People always talk about going to Vegas or Reno to gamble, and I don’t know why. Anyone who’s actually been to Nevada knows that it doesn’t greet you with a traditional Welcome sign; it greets you with a blast of neon lights from casinos in every direction as far as you can see. The second you cross into Nevada, everything becomes a casino in addition to whatever else it is. For example: Hotel/Casino. Gas Station/Casino. Travel Stop/Casino. Library/Casino. (Okay, I made that one up.) You don’t have to go to Vegas to gamble. You can basically just go to Utah. And you shouldn’t go to Reno to gamble .Because it’s disgusting. Seriously, don’t waste your time. GO TO TAHOE (more on this later).
I left SLC in the late afternoon and did another night-drive to Winnemucca, NV, where I got a room. In the morning I went down to put some stuff in the car for TWO SECONDS and instantly lost my room key, which was literally a singular key, no chain, no card, nothing. I tore apart every inch of my car, my trunk and my purse multiple times. I looked on top of and around the car, and I retraced my steps to the room, getting more and more frustrated while the people in the parking lot watched me like a trainwreck. It was a trivial thing, but it was one of the first times I truly wished I had someone with me to help me find the stupid key. The constant pressure of self-reliance was weighing on me, and I had no time or place to break down because once again I had to get up and go. I gave up and walked toward the front office, wondering how much this would cost me. I tried to hold it together but still gushed to the motel receptionist about frustrated and perplexed I was, how if she’d just give me another key I’d show her my ID or anything she wants. She simply responded, “How bout I just open the door?” I thanked her (a little too) profusely, and she didn’t charge me anything. Again, it was a small favor, but it was so nice to just get a break for once. I found this key in my purse days 3 later in California.
About those casinos I mentioned before: Most of them are NOT the glamorous places on TV or in Vegas (I don’t know, I’ve never been). The casinos out in random spots all over the state are the saddest sights ever. At any time of the day or night, you’ll see a handful of obese, frumpy-looking people sitting for hours, mesmerized by the flashing neon lights, hitting buttons and waiting to be told by the machine whether they’ve lost money and sunk lower or stayed the same, while waiters bring them giant sodas and alcohol so they don’t have to get up. It’s scary. I half-expected to see a waiter bringing a bedpan and a sponge bath for people whose skin cells have fused to those chairs. It’s not my thrill of choice.
Sorry for the lack of photos in this post, but Nevada offers very little in the way of photo ops. It’s a desert and that’s it. Don’t worry, I will MORE than make up for it in my next post, which contains my personal favorite scenery of the trip so far: