Nevada Correspondence – August 2017

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In this edition:

Baker, Boulder City, Elko, Ely, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Mineral County, Reno, South Lake Tahoe

 

Baker

Life Returns to the Strawberry Fire Area

                                                     Strawberry  Creek Canyon, the area burned by a wildfire in August 2016

It’s been a year since the Strawberry Fire, which burned over 4,000 acres of National Park Service and BLM land at the north end of the South Snake Range. The area looks a lot different now, and the road is closed at the park boundary. You can still drive up to the gate, and it’s worth it because of the amazing variety of plants and wildlife you can see there.

                                                         A hairy woodpecker

Parts of the fire were aerially seeded during the winter, using a helicopter to release seeds over slopes that weren’t too steep. This has become a common technique after wildland fires to help reduce the amount of cheatgrass growing. These seeds, along with seeds in the seedbank, have sprouted, particularly along riparian areas and wet meadows. You might see wild rose, chokecherry, elderberry, lupine, fireweed, prickly poppy, sedges, grasses, and more. Plants are growing well due to all the nitrogen that was released into the soil.  Animals are attracted to all this growth. You may see jackrabbits, deer, elk, lizards, snakes, and a variety of birds. Hairy woodpeckers are especially prominent as they like to use the burned tree trunks as nests for their babies.

Some areas, however, are not recovering well, especially steep slopes. These areas are especially vulnerable when it rains, as there is no vegetation to absorb the rain. Instead, the water causes rivulets as it runs down the slopes or even becomes a wall of water called a sheet flow. This water heads to the lowest point, the creek, and then rushes downstream.

                                                                            Elk in the area burned by the Strawberry Fire

A recent flash flood in July showed debris about five feet above the usual stream level, and the stream temporarily changed its channel. Additional downpours, as often happens during monsoon season, may cause the road to wash out and change the stream channel again. Don’t enter the area during storms, and always be on the lookout for flash floods.

Other things you don’t want to miss in the area in August are a full moon hike on August 8 at Great Basin National Park (50 tickets free, available at the visitor center, first come, first served, and astronomy programs at the park (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings).

The Great Basin Café (next to Lehman Caves) is staying open late on Friday nights, and periodically the Front Porch Pickers, a local music group, plays music for those enjoying sunset from the café’s great viewing point.

Kids start back to school mid-August, but it will still feel like summer and be busy all the way through Labor Day weekend.

— Gretchen Baker

Visit Gretchen’s fascinating outdoor adventure blog, Desert Survivor.

 

Boulder City

Bullock’s Field, the old Boulder City Airport

Prior to 1933, Boulder City’s “airport” was a graded dirt strip that accommodated the occasional private plane. In 1933, Noel Bullock leased the land from the Bureau of Reclamation to create Bullock’s Airport. Noel, a Nebraska farm boy, already had found fame driving his homemade RAJO Model T Ford Special, Old Liz, that the press called a tin can and that Noel renamed Tin Lizzie. Noel and “Tin LIzzie”went on to win the 1922 Pike’s Peak Hill Climb Championship, and an icon was born. Not content to be just a dirt track racer with 150 victories going around in a circle, he saw a great future in aviation. He bought a Curtis Jenny biplane and learned to fly.

                     This hangar, built by Navy Seabees during World War II, is the last building remaining at the site of Bullock’s Field

Bullock would fly you over the then Boulder Dam for $2.50, the Grand Canyon for fifteen bucks or to LA for twenty bucks.  Charter trips: anytime, anywhere. He died a year later while crash landing his plane in the Sea of Cortez, killing him and his six passengers. He didn’t renew his lease.

Shortly thereafter, Glover E. “Roxy” Ruckstell, another ex-race car driver, who made his fortune with his invention the Ruckstell Axle for the Ford Model T,  formed Canyon Airline which took over Bulluck’s lease. Catering to the influx of tourists who came to be inspired by the dam, Ruckstell also bought the Boulder Dam Hotel, took over all the tour business at the Lake Mead Recreation Area and built the Lake Mead Lodge.

