Thursday, September 13, 2007

An adventure to Reno

It already seems so long ago, so I better get started on this before I get everything all mixed up.

SS came to stay at my place last Wednesday night. Then in the morning, we picked S up and drove to the train station. It was a lovely train along the Bay, through the Sacramento area and into the Sierras. We ate lunch in the dining car and were there as we passed through Donner Pass. We were able to also observe an interesting meeting of cultures in the dining car.

At the table across from us was a young, traditional Mennonite couple. They and their family members were returning from Mexico where they had sought treatment for the young woman's father in a Mennonite community there. The dining car attendant sat an elderly Philipino couple at the same table with them. They just had a fascinating conversation.

After we arrived in Reno, we sensibly took a nap before heading out for dinner and a comedy show. It was a fun evening and a nice way to start the weekend.

The next morning, we got up early to watch the first day of the balloon races off in the distance. It was cool to see the different balloons rising up, but I was tired so I soon went back to sleep.

When we were up for good, we headed out to have a kayaking adventure on the Truckee river. Now, I just have to say that I've never been in a kayak in my entire life. These weren't typical kayaks, either - more like individual pontoons. So not really understanding how it is that I was supposed to steer the thing, we put off into the river and at the first rapids went through sideways and was dumped directly into the river.

I floated for awhile before swimming out of the current. Then, once back in the boat, I promptly got stuck on a boulder. I couldn't figure out how to get off. I tried several different things, but nothing was working. The guide came back to help me. I'm sure he was seriously regretting taking us on, at this point.

He gave me a quick lesson in steering at the first calm spot we came to and, after that, I practically sat on his tail as we went through all the rapids. I worked a lot harder than I would have had to if I knew what I was doing and ended up exhausted and with blisters after we were done.

Needless to say, I spent the afternoon napping and took a hot shower. S came and helped me dry off, which was a lovely thing since I was still kind of shaky. We didn't do much that evening: dinner, wandered around CircusCircus and watched a couple acts.

We were in bed early that night so that we could get up early to head out to see the balloon races in person. There were several hundred people in the park that morning before dawn. It was cool to see these hot air balloons lighting up in the dark. Then, once the sun was up, they had the mass ascension. We stood next to balloons as they inflated and took off. It was so beautiful and colorful.

We waited for a bit in the park to take a tethered balloon ride. I wished we had been able to take a full ride, but they didn't offer those to the general public. Then it was back to the hotel for room service lunch and another nap.

I was pretty sore most of the afternoon and evening. That kayaking adventure after 6 weeks of being sedentary was rough on my body. It also really aggravated my hands and lower arms which were achy already. So it was hard to get comfortable to rest, even though I was really tired.

We had dinner at a wonderful restaurant that night...I can't remember the name right now, but it's the nice restaurant in the El Dorado Hotel. Nummy food, incredible staff, a view of the pastry area of the kitchen and my first experience of souffle. You can't go wrong. Then we headed off to see an Abba tribute musical show (although they played a wide variety of songs from the '70s). The group was good and I got to dance, briefly.

We got up on Sunday morning and got our stuff together to switch rooms. We booked into a spa room for Sunday. It had a huge bathroom and a huge jacuzzi tub. I later took a bubble bath in it and got bubbles all over the room!

We ate lunch and headed out in the afternoon to see the Professional Bull Riders competition finals. It was really pretty fun. I rooted mostly for the bulls, but it was fascinating to watch how the riders prepare to ride the bull. It's an incredible display...sort of the Xtreme version of rodeo.

We had nothing planned for the evening, so we were down at CircusCircus again for a time and then came back up to play in the big spa room.

We spent a leisurely morning on Monday before checking out and lunch, then we played in the pool before we caught our shuttle to the airport. We rode the shuttle with a couple of the bull riders from the day before. We listened to the one talk to all his friends on his cell about how he'd "fallen off" all his bulls that weekend.

Not much more to say. It was a safe trip home and I was glad to be back in my own bed and my own apartment. I had a really lovely time. I've also had the wonderful experience of not having a post-vacation "blues" now that I'm back. I think that's partly because I wasn't gone for a full week, but I've also been feeling a bit more content about work lately. I hope that lasts for awhile.

1 comment:

Aravis said...

There's a certain irony in the fact that you were in the dining car as you went past the Donner Pass...

... and I must say the guide should have given you a lesson covering the basics before you began your trip down the river! I'm impressed by your courage and stamina and resilience.

The rest of the trip sounds absolutely lovely!