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BC Dave and Janice's trip report. March 5th thru 9th

 
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BC Dave



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 1350

PostPosted: Mar Fri 21, 2014 8:57 pm    Post subject: BC Dave and Janice's trip report. March 5th thru 9th Reply with quote



My apologies for the long delay in putting up this report.

Day 1. Wednesday, March 5th 2014
Left the house at 9:30 am and drove to the border. Had about a half hour wait until we got into Blaine Washington. There we had our first pit stop - Big Al's Diner - formerly a Denny's. Anyway it was a good breakfast, after which we carried on to EZ Airport parking which is close to Bellingham airport. A small but efficient operation - they had us out to the airport in quick order.

Horizon Air was our carrier. The plane for all four legs of the round-trip flight was a Bombardier Q-400. (Bellingham to Seattle and then to Reno) and back.



The planes are smaller than we're accustomed to (20 rows of seats - 2 seats on each side of the aisle). The flight from Bellingham was somewhat unpleasant with a fair amount of turbulence and we all we could get from those overhead nozzles was stale warm air. All other legs of the flight were much better.

Outside the Reno-Tahoe terminal we had a short wait for the Circus Circus shuttle. Just one other couple boarded with us. We swapped stories of canceled flights and getting stranded in Reno.
The check in at CC was quick and efficient. I had called CC a couple of weeks before the trip to confirm our reservation. The pleasant fellow on the other end upgraded us from the Sky Tower to the Main Tower with a town view. With his help, we had a great view of downtown from the 22nd floor.

While checking in, I was given 4 days worth of coupon codes for free hotel internet access - the first day being free without a coupon. That's the only day it worked - I made several calls to the help desk and did get it going again once for a short while but after that - no go! My cell phone wouldn't couldn't find a carrier and even my old Walgreen's phone card was obsolete. Ah - the disconnected life!

I hadn't seen John for a couple of years and John hasn't seen Janice for even longer. We gave him a call and met for dinner at the Cal-Neva's "Top Deck Restaurant". Lots of good conversation followed by some pretty good food. Breaking with my Cal-Neva prime-rib tradition, I had a "Club wrap" and Janice had a thin bread Greek style pizza thingy and John just dove into a piece of cheese cake. Those big cans of Bud were just a buck!



We presented John with his mandatory home baked oatmeal cookies and John presented me with a customized Amazon gift card featuring Charlie and Higgins. Thanks again John!



After dinner we headed out into the Cal Neva's casino. Neither John or I could win anything if our lives depended on it. Janice did better, up about $55. John knew of a "Time For Money" slot at the Eldorado. We had played one of these a few years back at the Peppermill and had had good luck. Not this time, it just sucked away our money with nary a hint of the old glory days. Once again Janice did better - up about $125!

We all walked back to the Cal Neva for some more video poker. Did somewhat better this time - broke even. John drove home and Janice and I returned to Circus Circus.

Day 2. Thursday, March 6th. We were up around 9:00 am and headed straight for the Eldorado's buffet. Awesome breakfast! What can I say - great server and awesome food! We milled around the Eldorado - Silver Legacy - CC complex for a while before deciding to go for a walk. We started out from Circus Circus and hoped to walk along the river. But it was windy and the wind came up Virginia St. from the south. We only made it as far as the train trench and ditched back into the Eldorado. We had called John earlier and he picked us up in front of the Eldo and drove us to his place for a visit with Charlie and Higgins. The birds seemed happy to see us and put on a good show. John demonstrated his virtuosity on the electronic piano - we were really impressed!

After a good visit with the birdies we all piled into John's Jeep and headed to the Peppermill. The first thing I noticed was how much they've scaled back on the flashy neon. I guess the place looks classier, but I loved that neon color explosion. Anyway, John had some buffet comps and graciously extended them to us. Yikes, another massive display of delectable goodies! Whew, it was damn good! Thanks John! After slightly overdoing it, we waddled out to the casino, spotted 3 video poker machines next to each other and well, that's where we payed for our dinner. Tried some Pharaoh's fortune too, but to no avail.

