Saturday, November 05, 2011

Roaming Around Reno

Reno, for us, is one of those cities that has a confused identity.  On the one hand, it is a gaming city, with a somewhat shabby downtown of large casinos, but it also has newer upscale areas to the south and north, and interesting places to explore in the surrounding area. Sparks Marina RV Resort We always stay at the Sparks Marina RV Resort, one of our favorite places because of it’s great amenities and professional staff.  It’s also in a convenient location; close to I-80 and Highway 395, with plenty of shopping, dining, and even a casino or two nearby. 

Tahoe AspenAfter settling in, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and took a drive over the mountains to Lake Tahoe.  It was a beautiful drive, although a bit cool at the top of the pass, and the mountains were covered in golden slashes where the aspen had changed to it’s fall colors.

Lake Tahoe was quiet this time of year, the parks were almost empty and many of the homes and restaurants were closed for the winter.  It was nice to just sit on a bench in the sun and soak in the scenery.  Brenda on the Tahoe Beach

Donner LakeWe also took a drive up to Donner Pass and explored the town of Truckee.  The climb above Donner Lake took us through some beautiful scenery, but the bustle of I-80, heavy construction at every turn, and cold temperatures made for a short day trip.
Viginia City Main StreetOur favorite day trip in the area was to Virginia City, the once-booming mining town now restored.  Of all the “old” mining towns we’ve visited, we like this one best.  Uneven wooden planked sidewalks and buildings carefully restored make you Scrooge Benchfeel that you’ve traveled back in time….except for the prices, which are definitely 2011.  We enjoyed walking the main street, looking through the shops, and learning about the area’s history at the visitor center.  As always, there was a “Christmas Store”, one of those places that women have to explore and men are loathe to enter.  Finally through, a store with a place for the men to sit and wait.  I took full advantage of the “Scrooge Chair” while Brenda shopped. 

Virginia City MineAs you drive through the  town and the surrounding area, it’s a rare view that doesn’t have mine tailings or a still operating mine; apparently there’s still silver in “them thar hills”.  

The route back to Reno took us through the mountains with a long descent back into the valley.  It was a clear day and gave us a great view of Reno and the area.  Downtown looks great from a distance, which in our opinion is the best place to view it from….Reno Area View
Reno DowntownWe’ll be heading down Highway 395 and the eastern side of the Sierras, so stop back and visit!


  1. Rich and I were in Reno many times to visit my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. Many people don't realize just how beautiful the surrounding area is. A good part of Virginia City was burned down in the 1800s. Felt like time rolled back as we walked the streets. I loved the ride down, too.

    Pyramid Lake and Genoa are other interesting places to visit. You, literally, followed in our footsteps. I've never been this time of year, but I bet it's beautiful.

    I stayed in a campground right in the city near the airport, for convenience in 2010. The planes flew so low I felt as though I could reach up and touch them--right on the Truckee, but definitely an "urban" campground. I'll look up your campground if I get to go, again, this year. I'll have to see how long of a drive it is to see get to my s-i-l house. They chose the area because of its climate. On our first trip out, I didn't care for the brown mountains, but they grew on me, and I loved the breeze that blew up every day like clockwork at 3 p.m.

    I've heard Reno referred to as Las Vegas' step sister. Either way, they are cities and I'd rather stay outside of them.

    My sister in law lives in a very nice area outside the city, but it has grown since we first went out.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I hope I get to relive the memory.

  2. We too have a lot of memories of Reno. Said our vows there 38+ years ago and we're still together. My grandpa lived there and my brother and family still do. I no longer thrill to the downtown area - I really don't like Reno proper at all. My brother lives out Pyramid Way on 78 acres so we can stay with him and avoid the city. Still like the car museum and the river walk. Been quite a few years since I have been to Virginian City. The road looks better than I remember it. Tahoe is always beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing your travels and your photos of the area. How far are you going down 395? You might run into snow at the higher elevations. If you go through Bishop, stop at Schatts and eat some fresh Sheepherder bread for me!!

  3. Mary and Jim9:31 AM

    We have seen Reno only in passing, but colleagues of ours said the area around Reno was beautiful. You proved that with your pictures and travels!

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