Thursday, April 22, 2010

Waiting out the storm

We are in the bus and RV lot at John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel and casino, in Sparks, Nevada (map). This lot is right on Victorian Square, within easy walking distance of several restaurants, a multiplex cinema, the transit center, the Amtrak station, and, of course, the Nugget.

We arrived here Monday evening. When we got to the bottom of the hill in Carson City, we decided it was too early to stop. Besides that, US-395 now routes around downtown, and so we did not even pass the Carson Nugget. We continued north all the way to Reno, where we had several stopping options in mind.

Long time readers will remember us staying in a couple of different casino parking lots in Reno, most notable the now-defunct Reno Hilton, which has since become the Grand Sierra. However, a few years ago (2007, I think), Reno passed a city ordinance against RV parking anywhere in the city, even on private property, except in an RV park. Enforcement was aggressive, and many RVers have been avoiding the city ever since. We read on the Casino Camper web site, however, that the city council had decided to stop enforcing the ordinance last year, except on a complaint basis. Reports were that the Atlantis, and possibly the Grand Sierra and the Peppermill were once again allowing parking.

Our first stop was Atlantis, which has the advantage not only of being one of the largest and most well-appointed properties in Reno, but is also close to several other restaurants and services. Sure enough, there were a handful of rigs in the west lot. However, in the last few years they have upgraded the lot, which is now fully paved and lit. More importantly, they have installed speakers on most of the light posts, and blare music throughout the lot 24/7. That's not conducive to spending any time there, so we moved along.

The Grand Sierra now has signs forbidding RV parking in the main lots, citing the city ordinance. They do have a full-service RV park, which is both pricey and unappealing. There is also a truck lot, which we probably could have used, but it was cramped and a long way from the hotel entrance. The Peppermill has always been difficult to access, so we came directly here instead.

Unlike its better-known neighbor to the west, Sparks has never had a parking ban, except in its own city parks and lots. The Nugget briefly stopped allowing parking a couple years back, but once again permits it, in this lot only. The guide claims that security will come by and possibly talk to us, but we haven't seen a single patrol since we arrived.

Although the restaurants in the casino have not called us, we did go in yesterday to get massages in the spa. A bit pricey, but that included access to the hotel's indoor pool complex for the day. It was 90° in the pool area, and the pool itself was 85°, while just outside on the deck it was a chilly 40° yesterday. In fact, the last bit of the storm blew through yesterday and it snowed here on and off all day. While we were at the pool and spa, we discovered the showers are actually in a publicly accessible rest room across the hall.

We also ate at two different restaurants on Victorian Square during our stay. That included having a nice lunch with our local friend Julie yesterday before our spa appointment. I would have liked to enjoy more of the area on foot, but the weather has been crappy most of the time we've been here -- part of the reason we've stayed put for a few days. Today is the very tail end of the storm, and we've decided to get rolling this afternoon. Ironically, it will be in the 70s here this weekend.

The lousy weather gave me a chance to get some inside projects done, including repairing the slide projector that belonged to Louise's late stepfather. That's working now, which let me get my old projector listed on eBay. I also got the electric heaters cleaned out for the first time in six years -- the amount of pet fur that was packed into them was remarkable.

We've more or less decided to head to Anacortes for Trawler Fest. That would have been easier starting from San Jose, but we're glad we came up the hill to ski. It does mean wending our way back to the coast as we head north. We've already done US-395 through California, so from here we will head north through Nevada on 445/446/447, just lopping off the very northeastern corner of California on the way to Oregon. We have a full four weeks before the show, so we'll take a very leisurely pace through eastern Oregon and into Washington, and I will be contacting Infinity Coach to see if they can squeeze us in for some maintenance the week or so before the show.


  1. The head of IT for Sparks is on the Board of Directors of Connect (successor to DECUS/Encompass).

  2. @Clyde: Did not realize you were following the blog. I think I knew about Steven. I still get "Connect Now," about the only service Connect provides to those of us who won't cough up the dues :)

  3. There is a Wal-Mart/Winco complex in Reno at the north end of US-395 as you come into Nevada from California. When we were there last summer, the guard made a point of visiting and saying that we wouldn't be hassled if we stayed just one night, and it was so. Also, in Verdi, IIRC they will also let you stay in the casino lot there. Worth looking into, anyway.


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!