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Customized Willys Jeep Wagon is the Region’s New “Automotive Mascot”

DSC_0201What do you get when a “gearhead” sales and marketing pro moves to the Truckee Meadows from the “Motor City” to head up the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority? A customized 1951 Willys Jeep four-wheel drive Station Wagon that will represent the region – and promote the wide variety of attractions, festivals, activities and events available in the Reno/Sparks/North Lake Tahoe area – to crowds at conventions, tradeshows and high profile events in Northern Nevada, California and further afield.

DSC_0140“Everybody loves checking out a classic car… especially one that is beautifully hand-lettered and pinstriped, upholstered in Pendleton Indian blanket material and topped off with a hand-made, aluminum roof rack system packed with everything from skis and snowshoes to a kayak, golf clubs, fishing rods and a slalom water ski,” according to Christopher Baum, President and CEO of the RSCVA and creator of the vehicle. “It’s the perfect conversation starter to attract attention and help educate prospective visitors on the incredible diversity of things to do throughout Northern Nevada!”

Baum had great success designing and building a custom 1932 Ford hot rod powered by a new Chrysler hemi during his previous role as Senior Vice President of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, and thought that a similar classic vehicle project – carefully chosen to represent the region’s active, high desert lifestyle – would be equally effective for Reno Tahoe USA.

“I found a partially restored 1951 four-wheel drive Willys station wagon on the Internet, that already had a modern Buick V-6 swapped in for more power, and liked the fact that – although you seldom see one on the street anymore – the classic Jeep front end makes it instantly identifiable to most people,” said Baum.

Baum had the wagon shipped to the RSCVA and then set out to find some of the best local hot rodders and artists to help make his vision a reality.

Said Baum, “With the world-famous National Automobile Museum here, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Reno area is full of automotive talent, and I was quickly able to assemble a team of wonderful partners.”

Local companies that came on-board to help build the RSCVA’s new promotional vehicle:

Lane Walker, Solo Signs – Since the “Washoe Willys” is actually a clever Marketing Program in disguise, the professional presentation of the RSCVA brand logo, URL and some appropriate slogans was a top priority.

“I wanted someone who was a master at old school pinstriping and hand lettering,” said Baum. “And,” he added, “I quickly found just that in Lane Walker of Solo Signs in Reno. He’s been in the business since 1977 and has had his own shop since 1990, so his artistic services are obviously in demand. And his talent with a brush is really unbelievable.”

Matt Villafuerte, Twisted Stitch Upholstery – The Willys has two bench seats for the driver and passengers and Baum knew just what he wanted to do to make the car stand out with the crowds.

“I love Pendleton Indian blankets and had upholstered the Detroit hot rod with them to great effect,” said Baum. “I found the perfect pattern for the Willys’ color scheme on Pendleton’s website, ordered a bolt of fabric and then handed it to Matt, a talented guy who definitely knows his way around a heavy duty sewing machine. The wagon’s seats needed to be totally rebuilt before the heavy wool fabric went on, but Matt was definitely up to the task and the end result is fantastic.”

Jeff Robinson and Pete Gebhardt, Reno Speedworks – Baum wanted to display sporting gear representative of the wide variety employed in our region, but he didn’t want to use a stock roof rack.

“I love Airstream trailers and got the idea of having a craftsman fabricate a roof rack system that looks like something that company might have sold back in the 1960s,” Baum continued, “Since vintage stuff always looks cooler on display. A friend introduced me to Pete Gebhardt, and once I learned that he had spent 25 years pounding metal for Jack Roush, Ray Evernham and other top NASCAR team owners, we hired him. As a bonus, finding Pete introduced me to the rest of the gang at Reno Speedworks downtown, and their co-owner, Jeff Robinson, was able to change the Willys’ gearing to something more street-able, fabricate a front license bracket and perform a myriad of other tasks to ready the car for its debut. Pete’s retro aluminum roof rack turned out fantastic and Jeff’s wrenching gives us the confidence to hit the open road… in a vehicle built when Eisenhower was still president!”

James Herr and Bob Scott, Summit Racing – Sparks is fortunate to have a distribution center and retail store for one of the world’s foremost purveyors of high performance and custom automotive parts and accessories, and Summit’s support for the RSCVA’s new promo vehicle was immediate.

