Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Couldn't End This Series on the Mini Mart...

Thanks so much for a fun fun trip to Oregon, Nevada, and California, girls!  Let's voucher it up again soon!

So Long, Reno!

But, as I keep telling you, all vacations must come to an end. But trust me, I am working on this notion. Back on the road...
So long GSR! After lunch at a little hole in the wall Mexican joint in a strip mall, we dropped Aisha at the airport...
...and were Idaho-bound.
With like 7 hours of glorious Nevada scenery ahead of us.
We stopped at PJ's mini-mart to refill and grab a soda.
As we were filling up I assumed this Chicken Fish Dinner sign was a mistake, but once inside, nope, not a mistake. There we encountered a strange couple who appeared to be age 17.5 (her) and 55 (him), who were making out in the middle of the store, despite the sturdy teenage girl who was standing security over the bottles and bottles of cheap booze, who averted her eyes from this weird goings on, as though she was giving them some privacy.
ANNNNND then we used their restroom. Which was huge. And oddly littered with hangers -- tons of plastic hangers. And there were sinks removed from the wall and now on the floor. I can never unsee this sight.
Oddly, down the road we would stop at another mini mart that had put up Burmashave-style signs at intervals along the road indicating that they had "unforgettable bathrooms." We actually found those ones quite unforgettable, but PJ's bathrooms? Burned into our memories for all of time.
While decorating a gas station with barbed wire seems a little extreme, barbed wire makes me nostalgic for the farm, and that time sister and I were being chased through the snow by an angry bull and could barely get our moonboots through four strands of it, tearing our winter coats in our haste. Ah, the good old days. Thankfully we didn't get caught up in this barbed wire, we just grabbed a couple of fountain sodas and hit the road. As soon as possible.

VIP Cabana at The Beach

[MISPOST! This all happened the morning of bowling!] "The eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose..." Someone's eyelashes made it up on the glass. And by someone, I mean me. That's my favorite line in The Great Gatsby. I haven't yet seen the new movie, but I hope they treat Dr. Eckleburg well. His eyes could have used my lashes.
While there was not a coffee maker in our room (WHAT THE HELL!?!?!) thankfully, there was a Fivebucks on the casino level. Shelby needs a LOT of coffee. NO!!! Hahah. This was a coffee run for multiple folks. Hehehe
Wait a we didn't have a refrigerator either (WHAT THE HELL!?!?) we had decided the previous evening that it would be safe food practices to store our room service food in the bureau drawers. Yep, seems perfectly safe. Sunday morning we decided to store room service food in the hallway...on someone else's tray! Haha!!
After coffeeing and sunblocking up -- we were off to The Beach! The beach is the sand-surrounded pool at the hotel of course. But with the palm trees, thatched roof cabanas with beach beds, and the tropical style bar, it felt REAL beachy. Especially if you scrunched down in your lounger.
Reno? What Reno. We were definitely south of the border for about 4 hours.We live like queens.
Can't say i agree with the red cabana cover, versus thatched roof, but i liked the shadows from the trees.
Sleeping by the beach!?! YES! You  know I'm particularly good at this. I felt like I wasted some prime cabana time, but it was a glorious nap.

Sunday Night Bowling!

One of the myriad reasons we selected Reno from the extensive list of mildly-interesting vacation destinations on the voucher was...a 24/7 bowling alley onsite. Remember when you actually had to keep score, the neon-y system didn't do it for you automatically? Yeeee. No thank you sir.
I like the look of a classic leather bowling shoe, though no one wants to wear rental shoes...but these pleather numbers were just gross.
Sunday night's theme included bowling shirts! Aisha and I had to acquire bowling shirts, but this one had a bounty of family bowling shirts at her fingertips. I think this one belonged to her mom, when she played for Palouse Ammonia. Well sure.
Aisha's shirt was a hilarious number from Farmer's Insurance. Hahaha. Shelby also won for the best Strike Moves.
But the best part of bowling night? The weird collection of mostly-classic music videos played on old-school, low-def TVs. Hello? Is it Lionel Richie you're looking for? I think Aisha's face is reflecting our general shock at how inappropriate this particular video really was.
Richard Marx!!! Hahahah! A high school friend used to say that Richard Marx was one of the signs of the apocalypse.
This is one of my fave pix of the trip. Both because of Shelby's hilarious stunned amazement, but because it also captures the hilarious group of high school boys behind her, who were singing and dancing together, most memorably to Journey.
LOVE bowling! We missed the GSR's "Classy Lady Bowling Tournament," but we had a great time at the GSR lanes.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Night at the Grand Sierra Resort!

