Reno Tahoe Blog

What's Happening Now

Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Holiday Travel from San Francisco/Sacramento to Reno for $1

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells….oh wait…it’s too early for holiday jingles. However, it’s not too early to book holiday travel on megabus.com. Book now for travel between San Francisco, Sacramento and Reno for as low as $1, now through Jan. 7, 2014. Yep, $1.

Megabus.com, the affordable alternative to flying and driving with tickets from $1, announced ticket sales today, valid through January 7, 2014. Megabus.com, which popularized yield-management pricing in the express bus industry, advises soon-to-be travelers to book now to secure the $1 fares and other affordable fares as they will not be easier and more abundant to find than today.

With very affordable fares on state-of-the-art double-decker buses (with free Wi-Fi!), megabus.com would be an ideal way to travel this holiday season.

megabus_double_decker_frontview

Megabus.com is the leader in the fastest-growing form of transportation by a comfortable margin (megabus.com now serves nine million passengers per year and more than 30 million passengers since 2006). With a 7.5 percent rate of growth between 2011 and 2012, city-to-city express bus travel now comfortably outpaces all other forms of transportation, yet this modern travel option remains a secret to some. Not only that, but a recent study shows that motorcoaches are the most environmentally friendly form of transportation, providing 207 passenger miles per gallon of fuel compared to 27 MPG for single passenger automobiles, making them the greatest value on the road.

RENO TAHOE, THE “NEXT BIG THING”?

Northern Nevada reaches “Tipping Point” with Colin Kaepernick, Apple investment, Barrett-Jackson win and “Top 10” lists galore.

The last 12 months in Northern Nevada have led to an impressive “tipping point” in the region’s history: University of Nevada, Reno star alumni Colin Kaepernick took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in his first year as an NFL starter; Apple announced a billion dollar investment in the Reno/Sparks area, starting with the development of a new server farm for its growing iTunes and iCloud needs; Lake Tahoe was voted the #1 lake in the United States by the readers of USA Today; Barrett-Jackson, the world’s premier collector car event company, announced a new Reno Tahoe auction starting in August 2013; and the region garnered “Top 10” wins for everything from “Top 10 Ski Resorts” (Forbes), “8 Hot Towns to Snap Up Bargains Now” (Where to Retire magazine), “Healthiest Cities for Women” (Women’s Health), “America’s Hottest Cold Cities” (Livability.com), “Best Cities for Cycling” (Bicycling magazine), “Best Cities for Dogs” (Men’s Health), “Great Places for Christmas Spirit” (USA Today) to “Top 10 Spas” (Atlantis: “Best Casino Hotel Spa” and “Best for Romance”; Peppermill: “Best for LGBT”, Spafinder), “Loosest Slots in the Nation”: #1 ranking (Casino Player magazine), and many more.

arch jeff dow “It seems that the rest of the country is finally figuring out what those of us who are fortunate enough to live here – or visit regularly – already know: Reno Tahoe is one of America’s best ‘undiscovered’ four season resort destinations,” said Christopher Baum, President and CEO of Reno Tahoe USA. Added Baum, “The beauty – and mild climate – of our high desert setting in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains is a distinct advantage over better-known desert resorts of the lower Southwest, especially in the summertime when our 80 to 90-degree daytime temperatures make our long list of world class sports and special events a ‘must do’ for savvy travelers who appreciate enjoying the great outdoors.”

And with hot spot Campo landing on Esquire’s list of “The Best New Restaurants in America,” even Reno’s fun dining scene is really taking off.

Amongst the many signature special events that take place annually in the Reno/Sparks/North Lake Tahoe area are “Street Vibrations” Spring and Fall motorcycle rallies; “Reno Rodeo,” including “PRCA Extreme Bulls”; “Artown”; “HDRA Reno 500 Off-Road Race”; “Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival”; “PGA Reno-Tahoe Open”; “Hot August Nights” car cruise; “Barrett-Jackson Reno Tahoe Auction”; “Lucas Oil Off-road Racing Series”; “Best in the West Nugget Rib Cookoff”; “The Great Reno Balloon Race”; “Virginia City International Camel Races”; “National Championship Air Races”; and many more.

