It was pretty embarrassing really, but now that I’ve been there, eh, not so much. What was I embarrassed about? I’ve lived two and a half hours away from Reno for the last 14 years and had never been there. I felt like I was missing out on something, like, you know, The Biggest Little City in the World. Really, how could I have not been there? I’ve been to Topeka for crying out loud.
So when my mom got invited to play in a bowling tournament there, she and my dad invited me along for the ride, and I jumped at the chance. (Hubby was invited, too, but he had to work.) Reno is snuggled into the eastern side of the Sierras, a place of remarkable beauty: rugged mountains and high desert plains topped with an enormous blue sky. Then there’s downtown Reno, a blot on the scenery with a pawn shop on every corner. Trash lined the streets as well as people who you don’t even want to walk by in the bright light of day.
To make up for the seediness of the outside is the trifecta of the Silver Legacy, Circus Circus, and the El Dorado. They, too, are embarrassed by their hood and have created pathways that connect each building, so their guests never have to step foot outdoors. Even their parking garage on the next block is part of this circuitry. We stayed at the Silver Legacy, a really nice and well-maintained resort and casino.
To further erase what we might have seen outside, the Silver Legacy distributes free and unending little plastic flutes of champagne. They have their own winery and make all of the wine for the casino. The champagne-meister, a wonderful man named Gregorio, plied me with more and more champagne. He was my new BFF.
While my mom had to get some bowling stuff taken care of, my dad and I hit the casinos.
Gambling (or losing) makes one hungry. We had quesadillas and crispy onion rings here:
Then it was off to my mom’s bowling tournament. The bowling alley is huge, and is revered by bowlers because “everything works!” Teams from all over the U.S. were here, including a team from North Pole, Alaska. My mom’s team was slotted to begin at 9 p.m., but the tournament was running 30 minutes behind. She had to play six games, so you can imagine how long we were there (until 1:17 in the morning if you must know). My dad chatted it up with his buddies, and I napped and drank bloody mary mix (sans vodka– tapped out from champagne– there is too much of a good thing).
While I was really underwhelmed by Reno (it may have been better had I had the chance to see other parts of the city or had more champagne), we had a really fun time. It was great to hang out with my parents, see my mom bowl, and gamble with my dad. And as my mom said, “You crossed that off your bucket list. Now you never have to go back again.”