Great Western Cities ‘On-the-Air’ tour: Reno, Nevada

The eighth in this series.

Reno renown

Yeah, I’ve been to Reno on occasion, the northwest Nevada town also known by another name: “The biggest little city in the world.” In fact, I even traveled on through by train once, on my way back to California. Interesting that Nevada (the Silver State) and California (the Golden State) are neighbors.

The Reno I know

For example, in 2003 the city in cooperation with the Union Pacific Railroad embarked on a three-year trenching project as a means to separate UP’s mainline tracks (in that locale) and cross streets through town for a distance of 2.25 miles. It was a monumental project in scope to be sure and today motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic crossing above the trench zone via provided overcrossings, do so without any interference whatsoever from either stopped trains or those passing through below, thereby completely eliminating the opportunity for motor vehicle idling and associated emissions releases stemming from delay related to that. The way I see it, there was a quadruple benefit regarding the undertaking and completion of this massive infrastructure improvement project. Progressive and forward-thinking? You bet!

On the subject of wagers, if I were to make one, which I wouldn’t, but if I were, my bet would be Reno’s two biggest industries are tourism and gambling. And, you would be correct to conclude my visits were tourism and not gambling related.

Golden through and through

Besides what is in town there’s a wealth of nearby attractions. For example, west of town Lake Tahoe is close; it having, of course, its own appeal with its many recreational opportunities such as wintertime skiing and snowboarding and summertime boating out on the lake itself. Then, there to the east is Virginia City with its virtually right in its backyard gold and silver mines, the mines themselves being the town’s main claim to fame. Virginia City being a quite historic venue, complementing this attribute, is a mid-19th-century-themed Virginia and Truckee Railroad. As it happens, the very first stop once departing Virginia City and not surprisingly is Gold Hill.

And, if that isn’t quite enough to whet your gold appetite, located west-northwest of Reno is Gold Lake, in Plumas County in California. Not surprisingly, close to the lake itself, there is this abandoned mine. What I can’t say for sure is if it was for the extraction of gold but it would make sense that it was.

Far closer to Reno itself, meanwhile, and not far off the beaten trail and maybe even on it, is Carson City, the Nevada State Capitol. In addition, Carson City which owes its name to Kit Carson, a mountain man, houses the Nevada State Railroad Museum among other interesting attractions.

In coming full circle, Reno is home to the National Automobile Museum with its collection of classic cars and included among them is the Golden DeLorean automobile, probably the facility’s most popular attraction. Moreover, and in the museum category is the Nevada Museum of Art. And certainly by no means least is the Reno Whitewater Park.

For what it is worth, I found myself spending the overnight one night back in the late 1970s in the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which happens to be the second biggest of all of the Silver State’s airports.

My Reno, Nevada experiences: golden and then some.

– Alan Kandel