“No resort destination in North America has a stronger lineup of unique, highly attended special events and competitions every summer than Reno Tahoe USA,” according to Baum. “This region is a beehive of special event activity from June through September.”

Baum is quick to note that Reno Tahoe’s well-deserved reputation as an outdoor sports mecca helps keep the destination busy 12 months a year. Besides Lake Tahoe’s world class skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing, visitors can also take advantage of whitewater rafting and kayaking in the Truckee River (including a stretch of rapids that passes right through downtown Reno); more than 50 challenging golf courses; triathlons, marathons and jogging; hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing (including North America’s tallest manmade climbing wall in downtown Reno); hunting and fishing in forest and desert locales; skydiving and parasailing; personal watercraft, paddle boarding, sailing and surfing (!) in Lake Tahoe; and off-road driving in Jeeps, dune buggies and ATVs.

“Reno is also a national leader in team competitions, with our National Bowling Stadium in downtown Reno, and Golden Eagle sports complex in Sparks, hosting more bowling, baseball and softball tournaments than anywhere else in the country,” according to Baum.

Add the AAA baseball champion Reno Aces, the NBA D-League’s Reno Bighorns – and high school and collegiate competitions for everything from volleyball to boxing to pole vaulting – and Northern Nevada is definitely a sports destination of incredible variety and appeal.

So what does this highly diverse avalanche of national recognition, accomplishment and good news all add up to?

“We also made Businessweek’s list of ‘America’s 50 Best Cities,’ right ahead of Phoenix and Scottsdale,” according to Baum. “So if tens-of-thousands of new visitors don’t start coming here soon, I’d be very surprised.”

Lake Tahoe – America’s Best Lake

USA TODAY declared Lake Tahoe the Best Lake in America!

USA TODAY asked their readers to vote for their favorite lake, and Lake Tahoe took home the gold.

Lake TahoeTahoe was one of 15 finalists nominated by regional magazine editors. Sunset Magazine editor, Peter Fish, nominated Lake Tahoe. Fish described Tahoe as “too stunning not to be experienced” and “draws a gazillion – that’s what it feels like on a weekend, anyway— tourists who use it as a summer escape hatch.”

USA TODAY also asked readers to comment on what they would recommend to Lake Tahoe visitors. We have gathered a few of our favorite responses:

“Here’s a day in the life on the North Shore. You can watch the sunrise with my dogs and I hiking in the Tahoe meadows, then go for an early morning kayak or SUP ride on the Lake, breakfast at any number of great spots, then take the tram up to the top of Squaw for Lunch, come back to Incline and take a Sunset cruise on the Sierra Cloud, and finish up with a fabulous French dining experience at Le Bistro.” – Geno M.

“You’ll definitely want to take a cruise aboard the Sierra Cloud, docked at the Hyatt Regency Incline Village, or charter a sailboat from one of the teams launching from behind Boatworks Mall in Tahoe City. Getting out on the lake via one of these boats is so peaceful and beautiful you’ll never forget it.” – Kristen P.

“As a Tahoe local, come during the week when there are less tourists, hike our beautiful trails and make sure to get out on the lake, whether it is on a boat, SUP, or kayak…that is the best way to experience the beauty that is Tahoe.” – Jesse S. H.

“Take a super quick drive to the base of Mt Rose and visit the PGA TOUR at the Reno-Tahoe Open, Thurs-Sunday. Stop at T’s Rotisserie in Incline to grab a chicken burrito on the way!” – Betsy M.

Be sure to read the article for more recommendations.

Mark Twain once described Tahoe as “the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” We couldn’t agree more.

