Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First days in Reno

Awoke well before sunrise from a disturbing dream. Being on vacation doesn't mean you're also on vacation from your nightmares. A bowl of Chex for breakfast improves my spirits.

Later on-board the northbound San Joaquin I found all the seat pairs occupied with at least one passenger, most in a state of leisurely, sprawling slumber. With only a half-hour ride to Stockton I chose to stand downstairs. At Stockton I'm able to claim a pair of seats for myself. A few people were not as fortunate. At Sacramento I'm lucky enough to snag the front seats across the aisle from the driver; a good spot to see where we're going.

After a brief pit stop at Amtrak station in Rocklin, the driver pulls up to Steve's Liquor & Food nearby for snacks. Feeling peckish I acquired beef sticks. After another break at a rest stop atop Donner Summit it's all downhill to Truckee, the last bastion of California before crossing into Nevada.

In Truckee I met up with Yvonne, recently relocated to Reno from Des Moines. We had lunch at Moody's Bistro & Lounge where we split a pricey Pizza Margherita and truffled deviled eggs. The eggs were divine, but the pizza is a mixed bag: good crust, weak flavors.

My first order of business back ay Yvonne's house, out in the sticks south of Reno: jail-keeper for her new rescue adoptee, a four-month old Border Collie mix named Bug while Yvonne goes out to retrieve Okie, her much older Border/Aussie mix.

It had been over a month since I had last seen Okie back in Des Moines. With his life in flux since, I was curious how Okie would react to my visit. Okie caught sight of me from outside and started to yelp. Once inside he came over to the couch where I sat but paused, trying to figure out what's what. Finally Okie jumped up on to his favorite perch, my thigh, stooping over to lick my face vigorously about every half-minute.

Bug in chains.
Okie expectant.

Yvonne had work to attend so I'm left home with Okie and Bug. Bug, having a propensity to run off, is kept on a leash or line at all times. Prior to receiving his chain leash, Bug had chewed through all other leashes in Yvonne's possession, leaving Okie free to roam about the house and yard. However, a neighbor walking their dog down the street garnered Okie's attention and I had to run off for him in my slippers. Not fun to trod with over a gravel driveway.

Yvonne returned with groceries and made migas for supper, but the feast turned out more like breakfast nachos. No matter the meal was tasty.

Dealing with Okie's escapade left me with a pain around my right eye which progressed into a migraine over the night. I dozed off for a few hours on the air bed in the living room but woke up for good, hours before sunrise, and resolved to do laundry.

I showered and took a quality dump before barging into Yvonne's bedroom to rouse her and the dogs. Yvonne spent half the morning tending to work. I, feeling a little more keen on having more freedom to roam and to appease some selfish comforts, opt to book a room downtown at Harrah's for the next two nights. I'm able to snag a pretty decent deal and get a room for less than $70 for both nights. I bade adieu to Okie and rode with Yvonne downtown for breakfast at Peg's Glorified Ham n Eggs [see blog post].

Sated, I briefly hung out with Yvonne in her confining yet roomy office space before checking into Harrah's Reno Casino & Hotel. For such a late reservation, I was pleased with the bargain my room was. The channels offered on the TV was woefully inadequate, but I figured the lulling banter of ESPN would coax me into the Land of Nod upon retiring for the night.

After a much needed nap I ventured out for a stroll along the Truckee Riverwalk, settling in at Java Jungle for an double espresso con panna (with whipped cream). A commotion broke out when some dude at the counter started throwing racial expletives at the momentarily stunned barista, who then chased the miscreant out the door and down the street. A chair was flung aside with vigor!

Scenes from the Riverwalk.

From left: Doin' an espresso con panna at Java Jungle; Reno's Finest confers with Reno's finest barista after conflagration at Java Jungle.

At the end of the day I hooked up again with Yvonne for dinner at Blind Onion Pizza & Pub in the Sierra foothills of northwest Reno [see blog post].

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