Later that evening John gave us a ride back into town and we slowly meandered towards our room. Under Circus Circus' big top we saw a very talented young woman on the not so tight rope. (A “Slackwire” according to Wikipedia) – anyway she did some amazing balancing stunts.

Day 3. Friday, March 7. I got up about 9am and got Janice a Danish and coffee and then grabbed the CC shuttle to the airport. My friend Stephan was arriving, from Chicago, at ten and I had arranged (through Hotwire) to pick up a rental car at the airport at that time too. The car turned out to be a Kia Sorrento, not bad considering I was expecting something like a Corolla. All went smoothly and before too long Stephan was checked into CC too.

We all went for lunch at the Eldorado's coffee shop. (Now called Millies). Good food. Then we headed south on Virginia in the Kia. Janice had some shopping to do so I let her off at Ross and I took Stephan to the Atlantis. We wandered around the Atlantis until we decided to watch the band. We ordered a couple of drinks and then sat down to play Video Poker. When it came time for another drink Stephan plunked a $20 on the bar until I informed him that this drink would be comped. He's not a regular in Nevada! We played some Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better and ended up down a bit. There was a happy and friendly crowd at the bar celebrating the Friday late afternoon away. We picked up Janice at Ross and then gave Stephan a walking tour of the Peppermill. We toured the Main casino and the Tuscany area. Janice remembered that John had taken us through a very quiet set of long wide halls with lot of paintings on the walls. After a few wrong turns we found it. We didn't run across another soul up there. It's kinda spooky and a bit surreal up there. Anyway we came across a few of their flat screen TVs that show the high definition moving scenes. Stood and just watched for 10 or 15 minutes.

The afternoon was passing and we returned to Circus Circus for a rest. Around 8 p.m. we walked over to the Cal Neva for dinner. Back to the Top Deck again. Janice had a veggie pizza and I had the $5.95 prime rib special. Stephan ordered the regular prime rib but the waiter convinced him to get the special and then add baked potato and veggies as side orders. He was somewhat aggressive but in a funny sort of way. Having saved Stephan $1.25 he was happy. The dinners arrived and were first rate. You gotta love the old Top Deck Restaurant! After talking for an hour or so we walked back to CC. We paused in the arcade for three games of Camel Races. Janice won all three and was rewarded with a stuffed shark which she gave to Stephan to pass along to his wife.

Day 4. Saturday, March 8th. Yikes, I turned 60 today. Is 60 the new 40? I'll let you know. Anyway, Stephan, Janice and I hit the Eldo's buffet for a very satisfying breakfast. Then it was back to the rooms to rest our old bones, to regroup and prepare for a road trip.

Our first destination was the Reno Livestock Events Center to get the pictures of Harold's Club's old sign. This was a bit of a holy pilgrimage for me. Of all the Casinos that have closed since I first visited Reno in 1985, I miss Harold's the most. I'm sure glad they have preserved the mural. Here it is again.



After a short while we left for John's and Stephan got to meet the three VisitReno celebrities, Charlie and Higgins and of course, Mr. Reno himself - John. John put on some disco type music that the birds love to dance to and we had a little impromptu boogie session! Well, you had to be there....





We all piled into the Kia and headed for Virginia City. We started walking south on the old wooden sidewalk when Janice came across her favorite store. I figured she'd be in there for at least an hour, so John and I wandered a bit. But upon returning to the store I found she was not there. Well at least she was with Stephan. We ended up separated for more than an hour and my junky cellphone couldn't find a connection. John and I drove up and down C street and found them as we were beginning our second run. Janice was getting a bit frantic. Time for a drink!

So the next stop was the Gold Hill Hotel, just another mile down the road and reputed to be Nevada's oldest hotel. It's a small place but there's a great bar, lounge and restaurant plus rooms. We sat in the lounge (or is it a lobby?), and had a drink. Mine was just a coke, since I was driving and the road down to Carson City is pretty narrow and winds a fair bit in spots.