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

New Non-Stop Flights Between Reno Tahoe and San Jose

6691265169_96ef0d4cd8With more than 140 daily flights serving 17 non-stop destinations, it’s no wonder the Reno-Tahoe International Airport was recently named the second-most efficient airport in the U.S. and Canada. A quick flight into Reno Tahoe’s award winning airport grants you access to eighteen world-class ski resorts and more than 50 golf courses, all less than 90 minutes away from the airport, as well as 24-hour entertainment in the Biggest Little City.

If you’re traveling from the Bay Area, getting to Reno Tahoe is about to get even easier thanks to Alaska Airlines. Beginning June 4, Alaska will offer two daily non-stop flights between Reno-Tahoe International Airport and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Meeting the needs of business and leisure travelers alike, flights will begin with a 6:00 a.m. departure from Reno with a 7:08 a.m. arrival in San Jose, followed by an 11:55 a.m. departure from San Jose, landing you in Reno at 1:00 p.m. The final flights of the day include a 2:15 p.m. departure from Reno, and a 10:20 p.m. departure from San Jose. These flights will also be timed with Alaska Airlines flights from Kona, Hawaii, making your journey from the islands more efficient than ever!

In addition to new the service between Reno Tahoe and San Jose, the Award-winning Reno-Tahoe International Airport has just begun a $40 million project to improve its baggage claim area and add restaurants and retail space. So, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure (or maybe a little of both), your next trip to Reno Tahoe just got even better!

THE FORCE WILL BE STRONG AT THE 2011 RENO BALLOON RACES

darth_vader5Prepare yourself for something far from expected at this year’s Great Reno Balloon Race. While walking on Rancho San Rafael’s scenic fairgrounds between the nylon walls of traditional, vibrantly colored hot air balloons, take a moment to stand back and gaze at the sprouting horizon as you might spot a balloon that stands out amongst its cheery peers.

Fans will come face to face with their favorite Sith Lord. The highly anticipated 86-foot tall Darth Vader balloon will be traveling all the way from Belgium for the 30th Anniversary of the Great Reno Balloon Race. Pilots Benoit and Michel Lambert have traveled all over the world with the balloon, making appearances in countries such as France, Thailand and Canada.

As this is Darth Vader’s first journey to the Biggest Little City, we encourage you to welcome the Dark Side of the Force by sporting your best Star Wars gear to the Balloon Races.

Other unique shapes to be seen at this year’s race include: The Bonanza Casino sponsored soccer ball, The Wilbur May Foundation’s Hopper T. Frog, and Betty Jean, a new butterfly balloon. For more information on this year’s participating balloons and sponsorship options, visit www.renoballoon.com or call (775) 826-1181.

May the force be with you.

For more information go the Event Calendar at VisitRenoTahoe.com.

FIVE FUN WAYS TO DISCOVER RENO

For some, Reno, Nevada is known for the same vibrant nightlife and gambling outlets as Las Vegas – but on a smaller and more intimate scale. Obvious tourist attractions include shopping, restaurants, singers, comedians and magic shows. But beyond the slot machines and flashing lights, there is a plethora of family-fun activities available.

Go just a short distance out of town though and you will find a treasure trove of non-gambling alternatives that are great for all ages. Here are five family-friendly activities you may want to consider for your next vacation to Reno, Nevada.

Lake Activitieslake tahoe

Anglers prize the Reno area for some of the best fly-fishing territory around. You can visit one of the many tackle shops in the area for maps of private and public lakes and river access areas. If you are interested in having a true fisherman’s experience, consider taking a class or attending one of the fly tying clinics and tie your own. There is nothing like catching that two-pound trout on a bumblebee you created with your own two hands.

Only 40 miles from Reno is famous Lake Tahoe, which offers spectacular views, clear mountain air and ample fishing holes for privacy or group activities. Guides are available, or you can pack a picnic basket, quilt and fishing gear and head off on your own for an adventurous day on the water. If you have always wanted “to land that BIG one,” consider visiting Pyramid Lake. This lake proudly boasts they have the largest Cutthroat Trout.

Whether you choose Pyramid Lake, Truckee River, Lake Tahoe or one of the other streams, lakes and rivers near Reno, prepare yourself for a day filled with awesome scenery and relaxing outdoor fun.