               A late-1930s photo of a TWA DC-2 airliner at Bullock’s Field, with the Grand Canyon Airline’s hangar and terminal beyond

Grand Canyon Airline made a deal with TWA to handle their flights and lucrative mail route and to build a terminal for them. Howard Hughes hung out because, you know,  he was the owner of TWA. Hughes took off from Bullocks Field on the ill fated test flight of his Sikorsky S-43. He crashed into Lake Mead, killing two men and giving himself  a concussion and other brain injuries that would change him forever. He then convalesced at the Boulder Dam Hotel, owned by our old friend Roxy. Roxy’s cook at Grand Canyon Airlines was the first black man to be allowed to work in Boulder City, despite the objections of the dictatorial Boulder City City Manager, Sims Ely, who left his mark on various idiosyncrasies of the town.

With the construction of the new airport terminal, the old terminal was moved to a site on Avenue I, where the black cook moved in over the vehement but ultimately ignored objections of Sims Ely. The ticket office, later converted to a residential home, has since been hauled to the the County Museum down the road on Boulder Way and is in the process of  being restored to it’s original form.

                                                The long abandoned runway of the old Bullock’s Field airport in Boulder City

Elks Lodge BPOE 1682 bought the the old terminal building in 1958 and, in a heroic act of historic preservation, transformed it into their clubhouse. The Elk’s terminal building also became the home of the oldest continually running Boy Scout troop in Nevada, Troop 7.

Paul Fisher, the inventor of the Fisher Space Pen (the pen that saved the lives of Buzz Aldrin and Neal Armstrong from certain death on the moon),  rescued and preserved the World War II vintage Seabee hangar and tried to open an Aerospace Museum.

The Killers filmed a music video for Spaceman on the old, and some say haunted,  runway. I know for a fact this is the only thing that my kids, who all grew up in Boulder City, know about the old airport.

Members of the community are now in the process of blessing it as a site of historical significance.

— Alan Goya

Color photos by GOYAphotography

 

Elko

Road Trip to Jarbidge

                                                                                             A Jarbidge Wilderness view

My summer is not complete without a trip to Jarbidge, and I made it up there over the 4th of July. I had a nice camping spot at Pine Creek and a good hike along the Jarbidge River. It was a treat to have the trail to myself. In town you should see the old jail, the historical exhibits in the community hall, and do some shopping in the gift shop. I ended my trip with a good lunch at the Outdoor Inn. While I was eating, lots of folks came in and lined up for their homemade ice cream. Do I need to say more? Hope you can make it up there too!

Edible Elko

I enjoy trying the new restaurants that open in Elko, but I still like my favorites, and McAdoo’s in downtown Elko is number one on my list. They opened in 2012 and serve great breakfasts and lunches 7 days a week. They were recently named one of the 13 “Best Of Nevada” Restaurants You Simply Have To Try.Check them out at 382 5th Street, and have a look at their Facebook page, too.

A Toast to Art

Come paint and drink creatively with the City of Elko Parks and Recreation Department and the Elko County Art Club on August 11th. This adults only art class offers a night of art making at the Elko Art Club Gallery. Materials, adult refreshments, and appetizers are included in the registration cost. FMI and to register go to: https://www.facebook.com/elko.recreation/

Western Folklife Center News

Two new exhibits have recently opened in the Weigand Gallery at the Western Folklife Center. The first is Way Out West: Images of the American Ranch. This exhibit showcases photographs From the Farm Security Administration, taken during the years of 1936-1943. It captures a rich and personal record of ranch life and includes photos taken in Elko County. The second is Dennis Parks: Land, Language and Clay. This exhibit features the work of internationally-known ceramist Dennis Parks and his son Ben Parks. Visitors will see pieces from the Parks’ private collections and items drawn from the Dennis Parks Archive Collection housed at the Nevada Museum of Art. FMI: https://www.facebook.com/westernfolklife/

Hike of the Month 

When it is hot in Elko, a short hike in the Ruby Mountains is a fun way to cool off. I always enjoy hiking the Thomas Canyon Trail in Lamoille Canyon. It is a short 4 mile round trip hike but well worth it. You pass several waterfalls and beaver dams before arriving in a flower filled cirque.

