Reno, Nevada--some misconceptions
1. Prostitution is NOT LEGAL in Reno or in Washoe County where Reno lies. Any solicitation will result in an arrest. Prostitution IS LEGAL in Storey County which lies about 10 miles east of Reno south of Interstate 80.
2. Drinks may be free in the casinos but can cost you a lot if you drive later. There is an old saying "Come to Nevada on vacation, go home on probation". It may be extreme and not absolutely accurate, but DWI or DUI or drunk driving has a zero tolerance in Nevada and there are plenty of well-trained law enforcement officers looking for drunk drivers 24 hours a day since Reno is a 24 hour city.
3. Reno and Lake Tahoe are at high elevations. Reno's altitude is about 4,500 feet above sea level on the valley floor and Lake Tahoe's rim is about 6,500 feet above sea level. This can cause several problems: exposure to the sun can result in quick, severe sunburns; the air is thin and therefore some infirmed people might get caught short-winded or dizzy; and the air humidity is ususally dry at about 15-20% so it is easy not to notice that you are perspiring but still easy to become dehyrated. In addition, Reno may seem to be in the desert, daily temperatures in the summer can range from the 100's F in the day to the 30's F at night and in winter, the highs can be in in the 30's F and lows in the teens F.
On the same note, when driving, be aware of the mountain road conditions that can be hazardous from drop-offs, to black-ice roads, and drivers crossing over double yellow lines when rounding corners.
- Casino and Gambling
- Road Trip
Although located on a desert and seeming flat plain, Reno is located at a relatively high elevation of nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. It is also a 24 hour town with alcohol often flowing freely. Some people do experience some unexpected respiratory and other health issues caused by combining the high elevation with lack of sleep and over consumption of spirited beverages and literally pass out in the casinos. Elderly people and those with pre-existing health conditions are more prone to experience difficulty due to the altitude.
- Casino and Gambling
Smoke, Smoke, and Smoke
Smoking is allowed in most areas of casinos. Despite the efforts of the ventilation systems, a heavy cloud of smoke lingers in the casinos' air worse than smog will over a major city in summer. After a short visit in a casino, the smell of smoke will stay with your clothes, hair, and skin and you may feel like a human ash trey.
The voters of Nevada recently approved a ban on public smoking at certain locations, but casinos are exempt from this law. Nevertheless, smoking and non-smoking room options are common in most Reno hotels. However, the ventilation systems can seem to recirculate smoke into these rooms from other portions of the property.
Some casinos offer a few non-smoking gaming tables or “pits”. These tables are not a true oasis for non-smokers (or smokers desiring cleaner air), as the smoke from the rest of the casino will dissipate into the non-smoking areas. Many of the poker rooms in casinos are enacting non-smoking rules. This makes breathing a little easier in poker rooms, unless you think your hand that is competing for a large pot might be second best. Previously smokers enjoyed a slight advantage over non-smokers at the poker tables, since any adverse physical effects suffered by non-smokers from tobacco burning in close proximity could have led to poor play at the game.
For some reason, casino management thinks that gambling and smoking go hand in hand. Whereas many casino patrons do appreciate the ability to enjoy their cigarettes, pipes, and cigars while playing, there are many others who would prefer a little less smoke in their lungs. Unfortunately for the casino employees, if they want to keep their livelihoods, they need to breath in an excess amount of smoke every day. When entering a Nevada casino, brace yourself for smoky air.
- Casino and Gambling
Just When You Think It Is Spring
Here it is warm and a week into April and a sudden storm made it chain requirements up I-80 through Donner Summit. Same day I was out taking pictures of spring blooms. A few hours after that, 2 inches of snow on my truck.
- Road Trip
Winter Pre-Driving Tip
Shovel out your truck before you go driving around. We got a lot of snow in January 2005. I saw all kinds of people trying to drive around with snow in the back of their trucks. I saw a lot of traffic accidents too. The added weight wasn't probably all that beneficial since it could slide around and provide some added momentum for trucks to lose control going around corners. Sure enough, that was the main problem I saw.
