Monday, October 23, 2017

Reno, the first days

The first day, after nearly missing my flight because my alarm clock died and consequently making a record-setting dash from my bed to the airport via Uber and onto the plane in just a tad over 50 minutes, I managed to arrive in Reno. And talk about service! Within twenty minutes of me getting off the plane, I was driving out of the airport with my rental, everything taken care of. Vegas, kiss my ass--Reno knows w to do it.
I next grabbed a horrible Chinese lunch and a room in a rather crappy two-star motel for the night, and then I got cleaned up, took a nap, and went to see the sights:
It's not the Vegas strip by any means, but then it doesn't have all that Vegas crap revolving around it either. I liked it.

Next morning, it was off to get some warmer clothes and then invaded California and headed up to Donner Pass.

I did stop at the state park there and saw where the Donner Party had their epic cook-out in 1846, and then I headed up to the pass proper where I parked and hiked up to the old original transcontinental railway line, which is now a hiking trail overlooking Donner Lake.

The first hill climb and the look back to my car down on the road:

Chest pain, but what a view!

Donner Lake.

Support wall for the rail bed built by the Chinese laborers with just hand tools in the early 1860's:

The rail bed. The trail here passes through a mile and a half of concrete show sheds to keep the snow off the tracks lest it derail the trains. The original line was abandoned and is now a historic hiking trail, but because it's in California, everybody's kids have spray-painted graffiti on just about every inch of it.

Snow sheds and tunnel, outside:
And inside:
All that history, ruined by punks. There should be a law forbidding the sale or possession of spray paint by anyone under 30. But the Californians hiking here seem to think that it's "art" and somehow ok.

The snowshed, viewed from outside:

And more Donner Lake. Just because I'm up here, dammit.


  1. Hey Murphy;

    Awesome pics and you are spot on about the grafitti spraying punks, no respect. I remembered a couple of years ago when a national monument was "tagged" and the person from California couldn't understand why they were in trouble.

  2. Damn punks... But California... sigh Great views though!

  3. Sometime in the '60s (can't remember exactly) I took the last train from Sacramento to Reno along that line before they shut it down. It was awesome and took almost 8 hours, and the scenery was spectacular. California was still somewhat civilized in those days.

  4. Are those the snow sheds that are seen from I-80? I had no idea you could actually hike into those things. I pass them on my way up to Tahoe.

    1. Those are exactly those ones. Check 'em out sometimes. Parking for the hike at the top of the pass off old Hwy 40.

  5. I've been to Vegas a few times, lots of flash and spend some cash...The shows and all are cool, but it gets old if you are not into gambling away your hard-earned money.
    Reno was a nice place, seemed smaller than 240,000 folks. Good place to "invade californsitan" as Murphy puts it.
    I had a great time running around for a bit with him, and looking at rifles and talking about German Shepherds. He has a VAST knowledge of vintage rifles, as well as more contemporary guns. It was great fun seeing the look on the faces of the clerks at the gun counters when they realized they were seriously over-matched knowledge wise by Murphy. Look forward to the next meet up with him.

  6. Glad you had such a good trip - too bad the mutts couldn't go with you, but I know it would have been a much 'different' journey!

    And isn't it a shame that such beautiful country is so f'd up politically and socially? I've thought that ever since my first trip to the state in the 70's ... sigh

  7. OT note: The Collins Foundation Wings of Freedom were in town this last weekend - B-17, B-24, B-25 and P-51. I saw 'em land and taxi to their apron spot, but had to leave town just as they were setting up for the weekend and didn't get back until Monday... offering rides in the B's for about $450, and when I found out you could get a flight lesson in the Mustang, I was tempted... but was $2200 - a little too rich for me. But was great seeing that history still flying around.

    1. Nice! Collins Foundation is class.

  8. Over the years I've come to the conclusion that graffiti or 'tagging' is just our species equivalent of a canine lifting his leg to a tree. I think it's so embedded that there's no way to completely make it stop.

    A few years ago Portland, Oregon pass a law restricting the sale of spray-paint to over 18 year olds. All the stores had to install locking cabinets to put their spray paint into, made it a total pain in the arse to purchase.