— Doug Clarke

 

Ely

1987 Ely Centennial Celebration – Thirty Years Later

Mining is an up and down activity, with the price of minerals controlling the rise and fall of the economy in a mining town. The 1980’s were very typical of the mining boom and bust cycle and had a lasting impact on the future of White Pine County.

The McGill Smelter smokestack perhaps best symbolized the times. Approval for the new 750 foot stack was sought in 1983. The giant stack was supposed to answer environmental concerns. The stack was approved, built and then taken down in a breathtaking implosion in 1993. The copper mine had closed in the mid-1980’s and the removal of smokestack symbolized the end of the great mining era in White Pine.

                                                           Miners pose on a steam shovel at Copper Flat, McGill, circa 1905

Two projects that gave a boost to the community in the early 1980’s were the MX Missile project and the White Pine Power Project. Neither was developed, but the initial funding brought a much needed boost to the local economy. But the closure of the mines in the mid-1980’s was a real hardship to the community, with people leaving to find work and the closure of many businesses.

The people of Ely and White Pine County knew a change was needed, and the idea of making Ely a destination based on tourism promoting the area was beginning to take shape.

Improvements to the area included upgrades to the airport, the establishment of cable television service and the paving of the Cave Lake road and the Sunnyside cutoff, Highway 318.  This would lead to the creation of the Silver State Classic Challenge and the Nevada Open Road Race held each year on Highway 318, which brings people and money to the area.

The area continued to work toward a comeback through the late 1980’s. The Ely Honor Camp was dedicated in 1986. Great Basin National Park was dedicated, ground breaking for the Ely State Prison took place and land was donated by Kennecott Copper for the creation of the Railroad Museum. The Railroad Foundation received state money, and Engine #40 was donated to the Foundation.

                     The White Pine County Courthouse in Ely, built 1908 (Photo by Finetooth; Creative Commons license BY-SA 3.0)

The Celebration of 1987 can be seen as the turning point for the area.  Ely had become the county seat of White Pine County in 1887, after the courthouse in Hamilton, the first county seat, burned down. Ely was ready for a celebration in 1987 and spared no limit to the hard work and ingenuity that was put into creating a spectacular event. Activities included an expanded parade, fashion show, Elk’s Old Time Melodrama, and costume ball.

Mining is still a large force in the area, with over 450 people now employed at the copper mine and many more at other mines in the area. But the economic future is now more secure with the development of tourism as a large part of the economy here. Developing attractions and events that draw people from all over the globe is expanding our economic base.  Our attractions include Great Basin National Park, now

30 years old; the Nevada Northern Railway, celebrating its 30th anniversary; and a variety of special events that draw people from around the world, including the two open road races, celebrating their 30th anniversary this September. The Cave Lake State Park Fire and Ice Snow Sculpture and Bathtub races; Fears, Beers, and Tears mountain bike race; the White Pine Horse Races; the new Race the Train event starting this September; photo shoots of the trains; and lots of golf tournaments all provide entertainment for locals as well as visitors. Celebrating our history and culture through art has become an important part of our economy, with the 24 street murals, sculpture park, Renaissance Village, and the Ely Art Bank all adding to our community.

Thirty years has seen a lot of changes to the area, with tourism becoming an economic driver. Sometimes hard work, imagination, lots of elbow grease, and a determined spirit to succeed really do make a difference.

— Lorraine Clark

 

Las Vegas

When the heat is on, it’s time to cool off!

If you want to just kick back and relax for a few hours away from the oppressive heat of the Las Vegas summer, there are several cool  locations you can visit that show Free Movies.

                                                                  Watching  free movies at the Downtown Container Park

On Wednesdays, the Fashion Show Mall has movies at 11:30 a.m. in their Great Hall. They are showing The LEGO Batman Movie on August 2nd and A Dog’s Purpose on August 9th.

