Alright, I have a new favorite place to eat in Reno. The conversation traditionally has been (no matter who I am with) so where do you want to eat. I don’t know, where do you want to eat? This place will definitely be added to the must visit every time I am in Reno, probably more than once. This place is for bacon lovers, starting with the Bacon Bloody Marys, right on through the 50/50 Bacon Burgers. Everything has a down home, comfort food feel. There were collard greens the first night we were there. They had a Portuguese soup with beans and some sort of spicy meat-absolutely excellent! It also happens to major in barbecue. We ended up going there twice for dinner also. It is called BJ’s Nevada Barbecue Company and is located in Sparks just down the road to the east of Victorian Square. We ended up going there for breakfast twice. Breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy, and pecan cinnamon sticky rolls for starters. They serve French toast just the way I like it-with butter and powdered sugar. Neither of us had ever had grits, so they brought us a healthy sized sample to try. They were very good as well. But to die for (we ordered them 3 times in one week) was the bread pudding with bourbon sauce. Since we were too full, that went back to the hotel with us. It also went home with us the day we left.
I admit that for the longest time, I never was truly active with the politics that drive a lot of what I do as a teacher. That has changed in the last several years. Our Nevada legislature meets only ever other year. This is the first year that I took one of the days of my vacation up north in Reno to head down to Carson City and visit with the legislators and the governor as a representative of Clark County Education Association.
We started by dropping all of those post cards to Senator Spearman and Assemblywoman Kirkpatrick. We were lucky enough to catch a few minutes with Marilyn Kirkpatrick. We had a good discussion (if not the most positive) and took a photo op.
Lunch and checking out an Assembly session followed. Then some time with Governor Sandoval. Photo ops of course and while I didn’t take any selfies or pics myself, I did land in quite a few photos taken by CCEA since I was in the front row. I really am excited that I did get to sit right next to the Governor in some of the pictures.
Teachers across the state-you MUST write your legislators and protect yourself. Yes, we are pushing for the governors education funding bill. There are so many bills that we need to keep from happening. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write the legislators and let them know that you don’t want collective bargaining to go away and that you want PERS left alone.
During my 21 years of living in Nevada, I have only been over to Pahrump twice before. The first time was when we first moved here and my husband had to try out his four-wheel drive vehicle, so we went up over Wheeler Peak. We saw some of the wild horses up at the top and dropped down through the state camping area on the other side then headed into town. I don’t remember there being that much in Pahrump at that time, but there was enough to grab a bite before we headed back to Las Vegas. My second trip was related to education and involved visiting one of the schools in Pahrump. I remember there was a Terrible Herbst in town on that trip. So today, I went over to the Second Annual Pahrump Balloon Festival. The town has really grown up. It now has Albertsons, Walmart, Sonic, Denny’s and a whole bunch of other restaurants.
So apparently, balloon festivals are held in many places in Nevada that I wasn’t aware of. Reno, Las Vegas, Mesquite and now Pahrump each have one. There were only about 20 balloons today in Pahrump, but there was plenty of excitement. People volunteered to help with holding the lines on the balloons while they were being inflated by highly powerful fans that amazingly blew them up much faster than I thought could happen. There were lots of people out there with their cameras, like me snapping pictures. People were available to form the chase teams to go pick up the balloons when they landed and I learned that the balloonists have a tradition of having Mimosas once the balloons are picked up.
There was other excitement too, in the form of a drone flying around and quite a few motorized gliders. There were so many people in attendance, that Denny’s had quite the time keeping up with all of the customers who came in for breakfast, but all of the employees were justly apologetic and as pleasant as could be. One place that I still haven’t gone to out in Pahrump is the winery. It has been there for years, and it has been recommended by several friends. But after getting up at 4 am to be out there in time for the ascension, and knowing I had a 90 minute drive back, I wasn’t about to drink any wine this morning. Depending where you are in Las Vegas, the drive to Pahrump is somewhere between 60 to 90 minutes.
Another friend and I are both trying to do more with photography. One of the things I love to take pictures of is snowy weather and after the snow falls. Mount Charleston is only a 30 minute drive to the top. We can definitely see the snow on the mountain when it does snow. Getting up there to take pictures right after the snow is often challenging, since I can only do it on weekends and she can only do it on certain varied days. One day we both could go and decided to do just that. It was supposed to be snowing on the mountain on a Sunday morning, so off we went hoping for the best, armed with our cameras, snow chains, water and blankets just in case.