Gold Hill Hotel parking lot. This is not the Kia.




In the lounge.



One thoughtful member of the Hotel staff put Bonanza on the big screen TV to enhance the old west experience.

I navigated our Kia down to Carson City and we stopped at the Carson Nugget. This was to be my birthday dinner and we headed for the Steakhouse. I had "Steak Oscar" and everyone else had good steakhouse fare. Our server brought me out a really nice piece of layer cake for dessert. I might have been turning 60, but it felt a lot like the birthday parties my Mom would put on for us kids when we were very young. All these wonderful people singing "Happy Birthday" to me - getting older has it's drawbacks, but that night was all good!



We lingered there and after some good conversation we wandered out into the casino. There's a four sided bar near the restaurants and last time we were there they had full-pay video poker down right down to the nickel level. That was not the case this time. But the three guys sat down to give it a try anyway. Janice tried her luck on a slot or two. No big wins to report.

The time came to head back to Reno. We piled into the Kia and drove back to Reno on the new and much improved highway - The new 580/395. It's 3 lanes each way and a lot less curvy than the old 395 (which is now called the 395A). The new highway also takes you over the Galena Creek bridge, which had it's share of construction issues.

We dropped John off and thanked him for his great company throughout our stay. Thanks again Mr. Reno! Hope we're back before too long.

It was Saturday night in Reno, something we hadn't experienced for a long time. The place was a hoppin'! A band was playing Temptation's stye music in Circus Circus and we stopped to listen a while. We went to our rooms and began that painful process known as packing. Once I had done that I went down to the Cashier to close out our safety deposit box. We had a bit of cash there and our passports. Called it a night.

Up early the next morning and met Stephan downstairs. The three of us went to CC's coffee shop. This may have been my first time there. Once again, good service and good food. We dropped Stephan off at the airport then it was back to CC for us so we could grab our things and check out.

After we checked out we were at a bit of a loss as to what to do with our remaining hours. We drove to Sparks and checked out the New Bourbon Square Casino (used to be the Silver Club). Not much going on there on a Sunday around noon. So we got ambitious and drove over Mt Rose to North Lake Tahoe.

Over the mountain we saw people skiing and tobogganing - looked like fun. The lake eventually appeared ahead and we were soon parked at the Tahoe Biltmore.



The place was very quiet inside. We tried a few slots and had a couple of small wins but you could see they couldn't afford winners here. So we dutifully lost it back again. Across the road the Crystal Bay Club was similarly quiet and the Nugget next door was worse. We got the feeling we were intruding. Time to start heading back.

We drove south along the east shore of Lake Tahoe and took the highway down to Carson City. It was a cloudy day and the scenery, while always nice, loses some of it's dramatic edge without that bright Nevada sunlight. A quick pit-stop at the Carson Nugget's coffee shop gave us time to stretch and we shared a Reuben sandwich. Hit the spot. Now it really was time to head for the airport.

The flights heading home on a Sunday night were, as you might expect, busy. We had an hour or so layover in rainy Seattle before we were once again high in the clouds headed for little Bellingham. Conditions were dry there. Our land based trip home from there was uneventful - even the border was quiet. Got home a little after 1:00 am.

So this wasn't really a high rollin' gambler's trip report but more of a social event. But it was such a blast being in my favorite town with my lovely wife and two great friends. Thanks gang, you made my day - all five of them!


Last edited by BC Dave on Jul Mon 17, 2017 10:31 pm; edited 4 times in total
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remano



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 716

PostPosted: Mar Sat 22, 2014 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very entertaining TR. Thanks for sharing.
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Shooty



Joined: 22 Jan 2006
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Mar Sat 22, 2014 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic write-up Dave. Just a relaxed week or so in Reno, can't beat it. I like the drive to and from Virginia City, but I never spend any time there, maybe I should.