On Thursday’s, you can see free movies at Town Square on the Green, Downtown Summerlin on Park Centre Drive and Downtown Container Park. Each location has their own schedule; however, Moana, The LEGO Batman Movie, Beauty and the Beast, Rock Dog, and others are scheduled at sundown on Thursdays. Occasionally, the M Resort’s DayDream Pool has “dive-in” movies that begin at 8 p.m.  Make sure you check their website before you go.

There are also $1 movies at 10 a.m. on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August at Texas Station, Aliante Casino and Village Square. On Wednesdays, Suncoast and Cinedome have $1 shows at 10 a.m., and Sam’s Town has them at 10:30 a.m.

And, don’t forget, if you are staying at The Cosmopolitan they offer $5 Monday Dive-In movie nights for the public at their Boulevard Pool. It’s free if you are a guest of the hotel. They are showing The Great Outdoors, It’s Complicated, World War Z, and Father of the Bride at 7:30 p.m. with doors open at 7 p.m.


Lee Canyon, at over 8,000 feet elevation, is just about as cool as you can get during the heat of summer in Las Vegas and has many activities for you to enjoy. They have Summer Fun events and are promoting their Archery Experience, which is a 1 hour class, during the month of August, for you to learn the ins and outs of archery, including shooting their archery bows up to 20 yards.

They also have their chair rides open, $12 for adults over 12 and $6 for ages 12 and under. Be aware of the weather since they can close the ride at any time. The last available ride is at 5:45 p.m.


CombatCon, sponsored by KA by Cirque du Soleil, is being held August 10th through 13th at The Flamingo. They are titling this event “Where History and Fantasy Meet”. CombatCon combines many realms of martial arts, sci-fi fantasy, cosplay, and piracy. If you immerse yourself in the event, you can handle two-handed swords as was done centuries ago, throw daggers and interact with armored martial artists.

The Expo Hall Access is free to the public where you can see demonstrations and handle the armor and swords.

Rather than purchasing an event pass covering all days, you can buy individual day passes which will allow you to enter the tournaments, attend the panel meetings with presentations and take 2 martial art classes. Day passes (Explorer/Writer Pass) are $25, $40 and $25 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The event pass for this category is $65 covering all 3 days.

— Pauline Cimoch

 

Las Vegas is now home to the galaxy’s first land-based robotic bar. Yes, you read that correctly and yes, Diamond Jack was there to receive a cool and refreshing Gin & Tonic from the robotic bartender. All this took place at the Tipsy Robot in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.

According to its owner, Rino Armeni, Tipsy Robot is “precision mixology combined with robotic innovation and is the bar of the future. The robots are entertainers and master mixologists programmed to prepare the perfect cocktail each time. The two cocktail-shaking robots interact with customers who order cocktails via the bar’s tablets in a digital environment. They mirror the actions of human bartenders, from mixing and pouring, to the slicing of garnishes, and the choice of shaken versus stirred. Each beverage takes about 90 seconds from order to completion.”

Robots, however, won’t be running the entire operation. Several female “Galactic Ambassadors” complement the robot bartenders, and a real bartender is nearby for special drinks that Tipsy Robot can’t comprehend. Tipsy Robot opens daily at 10 a.m.

The heat has arrived and locals, along with tourists who are looking for a water break during their drive through the desert, head to Wet ’n Wild in the southwest part of the city (7055 So. Fort Apache Road near I-215 and Sunset Road). The original Wet ‘n Wild was next to the old Sahara Hotel (now SLS), and you could find Diamond Jack running wild there and scaring people as he slid down Der Stuka, almost losing his swim trunks along the way.

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The new, 22-acre Wet ‘n Wild has 25 slides and attractions and is the city’s most shaded and misted water park. Paradise Falls is the interactive children’s area with kid-friendly slides and a giant dumping bucket. Children will also enjoy the Colorado Cooler lazy river and Red Rock Bay wave pool. 702-979-1600. www.wetnwildlasvegas.com.

Reporters were interviewing a 104-year-old woman and asked her what she thought was the best thing about being 104?’   She replied, “No peer pressure.”

