Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Quick Day in the Wild West

Wow, it’s been over a week since I last sat down to write a post, which is way longer than I would like. The problem is that I was sick all of last week. It all started two Fridays ago with Roger Waters’ The Wall Concert. The concert, which was awesome, was at AT&T Park and, as the concert went on, the air temperature lowered, and you could really notice that the stadium was right next to the water. Despite wearing a thick poncho, I got cold, my throat was sore, and the next day I was feeling sick.

Being the active person I am, last week was a bit of torture, mixed with the obvious pleasures of staying at home, all bundled up on the couch, watching TV and eating delicious cookies baked by Joe.

Fun on the Reno Waterfront
Fortunately, I was feeling better by the end of the week as I had to go to Reno for a test. Just with a bad cough left, Joe, Bomber and I got in the car around 2:30 and started the gorgeous drive to Reno. The start was a bit rocky as it took us about two hours to get through downtown SF and over the Bay Bridge to the East Bay. After that, it was smooth sailing all the way to Reno. 

The drive through the Sierra Nevada Mountains was simply amazing. There was still snow on top of these beautiful giants, but the air temperature was warm.  We saw the sun set behind us while making the coniferous trees glow with its light.

River bridge
As we approached Reno, we thought about the fact that this was Bomber’s first time going across state lines. We also realized that exactly 3 years ago, we did the exact same drive, only that we were going the opposite way, for what was going to be our first time living in San Francisco.

Once in Reno, we settled in for the night—with a very excited puppy with us—and started getting ready for the next day.

My test was scheduled to start at 1pm on Saturday, and to last for 3 hours, so we decided to spend the morning exploring downtown Reno and, of course, taking photos. It’s funny how nowadays I see every trip, every outing, every hike, everything in general, as an opportunity for taking photos. I don’t know if they are the best photos taken of those places, but I sure know that I love the process of discovering a place through the lens of my camera, and of capturing those moments that are unique to me, to us.

Downtown Reno
I was really happy we took the time to walk around Reno. The city has done such a lovely job making the river a great place for people to walk around, play in, practice water sports in, and it has created areas that are just plain inviting for people to gather and socialize. Sort of like their own version of the Spanish plazas, but with a US twist.

After walking on the riverfront and on our way to the Reno Arch, we walked to the area where old casinos like El Dorado are located.

The heat warmed up our skins and almost made us dread going back to the not-too-warm-not-too-cold city of San Francisco. Bomber, with his Chihuahua mix, was all happiness feeling the warm sun on hit coat!

One thing I really loved about Reno is that it truly felt like the Wild West. One of my best friends spent part of her life in Reno and she always talks about the West, and now I can really see what she means. Thinking about the West evokes images of cowboys, the Gold Rush, gambling, saloons, and ghost towns. In Reno, I feel like I got a bit of all of that.

Even though we didn’t visit any ghost towns, being in Reno reminded me of one of the ghost towns we visited during one of our land travels across the West and Southwest of the US: Calico. Calico was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town and today it is open to the public. We ended up in Calico by accident on our way from Las Vegas back Los Angeles. The town appeared on the map and we simply decided to take the detour to go check it out—yes, we still use good old maps when road tripping!

Calico became a ghost town when the mineral resources, that had initially driven people to settle there, became harder to find, and eventually disappeared.  No longer a lively town, Calico is now California’s Historical Landmark #782! Looking at geography that surrounds it, it’s hard to image how a town was able to survive in the middle of the Mojave Desert. I mean, nowadays people living in desert areas make use (sometimes without even thinking about where the water is coming from) of modern ways to take water from other places (think Colorado River, watering the Southwest of the US and making it to Mexico as only a stream), but what did they do then? Wells, I suppose.
A Sample of Truckee's Charms


Back to the present and back to Reno. Once my test was done we got on the car and started heading west, back to San Francisco. On our way back, we stopped in a small town, a very lively one this time: Truckee, Nevada. With 16,000 inhabitants, this small town was named after a Native American Chief, and is currently a historically rich mountain town full of charms. A great place to set out camp while exploring the beauty of the area, right in the Sierra Nevada Mountains!

Roses in SF
We walked down the main street and encountered lots of friendly people, and lots of friendly dogs who showed Bomber a great time! It’s so fabulous to travel with your pet. It makes it more likely for you to meet other people, and to have interactions with people that you would not normally have otherwise.

Door in SF

Back in San Francisco we finished our weekend with a lovely walk almost from the Bay, all the way to the Presidio. The funny thing is that yesterday, Sunday, was Bay to Breakers, a race (and citywide party) that starts at the Bay and ends at Ocean Beach on the Pacific Ocean (the “Breakers”), so I guess we did our own version of it, but just avoided the madness that comes with it!
Fun entryway in SF

We walked along Pacific Ave., one of the rare flat streets in the city (it is more like a ridge, so you do have to climb up to it). The sun was shining, the flowers were dancing, and everything was good with the world. Finally healthy, after a week of TV therapy, I was out again, exploring my city and discovering amazing new things all around!


  1. A lovely post, as always, Pao <3 <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you! I'm so happy you liked it!

  2. Couldn't agree more with JigglyPuff. Wish I had a dog, too...

    1. Thank you!!! Yes, our doggie sure is a blessing!!!