Thursday, August 11, 2022

Hot August Nights in Reno. Riding trains in Carson City, Virginia City, car shows and a a full weekend out and about.


Yeah, I meant to shout. Yell it from the mountaintops.

My kids and I drove from Vegas to Reno last Friday.  We drove through the same storm that flooded Death Valley National Park. I chose to drive down to Vegas to meet the kids as we had won a large number of interesting items at the auction and they needed to be picked up. In my last rambling, I'd stated that it was going to be a full weekend in girl mode. 

It turned out to be a FULL WEEKEND IN GIRL MODE filled with human interactions and amazing experiences.  

Starting out, driving from home to Vegas with a stop at the auction. For the drive I wore the new polka-dot dress that had been picked up the previous weekend. It looks really good on me.  I am really considering this dress for my Halloween outfit.  I met the kids at their house, unloaded the van of the many new items and we loaded their stuff in.  Heading out of Vegas, we made a quick stop at a McDonald's. I was driving and I was the one at the window interacting the drive-up person. 

I drove north where we encountered the only construction are along our route, we sat for about ten minutes. Our first rest stop was in Goldfield, NV.  The ladies room was much cleaner than the mens room.  It was there that we changed drivers, youngest kid drove the rest of the way.  Next stop was in Tonopah, NV to put some gas into the van and food in our stomachs.  FYI, the Tonopah Burger King was not great. Their drive-up was very slow.

Thirty minutes after entering the drive-up lane, we got on our way. Kid drove through to Reno. We arrived at our chosen hotel.  We parked in the parking garage and found our way to the registration desk.  It was a busy Friday night at the Circus Circus Reno since the Hot August Nights classic car event was happening. It was a challenge for me and my fear of being in public in a dress. It was exhilarating.  

Saturday morning came and we did breakfast at Einstein Bagels, my outfit for the day was a black & white floral print sleeveless dress with a light sweater for sun protection.  Our first adventure stop was the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City. While there, I used a certificate for free admission to the museum, the only catch was that I had to show photo ID to use the pass.  I flashed my ID and the certificate to the person behind the desk, his eyebrows raised when he saw the name on the pass, my ID and my outfit. There are amazing exhibits at this museum and the admission is only $8.  I remember watching a piece about one of their pieces of equipment, the fully restored McKeen Motor Car, being rescued from usage as a storage shed and plumbing company office.

My oldest kid arranged for passage on their excursion train.  The 1905 Baldwin Ten Wheeler, Number 25 pulled us around the grounds three times. The locomotive was having air pump problems and had to stop at least once per time around the property to build brake pressure. Hey, the thing is 117 years old and she was having a moment.

After our ride, we piled into the van and headed up to Virginia City, NV.  And I mean UP.  What a climb into the hills. We arrived at the Virginia and Truckee RR just as the second to last train was about to depart. It was too late to ride so it gave us time to explore the gift shop and check out the static exhibits before riding the day's final excursion. Two steam trains ridden in one day. the 1906 Baldwin 2-8-0 Number 29 took us on the out and back.

The conductor told the tales of the mines along the route and some of the history of the Railroad. In a way, it was a bit of the normal "small town" bashing of Californians. Asking if CA residents had to pay taxes when they crossed the Nevada border. Virginia City is in Storey County, NV which is a very red place. About 66 percent Republican. Not as conservative as Nye, County which is about 69 percent Republican.

On the train, we sat across from some allies. My youngest has a denim jacket with many LGBTQ patches and pins.  The folks across the train asked to see the jacket and my kid obliged and told of some of the pins and patches.  We all talked both on the train and a couple times after our ride.  It was great!

After riding, we drove into Virginia City where we found a craft fair in it's final minutes. We stopped and checked out some of the vendors. Kids found some neat stuff before the fair closed.  

We piled into the van and headed to our second night's accommodation in Carson City, delivered our belongings to the room and piled into the van for the trip back to Reno   We stopped at an IHOP for dinner and had some amazing interactions with the restaurant hostess and our server. To Reno and finding a space for the van without having to walk too far.  In the parking lot of the Atlantis Hotel, was a show and shine. We walked in to the lot and followed the sidewalk to the reviewing stand where the classic cars were coming right to us  for the cruise event.

There were about six rows of the parking lot filled with classic cars.  The usual mix of abundant Camaros and tri five Chevys, El Caminos and Mustangs and old Mopar. There were a handful of oddball cars, rat rods, customs, chopped, lowriders with amazing paintwork and some survivors. I prefer the oddball car.  It takes guts to restore a '69 Torino or AMX or International Pickup instead of a car that almost every repair or replacement part available "off the shelf."

Sunday morning, we stopped at a McDonald's for sustenance, got fuel for the van and headed south for the return trip.  Halfway home, we stopped again in Goldfield to check out Goldfield Days. All the main events had ended but we went into a couple stores, visited the Chamber of Commerce's booth, used the facilities and drove toward the edge of town. But... before leaving... we went to the "International Car Forest of the Last Church."

It is like the Car Henge art installation or the Cadillac Ranch in Texas but this place uses former school buses planted at a 45 degree angle and stuck into the desert among other cars planted around the forest.  For me the challenge was driving around the place in the van and not taking risks with our vehicle.  There are different levels of the art installation, I started by heading toward the upper area thinking there would be a loop road connecting the different levels.  Wrong!  We drove by the few upper vehicles and aforementioned angular school bus and I see some paths leading down but think "I cannot see what is ahead and I'm not wrecking our car just to look at a bunch of already wrecked cars.."  So I turns around and go back to the obvious roadway leading to the lower area with the bulk of the art cars.  It was pretty fun trying to figure out what each car was before it got planted. Subarus and a Pinto and a last generation Roadmaster sedan with the roof painted in the trans flag colors and "trans pride" across the flag and what was probably a Chevy milk truck with a mid sixties Buick limo on it.  Each of the vehicles had some kind of art painted on it.  I was more interested in the cars than the artwork but I do have photos to check out.

It was everything a free art installation could be.

What a great weekend!

I didn't chicken out. I didn't rely on any backup plan aside from wearing shorts under day two's dress so I wouldn't reveal too much... I had the challenges of dealing with strangers and moving about in public.  I didn't panic too much and had a genuinely good time.

I think I've decided that the dress I wore Friday will be what I wear to work on Halloween.  It looks good on me and I have a strong level of confidence in it.

Thanks for stopping in