— Diamond Jack Bulavsky

 

New “Hopped Taco Throwdown” Festival Debuts Downtown

Motley Brews, the creators of Great Vegas Beer Festival, will present the inaugural “Hopped Taco Throwdown,” which will be a heated taco competition and craft beer tasting by local and regional breweries being held in the Backyard at Zappos downtown from 8–11 p.m. on Saturday, Aug.12. Chefs representing some of Las Vegas’ top restaurants will vie with their innovative creations for top taco honors. This boutique event will be limited to 1,200 attendees. Tickets are $50 and VIP $70.

Tacos will be judged in three categories, including: Hopped Taco, for best-beer-infused taco; Taco Loco, for most creative taco; and Taco Dulce, for best dessert taco. Participating restaurants include Buddy V’s, Stack Restaurant & Bar, Searsucker, Herringbone, Fix Restaurant & Bar, Citizens Kitchen and Bar, Tacos and Beer, and more. Breweries include local favorites such as Crafthaus, Big Dog’s, Lovelady, and Bad Beat, as well as several regional breweries.

Kendrick Lamar will Bear Witness with the DAMN. Tour

Seven-time Grammy winning hip-hop Renaissance man, Kendrick Lamar, is making a stop with his “The DAMN. Tour” featuring special guests Travis Scott and D.R.A.M. at T-Mobile Arena Saturday, Aug. 5 at 9 p.m. “The DAMN. Tour” follows an appearance at Coachella and the release of his fourth studio album, “DAMN.” with a debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his third time at the top spot. Tickets range in price from $49.50 to $129.50.

Broadway’s “Something Rotten” Spends Time at the Smith Center

The completely original new musical “Something Rotten!,” directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw of “The Book of Mormon” and “Aladdin” fame, will visit The Smith Center Aug. 8-13.

“Something Rotten!,” nominated for 10 Tony Awards including “Best Musical,” will feature three principal cast members directly from Broadway: Rob McClure as “Nick Bottom,” Adam Pascal as “Shakespeare” and Josh Grisetti as “Nigel Bottom.”

Van Jones Brings “We Rise Tour” to The Pearl at Palms

Renowned activist, CNN commentator and two-time New York Times bestselling author Van Jones will bring the “We Rise Tour” powered by #LoveArmy to the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. Ticket range is $25-$75.

We Rise is bringing an array of artists, athletes, leaders and local officials to cities across the country this summer. Focusing on commonalities as opposed to the country’s differences, We Rise explores how to increase dialogue and engagement. Attendees are given the opportunity to connect, ask questions and participate during the program.

Jones is a Yale-educated attorney and best known for hosting “The Messy Truth, with Van Jones” on CNN. Jones is also the founder and president of Dream Corps, a nonprofit organization working to solve America’s toughest problems. In October 2017, Jones will release his third book: “Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart & How We Came Together.”

In 2009, Van worked as the ‘green jobs’ advisor to the Obama White House, where he helped run the interagency process that oversaw $80 billion in green energy recovery spending.

— Jackie Brett

 

Laughlin

Billy Ray Cyrus Vists E Center

Well known now as Miley Cyrus’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus has been a multi-platinum selling recording artist for years and has scored a total of eight Top 10 singles on the Billboard Country Songs chart and has charted 34 singles. He will headline the E Center at the Edgewater on Saturday, Aug. 12 at 8 p.m. Cyrus has also achieved international success as a songwriter, entertainer, actor, writer, executive film and TV producer, and philanthropist.

Cyrus was born in Flatwoods, Kentucky. His father Ron Cyrus was a steelworker and became a state legislator and head of the Kentucky AFL-CIO. He spent 21 years in the Kentucky House of Representatives before retiring in 1996. Ron Cyrus was also an accomplished singer in the Southern gospel  quartet, The Crownsmen, where  young Billy Ray first felt the power of harmonies. His mother played piano, and his maternal grandfather the played  the fiddle. Music runs in the family.

Cyrus made history with the debut of his studio album, “Some Gave All.” The album hit No. 1 on the Billboard album charts, where it held the position for 17 consecutive weeks and set a record as a solo male artist. Throughout the early 90s, Cyrus had a string of releases off the album that bulleted up the charts, including the unforgettable “Achy Breaky Heart.”