Hiking and Trailsclimbing

Many people think you have to go to Lake Tahoe to enjoy hiking trails that offer hikers challenging terrain. Not true! There are numerous trails in Reno parks and just on the outskirts of the city.  Hikers and trail watchers can find easy, moderate and challenging trails to test their skills and that will suit a variety of levels of physical fitness. You will find short trails that start at about 600 feet and have a gentle slope and more challenging trails that test your endurance.

About eight miles out of town in the gorgeous Sierra Mountains that surround Reno, Nevada, you will find the Tahoe Rim Trail in Galena Regional Park. This trail offers a loop that is just over 9 miles of moderate to mostly steep climbing. Hikers can expect to see desert terrain covered with sage, pine, juniper bushes and the occasional waterfall. Bring lots of film or extra chips for the camera. The views are breathtaking. And remember to pack plenty of water and a few energy bars or a lunch.

Golfgolf

If golf is your game–Reno, Nevada is your destination. There are over 50 golf courses within 90 miles of Reno proper. The PGA stops in Reno for the Reno-Tahoe Open, so you know the greens are great. No matter what your level of expertise, you will be able to find a course to fit your skill. Private lessons are available at most of the courses through resident pros and through guest pass arrangements. Since the high altitude gives golfers a natural advantage, you can expect to hit the ball further with every stroke. Get ready to play the lowest score of your life. If you’re a family with younger kids that aren’t ready for the big green yet, check out the many mini-golf options in the area.

Explore the Pastmuseum

For a relaxing day with some educational benefits, consider visiting one of the numerous museums in Reno. You can find museums dedicated to a variety of topics. An automobile museum, a museum dedicated to Disney and many others call Reno home. The Wilbur D. May museum is an adventure the entire family can enjoy. The artifacts and collectibles gleaned from years of traveling the world offer an exciting, eclectic blend. The indoor waterfall you’ll find there is always a big hit with kids and adults alike. Remember to check days and hours the museum is opened before planning your day. Some museums have limited hours.

Read, Paint, Write

Many artists enjoy the inspiration they absorb from the desert climate and surrounding rivers and mountains. Writers claim to feel the spirit of the nomadic American Indians. Artist carrying pallet and canvas attempt to capture the delicate yellow flower of the desert cactus in the early morning. Students from the college can be seen relaxing near the river as they search for answers to questions posed by Aristotle.

Visiting Reno is an opportunity to enjoy nature with your family, while having fun and learning, too. Enjoy.

This post was written by freelance writer Martha Keagan who is a full time mother, writer and part time real estate agent. Keagan has assisted hundreds of college students find housing and apartments in Reno for years. Reno is a great city, if you are looking to visit or even relocate to Reno, find a short term apartment to stay in before you decide to purchase a house.

Guest Post: An RV Camping Adventure in Reno Tahoe

RV FallEven amidst the threat of a the area’s first big winter storm, RV camping enthusiasts (especially the more adventurous ones) are conceiving and planning their next trip.

This is the perfect season to gas up the RV and head to Reno Tahoe USA for a memorable RV camping adventure. Why go? Think of it this way—where else can you camp in RV comfort so close to sparkling mountain lakes, fabulously scenic hiking trails and an abundance of world-class attractions?

The cool nights and temperate days of fall tempt RV campers to roll into Reno Tahoe for good times, great camping and stories to share back home.

Did we mention Reno Tahoe averages three hundred sunny days each year? That means more time on the trails, on the water and reeling in the big ones.

Besides the area’s easy access to the legendary Tahoe Rim Trail, intrepid hikers are going to love the challenge of trails like Mount Rose Summit, Ophir Creek and Slide Mountain.

Sailboat TahoeIf you’d rather spend your days on the water, you can’t go wrong renting a boat to cruise Lake Tahoe. The sheer beauty of this mountain lake has made it a magnet for all kinds of boatingfans. Kayakers will also want to investigate the Truckee River Whitewater Park, a half-mile thrill-a-minute trek just shouting distance from the downtown Reno entertainment district.