 Saturday night's theme? "Yeah these are fake eyelashes, what of it?" Hahah. Fake eyelashes are hilarious.
 After three sets were finally in place...
 And the rest of our get-ups were in place....
 We hit the casino! Specifically, the "Wet Ultra Lounge." Regretfully the dancing-girls-in-the-pit are not well represented other than the one directly behind Shelby's head. And oddly, the Tailhook thing that was happening with the Navy folks in full regalia is barely visible directly behind me. WHO WAS PHOTOGRAPHING THIS EVENT? GEEZ.
 Hee hee! Mostly the lounge was kinda a bust. We danced a bit, and there was a minute when we thought the DJ was gonna go off on a Bon Jovi turn, but it was quickly reigned in. There was a kinda sad bachelorette party sitting in the back corner, each wearing pink T-shirts that said "Marcy's Entourage," or something like that, but mostly they were men's cut t-shirts with those weird velvety cut-out letters like you might get at the T-shirt shop at Triangle Mall circa 1984.
So we took our private dance party back to our room. We realized we hadn't remembered to have dinner! We had a few assorted snacks, but with no refrigerator (or coffee maker!) we didn't have much, so decided to get some late-night room service. (That apparently we had to pay for!?! WHAT? Hmph.)
We had a lovely late dinner of pizza and assorted other bad-for-you foods brought to us by a nice man in a black vest. After enjoying our meal, we had difficulty figuring out how said vested man unlocked the code for negotiating our linen-covered table through the entryway. Yay for Fake Eyelash night!

Donner Memorial Park

The last major stop on our adventure to California (other than to the Jack-in-the-Box for smoothies), was Donner Memorial State Park, preserving the 1846-47 site of the ill-fated Donner Party, which as we all know, resulted in survivors resorting to cannibalism. Yuck.
Despite the fact that they could really use some landscaping, we took on a hushed reverence for the area, as one would be expected to do...
But one can't help but make jokes about why they didn't pop over to the Chevron Food Mart. In a hushed tone, of course.
We weren't big fans of this quote on the memorial. The quote on the back says "Near this spot stood the Breen cabin of the party of emigrants who started for California from Springfield, Illinois, in April 1846, under the leadership of Captain George Donner. Delays occurred and when the party reached this locality, on October 29, the Truckee Pass Emigrant Road was concealed by snow. The height of the shaft of the monument indicates the depth of the snow, which was 22 feet. After futile efforts to cross the summit the party was compelled to encamp for the winter. The graves cabin was situated about three-quarters of a mile to the eastward, the Murphy Cabin about 200 yards southwest of the monument, and the Donner tents were at the head of Alder Creek. 90 people were in the party and 42 perished, most of them from starvation and exposure."
Twenty-two feet? Yeeps. We were pleased we had the opportunity for this historical interpretive side trip.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hiking to the Top!

Denim mini-skirt and flip-flops ain't stoppin' us.
We ended up hiking to here. Uh-huh. Cause we're bad-ass.
Mostly across this terrain. Click to enlarge panoramic.
We had to take a wee break en route. What!?! We were hiking at altitude here people -- right around 10000 feet elevation! Yeeps!! White arrow? Yeah, that's our ride.
OMG. We did it! Surveying the sights.
Including Donner Lake in the background.
 Such a cool side adventure!

Let's Go on a Ladyhike!

Hey look! A big rock. If you look closely, you will see a couple of rockclimbers in the middle of that rock. We weren't down with that, but would try to to up there another way.
Ooooh! Petroglyphs!
Tiny chipmunk!!
While I love art as much as the next girl, this is kinda not awesome.
We considered sacrificing Shelby in this rock circle, but decided against it.
The last snow at China Wall. Likely a glacier from when the oceans covered Nevada...err..California.
Here it is! China Wall, built by Chinese laborers so the railroad could come through. Kind of a ton of work, really.