RENO BY BUS December 17-19, 2012

In keeping with my reduced carbon footprint, I learned of a special deal for a new bus service to Sparks, NV. Not able to pass this by, I had been looking for a weather window for a fourth road trip this year. It seems wiser to save my money, and take advantage of a local bargain. I did my dining research by the Net, and pretty much knew what I’d be eating and what I’d do during the days. There was the usual savings for holiday lodging mid-week, and the peaks are all snowed in. I’d relax and spend a bit.

I had checked out the departure location for the new bus service in Old Sac the day before, fearful of missing the bus and thusly unable to cancel my hotel reservation in time. It came late, and left late. I had determined that the station was the one, so felt better about that, as I had received a slightly confusing e-mail message about where to catch the bus.

So, Monday, the Interstate was under chain control. I expected a delay, but I’d get to my destination late, but that was O.K., by me. Waking early, I came to Old Sac in a drizzle, but the bus was there on time. It left a bit late, but I had my ride, and looked forward to a little adventure. The bus had empty seats, and I marveled that most people do not care for mass transit, even almost for free!

I started with video, and kept track of the sights which normally I do not record, busy with the driving. I had an elevated view from the double decker vehicle, so that was nice. I connected with the free, on-board Wi-Fi, and enjoyed getting the news and other information as I listened to my favorite music.

Soon, we came up to the snowline, and then about Kingvale, the driver had chains put on. This took about a half hour, and I used the bus restroom as we were idle. The sights of the snow made for my spirits, as it is a better year, so far, than last. Few skiers were about at the resort at the Summit, and then we descended down to about Donner Lake, with a ten minute delay as chains were removed.

Back to normal speed, we soon were cruising into Reno, and then to Sparks. The sun had even come out here, and I knew that I’d have a good time. About two hours late, I took the city bus to Downtown, and entered my resort hotel casino. Not very busy. The economy here has been hit hard, and hiking or peak climbing is a dim chance to help it along, with no one interested in accompanying me, on any of my adventures.

I checked into my hotel, and soon had issues getting connected. I had to deal with tech support, then it looked like I might not have Wi-Fi access. I went for a light dinner, then came back to my room. I had an excellent view, and took many photos and videos of the light changing. I mentioned my problems to the hotel desk, and they were going to give me a refund for the resort fee. A fine young desk man took up the issue, and deftly worked with my device, and spoke with some technician. This took some time, but then I was connected!

It was late, so I checked on some websites, and went to bed.

Up early Tuesday, I got to my window view, and saw clouds. I had a light breakfast, and plenty of diet soda. Without a car, I was unable to go hiking on the usual trails, so going through the casinos, meandered over to the Truckee River, and then to the library. I caught up on Nevada Magazine, then wandered back to my hotel, with lots of time. I had another issue with a device, so couldn’t upload my photos to Facebook. Just as well, no one views them, anyway!

I had an early prime rib dinner, then tended to the hotel window views. I had some video effects in mind, and enjoyed visiting websites as I watched the TV.

Wednesday, I awoke early again. The weather had cleared, so the Interstate would be fine. I’d get back home only less than an hour late. I did my photos, not so good with backlight, and had a pancake. Dawdling in my room, I had time to kill. I wandered over to the nearby Nevada Art Museum, where they do not permit photography of the exhibits. I went to the fourth floor roof view, and captured some views. I took a few more photos of the interior and outside.

Meandering back north, I went by various run down areas and then by the Truckee River. They have made an effort for interest, but mostly vagrants loitered about, and I was slightly fearful of crime. Flags had been lowered to half staff due to the terrible massacre in Connecticut, and the President had come on TV to announce some efforts to try to lessen the violence. Few people were on the streets as it was cold, and ice lay about the walkways in spots.

I caught the city bus back to Sparks, and wandered about the mostly walker-vacant area, very much in an economic downfall. This was a good experience trip for taking this bus again, though I have little business in Nevada due to the lapse of hiking interest. The bus came by, and I again had no one sit next to me. We took off a little late again, but the highway was good. It was mid-afternoon, so I shot my videos in low light. I managed some photos of the snowy peaks, then we were cruising downhill with the sun setting in front of us. The ride was excellent, and we came to town with still light in the sky. Only 40 minutes late, I hope to be doing this again.

The holiday lights were playing at Old Sac, and I took K Street east, past Capitol Park, and soon finished the trip safely and successfully. I had done some cards and slots to pass time, and won a good amount, for me.

Walking perhaps 3 miles total about Reno and Sparks, I had traveled about 300 miles with nary a drop of gas used by me, spending about 71 dollars in cash, with my winnings, and about 77 for lodging and the bus ride. I captured some 637 images and movie clips.

Glad to have done it, I seem to see plenty of misery about, with unhappy and poor people abounding during what should be a happy time. The local Club hikers have long disbanded, and even in the heart of peak bagging, it seems to have been greatly reduced in activity. Sad that so few are enabled for travel and fun, but I am having my lean times as well. But due to my diet, I am not spending so much on food, and not having to drive the hiker carpools as I once did means that I do not bear the high prices of gas, currently. It was a better year with 14 peaks, and I could have had 4 big road trips if I had so desired. What must go for gas for other people goes for hiking, by me!