So you might have been wondering, why did I go to Lodi in the first place?
I had decided to make my trip into a circle trip so I went south on the coast and the return journey through, basically, the middle of the western states - although that took a slight detour when I headed for today's destination, the biggest, littlest city around - Reno!
I left Lodi this morning not feeling very sad about leaving the city. It's OK but, as far as food went, there were so many taqueria to eat and that' was about it. Luckily, there was a breakfast of sorts in the hotel and I had some toast before I left town and then headed on the quieter route, avoiding the interstate, onto Reno.
Unfortunately the first quiet highway I went on was Highway 50 which seemed like a massive interstate as it had six lanes each way leaving Lodi. Luckily it became quieter and thinned out into a smaller route as I went along. It actually turned out quite nice as there were a number of parks, nice trees and gentle landscapes that were very enjoyable to go through.
When I stopped for gas there were a group of girl guides or girl rangers (not sure what it's called in the US) with their leaders that were at the gas station on their way to a camping trip. I smiled as I thought of my kids going to camp when they were younger.
|Lake Tahoe through the trees|
|Nice view of Lake Tahoe|
|Forest near Carson City|
|Nice bike! near Carson City|
|Rose between two thorns - or Harleys - in Virginia City|
My first real stop of the day was in Virginia City. Virginia City has been restored or preserved as an old cowboy town or old frontier town. It has some beautiful buildings but they're all quite commercial. In fact I found after a while once you've walked a couple blocks the actual stores started to repeat. For example there was a photo place every block and a half where you dressed up for photos and there were numerous saloons and places selling leather chaps.
|Lunch stop in Carson City|
|Having a cold one (don't worry, it's a light beer) at the Silver Queen saloon!|
I did look for a acceptable T-shirt but nothing seemed that good so I pressed on in my search for the perfect trip T-shirt.
I then continued down the road and then made my way to Reno. I parked in the free parking at the El Dorado hotel and checked in.
|Front entrance of the Eldorado hotel.|
|Nice, King sized bed at the Eldorado.|
|Twisting by the pool...|
|Ravioli Porcini at La Strada|
After a brief nap in the room, I decided to hit the tables. Earlier in the day I had gone and lost $20 at the slots in about five minutes. I wasn't feeling really positive but I thought I would take another $80 and see where it went. No more, of course, because I have a limit of $100 a day if I do go to Reno or Vegas.
I remember way back when the tables were only two dollars for betting. Now they are five dollars or even $10 for a minimum bet. You can crank through a lot of money pretty fast at five dollars a bet! However I did my best and I started off with $60 US.
I lost the first $30 fairly rapidly and was a little worried that my initial betting would not go well. However, aided by some bourbon and cokes (still free), I slowly start to build up my reserves. While chatting with the gentlemen at the table I steadily increased my reservoir of money until I was about double at $120. At that point I realized that if I made a side bet (special casino rule for that table) - the bet was if I could get a 20 in my first two cards, I could make a fair bit of extra money as that was the "lucky ladies "part of the table. I did this a few times and because I had 20 I got either 4 times or 10 times my side bet. This lucky lady bet combined with some success in my actual black jack play ended up with me taking that $60 stake to $275! I was worried that my $50 dinner was too much but as it turned out, it was more than covered from my gambling!
I had to quit the table because I have to go to the bathroom so badly and I took that as a sign to stop gambling for the night because I was well ahead and anything further would probably result in me getting less money rather than more. I retired to my swank hotel room feeling a bit fuzzy from the numerous water downed bourbon and Cokes that I had received from the waitress while I played and kicked back to watch some TV before tomorrow's long ride to Klamath Falls.