When Cyrus began acting he landed a role in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” in 2001 and followed with the lead role in a cable television series, “Doc,” playing Dr. Clint Cassidy.

Air Supply To Perform at the E Center

Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock, who together are Air Supply, will headline the E Center at the Edgewater on Saturday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. Ticket range is $25 to $159.

The famous duo met back in 1975 on May 12 at the first day of rehearsals for “Jesus Christ Superstar” in Sydney, Australia, and became instant friends. After performances at 10:30 p.m. with one guitar and two voices, they would play pizza parlors, coffee bars and nightclubs. One afternoon, they made a single for CBS Records and it shot to No. 1 on the national charts. That same year, they opened for Rod Stewart in Australia, the United States and Canada.

Back at home, they made the record “Life Support,” which included the song “Lost in Love.” The tune made Top 10 in Australia and migrated to New York where Arista Records signed them. “Lost in Love” became the fastest selling single in the world and the second single “All Out of Love” went up the charts even quicker. Seven top-five singles later, Air Supply at that time equaled The Beatles’ run of consecutive top five singles.

Riverside Hosts Labor Day Comedy Fest

Laughter will abound at the Riverside Resort during the Labor Day Comedy Fest with multiple headliners Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

The show’s host is George Lopez, who began doing standup in 2002 when he was given the opportunity to perform on open mic night at the Improv Comedy Club.

Cory and Chad, The Smash Brothers are identical twin brothers who attended 14 different schools during childhood and learned as the new kids to adapt by being outgoing and spontaneously humorous to gain new friendships. DJ Cooch is a comedian, actor and disc jockey and was recently inducted into the Improv Wall of Fame, a prestigious honor within the comedy world. Brett Riley is a regular on the LA comedy scene with a style described as unexpected and versatile all the while staying true to his everyman persona.

Kabir “Kabeezy” Singh is one of the nation’s fastest-rising standup comedy stars. He’s been featured on television, was part of last season’s “The Family Guy,” and was also seen on the “BFF Tour” in support of Jo Koy and Anjelah Johnson.

— Jackie Brett

 

Mineral County

The Mount Grant Challenge Hike

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Good ideas and wishful thinking won’t make an event come true, but for Mineral County’s 9/11 Memorial Mount Grant Challenge there were just a handful of volunteers and workers that brought it to fruition.

Dave Womack, a Fire Inspector in Mineral County for 33 years, took a vision and shared it with a few others within the Hawthorne Army Depot leadership. Since the attack of 9/11, a vast amount of the Wassuk mountain range, which surrounded the north-west arm of the military base, had been fenced off, protecting resources and military land from public access. This included one of the most prominent peaks in Nevada, Mount Grant, with an elevation of 11,280 feet. The terrain through which the access roads stretch along unique rock formations, opening into thick tree-lined foliage, house a variety of wildlife, including Nevada’s famous Big Horn Sheep. At the top of the mountain area an amazing view of Walker Lake stretches out below in a broad blue expanse, bordered by mountains all the way around.

Sprinkled along this trek are many historic mining structures, and at the corner of turning south to climb toward Mt. Grant one can experience photo-ops with a 360-degree view, exposing endless ranges of majestic peaks and isolated valleys. This treasured land had been closed to civilians from 2001 until the effort of this 9/11 Challenge unfolded for the first open area marathon hike in 2011.

Today, it has expanded to include a Friday, September 8th parade and processional into Hawthorne’s Veterans Park, with the Big Flag raising and participants meeting for their registrations and packets. On Saturday, Sept 9, 2017 at 6 AM, the event is staged at the bottom of Cottonwood, along Highway 95 at the base of the mountain’s incline. Resting spots have been adopted by local groups to offer water, assistance and communicational placement for the hikers, which has developed into a form of competition, as each tented stop is uniquely themed. A half marathon is also offered with transportation, as well as tag-team walks which people of all ages can take part in. The hike begins at 7 AM and is usually an all-day event.

