Whenever we travel to/through the state of Nevada I can’t help but relive a few childhood memories. I grew up in a blink of a town known as Gardnerville, which is about 45 minutes south of Reno.
When I was a kid, Gardnerville was the kind of town where we rarely locked our doors, heck, most of the time we didn’t even close the door. We did live about 5 miles outside of the town but everyone felt safe to do so. We had small town parades, town picnics (Carson Valley Days) and everyone in town went to the Friday night high school football games. It was pretty much a page out of a Norman Rockwell coffee table book; the idyllic small farming community sitting at the base of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Yesterday, as we drove hundreds of miles along the l-o-n-g desert roads of Nevada we passed through several different counties and I was giggling to myself as we crossed each county line. Lyon, Mineral, Esmeralda, Clark, etc., I was remembering my 8th grade Nevada Constitution test that all 8th graders were required to pass before graduating. I can still see the blank map template and having to write in all of the county names.
So here we are in Las Vegas (Clark County) where we’re spending two nights. I have no idea how many times we’ve been to Vegas, too many to count and truthfully, I’m pretty much over the Vegas hype, but it is a fun place to visit on a few different levels. One does not have to gamble and/or drink and party to enjoy Vegas. I do remember though the first time our son was old enough to sit down at a 21-table with us, that was a bit surreal. At this stage I try to avoid going into the casinos because my lungs can’t handle the smoke which causes me some pretty good respiratory problems, so we try to enjoy the other attractions.
Gone are the days of the Rat Pack with Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., I think that would have been a Vegas to see. Here’s a glimpse of the classic Rat Pack: Now, it’s all about go big or go home. To describe Vegas for those who have never been here, I would use 3 words… Big, Bigger and Biggest. Oh, and decadent, yes, decadent is a good word. And over the top, everything is over the top!
Actually, the city of Las Vegas is a normal average city with average people living their lives. What makes it stand out is the fact that it just happens to have what’s known as the strip where everything is over the top and the city has a long history of big name star power, old money mob power, quick divorces and a few other goodies in the city’s sordid past. Today though, anyone can enjoy a round of golf, an afternoon at the pool, great dining, amazing live performances and lots of shopping and yes, you can gamble away your money!
Tomorrow, we are off to Bryce & Zion National Parks where we also go Big, Bigger and Biggest but of a much different nature!
I came to this from the Trip Down Memory Lane post by Boomeresque.I haven’t been Vegas since the 1990’s and I was first there in 1985. That is when it was still so cool with all of the nostalgia of the older buidings and hotels and restaurants. I’ve lived in Reno for 30 years and spent many times either in or driving through your hometown of Gardnerville. Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Small world Mike! Thanks so much for finding us and reading!
You’re so right about having many options besides gambling. We were there last Sept. and hardly gambled at all. It was my second time and I was stunned by how much had changed since 1989! The overhead enclosure on Fremont street is a great improvement; it really diffuses the heat. My favourite hotel was New York, New York. Bohemian and fun; just like I imagine the real New York to be. (Hope to get there some day.)
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Oh yes, drastic changes from 1989 to present day Vegas! It must have been a really fun visit to basically experience an all new Vegas. The only site I haven’t seen, but very much want to, is the Neon Sign Graveyard. I found out about it recently and the next time we drive through Vegas I hope to make it there. Thanks so much for reading.
A friend of mine was there recently and did visit the Neon Sign Graveyard. She thoroughly enjoyed it! Must check it out next time too. 🙂 We toured the Titanic and Bodies exhibit at The Luxor. Both fascinating!
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Thanks for the heads-up about the exhibits in Vegas and thanks so much for reading!
We are heading back to The Strip on Monday after a 1 1/2 year absence, this post has only built the anticipation of a return to America’s Adult Disneyland!
Have fun Jackie ~ do you know about the Neon Sign graveyard?! When we next return to Vegas, that’s where I want to visit, talk about nostalgia! Thanks for reading!
Great photos- never been to Vegas and not sure if I’ll ever get there- but those make it a bit enticing.
You can imagine our surprise when traveling Route 66 we came upon Las Vegas, New Mexico! Neither of us had ever heard of it and thought it was great fun. We didn’t get to spend a day there but from what we saw it seemed to be a quaint little town and worlds apart from Las Vegas, Nevada! Thanks so much for reading!
I have to agree with your take on Las Vegas — at least as a tourist. (I actually know a real person who lives there, so I there must be at least some “normal” people there). I think it’s worth seeing “the Strip” once because it’s really hard to understand without absorbing the vibe in person. We were there on our way to taking our then young sons to see the Grand Canyon. I don’t know if their eyes were wider at their first sight of the Canyon or the first time someone handed them a flyer for a strip show walking down the street in LV.
As those lovely people who pass the strip club flyers ~ The one thing I do want to do in Vegas is go to the neon sign graveyard. I didn’t know it was there until recently and now I think it would be very cool to go. Otherwise, we only go to Vegas these days to visit our nephew and his family. But I think everyone should experience the insanity at least once!
Love your post and pics, Patti. Nevad always conjures up a lot of memories for me — from driving on those desert roads or visiting Las Vegas or Reno. LV has sure changed, but some of those long desert roads are still very much the same and make me very nostalgic when I drive them today.
Thanks Cathy ~ We’re planning a road trip for the fall that will include another trek across the Nevada desert and I’m not really looking forward to it because we’ve made the drive(s) so many times and it’s so mind numbing at times! But, on the other hand, it will usually conjure up some sort of memory or two, which is a good thing.
We are two blinks now but not much more. I love living here, always have. Raised my kids at the Minden Park and now my daughter is raising her family there. I’ve written may blogs about life in Carson Valley and Northern Nevada in our blog,
Lisa ~ Thanks for sharing the link to your blog! I will definitely read through and it was good to hear from you!