2020 Sep 07 | Reno for Labor Day weekend

Kat and Kendra had contacted us about going to Reno for Labor Day. They said they found Peppermill on Hotwire. So I decided to check prices from different websites. The official Peppermill website was $605 for 3 nights.

Hotels.com was a bit cheaper at $571. Not much of a savings; only $30.

Also, the first rate you see, $137, doesn't include taxes and the resort fee; those add up to over a third of the price.

The Hotwire had it listed at $94 a night. Hotwire doesn't actually tell you the exact hotel you'll get; you pick a general area and then it shows you options. But you can figure out which hotel it is by the pictures of the rooms.

That ended up being $450, $150 cheaper than through the official hotel website and $120 cheaper than Hotels.com for 3 days, so $40 cheaper a night, a pretty good savings.

So we booked that, and then Hotwire verified that was the hotel.

The air quality around Reno and Lake Tahoe looks great.

Driving there on Friday afternoon, there were a lot of deer in the fields.

And sometimes they'd run across the road. This person hit one.

More deer.

This was the only one that ran across the road in front of me. Thankfully I was scanning the ditches for them and saw it in time to hit the brakes to avoid it. I saw a few more cars that had crashed into deer after this as well.

The sun going down over the forest.

And now I'm in Reno. Not nearly as impressive as driving into Vegas and seeing the strip.

The hotel.

They have thermal cameras that check your temperature.

An arcade near the entrance.

Retro games. Normally I'ld paly all of these, but since there's COVID, I'm skipping them this time.

After going down an escalator, you come to a T-intersection with the hotel on the left and the casino on the right. And this big screen of beautiful scenery.

There is an even bigger screen behind the check-in.

They're not pictures but short, 10- to 20-second videos of nature. The clerk at check-in said it's one photographer who takes all of them for the hotel. He must have an amazing camera and lenses to get shots like this.

No emotional support animals.

And no guns.

More big screens this way, both vertical and horizontal.

The clerk said they were out of the rooms we booked, so we got a free upgrade. The room looks really nice.

I got lucky at check-in because the line was pretty short; now it's all the way back here.

There are some self check-in kiosks, but not many people were using them.

Meanwhile, Ogii is still driving separately and is stuck in traffic.

Because of some accidents on the road.

Back to me, checking out the casino side.

The only slots we'll play: penny slots.

This screen behind a bar might be even bigger than the one behind check-in.

A bunch of screens at the end of the casino.

I love the animal videos.

From the outside.

An orange moon.

The poker room was completely packed. I believe they have 19 tables, and every single one of them was full with a waiting list. Even with plexiglass dividers and mandatory masks, with that many people packed in there, it seems too dangerous to play.

All of the onsite restaurants which, again, we're not going to go to.

Neat decorations in front of this Chinese restaurant.

Especially this crystal dragon.

A little to-go cafe.

A view from the top of the parking garage with the Atlantis hotel to the right.

Very pretty restaurant.

Very pretty car.

Unforunately, one of my favorite part of these hotel-casino resorts, the buffet, is closed.

The pools.

Sculpture by the elevators.

We used our elbows to hit the buttons.

Neat lit-up stone decorations.

This seafood restaurant has a nice blue decor.

The cashier in the casino.

With abacus decor.

The only time we ate in the hotel was for breakfast, where they were distancing everyone and had plexiglass dividers between tables. It was way too much food for us, so we took leftovers back to our room. Unfortunately, our room had a fridge but no microwave. I guess we're too used to staying in poor people hotels.

The big bar in the casino with a video of the Great Reno Balloon Race. That might be something to come back and see some time. It was cancelled this year, though.

The sports betting area, with the Kentucky Derby on.

Nice paintings on the wall.

There was a limit to the number of people being let into the pool due to COVID. You actually had to get there quite early in the morning to get a spot; by 10am it was full. So much for that idea.

So we worked in our room a bit. Ogii was on a Zoom conference call and needed a nice background, so she created this setup.

The we drove to downtown Reno. Statues in the front of the hotel.

There are a bunch of hotel casinos in downtown.


And another one. When COVID is over, we'll have to come back here and hang out in this area a bit at night.

Saturday afternoon we went tubing down the Truckee River in Reno. You can just buy your own tube somewhere, but then you need two cars, one at the start and one at the end. Which we had. But it might be a bit of a pain to transport the tubes, and they might be sold out at various stores, so we decided to just rent them from Sierra Adventures and have them drive us to the start. Easier that way.

This is where we would end up. We want to stop before these falls. And go around the left side of this little island because the other side has rapids. Which, coming from the other side, will be the right side of the island. Hope we can remember that.

Ogii brought our waterproof phone holders.

The ride to the start.

