Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Reno Santa Crawl

I had never heard of the term "SantaCon" until after listening to Covino and Rich on a Sirius satellite show.  SantaCon is an annual mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world (Wikipedia, 2012).  Covino thought it was "the most stupidest thing he has ever heard of" while Rich thought it would be the perfect opportunity for the single guy to meet girls, expressed an equation would probably be something like this [(women in sexy outfits + under the influence of cocktails) + (single guy + alcohol) = get lucky...maybe)].

While the common goal is to have a good time in spreading good will and cheer, the 2012 Reno Santa Crawl had a larger purpose which was to raise money to benefit the Washoe County Schools.  Commemorative cups were sold at $5 each which entitled the holder to drink specials at participating bars clustered in the downtown Reno area.  The close proximity of the bars and restaurants makes downtown Reno a great location for wine walks and pub crawls.  In addition to the Reno Santa Crawl, there is the Reno Zombie Crawl, Beer Crawl, Superhero Crawl, Vampire Crawl, Wine Walk, and Dine in the District (Crawl Reno, 2012).

Well the Reno Santa Crawl piqued our curiosity so John and I decided at the last minute to check it out and see with our own eyes what it is all about.  We went to one of the retail establishments the night before to purchase our cups (and in the spirit of the event, also picked up a costume for me to wear).

Last Saturday evening we drove downtown where we met up with a friend of mine and her sister-in-law.  There is not much more to the story that I can tell you and these pictures will share.  There were A LOT of people in the bars and on the streets (it is estimated that there were 13,000 people from the local area and others who came from Sacramento).  This event brings about $2 Million dollars in revenue to the local businesses downtown.
Hope you enjoy the picture slideshow from our 2012 Reno Santa Crawl web album!
Next year maybe I will try this:

Elgy in Character

You may not know that one of our cats, Elgy, likes to ride in cardboard boxes while we push or pull her around in it. We had purchased one of the car character kits for my scooter so it could look like a reindeer but instead I put in on Elgy's vehicle. She had such a blast in her new ride!
 
 
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Reno Snow


It started to snow and snow and snow on Saturday. The first significant snowfall in Reno this winter. Looks like there will be a white Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nevada Scenic Byways

There was a meet and greet at work where I had the opportunity to learn about the departments and functions that serve their constituents. During my tour I picked up a Nevada state map and there was a section about the Nevada Scenic Byways.  Of the 10 listed, John and I are grateful to have been to all but two: Pyramid Lake (just 37 miles north of Reno) and Angel Lake (but we were so close during our visit to Great Basin National Park).
 
This is the list of Nevada Scenic Byways along with links to resources, my blog posts, and photo albums.  You can also view the brochure online or download the .pdf copy.  By no means is this ALL of the points of interest in Nevada and if you haven't been to these - it sounds like a great idea for a road trip!!

2. Mt. Rose

3. Pyramid Lake

4. Lamoille Canyon
5. Angel Lake

6. Mt. Charleston


7. Red Rock Canyon (there is a gorgeous scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon)

8. Las Vegas Strip (what can I say except there is too many photos to post during the time we lived in Vegas of our adventures on the Strip)

9. Valley of Fire
10. Great Basin
This coming year, we will definitely visit Pyramid Lake and I hope to visit Angel Lake on the way to a hopefully another family camping trip at Great Basin National Park.

Nevada State Parks: http://parks.nv.gov/parks/parks-by-name/

Monday, December 17, 2012

Team Camp Weekend

About one mile south of the village of Mendocino, CA lies one of the most quaint coastal ranches in Northern Nevada called Spring Ranch and where we stayed the second weekend of December for John's cycling team camp.
 
The historic property has been renovated using antique and salvaged material. There is a bar loft and the main house (in which we stayed that weekend).  The rooms are furnished with amenities you would find in a hotel such as linens, towels, and bath essentials.  The kitchen is stocked with cooking utensils, pots, pans, dishes, silverware, spices--pretty much what you would need in your own kitchen.  Perfect for a family gathering and it has also been an intimate venue for many, many beautiful weddings.  I took more photos which are in this album.
 
The drive was beautiful. We took the back roads for a direct path to northern California. The route was scenic but it also made for a very long drive.
 
When we arrived Friday evening, we met his teammates who greeted us with open arms. Within minutes we felt like we were part of the group.  Instead of going out to dinner, we cooked dinner the two nights we were there.  John and I helped out in the kitchen while the chefs made quite possibly the best spaghetti carbinara I've ever had and salad one of nights and the next night we had poached salmon with roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes.  MUCH better food than dining out.
 
We sat in the dining room and the conversations flowed along with wine.
 
The next morning I took photos of the team (Hammer Nutrition/Charity of Choice) and then followed them in our truck as they embarked on a 100+ mile ride and 8400 feet of climbing.  You will see plenty of photos of these gentlemen throughout the coming year.  And no, their hair is not all blonde.  John thought it would be funny if I Photoshop one of the guys' hair onto everyone else's head.  If you saw the before photo, you might chuckle.
Will the real Dirk Himley please stand up?
Their ride started on Highway 1 from Spring Ranch and meandered south along the coast.
 
I drove ahead and stopped to take photos as they passed me by. It was a lot of fun for me to see parts of the Pacific Coast I hadn't seen and doing what I love -- photography and spending time with my sweetheart.  It didn't matter that he was riding because I got to see him pass by many times with a big smile on his face.  And he was doing one of the things he loves most).
 
Then the course headed east through the mountains and things got steep. The road was narrow and took many twists and turns. Some were 180 degrees and equally as steep downhill as it had been uphill! There are more photos that I took in this SmugMug album.
 
Eventually I split off and headed back to the ranch while the team continued their ride. I put on my running shoes and headed out the door, past some old historic barns to the cliffs. I passed a herd of deer eating dinner as the sun was setting. There's a trail leading from Spring Ranch along the cliffs on which I ran.  I made a two mile loop back to the barn to shed some clothes because I was getting warm from my run.
 
The trail makes a figure eight heading north and south.  I wish I had more time to explore ... so I will have to wait until next time :-)
 
The guys were already back at the ranch so I didn't want to leave again to continue my run.  We cleaned up and then John and I made a grocery run.  It was time to prepare dinner and many of us were in the kitchen again, helping in any way we can. 
 
The next day John went riding with his team after their morning briefing.  I stayed back at the ranch with the team captain's wife and she took me on a tour of the carriage house and bar loft. You really must see the photos of the interior of the bar loft - it is so cozy and private.  And the carriage house is full of so many wonders, it was hard to capture it all in photos.
 
When it was time to leave on Sunday we said our farewells and headed towards home, stopping in Sonoma, CA for dinner and a glass of a couple of the best local wines.  It was a GREAT trip and we look forward to going back to Mendocino soon.
 
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Night of Fun Bowling

The other Saturday we went to the Grand Sierra Hotel and Casino for some fun time bowling.
 
John won the first round and then as the games progressed, I started to pull ahead in each round. Perhaps my strategy of feeding him beer worked ;-)
 
We put come cash in the slot machines and came out ahead. It doesn't take a large win for us to walk, LOL. The casinos must hate us. We have never lost since we came to Reno.
 
Then we went home and took photos in front of the tree so our family can see the 9 foot silver tip we got from the nursery to support the local boy scout troops.
 
We tried to get the girls in the photos but they don't like to stay still very long for group photos but eventually I got Havi to cooperate although reluctantly.
 
I hope you are having a fantastic holiday season. Just 15 more days until Christmas!!!
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