We stopped everywhere we saw a potential picture, including our high desert plants. Now mind you, everytime it does snow, the snow disappears over the next several days-at least in the accessible places. The very top of the mountain where we can’t get to stays white and can be seen down in the valley. Well, it was snowing and it was cold.
So after taking some pictures and checking out Cathedral Rock Group Picnic Area, we headed in for some hot chocolate at the Mount Charleston Lodge. Mount Charleston Lodge has a limited number of cabins for use year round. Sitting near the fire and looking across the way with the snowflakes coming down was quite calming, as we planned the next shots we would take. Out the door we went to take more shots at that location, then headed partway down the hill-taking some more pics as we went down.
Halfway down the mountain, you can find The Resort on Mount Charleston which is larger and is a nice stopping point in either direction. The Resort on Mount Charleston has more rooms available in a lodge type hotel. Both on on Kyle Canyon Road. What is brand new up the mountain is a US Forest Service Visitor Center. It is so new, it isn’t even open yet. But checking it out, we saw that there is plenty of parking and even “bus” parking. What on earth do they have in mind for this visitor center. I can’t wait to see what they do with this.
The other thing that is new to both Kyle and Lee Canyons is a round about on both of them. A round about? Really? Drivers in Las Vegas are not known for handling round abouts very well. We do have our share, particularly up in Summerlin. This could be downright entertaining. Oh well. We headed across the connecting road to Lee Canyon and tried to check out the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort. We couldn’t get up there where more snow was located. Turns out there is paid parking. So we turned around and headed on toward Floyd Lamb Park for our next session of snapping photos. Did we see the snow that we really wanted to see? No-it was there on Monday when we were both stuck at our jobs. Did we have some fun? Yes-definitely!
I am revisiting Lake Mead since my latest visits to the lake. Once upon a time, I visited Hoover Dam around 1984. At that time the lake level was so high that water flowed over the spillways. That was a really awesome sight, but I didn’t realize I would never see it again. Since then the levels have done nothing but drop, especially since we have had at least 10 years of drought and the snowpack on the Western Slope (particularly in Colorado) has been very much below average. Most people say, but you have had some really good rainstorms in Las Vegas. That helps, doesn’t it? Yes, we have had some phenomenal rainstorms. No, that doesn’t help the lake levels. The other thing that contributes to the lower levels are the water contracts/rights of other states including Arizona, New Mexico, and California. This includes water for irrigation in other places as well as water for large cities.
You will see above both a picture from around 1984 and a picture from 2015. While these photos are taken from opposite sides of the dam, the intake tower in the upper picture is the intake tower on the right in the lower picture. These most recent visits found me repeating myself often with the phrase “So sad, it’s just so sad!” I really don’t know what else to say. Echo Bay Marina is closed and what used to be a hotel and restaurant now are obviously being vandalized. I believe one other marina was closed and the remaining marinas have been moved multiple times as the water levels dropped. While I was out there taking pictures, I got into a discussion with some people from Arizona. They asked me how low it was. I replied it had to be more than 100 feet because it had been about 100 feet two to three years ago. One of them said that they had heard it was about 50 feet low. The challenge was on. I came home and started doing my research and found that it is about 150 feet low. Now, with a husband that is an engineer and having heard it elsewhere-I searched to see how low they could let it drop before they would have to release water from Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam. This would be because there has to be a certain amount of water behind the dam to maintain the integrity of the dam due to the design of the dam. Wouldn’t you know it? I couldn’t find it. I did find that Lake Mead is only 50 % full and Lake Powell is only 40% full. It is predicted that Lake Mead will never ever fill up again. Everyone seems in agreement with that. I did find other enlightening information though. There is more than one group proposing that Glen Canyon Dam should be decommissioned and the water released from Lake Powell. The groups want Glen Canyon to start recovering to its pre-dam condition. The government entities are involved as well. The other piece of a solution though is that the contracts for water rights between all of the parties involved need to be rewritten, as the amount of water flowing through Lake Mead is NOT enough to satisfy the earlier contracts. Once again-it is sooooo sad! In this case, we will have to wait and see how it all plays out.