Ready to go.

Nice idea: life jacket station. Except they're all being used. Which I guess is better than not being used.

Ogii, Kendra, and Kat.

There were plenty of other tubers on the river, but everyone was fairly spaced out.

Ogii and me.

Plenty of nice houses on the shores.

There were rocks scattered around you'd have to avoid or push off of.

Some people had separate tubes just for their coolers.

More rocks.

The water generally wasn't very deep; it's not even up to these people's waists.

Pushing off some rocks.

Paddling to avoid a rock.

Kendra, Kat, and me.

Lots of people hanging out on the side of the river, too.

Some apartments, and a rock with a metal ring drove into it. I wonder if any random person can stick a ring in a rock like that legally?

Now we're all together.

Split up to get through some rocks.

Trees growing through a metal barrier.

Beautiful mansion.

Another one.

The island at the end. Tons of people hanging out on it.

Down one last little waterfall.

Beautiful flowers hanging from this bridge overhead.

A video of us tubing.

The end area near sunset.

They can say there's no floor 13 all they want, but it's still there.

Beatiful glass etching.

There wasn't really anything to do at night, so we went to bed early, around 8pm. But then we woke up early, around 4am. One of the TV stations actually shows the waiting lists for the poker room, and only three tables were going.

So we wandered down there to find the place almost empty except for three tables. That seemed much less risky, so we decided to play for a few hours.

Ogii made two pair to win a large pot.

Then I made a full house with kings to win another one.

And then I won with 72 with bottom pair to beat a flush draw that didn't get there.

A beautiful image of a eclipse.

Another of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Since we were up early, we were the first ones into the pool area. Nobody else was even there.

They had a lot of neat statues.

Me copying this one.

Ogii's turn.

One on top of a fountain.

Me behind the waterfall.

Ogii dipping her toes into the main pool.

Sunday afternoon we drove down near Tahoe City on the west side of Lake Tahoe to go rafting.

These people were bringing a large speaker.

No alcohol allowed.

It was a popular activity.

But, like with the tubing, we could usually avoid being near other rafts.

Some ducks.

A low pipe.

Ducking under it.

Lots of gum.

This river was really shallow for most of it as well.

A beautiful cabin.

We pulled onto shore and went hiking a bit.

Not too far, though.

Some funny mushroom thing Ogii found.

Headed out again.

A big group of people barbequing.

Me resting a bit.

Trucks drove the empty rafts back to the start area.

Beautiful nature.

Wading in the water a bit.

Ogii getting her feet wet.

A video of us rafting.

The end point.

There was a restaurant there and we were hungry, it was a bit too crowded.

So we headed into Tahoe City.

The road ran along the river, so we could see other rafters.

A bunch more.

I've never been on the west side of Lake Tahoe before.

An art gallery there.

With some beautiful pictures.

A sculpture of a tree.

With a raccoon peeking out.

It's to commemorate a real tree that used to be there.

Some info on the tree.

Nice view of the river.

Some info on Tahoe City itself.

A nice path with plaques of donators.

Dr. Hicks has a house near Lake Tahoe. I wonder if this is his family?

Watson Cabin, now a museum.

Bears peeking in a window and lounging on the roof.

A giant bear sculpture.

Made up of pennies.

A line for a thrift store.

This store was unhappy about being closed due to COVID.

We ate at Fat Cat Bar & Grill, which had outdoor seating.

The Feel Good burger is a nice idea, but I've never tried a donut burger.

So gotta try that.

I could feel my arteries clogging as I ate it.

Dessert afterwards.

Our room was supposed to be over in this lower area through this walkway. Our actual upgraded room was in the Peppermill Tower. If we come back, it'd definitely be worth it to pay extra for the tower room.

Card games, ice cream, and Cheetos with Kat and Kendra.

Up early on Saturday to beat the traffic back home. The sun is rising above the airport.

And lighting up the Atlantis.

This hallway is between the parking garage and the hotel / casino. It's a pretty introduction to the Peppermill.

Although it has some of the dirtiest, nastiest chairs I've ever seen. I have no idea why don't replace these with something nicer.

A quick breakfast from the little cafe.

We can watch these birds from our room.

The sun rising over the back of the hotel reflected in the other side of the hotel across the pool.

Ogii's check engine light came on on the way home, so we pulled over.

And towed her car to a repair shop.

Most of the ones we called were closed, but this guy in Truckee said he could meet us at his garage.

Thankfully it wasn't a big deal, so he just cleared the code.

But her radiator cap was damaged, so he replaced that.

A bit of traffic on the rest of the way home. This guy has a Ferrari but he's going the same slow speed as the rest of us.

It got to 116 degrees, but thankfully no more car troubles.