“James and Bob at Summit have been terrific, helping us choose appropriate wheels and tires for the Willys, as well as tracking down a custom air cleaner and valve covers for the offbeat Buick engine,” according to Baum. “They’re proud to be located in our region and we are delighted to have them as a sponsor on this fun build.”

Special Events Coalition – Although its individual contributions to the Washoe Willys were small (literally!), the members of this organization played an important role in giving the vehicle its unique personality: decals/stickers for most of the region’s festivals and special events – from the Nugget Rib Cook Off to the Reno Air Races, Hot August Nights and Reno Rodeo – cover the rear windows and slab sides of the aluminum roof rack, creating a colorful, and impressive, record of all there is to do and see in Reno/Sparks/North Lake Tahoe.

“Add the Nevada Museum of Art, UNR, Scheels, Reno Aces, Cabela’s and several other cool permanent attractions, and it’s hard to imagine a visitor whose passions wouldn’t be stirred by SOMETHING here!”, according to Baum.

DSC_0218The RSCVA’s new promotional vehicle is tentatively scheduled to make appearances, subject to commitments outside the Reno/Sparks/North Lake Tahoe region, at the following events: Reno-Tahoe Open, Hot August Nights, Toyota Silver State Showdown, Best in the West Nugget Rib Cookoff, The Great Reno Balloon Race, National Championship Air Races, Street Vibrations Fall Rally, Eldorado Great Italian Festival and the Sparks Hometowne Christmas Parade.

Washoe Willys Photo Gallery

Social Media Day Reno – June 30

Join Reno’s Social butterflies Saturday, June 30, at SE7EN Teahouse in the West Street Market. For the first time ever, this year’s event features an Instagram Scavenger Hunt all over downtown Reno!

532256_10150993760689445_1751222382_nWho: Teams of 2-4 people
What: Teams will be given a set of clues that lead them to complete challenges, upload photos to Instagram, and tag #SMDayReno
When: At 3:00pm the race is off!
Where: SE7EN Teahouse, and downtown Reno
Why: Reno Loves Social Media! And you can win awesome prizes like Samsung Galaxy Tablets, $100 bar tab to WET Ultra Lounge at GSR, Carrie Underwood Tickets from Circus Circus, or  gift certificates to RENO eNVy, Louis Basque Corner, Pie-Face Pizza Co and more!

REGISTER NOW!
Event Details

Being Social pay$ – here are more deals you’ll Like around town:

PEPPERMILL:

Check-in to Peppermill via Foursquare, then send us a Tweet @RenoPeppermill to let us know you’re here. We’ll choose a winner randomly from those entries on Sunday morning!

Winner will receive:
- One-Night Stay in a Peppermill Deluxe Tower Room
- $100 Dining Credit

ATLANTIS:

Post a picture of your favorite Atlantis restaurant to any of your social media handles, and tag Atlantis for a chance to win a Bistro Napa gift certificate!

Bonus:

Post a picture of your favorite Atlantis menu item to Atlantis’ Facebook wall, and you’ll also be entered for a chance to win their monthly Foodie Fans drawing!

Hopefully you already follow us, but those of you who’ve been anti-social, it’s time:

Facebook: Reno Tahoe USA
Twitter: @renotahoe & @renoevents
Instagram: @renotahoeusa
Pinterest: Visit Reno Tahoe
YouTube: Reno Tahoe USA
Flickr: RenoTahoe

FREE Guided Hikes around Lake Tahoe

Hiking season has arrived and Reno Tahoe is home to one of the most pristine trails in the world – the Tahoe Rim Trail. And there’s no better way to explore the wonders of the 165-mile route than to join the Tahoe Rim Trail Association on a FREE guided tour. With hikes ranging from 2 miles to 16-mile overnight excursions, there’s something for everybody, no matter your experience. Discover this fun and easy way to exercise, socialize and visit beautiful vistas overlooking Lake Tahoe.

runnerThursday, June 28 & Saturday, July 21 – Deuter and Tahoe Mountain Sports Pack Testing Trek (6.5 miles) – Are you in the market for a new pack? Deuter and Tahoe Mountain Sports are sponsoring this fun gear-testing trek. Demo packs of all shapes and sizes; from small, light hydration haulers to daypacks and expedition size packs. Travel from the Mt. Rose trailhead to Galena Falls where the wildflowers are in full bloom and enjoy a sponsored snack, pack fitting discussion and photo opportunities before returning to the trailhead. All participants will receive a cool piece of gear from Deuter and Tahoe Mountain Sports!

