Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Maybe Next Time

The purpose of this whole train to Reno exercise was to see snow-covered scenery from about Colfax to the mile-high summit, and maybe beyond. There was major snow in the higher elevations, October 22nd through the 24th, Nov. 8-11 and 16-18, but the last week has been like summer and it has all melted off the trees and all that is left is a trace covering in the shaded areas.

It's still beautiful scenery, but I've seen it so many times before.

The only good news is it means we won't be fighting snow on the bus ride back to Sacramento.

So kind of a wasted trip, there were things in the Bay Area I would rather have been doing. But you never know till you do it, y'know?
I left the hotel in Sacramento a little bit early to walk a few blocks to the downtown Starbucks, which also had no SAC mugs on display. I asked, they said they had been discontinued.

The place was way closer than I thought, so I was at the train station way early, more than an hour. I sat in the second row of benches for people needing assistance to get to the train (which translates as a 1-mile cart ride). The official writings claim the track is now 0.5 miles further from the station than it used to be, but they lie. That's just the first track, and it doesn't mention the steep incline or the stairs up to the platform at the end.

I don't know what 1800's genius designed them, but the benches in the station -all of them - have heaters inside, and metal grids at the top of each bench, about 18" wide and 12" deep, with about a foot in between each one, and I found myself sweating without knowing why.

The readerboard showed the train was going to arrive at 11:23 instead of departing at 11:09, so it was a longer wait. Finally, at 10:55, the nice man with the cart gathered us up for the first trip, and it was like a Disney ride through the wastelands. The new setup is open, but it is far from complete, he said. Apparently there will be a stadium in the middle. Huh?

As it turned out, the train actually arrived on time, there was a whole car of people getting off at SAC, which the Reno folks got to use, pick our own seats. Strange but true, the windows were clean.

Camera battery was down to 1/4, so I put in the first of my two spares, but it was also down to 1/4. When I took it out I saw th big black X I'd marked on the bottom, which really should have been a "?"  because I wasn't sure it was having trouble holding a charge could have been the GPS too). Now I'm sure. So I'm down to my last spare. I don't expect to be taking pictures from the bus.

Without the snow, I didn't take as many pictures as I might have. But that's okay, they are already in my portfolio from previous trips.

Arrived half an hour early, probably because there were not a lot of passengers after SAC, and the weather was so good.

Silver Legacy is a short walk from the station, it was actually longer to walk through the casino and across the skybridge to the reception desk. Bought a 24-hour wi-fi card, found my room on the 17th floor. Very big, 2 Queen beds, not much of a view with their big faux geodesic dome in the way. Just in time for sunset, and for three fire trucks to pass by. Deja vu.

Checked out the wi-fi, it wouldn't log in with Chrome, had to switch to Firefox. 

Found a quicker way out than the way in, and walked to Starbucks about 5 blocks away. No Reno mugs, they said there never have been, but they had a Lake Tahoe mug. Never been there, so no.

Back to the strip, I needed a baseball cap. I took my Thailand floppy hat, but it just doesn't hack it, gets in my face too much. There is a series of cheap souvenir shops on the main drag, all owned by the same people, which have made their windows opaque with murals of local scenery and trademarks. They are all out of business. :-(

The last remaining large souvenir store on the block had a a sale on a Reno cap which was just what I was looking for. I can see why it didn't sell - the design is too subtle. No one even the least bit buzzed would recognize it as a Reno hat. Also found a nice mug for <$2, compared to $10 for the Starbucks model. and a T-shirt which says "What happens in Reno goes on Facebook".

Time for dinner. I knew dessert was going to be at the ice cream/bakery in the El Dorado, so I scoped out their restaurants for dinner, but all of them were too dark to read in, including the buffet. Next to the ice cream place was a small eatery, they had a nice well-lit table which worked. Excellent service, fast, country fried steak was okay, way too much mashed potatoes, could have used more string beans and red bell pepper. Yummy.

Then next door for a banana split. Bad timing, the people ahead of me had ordered banana splits for all 8 of them, so by the time mine came up they only had to-go containers.

Parked myself facing the bar TVs, the last CRT TV screens left on the planet. Did not watch the Notre Dame game as much as I watched the cocktail waitresses. Very sexy outfits at the El Dorado. After dessert I went to the sports betting place and watched the last 5  minutes of the Notre Dame game from there, surrounded by people who had money on it. Mostly on Notre Dame.

Back to the Silver Legacy, time to get ready for bed.

Plans for tomorrow:
Amtrak bus leaves at 11:25. I will probably have time for breakfast first
Switch to Capitol Corridor train to SJC
Hope my car is still in the parking lot where I left it.
Tags: food, photography, shopping, trains, travel

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