On Sunday morning the local Elks Lodge hosts a breakfast in Hawthorne, providing a time to share goodbyes and to regroup again for next year’s reunion.

With a 14% grade and a 17-mile potential hike, this marathon has brought out-of-country hikers, as well as many state residents who come here to experience this monumental dedication of will. From professional runners to slower-paced walkers assisted by walking sticks, this has grown to be a successful weekend of memories and of honoring the many Americans who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. To sign up, go to www.active.com or visit their Facebook page at 9/11 Memorial Mt. Grant Challenge.

(Photos courtesy of the 9/11 Memorial Mt. Grant Challenge Committee)

— Sheri Samson

 

Reno

                                                                  The Truckee River Bike Path along Riverside Drive, Reno

Hike (Bike) of the Month

Summer is hot enough in Reno, without us adding to global warming by driving our cars around everywhere. So this month Erik and I decided to dust off our bikes and do some ‘splorin’, with the help of the RTC’s free Reno/Sparks Bike Map. Our favorite ride so far is the Truckee River Bike Path, which passes right by our loft and runs along the river in both directions. We have met people from all over the region who have come to Reno

with their bikes just to ride this scenic path (there are even shops along the river downtown where you can rent a bike if you need to).

We are super jazzed about the progress that has taken place on the Tahoe Pyramid Bikeway, which will eventually provide a bicycle throughway all the way from Tahoe City to Pyramid Lake along the Truckee River! Several substantial sections are already open for your pedaling pleasure. We are also excited about the work by a new organization called One Truckee River, which formed to coordinate badly needed efforts to clean up the river, improving water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreational activities. Unfortunately, there is still an ongoing problem with homeless camps along the river east of downtown to Sparks, which the cities are constantly trying to come to grips with. See OurTownReno for an engaging look at the homeless issues in Reno and our city’s growing pains as we search for an identity beyond the casino culture. Reno is, and probably always will be, a little on the gritty side.

Midtown Reno

Speaking of gritty, the hippest place in Reno is now the Midtown District, which was created by some seriously badass entrepreneurs and visionaries from the ashes of one of the most downtrodden areas of the Biggest Little City. Whenever people tell me they were “not impressed” with Reno, or they were “bored,” I know they did NOT make it to Midtown! They probably stayed in the casino corridor, and they are not really “casino people.”

Aside from free outdoor concerts, art walks and community yoga (even “Bro-Ga” for the dudes), Midtown has a brewery, cool new bar or restaurant (or several) on every block, nestled between funky shops and tattoo parlors. The Saint, Chapel Tavern, Sup, Craft Wine and Beer, Noble Pie, and Laughing Planet are a few of our faves. There is even an adult “boardgame parlour,” The Glass Die, with over 275 games and tables to play them on while enjoying the beverage of your choice!

OK, I have to admit that cars aren’t really my thing, but I would be seriously remiss in not mentioning Reno’s biggest annual event, which draws over 800 thousand people to the area each August. The 31st Annual Hot August Nights will take place from Tuesday, August 8 through Sunday, August 13, all over the Truckee Meadows. And even if you don’t like cars, there is great food, vendors, music, and (of course) beer.

Another hugely popular event right around the corner is the Nugget Rib Cookoff August 30-September 4. If you like ribs, you better not miss this event. You should probably just get VIP tickets so you don’t have to worry about all that

money you’re spending on ribs, and you can actually eat your ribs at a real TABLE, instead of elbowing your way through crowds in the blazing sun trying to balance your ribs in flimsy paper containers in one hand while eating and wiping your face with the other (not to mention trying to keep track of your kids as they wander off into the crowd). The free nighttime entertainment usually features some good bands, but as a disclaimer, they tend to be very LOUD, crowded and rowdy. (My kids got to witness three street fights and two arrests in an hour and a half.)

