Road Trip Report: Day 11, July 22

So here’s the thing about Nevada. In Nevada, the grocery stores have slot machines. And people using the slot machines. And attendants for the slot machines.

Which, frankly, I find weird. It’s one thing in an airport, where you have a guaranteed audience that might as well be gambling, but a grocery store? Seriously? Particularly when there’s an actual casino across the street?

But enough about that.

I sent a package to Canada today. Nothing exciting, just some receipts and various stuff that I didn’t think I’d need anymore for the trip, as well as the Obols I bought at Brookstone.

Sidebar: I forgot to mention that I went into the Brookstone in Salt Lake City, and they didn’t have the Obols. So, purchasing them in Minnesota was justified. Also, I got to use one of those crazy massage chairs they sell, and now I totally want one.

Anyway, the shipping cost me about $45, but it’s worth it to get a little more space in the Miata, particularly as I’ve noticed the trunk getting very very hot. It’s mostly due to the muffler being right underneath the trunk, but it hasn’t been a problem for me before. However, with the trunk being stuffed full and the sun beating down on the car all day, my luggage is getting pretty warm. As a result, I’ve been carrying more stuff in the passenger seat.

After that, it was time to leave Elko (a nice little place) and head for Reno, where I had booked a room at the Grand Sierra Resort for just $38. Yep, less than it cost me to ship the package (though tax brought it to $50). And while that may seem low, it appears to be pretty much par for the course in Reno with respect to hotels. Good to know.

I had half a tank of gas left, but I figured that I could do the drive from Elko to Reno in a non-stop, four-hour stint. So, I filled it before leaving, and ran it down to the Empty by the time I got to Reno. But with all the “research” I’ve conducted over the past few days, I now know that the Empty light gives me between 100-150km of range–which is, again, ridiculous. Basically, if I see the Empty light go on, I can look at the odometer and assume I’ve got another 100km to go. So, I’m not even fazed by the Empty light at this point.

The drive was, well, boring. Honestly, I don’t remember much at all.

Before heading to the resort, I visited the National Auto Museum – The Harrah Collection. Apparently, Bill Harrah was a major player in the casino business, and also amassed one of the world’s largest car collections. When he passed away, they established the museum and maintained a portion of his collection in it.

Truth is, I don’t get a lot from museums, because I’m not much for looking at things and reading about them (or getting a tour). It’s the same reason I struggled with classes and lectures during university–I’m more of a hands-on learner. So I breezed through it pretty quickly. Not to say I didn’t enjoy it…that’s just how I visit museums. The highlights were getting to sit in a Ford Model T and seeing a gold-plated DeLorean (one of two that were produced).

And then I went to the Grand Sierra Resort, which is right in the middle of Reno. And It. Is. Big. Seriously, it’s a huge complex, with an outdoor pool and beach volleyball, a casino, a giant conference centre, a spa, a bowling alley, a driving range, and apparently an amusement park. Also, like five or six restaurants, if not more, and a desk for shipping parcels (which I wish I had known about this morning).

I wasn’t thrilled at first, because I had to park super far away and the check-in was extremely busy. I haven’t had to wait to check in anywhere yet, but there was a lineup that took about 30 minutes. Yikes! I later figured out that there’s a convention going on (for people involved in school transportation…as in, buses). As well, I think there must be a softball tournament going on, because there are a whole bunch of families running around here, and some of the teenage girls are wearing jerseys.

After getting to my room, I thought I’d see if I could get a massage to work out some of the kinks that have built up over 50+ hours of driving in the last 10 days. As luck would have it, I was able to get in right away and got a great massage from a lady named Terri. Interestingly, since Terri works at a resort, she sees a lot of travellers and knew where to look for all of the strain. She also gave me some tips for stretching while on long drives. Terri and Cathleen (my former massage therapist in Kitchener-Waterloo) are going to be tough acts to follow. And I’m not just saying that because Cathleen might be reading this.

By the way, the room is big, but the best way to describe is that it’s like a retirement condo. The furniture has a 70’s feel to it, which is odd because the exterior of the hotel is very modern. I suspect that my room is intended for people well past retirement age.

Having embraced my status as a resort guest, I skipped over the steak, asian, and mexican restaurants and went for the buffet dinner option. $19, and it was fantastic. I figured it would be a good idea to fill up, because I’m going to attempt to get a campsite at Yosemite National Park tomorrow. After the buffet, I probably won’t be hungry for a couple of days.

I also thought about gambling, just so I could complete the trifecta, but all I’d do is put $20 in a slot machine and push buttons until it was gone. Recognizing that, I was content to keep the twenty bucks in my wallet.

Looking ahead, there are good odds that I won’t have Internet access in Yosemite, so don’t expect another Road Trip Report until mid-Wednesday at the earliest. And if you don’t see anything from me for a couple of days after that, please consider filing a missing-person report. Actually, it’s probably better if one person files the report. So maybe post something on my wall asking if anyone has heard from me, and if no one has, then one person can say that they’ll do it and save everyone else the trouble. Let’s not bog down the system.

After Yosemite, it’s on to San Francisco. And then it’s the home stretch. Up the coast, and on to my “new” home in Victoria. With a number of stops in-between, of course.

Earlier today, I was amused to think that I’ve travelled through three time zones to get to where I am today. Usually, I get in an airplane and change my clocks when it lands. The three hours I gain or lose are just gone like that–particularly if I sleep on the plane–but this time it feels like I’ve put those three extra hours to full use.

Actually, I’ll put them to use tomorrow. Yosemite is three hours away, so I’m planning to get an early start to the day, by which I mean leaving around 7am Pacific Time…or 10am Eastern Time.

Talk to you soon!