After my last entry i found a couple of ...
Trip Start Jun 29, 1999
29Trip End Dec 04, 1999
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#1 - During football season the beers at Cleo's Lounge in Caesar's Tahoe are a dollar a pint.
#2 - There is a Subway sandwich shop right inside the sportsbook at Caesar's Tahoe.
Needless to say that I had a few beers while watching the football game last Monday night. It's a good thing that during this trip I've become a born-again beer drinker as liquor is pretty pricey in the States. In fact everything is pricey. Even if I was paying for stuff in Canadian dollars I'd still be spending more money here south of the border
Tuesday, October 5th
I didn't realize how close Reno was to Lake Tahoe. It's under 100km so I was there early. I guess I could have stopped longer in Carson City but it may be the ugliest city you've ever scene (or the longest strip mall you've ever scene). Reno is "the biggest little city in the world." It's really a smaller version of Las Vegas for people who just want to gamble and don't care about the other extras Vegas casinos offer. Most of the casinos are older with the exception of the newly revamped Circus Circus and the classier Silver Legacy. I think my favourite place was Fitzgerald's. There was the most cheez per square foot in this place - lot's of leprachauns, and luck of the Irish type crap. As I arrived early I spent most of the morning in the local laundromat. This is not the greatest place to hang out in Reno. I spent most of my time trying to avoid conversation with the locals. Still I got trapped in a painful talk with a middle-aged woman who was missing half her teeth and at 10:30 in the morning had had a few nips of whiskey already.
"I've been drinking a bit this morning. Can ya tell?"
"No," I lied
"Good, that's good."
After checking in at The Sundowner (18th floor, view of the skyline, shampoo smells like Amaretto, only $30 a night) I spent my afternoon and evening checking out the casinos. Like I mentioned above there is nothing very special about Reno. There are a LOT of those hardcore elderly slot-jockeys. I lost $40 in a big hurry gambling so I called it a night early.
If you ever do find yourself in Reno there is one thing you must visit and that is The Nugget Diner. There I had the best hamburger I've ever had in my life, bar none. The Awful Awful Burger (cuz it's awful big and awful good) costs $3.50 and comes with a basket of french fries that I failed to finish. There are a lot of eats in this greasy spoon such as the Awesome Dog, the Sicilian Submarine, the 99 cent Pancake Sandwich and the Hangover Omelet.
Wednesday, October 6th
This was Day Number 100 of my adventure. Coincidentally, it was the day I set aside to visit the hometown of the band I love the most, Pavement. The drive from Reno to Stockton was incredible - up and down the Sierra Nevadas and then the twisting descent into orchard country, the San Joaquin Valley. I could have taken a quicker route but I tailored my drive so that I drove through the Amador County foothills where Gary Young hopes to get lost and then through the town of Linden where opposing high school football teams are fed to the Lions. Stockton itself may be one of the uglier towns I visited. The downtown appeared very rundown and the rest of the city I visited didn't get much better. I did notice some parallels between Stockton and my own hometown, Kitchener. Both have a Weber St. and a Union St. Stockton has a Waterloo Road and both cities papers are named The Record. After stopping at DelTaco (the greatest of Mexican fast food restaurants) for lunch I made my way to the area of town where Scott "Spiral Stairs" Kannberg grew up. I know the address because up until lately any fan mail sent to Pavement had to be addressed to Scott's parents' house. This area of Stockton was completely different than the rest of the city - many large houses with professionally manicured gardens. After cruising around the neighbourhood I actually found a street called Shady Lane and I noticed that cutting through this beautiful neighbourhood was an ugly aqueduct which probably helped foster the band's Northern Cali protest anthem "Unfair."
After my little bit of stalking I decided to hit the road once more as I headed westward back to the Bay area. I must say that I-580 and I-280 maybe the most scenic 8 lane highways I've ever been on. I swept southward through San Jose where there isn't much to see and up through Silicon Valley to a hostel near the idyllic little hamlet of Saratoga.
Thursday, October 7th
It was a short drive into Palo Alto to visit the campus of Stanford University. Wandering around the grounds really reminded me just how ugly UWaterloo's campus is. If you're ever in the area the main quad of the university (the oldest building on the grounds) is the thing to see. From there it was another short hop back into San Francisco in order to see some more things that I missed on my first visit. I immediately headed to the SF Museum of Modern Art. This museum had some stunning exhibits that are, unfortunately, ending soon. The most impressive was called Full Moon which was an exhibit of pictures from the Apollo moon landings that were reprinted and, in some cases blended together to creat huge panoramic moonscapes. My favourite exhibit was Tiborocity a retrospective of noted graphic designer Tibor Kalman. Not only was this exhibit the most fun (I was laughing out loud at some things) but also the most poignant. If these shows ever make it to a museum near you definitely check them out. The SFMOMA is a short walk from the Great Maritime Hall where I stopped next to pick up a ticket for Friday night's Pavement concert. I'm sooo stoked. Then I bet Beverley downtown after she was done work and she took me for a drink at the View lounge at the top of the Marriott hotel. The city looks just amazing from up there at night. We chose a view of the skyscrapers of the Financial District where I could also see the lighthouse of Alcatraz as well as the catenary arcs of the East Bay bridge. Then we moved on to Elroy's for a delicious, but a little expensive, dinner. It was a solid meal though. I recommend the Paella with steamed mussels as an appetizer. Bev and I had a few glasses of wine and the next thing we knew the place was closing. Time flies when you're drinking booze.
Fortunately for me, I didn't have to work this morning.
Friday, October 8th
I got a slow start on the day but then made it down to the Civic Centre to walk through the absolutely palatial City Hall. This area of the town is very nice but in the United Nation's Plaza where all these municipal buildings are located most of the city's street people while their day away. For some this could be a very intimidating sight. My next stop was the Ansel Adams Centre for Photography. Their Ansel Adams permanent exhibit is wonderful but too small. The temporary exhibit featured the lifetime of work of noted Vogue photographer Irving Penn and it was stunning - mainly his celebrity portraits.
Now I'm basically just killing time until Pavement hits the stage tonight. Life is good.