Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Reno Day 4: Trapped in a mini-van careening down a mountain.

Today we decided to go see Carson City and Virginia City. So after getting up and hitting the feed-bag we piled into the minivan and Elisa drove us into a snowstorm. Elisa gets sick in cars but the focus of driving can hold off the nausea for quite a while. So we let her drive. Did I mention we were driving into a snow storm.

Well, it really wasn’t that bad and by the time we got to Carson City it was more of a rainy drizzle. We went through the Nevada historical museum and the Carson City Mint (now a museum). These were pretty cheesy but we picked up a few good trinkets for the folks back home; including a commemorative coin minted on the actual coin press used at the mint during the 1800s. After the museums Tamara and I looked in a coin store where we got Duncan an 1892 silver dollar and a set of coins from 1939.

Before we left town we played a little in the Nugget casino. It’s supposed to be one of the oldest in the state but they didn’t mention that it’s also one of the cheesiest (that’s right – the theme for Carson City was cheese; actually Velveeta). We played some three dollar blackjack for a while (and I was up by a bit). Then someone had the bright idea to try Craps. Which, when I play it, should be called, “Hook a vacuum up to my wallet and suck it dry.” I had very little money left by the time we went back to blackjack and the dealer had rotated. This new dealer cleaned us out. Later I found out that we mainly lost money because a new guy joined the table at the end and he kept going double down on a pair of sixes. I didn’t think anything of it at the time but someone later explained that if he wants to win but screw the rest of the table, then this was a good way to do it. It was kind of interesting because I hadn’t thought about players messing with each other before. I just thought we were playing against the house.

When we were all broke (actually we all just lost $20 each) we got back in the minivan and went to see historic Virginia City (y’know the one from Bonanza). Well if Bonanza’s town was a seedy little tourist trap, they didn’t show it in the TV series. Most of the stores were closed and the Red Light Museum was a real waste of time. We did go to a neat Rock Shop and got Duncan some silicon and coral. Then we left and went back to Reno.

I didn’t realize it at the time but Elisa was getting a little sick and wanted the trip to be over. I just thought she liked to drive fast down twisty mountain roads and scare the shit out of everyone else in the van.

We had some pretty good local pizza and then did more gambling. Of course this was the night they decided to get Tamara drunk so we bought some Vodka for them and some Scotch for me. We practiced our blackjack on the bed using piles of pennies (it was a two-penny table). Elisa, Deb and I played and Sam was our dealer. Tamara played the part of the cocktail waitress. It went pretty well and Sam made about 20 cents in tips.

Being all liquored up we thought it was time to hit the real tables. We checked out Harrah’s and found all of their tables too expensive. We ended up at the Cal-Neva casino with some pretty good dealers. Tamara and Elisa left early (Tamara can take only so much tobacco smoke and Elisa wanted to talk more than play Blackjack). So it was just Deb, Sam and me at the table. I can barely remember how I did, much less either of them. I was up 16 and a half dollars at the end of the evening. It was fun, I got free drinks and I didn’t lose money; that’s what I call a good night at a casino.

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