Great photos too. Glad you had fun!
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john
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Dec 2005
Posts: 1155

PostPosted: Mar Sun 23, 2014 6:32 am    Post subject: You did all that? Reply with quote

Thanks for the great trip report, BC Mod. Thanks also for spending so much time with my birds and me. We all really enjoyed having you, Janice and Stephan join us for some dancing and screaming.

Sounds like you really enjoyed some fine dining at the Eldorado. They do serve up some great food.

Once again, happy birthday! Here's wishing you the best decade yet.
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BC Dave



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 1350

PostPosted: Mar Sun 23, 2014 12:00 pm    Post subject: Thanks Gang! Reply with quote

Thanks for all the kind comments. With all four of us taking pictures, I've got quite a collection. I'll sift through them and post a few more of the best.

Looks like I'd better turn up the brightness on the Tahoe Biltmore - It wasn't quite that gloomy.

John, thanks again for your hospitality, generousity and all the good times. Keep up the great work on the keyboard!
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CaSwede



Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 866

PostPosted: Mar Sun 23, 2014 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the report, is was great. No you were correct the first time. The Tahoe Bilmore is gloomy. Next time stop in at the Hyatt Regency at Incline Village. This is an uplifting and upscale casino. Have you ever done the drive along the Lakeside Blvd at Incline Village and gawked at all the $$$$million dollar estates along the shore? It will make you envious.
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BC Dave



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 1350

PostPosted: Mar Sun 23, 2014 9:25 pm    Post subject: Did a little virtual drive. Reply with quote

Hi, Swede. I just did a little virtual drive along Lakeside Blvd. Not bad, not bad at all. The owners of these places obviously are not big customers of the north shore casinos I've visited.

I've never been to the Hyatt. I'll take you up on your suggestion and put it on the next time list.


Last edited by BC Dave on Mar Mon 24, 2014 1:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JD



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Mar Mon 24, 2014 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MUCH better trip report than mine.

But I've been busy.
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stan_allen



Joined: 19 Dec 2005
Posts: 1128

PostPosted: Mar Mon 24, 2014 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rock and roll! Sounds like yet another triumph, and a birthday thrown in just sweetens the deal.

Now that I've actually driven between Seattle and Vancouver, I'm much more interested in local stuff - so why the takeoff from Bellingham, as opposed to just going straight to Sea-Tac? Of course, there's clearly some old-school charm there, and I was only dimly aware that propellor-based flights still exist...

That graphic that starts your 'best ever' trip report is a classic - whatever they're paying you at your job, it ain't enough.

Interesting about that non-functional internet at Circus-Circus; could it be that they just don't want you to spend time on the internet, since that's time away from the casino??

Love the Virginia City stuff; that Gold Hill lounge really has the classic charm of the region - I've really got to spend more time in that area...

And it's very interesting to hear about that new highway - I haven't been down that stretch since our Gardnerville office closed, but I saw it being constructed, and it looks like it's fulfilled its promise of a smoother ride between cities...

Good job stopping by the Biltmore and its brethren; yes, it seems like a sad and deserted area these days, but I still like it, for some reason - though it's true that you should see the Hyatt in that area, just to see both ends of the spectrum!

What else? Oh, yes - HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Your birthday and mine are right around the same time, so I'll make sure to hoist one in your honor each and every time, from now on!

Can you get some Charlie/Higgins disco dancing animated .gifs going?

Thanks again for the detailed report, best to you and the lovely Janice, and come back soon!
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BC Dave



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 1350

PostPosted: Mar Tue 25, 2014 11:27 pm    Post subject: Trip reports - tips and tricks. Reply with quote

Janice gets most of the credit for my trip reports. (The good ones anyway.) She keeps a diary and makes notes in it each day. I've tried to do it too, when I've been down there by myself or with my pack of crazy friends. (They've pretty much adopted downtown Vegas as their new Nevada destination.) But I forget to look at it for a couple of days and by that time the mental fog sets in causing me to forget details and the order in which they occurred. Anyway my best method of remembering what I did each day is to take a lot of pictures.

Stan you may have a point about the internet service. Who wants to spend hours talking to a help desk while the fun's all happening downstairs.

