I open the bedroom curtains to brilliant blue skies with not a cloud in the sky and snow-capped mountains as a distant backdrop. I’m off to Reno today on a short drive but first it’s another International Breakfast, which again hits the spot. I check the CalTrans website and Hwy 89 is fully open again, albeit with 1-way controlled sections that warn of delays. So I elect to do the section I missed yesterday.
I check out of Harrah’s complaining yet again as I did at check-in about the Resort Fee – $26 a night here!!! I leave at 11 am and head towards Emerald Bay. Onto Hwy 89 N and I first stop at the Tallac Historic Site. This has the original homes of some wealthy folks who were the first pioneers of holidaying on Lake Tahoe way back when. Nothing is open now as it’s out of season but it’s a pleasant stop to see some history as I wander around the outside of the houses.
Back in the car and just up the road is first of the controlled sections. The line of cars is escorted by a pilot truck and as we climb up the mountain Lake Tahoe comes into view and then our convoy drives through the fire affected section of road. A whole area of forest on the mountain side above and below the road caught fire, and there are many charred tree trunks with no branches or foliage. However, many trees have just completely disappeared, as the hillside is now very bare, the fire obviously incinerated them to ash. The safety barrier has also disappeared. This was clearly a major event.
But the view of the Lake is stunning. The road has climbed really high and there are clear views right across the Lake. Then the pilot truck pulls over and we’re free. And the road really starts to twist and turn, with bends that cannot be taken at more than 15 mph and suddenly the summit is here. OMG. Emerald Bay to the right with Cascade Lake to the left – if I dare look. This section of road sits right atop the summit and is barely wide enough for 2 cars and there’s no safety barriers on either side to prevent a drop of probably 1000+ feet into Lake Tahoe… It’s not a long section of road, maybe 3-400 yards but it’s breathtaking both in terms of being absolutely scary to drive on but beautiful to witness the views. Just stunning scenery.
The road drops towards Inspiration Point Vista for views into Emerald Bay and I get out for a walk around. Gorgeous sights. I then continue on and another controlled road section arrives just before the Emerald Bay Overlook, which is almost opposite Inspiration Point on the other side of the Bay. I can see the Eagle Falls waterfall from here and there are some rocks you can clamber on to get a better view into the Bay. It really is spectacular here. After a while it’s time to move on and I drive a bit further up 89 N, not having done this bit before. But there’s not much to see so I turn around and trace my way back, marvelling again at the beauty of the scenery.
Carson City, Capital of Nevada
I drive back towards South Lake Tahoe and Stateline, passing the hotel again, and head for Carson City around 1.15 pm. It’s a nice drive up and over the mountains and down again into Carson City. I top-up with gas on the outskirts of the city and drive into downtown, looking for the Nevada State Museum. A bit of culture beckons. I eat my gas station sandwich in the car before entering the museum and an hour and a half later I’m educated a bit more on Nevada’s history. It’s a good museum.
On the road again I avoid the interstate up to Reno opting for the old Hwy 395, which frankly is almost as good as an interstate. It’s 2 lanes each way with no traffic lights and very little traffic. On the outskirts of Reno it’s mall-heaven for mile after mile but I keep on the same road, and soon I’m in downtown and the Silver Legacy Resort Hotel is dead ahead. Checked-in, unpacked, and I go back downstairs for a look around to get the lay of the place.
The Brew Brothers in Reno
I find The Brew Brothers inside the hotel which is a bar / nightclub / music venue. I’d found it on TripAdvisor and it has a good reputation despite being in a casino hotel. Well it’s actually in the hotel next door, the El Dorado. There are 3 casino hotels next to each other on N Sierra St (the other is Circus Circus) and they are all interlinked so you can walk from one to another without having to venture outside. I have a wander around the rest of the hotels, and onto the casino floors, but as expected one casino is pretty much like any other. Nothing of interest here. There’s a couple of other restaurants but on my way back I enter The Brew Bothers to have an early beer and check out the menu. It all looks OK so I decide to come back later for dinner. Back to my room for an hour to chill out some more before heading back down for dinner.
The Brew Bothers is quite busy but I can sit at the bar where, over the course of the evening, I sample some good beer. I also have some excellent chicken wings, which were very tasty indeed. There’s music playing too but tonight it’s a DJ and at 10 pm the place gets overrun by Reno’s youth. I ask the barman what’s going on and he says they’re all locals and the place really does have a good reputation for music, beer and food. The tunes are mostly modern hip-hop dirges – the youngsters love it however – but I’m not keen. I stick it out for a while just to people watch but eventually I have had enough and head off to bed.
It’s been a good, even great, day – varied, interesting, different things – and no rain or detours, or anything going wrong!