Reno Correspondence – August 2017

                                                                  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