Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The Biggest Little City in the World
Reno, Nevada is on the cusp of radical change...
...and not just because the railroad tracks that used to go through the middle of downtown have finally been moved to an underground trench below.
The casino economy is dying because the vast majority of Reno's traditional gambling customers are now going to Indian casinos in Northern California instead.
At the same time, the California diaspora continues and lot of San Francisco Bay Area people seem to have recently moved to Reno in order to afford a house.
This has led to casinos being decommissioned, and rather than being blown up as in Las Vegas, they have been turned into housing condos.
Though downtown is currently dead and sort of creepy, it's possible to feel that the place is going to revive in an enjoyable way with its new residents.
Rink On The River, an outdoor ice skating rink set between the Cal-Neva parking lot and the Truckee River, was one of the first places I've seen in downtown Reno that looked specifically built for the locals, and it was completely charming.
Up the street, there is the largest bowling alley I've seen in my life.
Actually, it's called the National Bowling Stadium, and mere mortals are not allowed to bowl in it as the place is used exclusively for tournaments.
It felt like the Wimbledon of Bowling.
On Sunday morning, the 1,000+ Reno Fun Train revelers sleepily crawled out of their beds and went to the station where they were serenaded by The Funatics.
Amazingly, the train was only ten minutes late and an extraordinarily beautiful ride through the desert and the Sierras began.