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September 8, 2017 / Jim Fenton

Colorado Road Trip Day 1: Departure

As I have done for the past several years, I kept a journal on our summer vacation for publication on this blog following our return. This year the publication of the journal is delayed by three weeks from real time, and I intend to post one installment every day or so over the next two weeks or so. The recurring characters in our story are myself (Jim), my wife Kenna, and our daughter Celeste, who is on her way to college.

Friday, August 18, 2017

While we have done considerable travel this summer, we thought the most interesting trip to blog about would be our road trip to Colorado. Celeste begins at University of Colorado Boulder at the end of August, and we thought we would drive her (and her stuff) out to begin her freshman year.

We managed to fit almost everything she needs into our Volvo XC60, with roof box attached. The packing itself was notable. For example, Celeste found some clothing bags that allowed her to vacuum pack her winter clothing, so they didn’t take up so much room. It didn’t make them any lighter, though!

Amazingly, we left almost exactly on plan: 10 AM today. Our first stop was Stockton, to visit and have lunch with Kenna’s folks (Celeste’s grandparents, of course). We left mid-afternoon; our plan was to go via a scenic route, especially since much of the trip will probably not be all that scenic. So we took Highway 88, which also seemed to be the fastest route to Lake Tahoe. We haven’t driven 88 many times, and it was a very pleasant change of scenery.

Descending to Lake Tahoe, we stopped at a Scottish pub, MacDuffs Pub, for an enjoyable dinner and some nice banter with people at the adjacent table. We stopped by the lake just after sunset, and continued to our destination for the night, Reno.

It had been quite a long time since any of us had been to Reno. Probably because it was a Friday night, the downtown area was bustling with cars and pedestrians. Our hotel, the Whitney Peak Hotel, was centrally located, a former Fitzgerald’s casino and hotel that had been extensively renovated and now contains a large event space in place of the casino. Tonight the space featured an event with an impressive amount of deep bass (perhaps dubstep), making walls shake in the lobby area. But our room was completely quiet.

Kenna and I took a little walk around, admiring the famous Reno arch (just outside) and their new river walk area, an example of another city celebrating rather than turning its back on its river. Although there was quite a bit of foot traffic when we arrived, it seemed to taper off substantially later in the evening (like about 10 pm), very much unlike Las Vegas.

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