Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reno and the National Automobile Museum

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.


Blogger Carrie said...

(both the beautiful cars and the In n Out Burger)

2:03 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think you'd enjoy the museum, Carrie! (If you haven't seen THE YOUNG IN HEART, Fairbanks Jr. and Carlson are *so* charming...)

Best wishes,

2:05 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

Back in the Spring of 1981 I had to commute to Reno for one month on a weekly basis. I had just been married in Oct. of 1980 so I would leave early Monday AM and return on Friday afternoon. This is because the business I was the manager for relocated to Reno and I got extra pay for setting it up and overseeing the transition.

I remember not being all that impressed with the city and all the slot machines everywhere you went.

That auto museum looks really good, though.

8:13 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older