Monday, July 14, 2014

Reno weekend getaway report

"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. The vacation was quite enjoyable aside from the intense heat.

Day 1

The trip began with a stop at Solano Town Center in Fairfield so Jill and Yu-Hua could have a look around. There wasn't anything they needed, but it was nice to get out and stretch. Our group arrived in Roseville around noon, and the nearby Maidu Regional Park was the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. Though the weather was kind of warm, the park luckily had a large shaded pavilion. The picnic made for some great family time.

The route took us through Auburn and Truckee. Given that it had gotten rather hot outside, Jill and Yu-Hua opted to stay in the car. This was something my parents and I were fine with as we had been to both towns before.

Dad checked us into Hampton Inn & Suites Reno after the long drive. Our suite was spacious and had more than enough room for everyone. Jill and Yu-Hua rested 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 Reno in the evening so my aunts could get a feel of what casinos in the U.S. were like. Seeing that the slots there weren't that fun, 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 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. Virginia City was a highlight of our trip to Reno and Carson City five years ago, so my parents thought Yu-Hua and Jill might be interested. But because most of the stores weren't open yet, all we did was take a couple of photos.

Our party 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, and yesterday's gains soon went back to the house. I can't say this was unexpected. As the saying goes, the house (almost) always wins.

The plan was to check out other 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.

We began heading back to the Bay Area as the heat was becoming unbearable. 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.

As per tradition, my family also stopped at WinCo Foods in Vacaville for groceries. Jill and Yu-Hua were impressed by the size of the store. Dad had hoped to have dinner at one of his favorite dim sum places in Fremont but later found out it had permanently closed. We therefore went 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 outage was related to the heat. It was hard to see the food until Dad brought in a flashlight from the car. This kind of ruined the mood but was nonetheless an interesting experience. Sometimes it's these little mishaps that make a vacation more memorable. Other than that, the outage seemed to affect just that particular area and didn't give us any problems on the way home.

Conclusions

The biggest downside of the trip was the unexpected heat wave. It was difficult to spend more than a few minutes outside, and our plans often had to change as a result. Although the car rides were uncomfortable due to the cramped space, having companions always makes traveling much more enjoyable.

On the whole, the vacation was awesome despite the short length and triple-digit temperatures. I'd say the best part was playing the slots at Rail City Casino. This was our first time traveling with Jill and Yu-Hua since our trip Taiwan and China seven years ago, and their company made this getaway especially awesome. Speaking of which, I can't wait for my cousin Connie's wedding in Pasadena. Jill and Yu-Hua will again be joining us. I'm super excited. :-)

In the meantime, be sure to check out my photos from this trip.

Currently listening to: "Summer" by Calvin Harris

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