Friday, July 6 – Van Sickle Family Friday Hike (2.2 miles) – The Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS) and the Tahoe Rim Trail Association are sponsoring this fun, family friendly interpretive hike each Friday in July. Participants will enjoy interesting facts about the history, flora and fauna of Van Sickle State Park and Tahoe. This is the perfect hike for families.

Additional hikes are scheduled for:

  • July 13
  • July 20
  • July 27

Friday, July 6 – Tahoe Mountain Sports Leave No Trace Sunset Family Hike (3 miles) – Tahoe Mountain Sports, the Leave No Trace Center for Ethics and the Tahoe Rim Trail Association are teaming up for a fun and educational hike that will include interactive Leave No Trace activities, night hike games and prizes for the entire family. Tahoe Mountain Sports will also provide a variety of headlamps to demo. Bring your dinner for a sunset picnic on a ridge overlooking lovely Lake Tahoe!

Tuesday, July 17 – Hawley Grade History Hike (6 miles) – Journey into the past and explore a portion of the original trans-Sierra emigrant route and Pony Express trail through the Sierra.  Learn a little of the history of the early settlers as you hike from the Tahoe Valley floor near Meyers and climb to the junction with the Tahoe Rim Trail just past Echo Pass.

Saturday, July 21 – Big Meadow to Echo Summit Backpack (about 8 miles/day) – Complete a beautiful segment of the Tahoe Rim Trail on this overnight backpack trip led by experienced guides. Beginning at Big Meadow trailhead, this hike will follow a scenic journey through wildflower covered meadows and past the shady shores of Round Lake. Participants will enjoy an overnight camp at picture perfect Showers Lake. Hikers must be in very good physical shape and able to carry a backpack weighing 25-35lbs plus some group supplies.

Monday, July 30 – PCT Travels the TRT (7 miles) – The Tahoe Rim Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail share more than 20 miles in Desolation Wilderness. Hike the rocky terrain of both trails to Lake Aloha from the Upper Echo Lake, where you will ride a water taxi. Lake Aloha has a unique landscape with windblown trees and small flat, rock islands. Enjoy snacks and lunch on the rocky shores of Lake Aloha before returning to the Echo Chalet. Fees: $20 cash for water taxi/person, as well as cash for ice cream and a cold drink at Echo Chalet after the hike.

Be sure to register in advance for these summer hikes. Online registration is now required for all TRTA programs and can be completed on the TRTA website at www.tahoerimtrail.org. For more information call 775-298-0012 or email Jaime at jaimes@tahoerimtrail.org.

For more summer adventures on the endless trails in Reno Tahoe, check out our hiking page.

The Perfect Solar Eclipse in Reno Tahoe, May 20

On Sunday May 20th, 2012, a solar eclipse will sweep across East Asia, over the northern Pacific Ocean, and then into the southwestern United States.

Reno and Albuquerque are the only major cities along the shadow’s narrow path – the center of the path sweeps directly through the south shore of Pyramid Lake. Yes, that’s right, one of the best places in the world to view this astronomical event will be right in our backyard!

1_eclipsepath

In Reno, a free solar eclipse viewing will be offered at UNR:

When: Sunday, May 20, 2012, from 5-7 p.m. (maximum eclipse, 6:28-6:33 p.m.)

Where: MacLean Observatory on the Redfield Campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, 18600 Wedge Parkway in southwest Reno

Out-of-town visitors: The Silver Legacy Resort Casino is offering discount rates for eclipse visitors! Visit this Visitors page for more information.

As you get starry-eyed over this opportunity of a lifetime, don’t forget how dangerous looking directly into the sun can be! For maximum protection, the Planetarium will provide solar viewers for sale in the Science Store. For safe viewing tips, and how to build your own safe-viewing devices, see these resources.

