1: Welcome to Reno!

View from my hotel room at the Grand Sierra
View from my hotel room at the Grand Sierra

The place where upon arrival they hand you a cowboy hat and a baggie full of quarters. Now this didn’t actually happen but it might as well have. The airport itself has low ceilings and slot machines down every hallway, which I must say was rather tempting. We funneled around the corners with tunnel vision until we made it outside and despite being the middle of the summer, it was rather cool. Now for this trip, considering it was my first, I didn’t have any trip challenges, expense reports, crazy things that happened or anything of the sort. The travelling as a whole is a work in progress and I’m hoping to learn something new each trip. First thing I learned: Always pack a bathing suit.

The shuttle to the Grand Sierra Resort was rather punctual (one point for Reno) and even though I knew we were staying at a resort I hadn’t pictured just how big it would be. The building was about 27 stories high, definitely old but 100% updated. The revolving doors opened in the middle of a foyer type area with an extremely oversized chandelier. The entire room was filled with black and neon carpet, slot machines, projectors for sports games and free beer if you gambled more than 5 bucks (two points for Reno). At any given time the machines were at minimum 45% occupied and it could be 3pm or 3am because unless you were sitting by the door there was no way to tell what time it was.

The hotel, I’m sorry, resort, had several restaurants, a bar every floor, a bowling alley, a gym, a few stores, Starbucks; the works. We got lucky with our rooms considering they were on the 25th floor, which required you to swipe your key card on the elevator to press a floor. How fancy. After a seven and a half hour flight we were all pretty exhausted but the liveliness of the casino made you want to do just something. It was 11am so the first thing we did was change, get food, and go to the pool. Now the pool had mostly children and it was decently crowded but nothing beat laying in the sun by faux sand and a tiki bar. We could have found something to do in the area but we did what anyone in their mid-twenties would do after a long work day: grab a drink and take a nap outside.

Now at this point the three of us decided we’d lay by the pool for a while, go relax in our room, reconvene in the casino, and play a few games before bed. This was before we posted a picture of where we were on social media. This is also before our friend, who lived a couple hours away, texted us that she was heading here for a concert. This is before she invited us to go to said concert in exchange for a room to crash in. The day actually got interesting. We made the last minute plans as she headed toward Reno from Sacramento and within a few hours we managed to find ourselves downtown listening to her friends’ band cover county music at a bar within another casino. Welcome to Reno where everything and everywhere is a casino!

Just before heading downtown to see a show
Just before heading downtown to see a show

It turned into a really fun night and given we were going to be exhausted the next day for work, it was completely worth it. Our next day wasn’t nearly as eventful but if you’re ever in Nevada and can’t fork the money for Las Vegas, squint your eyes, take a shot and Reno just may do the trick for now.

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