After having a great time in the Pacific Northwest we decided to take our trip to a much warmer climate. On our last trip in the area we took Highway 101 South along the Pacific Coast to Northern California. This time we decided to switch it up a bit and head towards the inland and made a stop off in Redding, CA before hitting Reno and Las Vegas in Nevada for a little rambling and gambling.
We left Portland and set out for a stop off in the city of Redding, CA. The drive was pretty scenic and took us through Crater Lake National Park and several other national and state parks. One of the most fascinating parts of the drive had to be the elevations changes and how the weather was impacted because of them . During one part of the drive it was a cool and crisp Autumn afternoon and then suddenly it was frigid and wintry.
Once we arrived in Redding we both came across the one thing that every traveler loves the most: The Flu. While I’m sure all of our dear readers would love to see lots of photos of us laying around a hotel room with runny noses and a cough, we decided to omit those :-) We ended up spending 2 nights in Redding and all I can tell you about the place is they have this really cool Sundial bridge at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park. It’s actually both a pedestrian bridge across the Sacramento River and one of the worlds largest sundials!
Once we were feeling a bit better (or maybe our itinerary forced us) we left Redding and set our sights on the lovely state of Nevada to visit Reno and Las Vegas. We visited Las Vegas on our last road trip, and it’s always a good time but Reno was a first for both of us. Considering where Reno is located, we decided to avoid the interstate as much as possible when we left Redding and we were glad we did. Our route took us through the Lassen National Forest which, sadly, was closed due to winter conditions but still afforded some spectacular views.
Shortly thereafter we traded the trees and forests for the lovely desert that Nevada is so famous for :-)
By the time we reached Reno our flus had all about cleared up along with all the winter conditions. We figured the best thing to do at that point was to head out into a bunch of cigarette-smoke filled casinos and gamble!
Reno reminded us both of a smaller and somehow seedier version of Las Vegas. There were many of the same casino chains, just a whole lot smaller and older. The one big plus side was that Reno still has many of the attractions that “old” Las Vegas was famous for. If you’re looking for cheap eats and bad free drinks Reno is the place for you! I mean who can beat this gem for only $4.99!
The following morning we decided to find something to do that wasn’t drinking or gambling and found something right up our alley: rambling!
Reno,NV is home to the National Automobile Museum which features over 200 cars, many of which are part of the Harrah family collection. It was ranked one of the top 5 car museums in the country and we can see why!
Where else can you see this classic 1912 Rambler
alongside something as cool as Lana Turner’s bright orange Chrysler Newport?
We spent a few hours looking through the whole collection and it was definitely worth the cost of admission. Once we were done gawking at cars we inevitably found ourselves drawn back to the Reno “strip” for the promise of cheap food and the chance to win big! While we certainly didn’t find big money at the casinos we found more artery-clogging goodness at The Nugget Casino/Diner. We stopped in for their “famous” Awful Awful burger. The burger is everything you’d expect from a diner (greasy, cheap, yet strangely satisfying), served atop a full pound of french fries, and served by a staff that could care less about customer service. Somehow it was the perfect meal for a town like Reno.
We departed the next morning and decided to take our quest for instant riches to Reno’s much larger and corporate big brother, Las Vegas! We spent about 8 hours in the car driving from city to city. Other than lots of desert there was some great scenery, like Walker Lake, near Hawthorne, NV.
The other pretty cool and unexpected stop on the trip was the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum. Hawthorne is home to the military’s largest ammunitions depot, so it’s a perfect place to house a collection of historic armaments.
Once we arrived in Las Vegas, checked into our hotel, and settled in the pooches, we were off to one of our favorite parts of Las Vegas, Fremont Street!
We spent the rest of the night casino hopping from one end of the strip to the other and reveling in classic Vegas slots that allow you to still use coins. The following day we spent our time on the new strip enjoying all the outsized architecture and world travel as we went from New York to Paris by simply crossing a street :-)
All the world travel had us pretty hungry so once we were done sightseeing along the strip we decided to seek out some high quality eats. All the Casinos sport some great buffets, but we were looking for something a little more unique. We found our answer when a friend mentioned Hash House a go go! The place was founded in San Diego and quickly became a Las Vegas staple with 4 locations across the city. With entrée’s like Sage Chicken Benedict, you can’t go wrong if you are looking for fresh food made with whole and simple ingredients served in Vegas style giant portions.
After filling ourselves to the brim at Hash House with breakfast for dinner (they serve dinner for dinner too) we did the only sensible thing we could do after spending days gambling in both Reno and Vegas… gamble some more :-)