Zimride Reimagines Tahoe Travel

As ski season heats up, Zimride partners with all major resorts and bus operators to a make a one-stop shop for fun, affordable and sustainable Tahoe travel.

zimride-logo-150Zimride, the largest online ride-sharing service in North America, announced it has established partnerships with all major Lake Tahoe ski resorts and two connecting bus services, making traveling to the Bay Area’s hottest winter tourist destination more simple and economical than ever before.

2564840233_5e40a50f47Tahoe travelers choosing to rideshare with Zimride will be entered to win free gas.  Additionally, for the first time Zimride has extended its rideshare offerings to include bus options as well.  Bay Area Ski Bus and Quality Assurance Travel have partnered with Zimride to sell tickets through the Zimride.com website, making the company a one-stop shop for Bay Area residents looking to find less expensive and more social rides to Tahoe.

“We’re not just providing an alternative to Tahoe travel, we’re reinventing it,” says John Zimmer, co-founder and COO of Zimride. “There’s huge demand for social, sustainable and affordable travel, and this week our users have posted over 1,000 seats available for purchase along our Tahoe route.  That’s the equivalent of four airline flights and we’re just getting started.  The unprecedented collaboration from the major resorts and bus operators demonstrates the need for Zimride as a new form of transportation.”

If just 10 percent of Tahoe travelers choose to travel with 2 additional people this season, Zimride estimates it would take 60,000 cars off the rode, save $12 million in vehicle operating costs and eliminate 18.6 million lbs of carbon dioxide from being emitted.

To be a driver or passenger along the Zimride Tahoe route simply go to: www.zimride.com

About Zimride:

Zimride, the largest online social rideshare community in North America, is building a marketplace for drivers to sell empty seats in their car by matching them with passengers traveling along the same route. In addition to public routes like San Francisco to Los Angeles, Zimride has implemented networks for over 120 of the nation’s leading universities and companies including Stanford, UCLA, University of Michigan, Facebook and Jet Blue.

Zimride makes sharing rides for drivers and passengers fun, easy and social. It’s a new spin on ridesharing, using social networks to enable real connections. In seconds you can set up a profile, see and book a ride in your area, or post a ride of your own. With Zimride profiles, you can view photos, music and radio preferences to ensure an enjoyable ride.

Zimride proves that “life is better when you share the ride”

Get started at: www.zimride.com

7 Reasons Visitors are Rushing to Visit Reno Tahoe’s Outdoors BEFORE a Snowstorm Hits

We’ve all heard it… Pray For Snow, Pray for Snow, Pray For Snow. And we’ll be the first ones to admit some snow would be nice (hence our Snow Dance Competition where we’re giving away a 2-Night Ski Vacation to the best snow dance in order to increase the frequency of snow… Mother Nature, are you watching?), but we must share the numerous upsides for a delayed ski season that have been compelling visitors to come before snow coats our mountains for the remainder of winter. 

2350526924_309d26f1ce[1]Last weekend a visitor told us they skied, mountain biked and golfed in the same day – that’s pretty awesome. 

1.       Learn to ski. Let’s face it, if you’re a first-timer, you aren’t going to be dropping 10-foot lips that require a snow pillow for landing, and you aren’t skiing in waist deep powder through the trees. The freshly groomed runs paired with endless blue skies create the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing day on the slopes.  Plus, January is National Learn to Ski Month so resorts are offering massive discounts to first-timers!

2.       Golf. Our courses pride themselves on being open all year long, so hit them up! We have 50 within 90 minutes of downtown Reno, most of which are inside 15 minutes.

3.       Hike. It’s a rare occasion that our trails are hikeable this time of year without strapping on snowshoes.  See what’s usually hiding underneath all that snow!

4.       Rock climb. Climbers know their grips are easier to hold when it’s cold out. So what are you waiting for?

6033352153_1136b13bee[1]5.       Mountain bike. The trail conditions are excellent right now, so grab a friend and escape into the towering pines in the Sierra Mountains. 

6.       Ice skate. Enjoy this chilly wintertime activity, without the chill.

7.       Perfect road conditions. No moisture, no snow, no ice, no sliding. It’s faster and easier than ever to get here!