And if you’re looking for a place to snag a trophy trout, the lakes of Washoe County can’t be beat! Pyramid Lake’s record-breaking cutthroats are just one of the lures that draw RV camping anglers here each autumn.

One more tip for a less-strenuous outdoor fall adventure—leaf peeping! The golden glow of aspens and cottonwoods lights up the North Lake Tahoe region every autumn. Tip: for even more variety of fall foliage, try the parks and bike paths near the Truckee River in Reno.  

At the end of the day, whether you’ve been scrambling down steep mountain trails or pulling slots in the cool of a casino, it’s good to know there are friendly RV campgrounds nearby. For help finding the perfect RV campground for your stay, be sure to check these listings:

http://www.visitrenotahoe.com/reno-tahoe/what-to-do/camp-rv/rv-parks/

No matter how you prefer to spend your RV camping vacation in Reno Tahoe, you’ll go home with exciting memories. Come for the outdoor wonders and stay to play in one of the area’s indoor playgrounds. What are you waiting for? Start planning your own RV trip to Reno Tahoe.

-Joe Laing

About the Author: Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals. For other great RV camping vacation ideas see the Monty’s Musings RV Camping Blog or the new Monty’s RV Vacation Photo / Picture Gallery.

Guest Blog: The Best Way to Travel from Sacramento to Reno

Fun Train DanaIt truly does not get any better than this! Picture a train travelling through the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains with a wild group of people that love to party (21 and up), and where you can bring all the booze you could possibly consume with you! AWESOME!

Does this sound like your kind of party? Well, welcome aboard the Reno Fun Train! We flew to Sacramento the night before and stayed at the Vagabond Inn that is closest to the Amtrak station. It is one street away from Old Sacramento, so we were able to do the touristy stuff, take a carriage ride, etc. and had a lot of fun.

We arrived at the train station with lots of time to spare with the free shuttle from the Vagabond Inn. Good thing, too, since we forgot our camera and had to return to the hotel! (Parking is SUPER LIMITED at the train station, but there is a parking garage a block away).

Fun Train PlatformThe party had already started on the platform, plenty of people were already imbibing freely before boarding the Fun Train, and the police were not hassling anyone as most were discreet about it.

Our Mardi Gras themed Fun Train was late to depart, as apparently freight trains are given preference ahead of passenger trains, but since we had plenty of drinks to sustain us, nobody seemed to mind the cold! A great cheer arose as our train made its way down the tracks and we all boarded (with quite a bit of confusion, since the car numbers were not super obvious and alcohol had been flowing freely).

Fun Train BallsYay! We were on our way to Reno. They have live music to dance to in the Dance Car, you can sing along in the Piano Lounge (that also has a bar with super reasonably priced drinks), they even have *gasp*, a Smoking Car. (Don’t worry non-smokers; it’s at the end of the train). There is pretty much anything you could possibly want!

They also have strolling musicians, a Dome Car where you can admire the passing scenery AND they feed you a decent chicken pot pie. You can bring any snacks and beverages you want, they provide cups, ice, water and cans of Lipton’s tea.

Fun Train ViewWe met with a group of people we met on Facebook and had a GREAT time; I highly recommend this trip to anyone. You can get “Train only” packages or one with the 2 night’s hotel accommodations- they have many to choose from- we chose the Eldorado because it had the highest rating on Trip Advisor, and loved it. They have all kinds of fun themes for these trains: Wine tasting, St. Patrick’s Day, Hawaiian, Country Western, Mystery, etc. One caveat: if the train doesn’t have enough people, it can be cancelled, so get a bunch of friends together and PARTY!!!