I guess people didn't think about it. Anyway... because I didn't want to scratch my truck met, I took a few runs up this hill with the tailgate open and it all came sliding out.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
In the winter, spring or fall...
In the winter, spring or fall always bring a warm coat and if you are driving from Reno to CA bring chains for the snow. It can be close to 100 in the day and 50 at night. In the summer bring lots of sunscreen. We are at a high elevation and you can burn without realizing it. Also be careful of how much alcohol you drink at this elevation especially in the sun.
Avoid hotels of the 80
Most of the hotels, especially the "budget" ones charge extremely high rates during summer and other special events. Any hotel right off the freeway will charge a lot. The same room that goes for $30 in winter goes for $70 in the summer and $120 during special events. In addtional, any price advertised is always for a single so factor that into your planing. Casinos are a pretty good bet if you can book in advance. They are much cheaper and usually give you better perks (coupon books, breakfast, etc).
I just thought I'd warn people from out of the United States (or not familiar with deserts) about the snakes in Nevada.
Rattlesnakes (poisonous!) are sometimes found in less than favorable places. Examples are: right outside your car door, under your bed, or in the toilet. YES, the toilet.
Although it's less of a problem in the cities, of course, it is still something to watch out for. be careful when hiking, rock climbing, or treasure hunting. :-) They like to hide in little pockets between rocks, and under the brush.
Other tips: check your bed before crawling in. IT HAS HAPPENED to my family. =( Also, look on the ground before stepping out of your car, and don't just sit down on the toilets...the little buggars come up through the pipes or something. (This has also happened!).
Just watch where you walk, and everything will be fine. =) Good luck!
- Hiking and Walking
- Adventure Travel
Reno has a higher than average...
Reno has a higher than average crime rate. You could easily have your stereo (and more) stolen from your car if it is in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are lots of vagrants along the Truckee River (running through town) as the weather warms up. After dark it is probably not too safe in some areas. Not that it is unsafe to walk the streets but it deserves more caution and smarts to not be a victim (of theft, in particular.)
FYI: I was in Reno for almost a month and stayed near Keystone Avenue at the Truckee. I was given this advice by my female friend and property owner who lived near Idlewild Park, which is a nice park, along the Truckee. You may be approached by vagrants and panhandlers.....during the day. Particularly if I were a woman, I would not walk along the river after dark.
The picture is of Lake...
The picture is of Lake Tahoe.
Beware the sun! Last May the temperature hit the mid 90s, and with very low humidity, altitude,... heatstroke and dehydration can strike intrepid explorers!
Heed all fire warnings and be very careful where you light up your BBQ, or discard cigarette butts. Brush and forest fires are a yearly occurrence so be aware of the risk and be sure not to be the cause!!!
Oh, one final thought...Quit while you are ahead in the casinos!
The big danger is the...
The big danger is the Casino's! Take only enough money that you would like to part with out with you. Otherwise you are liable to lose it all on a sure thing. If you want to gamble but do it econmically hit the penny and nickle slot machines. You can sit there for a good hour, play away, and maybe make enough for a beer later.
As with anywhere you visit, do...
As with anywhere you visit, do not carry valuables with you. It's a relatively safe city but don't become a target. Just look casual and wear a money belt. Don't carry handbag downtown. Leave valuables in hotel safe.
Must haves and what to wear... suvival guide
Besides needing to bring your own supply of water, make sure you have a dusk mask and eye googles with you at all times in the event of a dust storm. Sometimes they come out of nowhere and you could get caught in a white out. Also, the desert is hot during the day, but very cold at night. So pack clothing to cover both.
Read the Burning Man Survival Guide http://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/
- Arts and Culture
You might leave your heart in...
You might leave your heart in San Francisco, but in Reno it is usually your cash that is left behind. You really have to decide what you want to spend before you go and leave you ATM card at home.