The Real Tahoe Experience

By Guest Blogger,
Logan Baker

Lake Tahoe is one of the most picturesque places in America. In the summer, the sun rises over the calm lake and creates the perfect setting for a dip in the cool water or an exciting Jet Ski adventure. In the winter however, the lake and the Tahoe National Forest take on a serene and peaceful quality that you must see to believe. Whether you’re traveling by car or air charter, once you get to Reno, Tahoe or one of the surrounding areas, you need to stop by the lake. To really get the full Tahoe experience, you should consider taking a trip through the forest and around the lake on a horse-drawn sleigh or a sled led by a team of Huskies.

2358411405_70cd3cfa8a_zDottie Dennis has been carving trails though the Hope Valley, about half an hour south of the lake, for more than 30 years. She and her team of dogs are familiar with every twist and turn of the valley has remained largely untouched over the last 160 years. If you’ve ever wanted to vacation in the Alaskan wilderness but weren’t willing to travel so far, the Hope Valley is probably the most Alaskan landscape south of the Canadian border. Dennis’ Husky Express is $240 for a 375 lb. weight limit and box lunches can be provided for an extra $10 per person.

Borges Family Sleigh Rides offer excursions around the lake and through the forest on a variety of old-fashioned sleighs. The sleighs are entirely handmade by the Borges family and are pulled by two blonde Belgian draft horses. The trip takes travelers all over the beautiful snow-covered landscape and will conclude at the top of a scenic lookout over Lake Tahoe. Whether you’re bringing the whole family or just that special someone, a Borges Family sleigh trip might be the perfect thing to spice up your vacation. The trip costs $20 for adults and $10 for kids under 11.

If you’re vacationing in Reno or one of the surrounding areas, make it a point to head to Lake Tahoe. The lake takes on a spectral kind of beauty in the winter that is simply unparalleled.

Haunted Hotels … do you dare?

1_virginia-city-ghost-huntingMAPES HOTEL SITE

The original Mapes Hotel, a grand beauty of a building near the Truckee River, was haunted for decades by an unknown spirit. After it was torn down, the same presence has been reported lingering near the ice rink on the spot of the old hotel that is set up in the winter months.

GOLD HILL HOTEL

A few miles out of Virginia City is the little town of Gold Hill.  This is the town where the actual gold strikes began just prior to the biggest gold and silver strike ever (called the Comstock Lode) occurred in Virginia City.

Gold Hill has its share of mines that are still under the ground.  The Yellow Jacket mine, the Commons mine and all the rest are still here.  Miners were killed in some of these mines due to accidents.  Right behind the Gold Hill Hotel is the Yellow Jacket mine.  The miners didn’t have electricity with which to do their work.  They had to use candlelight.  Oxygen was limited underground and the gases that emanated from under the ground combined and fires were a constant danger.  Unfortunately, a fire broke out in the Yellow Jacket mine in 1873 and 37 miners were killed and were left buried at the bottom of the mine shafts behind this hotel.

21a_0021THE OLD WASHOE CLUB

~ AKA ~

The Millionaires Club

“Locals and tourists rub shoulders and swap stories at The Old Washoe Club. Originally called The Millionaires Club, it was built so that nouveau riche gentlemen might enjoy the pleasures of wealth, in comfort and style. At one time, the building was even used to store corpses when the ground was frozen too solid for digging graves.

“Three ghosts haunt The Old Washoe Club; A lovely, blonde apparition, known as the lady in blue, the specter of a scared little girl, and a grizzled prospector who occasionally cadges drinks from unsuspecting patrons. Ladies be warned, the door to the women’s room locks and unlocks itself.” – Janice Oberding, Suite 101 Article.

These stories and more are part of the Old Washoe Club.  What people don’t know is that there are two totally different sites of the Old Washoe Club.  There are two different “parts” to the Old Washoe Club.  There is the bar and snack bar downstairs.  There you will find the winding staircase.  This staircase was the original front door to The Millionaires Club.  This would be where respectable men turned millionaires would be greeted.  Behind the scenes was where the real action took place.