- As experienced and written by Danna S

A Fearless German Intern Takes on Reno Tahoe

DSC_0004Benedikt Martinac of Germany is studying International Tourism in Eastbourne, United Kingdom. He will graduate in June 2011. His smarts, sense of humor and extensive travel experience will present him with limitless career opportunities, and success, in the tourism industry. This summer (2010) Benedikt decided to do hands-on learning, specifically in the American tourism industry. Being the smart man that he is, he chose to spend his summer in the great state of Nevada. Below is Ben’s adventure in the Silver State from his own perspective. We hope you enjoy reading his take on the Biggest Little City as much as we enjoyed having him.

8.31.10

I’ve been in Reno for 5 weeks now and can’t get enough of the city and its charm. But it’s not only the city. There is so much to see and experience in the area. Hiking, cycling, mountain biking, all kinds of water sports, extreme sports and on the calmer side plenty of golf opportunities, parks, lakes. You name it.

During my internship at various tourism related businesses, mediated by the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT), I learned a lot about the Reno-Tahoe area and the fun things to experience nearby.

Last weekend I finally had the chance to show what I’ve picked up so far because three friends were visiting from the Bay area. I was really looking forward to showing them around and check out what the night life is like in “The Biggest Little City in the World”.

I met my friends at my place and took them downtown to check in the hotel. While driving towards Virginia Street, Reno’s casino strip, the tower of the Eldorado Hotel Casino, illuminated in bright pink, and we knew instantly we’re going to have a great time. We parked the car in the garage and via skywalk we were right in the lobby. We checked in, dropped of the bags in the room and rushed back downstairs to the casino for a little gambling session. But no gambling without food – we probably wouldn’t be able to handle all the free drinks and our odds of winning would lower even more. So what better to start off with than the “Best Burger in Town”? As different magazines, such as Nevada Magazine, voted it the best burger in Reno and Northern Nevada, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one of the notorious Awful Awful. At first the name is kind of a turnoff and makes you think if it’s the right choice for dinner but it’s supposed to be “Awful Big and Awful Good” so we headed to the Little Nugget Diner, located at the Nugget Casino on Virginia Street.

Awful AwfulEntering the Nugget, I was back to the thought if this was the right idea for dinner. Old dark carpets, dark lightning and sketchy gamblers occupying the slots give the place a peculiar atmosphere. The little Nugget diner, at the back of the casino, doesn’t make a much better impression. But its style is kind of appealing. Sleazy, greasy, with only two counters and no tables, the 50’s style diner seemed like it’s going to give us the right amount of energy we would need for a long night.

So we ordered our 4 Awful-Awfuls and waited until a few minutes later the gal at the counter shouted out “order 70, order 70!” That was us – we turned around and what was that? Four huge burgers with a lot of fresh toppings, and if that wasn’t enough, a basket with a pound of home seasoned French fries on the side made “mission Awful-Awful” seem impossible. We looked at each other and we knew nobody wanted to fail.

The first bite was just amazing. A homemade onion bun, fresh lettuce, pickles, perfectly melted cheese and of course a 100% beef patty, so juicy and full of taste that my taste buds were going crazy. I expected it to be good but not this good. I guess the taste doesn’t come solely from the burger itself. The whole atmosphere and the little shabby interior add a whole lot of seasoning to the Awful Awful and make it what it is. Together with the fries it is the perfect combination. Every bite was a delight and surprisingly the burger and the basket of fries disappeared faster than expected

After our adventure at the Nugget, we decided to finally gamble for a while. Barely able to move and 5 pounds heavier than before, we schlepped ourselves back to the Eldorado Casino. The ear shattering ringing of the slot machines and the unmistakable smell of cold smoke, booze and old ladies perfume, same as in every casino I’ve ever been to, make you feel like you’re at the right spot to win some cash or probably lose it but who knows, right?

Three of us sat down at a black jack table, while the other played some slots. To my surprise it started off really good for all of us. We were winning and winning. One chicken dinner after the other – we were on fire! At the end I’ve tripled my stake as did the others and an even bigger surprise just came around the corner. The slot machines seemed to like our friend too because he came back with $350 he just won.