Finally, we are starting to see some pre-burn “compression” type activities in Reno, in preparation for the huge annual Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert, August 27-September 4. For one week, Black Rock City will be the third largest city in Nevada, with over 70,000 people. This week, a giant covered wagon/ship embossed with the letters “WHOMP” showed up at The Eddy (the downtown container park), sporting neon lights, a thumping sound system (much to the chagrin of some of my neighbors), and fur-clad Burners rocking the deck. Now through January, you can catch City of Dust: the Evolution of Burning Man at the Nevada Museum of Art.  It’s easy for even a non-burner like me to get caught up in the excitement of these compression activities, which range from seemingly spontaneous pop-ups to day-long events (like Compression! Art & Fire) happening all over town from now until August 27.

— Amy Meeks

 

South Lake Tahoe

                                                            A rainbow over the Stateline casinos after a summer thunder shower

The last big push of summer is upon us, and it’s been one hot summer all over the country.  The dog days of summer are here at Lake Tahoe, and Reno is not the only place with hot August nights.  We must enjoy them as much as possible, because lounging at Zephyr Cove Beach or taking a dip in the lake in December is no fun at all. Things are still very happening in the final month of the Tahoe summer: hitting the beach, swimming, boating, parasailing, kayaking, great music, great restaurants, and just an overall abundance of activities that will send people into fall with a hangover never to be believed.

August is also a milestone for a wonderful South Shore establishment: The Sage Room inside Harveys Casino turns 70. Since opening in August of 1947, this Western-themed steak house has been a popular spot with locals and guests alike.  This great place has been serving up big juicy steaks since the days when Lake Tahoe was a summer-only destination.  Open for dinner nightly, the Sage Room has the original bar and hand-hewn beams that were part of the original log cabin that housed Harveys in 1944.  Unique appetizers, such as Blackened  Pan Seared Ahi Tuna, Oysters Rockefeller, Marlyland Lump Crab Cakes and Jumbo Sea Scallops, are just part of the Sage Room’s charms.  Entrees include Filet of Beef Wellington, Chateaubriand-Bouquetiere for two and the signature dish, Steak Diane, which is filet mignon flambéed tableside with brandy, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, and rice pilaf.  Or if you just want a good rib-eye steak with a baked potato and a nice glass of red wine, they have that too.  And of course, don’t forget dessert: Bananas Foster and Cherries Jubilee, both prepared tableside.  For reservations call, 775-588-2411 or go online to www.harveystahoe.com.  You will not be disappointed by this choice for your dinner destination.

Another tradition that continues to thrive at Stateline is the great entertainment, in particular the music and comedy.  And  during one week in mid-August the level of talent that will be hitting the stages around the casino corridor is pretty high.  An Evening with The Who is Wednesday, August 16 at Harveys Outdoor Amphitheatre.  Reunited again for another tour, The Who can still blast some good old rock n’roll music.  Then, the next night, Thursday, August 17 at Hard Rock Casino, Primus and Clutch will hit Hard Rock’s outdoor stage, that will be setup only for this show.  Then, Friday, August 18 over at MontBleu is Cheech and Chong, so bring a few doobies and be prepared to laugh your tail off.  All tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or in person at the box offices at all venues.  And those are only a few things happening on the entertainment calendar in August.

                                                                                 Live at Lakeview, El Dorado Beach

Also throughout August, down at El Dorado beach in California, is the Live at Lakeview Concert Series, which is right on the beach, with great local and regional bands playing every Thursday night starting at 5:30.  A beer garden is set up where you can party and shake your rump while music plays and another phenomenal Tahoe sunset happens right before your eyes.

To get a little involved in preserving the natural beauty of the lake, why not attend the Annual Lake Tahoe Summit, August 22 at 12pm at Harveys Outdoor Amphitheatre?  Since the Presidential Forum in 1997, the annual Lake Tahoe Summit has become an important gathering of federal, state and local leaders dedicated to the goal of restoring and sustaining Lake Tahoe.  Last year President Barrack Obama showed up and marveled at the beauty of Lake Tahoe as he flew over to land at the airport.  It was president Obama’s first visit to the lake, but he said he definitely would return for a vacation with his family.  That’s what Lake Tahoe is: a place for everyone, and especially in the summertime. And August is perfect: hot in the day and comfortable at night, with the lake always there to refresh and reboot the mind, body and soul.

— Brendan Packer

 

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