And before I forget, Happy Birthday to you too! I can highly recommended a little city (or two) on Nevada's western edge for celebrating the big one's.

As far as the Bellingham to Seattle to Reno thing goes, well it was a bit of an experiment. The price for the extra leg through Alaska Airlines Vacations was only about $60 more. This seemed reasonable, and I thought I'd leave the driving to them. As it turned out it made the trip seem quite a bit longer. Especially coming home.

A couple more Virginia City shots for ya, Stan.

Stephan took this artistic shot from inside the Gold Hill Hotel.



And this is the view looking northeast from the back of the Bucket of Blood Saloon. I've heard it referred to as the hundred mile view.



This fellow (calls himself Stinky) seems to be a self appointed tourist attraction in Virginia City. He wanders around in red long underwear and apparently so does his donkey. Anyway he charges a buck to feed the donkey a carrot and another dollar for a picture like this one.



Thanks for the compliment on my animated gif header. I'll see what I can do about gettin' dem birdies dancin' !


Last edited by BC Dave on Jul Mon 17, 2017 10:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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stan_allen



Joined: 19 Dec 2005
Posts: 1128

PostPosted: Mar Wed 26, 2014 10:34 am    Post subject: Extra Texture Reply with quote

That's some artsy photographin', there - love that view from the back of the Bucket of Blood...

The fellow with the donkey sure looks familiar - oh, that's right; it's yet another instance of the Simpsons documenting everything in history!




Or it could even be this guy:



As for remembering everything for one's trip report, it is indeed a challenge, which is why the denizens of visitreno.com are the chosen ones, bestowed with powers by their moderator overlords to recall, with fantastic levels of detail, every machine played, type of drinks consumed, menu items ordered, casinos wandered, and malls shopped (If applicable) - let's hoist one for those drinks we can't remember!

Thanks for the additional photos - good stuff!
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remano



Joined: 20 Dec 2005
Posts: 716

PostPosted: Mar Wed 26, 2014 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That view looking NE from the Bucket of Blood is very similar to what you see from the top of Mt. Rose (Slide Mountain) looking East. It really underscores how mountainous Nevada is, not always big mountains but still mountain ranges everywhere you look. I've read that Nevada has the most mountain ranges of any state in the U.S. and I believe it. Most people think of Las Vegas and the desert, but if you drive across Nevada you will rarely be out of sight of a mountain or three.
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BC Dave



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 1350

PostPosted: Mar Thu 27, 2014 12:09 am    Post subject: Wow, thanks Remano! Reply with quote

I did a little google street viewing on Slide Mt Ski Bowl Highway. That's a fantastic view! Reno, Washoe Lake and Carson City all in one incredible panorama. Got to head up there next time. My new camera does pretty good panoramas too! http://goo.gl/maps/32cFd
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JD



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 928

PostPosted: Mar Thu 27, 2014 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is the view from most of the eastern looking "100 mile view" from most of the C street saloons towards the 40 mile desert where the wagon trains of 1846 has to cross with no water for three days,

The Western running Humbolt river sinks into the desert and the Carson river disappears near todays Fallon.

That hill is called "Sugarloaf" because sugar used to be sold in solid lumps looking like the mold they were once poured into. Locals drive "Six mile Canyon" from VC into the Dayton suburbs just below the right of Sugarloaf which is a nice drive.

That is exactly the same view from the deck of the Bonanza where my pal, Jesse James, the bartender will be glad to pour a two fer one bloody Mary for you. Look at the tip jar and see one my old two dollar bills on the bar.

Just remember, if you play the machines at the Bonanza, do not mix your coins or Jesse will be pissed at ME for sending you.
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BC Dave



Joined: 18 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Mar Thu 27, 2014 2:49 pm    Post subject: Confession time. Reply with quote

I have to confess that I may have been looking more east than northeast when I took that shot. My sense of direction has been known to be off by even more than 45 degrees. My first 3 or 4 visits to Reno I thought Circus Circus was the southernmost end of the strip.
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