This has been a pretty great evening so far. We had won quite some money and had a whole day in front of us. Now a nice, cool local brew to celebrate our success would be the perfect round up for the night and since we were in the “Best” mood, why not give the “Best Microbrew, and “Best Beer Selection,” winner a chance? Also inside the Eldorado, the “Brew Brothers” offers a selection of 8 microbrews, all with a very unique taste to it. After trying out a few I determined my favorite – the gold dollar pale ale – a really nice American-style pale ale with a very distinct hop flavor and spoors of citrus in the aftertaste. And the best thing – these delicious beers are pretty reasonable. A 15 oz. beer costs 3.50 and 22 oz cost 4.50. Enjoying our beers and the live music, we started planning the next day. It wouldn’t be any less exciting.

Lake TahoeThe next morning, a bit hung-over, our next stop was Lake Tahoe. I definitely wanted to show it to the guys as it is such a big contrast to Reno and shows the diversity of the area perfectly. As one takes Hwy 50 from Carson City up to the Lake the change of environment is stunning. Feeling the rising pressure in our ears, we noticed the change of terrain from desert-like to alpine mountains with ever green pine tree forests. After a few miles we’ve reached the high point and from now on it was all downhill which meant the Lake wasn’t far anymore. And there it was in the distance. Dazzled by the reflection of the sun on the lake, we couldn’t wait to jump in the water.

The lake was full of boats, yachts, windsurfers, water-skiers and other water lovers. But what really caught our attention were paddle boarders. Standing up on a surf board and paddling their way around. We really wanted to give it a shot but we had other plans.

In the afternoon we had planned a whitewater rafting trip on Truckee River. When we arrived at the meeting point we were briefed on how to behave on the river and were given all the safety guidelines necessary for an enjoyable day.

So all suited up in life jackets and helmets we launched the rafts and the trip could start. We were following the guide through some of the most beautiful and remote areas. Trees alongside the river banks give you the feeling there’s nothing else around. The whooshing of the water and the sounds of nature had a really calming effect and it was the perfect getaway. The combination between the class 2-3 rapids and very calm parts make it a challenging but also very recreating adventure. Being out in the wild, totally cut off from the everyday stress is something outstanding and irreplaceable.

After two hours I started to feel the paddling in my arms. Although we were going downstream it was very exhausting. Suddenly, out of nowhere, buildings started showing up at the side of the river. First a few, then more and more, and from one moment to the other coming from total exclusion of civilization, we paddled through downtown Reno. A few more rapids and drop pools in the White Water Park and we made it to the shore at Wingfield Park.

Pretty exhausted but still up for some more attractions, I decided to take the guys to Virginia City, a living ghost town. The old gold mining town seems like it is stuck in the 1800s. Driving into town on C Street is like entering another time. The Sherriff greets you with a friendly “Howdy”, Cowboys nod their heads and tap their hats when passing by and the ladies in their big, decadent dresses welcome you with waving hands.

VCVirginia City used to be one of the richest cities in the United States. In the 1800s a lot of men tried to find their luck in the mining industry and many did. Gold and silver attracted many people and just a few years after its establishment in 1859, Virginia City grew to more than 10,000 people. Also, Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, called Virginia City home and started writing under his alias in February 1863.

Browsing the many little unique shops, we came across the famous suicide table in the delta saloon. Supposedly, back in the 1800s the former owner of the saloon, Black Jake shot himself after losing all his life saving at this very table one evening. Rumors say that his ghost was haunting the Delta ever since. Subsequent to him two other owners took their own lives at the same table years later.

We wandered around town and what better place to go for a drink than the infamous “Bucket of Blood” – a saloon so notorious and brutal that the name mirrors the happenings inside. Apparently, so many fights happened nightly at the infamous saloon, that after cleaning the floors, the bucket where the mop was wrung out was filled with blood. Hence, The Bucket of Blood”.

No blood on the floors anymore but the feeling of entering a saloon in the Wild West and being prepared for a bar fight breaking out any minute is still present. If you too are lucky enough to score a table at the windows, enjoy the breathtaking view overlooking the valley and lean back while watching the sundown.

-Benedikt Martinac, Germany