed packed.  Because I forgot to check in 24 hours in advance, I ended up in boarding group C.  This meant that by the time I boarded, there were only middle seats left.  Luckily I sat in between two very kind and quite people.  The flight was a four hour flight, so I tried my best to sleep. I only managed to doze off for about 30 minutes.  But somethins' better than nothin'.

I arrived in Reno a few minute ahead of schedule.  The second I stepped onto the tarmac I could tell the difference in the atmosphere.  My breathing was a little labored as I walked through the airport.  It was so weird.  I also immediately noticed how the dry the air was.  It felt strange to breath it.  It almost felt like I was breathing in sand - meaning it was felt scratchy in my nose and lungs.  

Before heading out to the airport shuttle area, I bought an overpriced salad.  I was starving and looked forward to eating my salad in the hotel room.  My shuttle was scheduled to arrive at 3:45. At 4:20 I was pretty sure they had forgotten me.  I had been sitting outside in 98 degree weather for right at an hour and starting to get a little testy - not to mention dehydrated (you dehydrate so fast here).  I called the hotel and they finally sent someone to come get me.  I accidentally "got them back" so to speak by spilling my salad in the shuttle.  I was so embarrassed. 

Once at the hotel I settled in and waited for Michael to get back from class.  He made it back to the room a little after 5:00 p.m. We then met his co-worker Elizabeth and her husband Mike for dinner at "In and Out" burgers. 

After dinner we came back to the room and I crashed.  I felt pretty lousy.  Michael told me it was because I wasn't drinking enough water.  I downed a couple bottles and went to sleep. 

The next morning I slept until 8:30.  I woke up, went to the gym (really nice gym) and then lounged in the room for a little while and took a few work calls.  At noon, I was was a little restless so I decided to walk down to the National Judicial College and meet Michael.  He was scheduled to get out of class at 1:00 p.m. so I thought that I would walk down to meet him so that we could walk back to the room together.  I also wanted to get out and see the city. 

The walk was a little under a mile.  It was a really nice walk because while it was really hot, there is no humidity and there was a nice breeze. I also got to walk right by the strip - the casino strip.  We stayed in the Whitney Peak hotel.  Is non-smoking and non-gambling, but riight across the street is the Eldorado, the Silver Legacy, and Circus Circus.  

I quickly learned that you don't want to walk right next to a casino in the middle of the day.  The clientele is quite shady.  I started to notice that a guy with no teeth was walking next to me, matching me step for step.  Ever so gradually he would get closer and closer.  I finally had enough so I stopped walking, turned to look at him, and stared him down.  I didn't say a word, but I gave him a look as if to say, "one step closer and I will clock you."  Of course I probably couldn't, but he didn't know that.  My intimidation seemed to work and he walked on up ahead.  Not two minutes later I walked by a really dingy looking girl sitting outside of the casino.  Right after I walked by her she yelled "A--HOLE."  I turned around and she was looking in my direction.  I figured it best to not acknowledge this one, so  I fought the urge to point to myself as if to say "are you talking me" and walked on.  A few minutes later I saw this same girl beating on a guy and screaming the f-word at him. 

Once past the casinos I made my way into "motor-lodge land."  These were THE seediest looking motels I have ever seen.  They smelled terrible, even from the the road, and I heard awful screaming coming from inside one. It was a little scary. It really is a very sad place. I also saw a guy sitting at a slot machine holding a sign that said, "Jesus feed the poor, so should you."  

Once on campus, things leveled out a bit.  I found the judicial college and Michael and I walked back to the hotel together. 

On our way back, I took our picture in front of the famed, Reno sign. 

Next we walked to Enterprise to pick up our rental car.  Then we went to Chipotle for lunch.  We also checked out the local shopping. 

Later than evening we had dinner at the Heritage.  It is the restaurant in our hotel.  I had mac and cheese with a potato chip crust. It was good! 

After dinner we made another pass down the strip.  It looks a little less depressing at night. 

We stopped at the Silver Legacy casino to change my British Pounds over to Dollars.  On the way out I saw the "Wheel of Fortune" slot machine.  During our trips to Tunica with Brandon and Carissa, this was the slot machine that Carissa and I played (and won on). 

For old times sake I decided to sit and play.  I put two dollars in the machine and lost both.  With that loss, I decided to call it a night. 

This is a picture of our hotel, the Whitney Peak.