Monday, July 14, 2014

a weekend getaway to Reno

"All right, everyone, let's get to work." -- Dad at Rail City Casino

Summer is off to a good start as two of my aunts are visiting from overseas. Figuring we had to do something fun together, Dad took all of us to Reno and Tahoe over the weekend. Intense heat aside, this was an enjoyable vacation.

Day 1

The first stop was Solano Town Center in Fairfield so my aunts could have a look around. There wasn't anything they needed, but it was nice to stretch our legs. We arrived in Roseville around noon, and the nearby Maidu Regional Park was the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. Though the weather was warm, the park had a large shaded pavilion. The picnic made for great family time.

The route took us through Auburn and Truckee. Given that it had gotten hot outside, Jill and Yu-Hua opted to stay in the car. Because my family had been to both places, all of us decided to continue on.

Dad checked us into Hampton Inn & Suites Reno after a long drive. Our suite was spacious and had more than enough room for everyone. Jill and Yu-Hua relaxed at the hotel while the rest of us went to buy dinner at the nearby WinCo Foods. The artisan flatbread from Leonardi's Pizza was delicious!

We went to Grand Sierra Resort in the evening so my aunts could get a feel of casinos in the U.S. Seeing that the slots at Grand Sierra Resort had low payouts, Mom suggested going to Rail City Casino in Sparks instead. The five of us played the penny slots at Rail City Casino for around two hours and actually ended up winning a few dollars. This was my favorite part of the trip.

Day 2

All of us got up fairly early as the heat made it hard to sleep. The historic Virginia City awaited us after a nice breakfast at the hotel. Considering that Virginia City was a highlight of our trip to Reno and Carson City five years ago, my parents thought Yu-Hua and Jill might be interested. But because it was already really hot - and most of the stores weren't open yet - our stay here was short.

We then went back to Rail City Casino to play more slots and watch the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. Luck wasn't on our side this time as yesterday's gains soon disappeared. I can't say this was unexpected. As the saying goes, the house always wins. Or at least almost always.

The plan was to check out nearby casinos and look for hiking trails in the area. However, none of us wanted to stay after the weather turned out to be even hotter than the day before. Dad made a quick stop in South Lake Tahoe so my aunts could get pictures. There were more people on the beach than we've ever seen. How they could stand the heat is beyond me.

The heat soon became unbearable, at which point we decided to head back to the Bay Area. The five of us had a short rest at the Nyack Shell convenience store before leaving the mountains. I bought a bag of potato chips and some much-needed ice cream.

Our final stop on the way home was WinCo Foods in Vacaville for groceries. Jill and Yu-Hua were impressed by the size of the store. Dad wanted to have dinner at a dim sum place in Fremont but later found out it had permanently closed. Therefore, he took us to a Chinese restaurant in Milpitas instead. The crazy thing is that the power went out in the middle of the meal. Oh dear!

I'm guessing the heat caused the outage. It was hard to see the food until Dad brought in a flashlight from the car. This kind of ruined the mood but was also an interesting experience. Sometimes it's these little mishaps that make a vacation more memorable. At any rate, the outage seemed to affect just one particular area and didn't give us any other problems.


The biggest downside of the trip was the unexpected heat wave. The high temperatures made it difficult to spend more than a few minutes outside and often caused our plans to change. That said, everything else was awesome. Although the car rides were uncomfortable due to the cramped space, having companions always makes traveling much more enjoyable.

On the whole, I'd say the best part of the trip was playing the slots at Rail City Casino. This was our first time traveling with Jill and Yu-Hua since our visit to Taiwan and China seven years ago, and their company made this trip especially fun. Be sure to check out the pictures from our vacation.

Speaking of which, my cousin Connie's wedding is in two weeks. Jill and Yu-Hua are again joining us as we head to Pasadena. I'm super excited. :-)

Currently listening to: "Summer" by Calvin Harris

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