OVERNIGHT GHOST HUNTING EVENT

Halloween is just around the corner! Spend it with us as we Ghost Hunt and attempt to communicate with the lovely spirits here at St. Mary’s Art Center, fondly known as The St. Mary Louise Hospital, established in 1876 located in Virginia City, NV.  Mark your calendar and make your reservation now. Price includes overnight accommodations plus we have a special 2 nighter package as well.  Go to the following link for more info and to purchase your ticket.

http://www.virginiacityparanormal.com/upcoming-events.html

Costume Contests, Mayhem and a Hoedown?… An Unforgettable 2011 Halloween Weekend

If you’re looking for a place to take the kids, dog, or that costume you’ve been meticulously planning since last year, you’ve clicked to the right spot.

1_jackolanterns-300x225Friday, Oct 28

Trick or Treat Street

  • Bring your trick or treaters to the Circus Circus midway for our free and safe Trick or Treat Street where kids of all ages will enjoy free candy, prizes, and complimentary child ID.

Saturday, Oct 29

Monsters and Mayhem

  • Guys, ghouls and ghosts will scare up some wicked fun in downtown Reno’s Riverwalk District during the 5th annual Riverwalk Merchants Halloween Hollow event. This year’s theme is “Monsters and Mayhem” and costumes are heavily encouraged. Halloween fun is kicked up a notch with free family games, trick-or-treating, live music, a doggie costume contest and more at the West Street Plaza Halloween Weekend. This year we have also included a special trick-or-treat route for your pets. Maps can be downloaded from renoriver.org/halloween the week of the event or picked up the day of the event at the Riverwalk booth.

Halloween Hoedown

  • Make the Nugget your place for Halloween fun this year! Join us in the Casino Cabaret  for our Halloween Hoedown featuring:$1,000 costume contest: $500 1st place, $300 2nd place, and $200 3rd place, FREE live music with Rick Hays & American Steel, $1 Coors, Coors Light, Margarita or Bloody Mary for patrons in costume and KBUL 98 FM live radio remote.

1_hh_web_graphicSpooky Slots Tournament

  • Don’t chicken out of this slot tournament at Harrah’s Reno, $25,000 is one the line!

Atlantis’ Frighteningly Fun Costume Contest

  • Show off your spooky, spunky and spirited side at Atlantis’ Frighteningly Fun Costume Contest! Come dressed in your best Halloween digs for our FREE Costume Contest and you could win your share of $1,000 in Cash & Prizes! Themes include: Most Original, Funniest, Best Casino Theme, Scariest, Best Couple and Best Overall.

Sunday, Oct 30

Atlantis Fun Center’s Spooktacular Halloween Party

  • Reveal your funky, funny and frightening side at the Atlantis Fun Center’s Spooktacular Halloween Party on Sunday, October 30, 2011.  Bring your kids, dressed in their best Halloween costumes, for an all-day safe Trick-or-Treating event and FREE Costume Contest.

Atlantis’ Frighteningly Fun Costume Contest

  • Show off your spooky, spunky and spirited side at Atlantis’ Frighteningly Fun Costume Contest! Come dressed in your best Halloween digs for our FREE Costume Contest and you could win your share of $1,000 in Cash & Prizes! Themes include: Most Original, Funniest, Best Casino Theme, Scariest, Best Couple and Best Overall.

Monday, Oct 31

Atlantis’ Frighteningly Fun Costume Contest

  • Show off your spooky, spunky and spirited side at Atlantis’ Frighteningly Fun Costume Contest! Come dressed in your best Halloween digs for our FREE Costume Contest and you could win your share of $1,000 in Cash & Prizes! Themes include: Most Original, Funniest, Best Casino Theme, Scariest, Best Couple and Best Overall.

Looking for a night out on the town with your crew? Check out our list of 2011 Halloween Hotspots.

Nevada Magazine: Reno-Tahoe Territory Special Edition

The newest issue of Nevada Magazine features the one and only, Reno Tahoe! We couldn’t help but share these breath-taking images and well written articles on our favorite destination. Features in the magazine include the area’s top ski resorts (including the largest ski resort in the US!), the Black Rock Desert beyond Burning Man (their photos will wow you), lakes, parks, towns, venues…. everything you’d want to know!

Want your own copy? Take advantage of Groupon’s 50% off deal through 10/22! http://www.groupon.com/deals/nevada-magazine-2 .

For all those who simply want to read the articles without flipping through the virtual magazine, you can check them out here http://www.nevadamagazine.com/issues/.