While on our recent camping trip in the Eastern High Sierras, we took a day trip to Reno, about two hours north of where we camp.
Our college-age daughter had a summer internship and only had time for half our planned vacation, so we decided that flying her home from Reno mid-trip would not only allow us all to spend the first part of our vacation together, but it would be a good excuse for us to see some of Nevada.
We took the 395 north through Gardnerville, Minden, and Carson City to Reno. It was a pretty, scenic drive, including driving past Topaz Lake.
I hadn't been to Reno since I was a child and didn't have any clear memories of the city. I was expecting something akin to a miniature Las Vegas, but the reality turned out to be that -- other than its famous sign -- the "flashy" part of Reno consisted of a couple blocks of casinos which had clearly seen better days.
Not at all impressive.
On the other hand, Reno's National Automobile Museum was one of the highlights of our vacation:
Last May I thoroughly enjoyed the 1938 film THE YOUNG IN HEART, reviewed here. At the time I saw it, I was intrigued to learn that the sleek, eye-catching automobile featured prominently in the film, "The Flying Wombat," was on display at the National Automobile Museum in Reno.
The car is a 1938 Phantom Corsair. Here it is, meticulously preserved for all to enjoy seeing:
An identifying sign:
One more photo:
Seeing the 70-year-old Wombat was a real treat for all of us.
There were a number of other cars which were particularly interesting. This beauty once belonged to John Wayne, who later gave it to Ward Bond:
Mounted next to the car was a photo of Wayne and Bond standing next to the car in the '50s, with director William Wellman in the driver's seat:
And here's a car which was a gift from Douglas Fairbanks Sr. to Mary Pickford:
Nevada is a beautiful state, but the gambling aspect is a bit overpowering. When we walked into a gas station minimart and the first thing we saw was two rows of slot machines, complete with chairs, I could only burst out laughing. Our daughter snapped this photo in the airport -- these slot machines were immediately next to the chairs at her gate:
We found Carson City much more to our liking -- a pretty blend of historic old buildings and newer developments, including a shopping center with an In-N-Out Burger. There are only a half dozen or so In-N-Outs in the entire state of Nevada.
All in all, a very enjoyable day exploring a portion of one of our neighboring states. If you're a film fan visiting the Reno area, we highly recommend taking an hour or so to stop by the Auto Museum.