Reno – Nevada

August 14, 2010

My motel room smelled like garlic.

It was my fault.

My dad had chopped up 2 weeks worth of garlic for me (that’s a lot), and I had it in a ziplock baggie which, apparently, was not air tight. During my drive to Reno, the garlic baggie sat in my cooler, building up fumes. Opening the cooler in my room released a pungent garlic bomb. Apologies to Kettle and to the next few occupants of room 157.

I left San Francisco at 1 pm. I was running late because I had important rendez-vous scheduled in Reno that night  …

The rendez-vous was with my friend Kevin and his family. They were also driving across the country, but in the other direction. Reno would be their last stop, and my first.

[If you were on the initial followingalex mailing list way-back-when, then you may remember that Kevin orchestrated the creation of the Lizzy List!]

Kevin is a Psychology professor at Colgate University in New York, but will be spending the next year back home on the peninsula because he was asked to be a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. This is the coolest job ever. Kevin says his only task is to: “think big”. To that end, he is supposed to have lunch each day with “the other fellows.” The other fellows specialize in anthropology, economics, political science, psychology and sociology . By chatting with each other at lunch, they can share ideas and think big together.

Kevin says I can join him for one of those lunches.

I’d like to, but I think I would feel small.

Anyway, a few days before I left, Kevin and I had agreed to meet at the La Quinta Inn in Reno. When I arrived, Kevin was playing in the pool with his two delightful daughters, Abby and Julia, with his wife Allison looking on. I introduced Kettle to the girls, then Kevin and I went out for a beer. We had breakfast together the next morning, then Kevin’s family left the way I had come.

But Kettle and I weren’t done with Reno.

After breakfast, we went to Wingfield Park for a 9am yoga class out on the grass. Kettle sat under a tree and watched – happy as a clam. The weather was perfect, the park was green with a river running through it, and there was the positive energy of people setting up for a festival. It was the opposite of a depressing casino.

Walking back to the car, we encountered two poodles wearing rainbow sweaters. Turns out that the set-up going on in the park was for a Gay Pride festival.

Our next stop would be Winnemucca, located in the middle-top of Nevada. But before leaving town, I stopped at an Apple Store and upgraded my iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4. Finally! For the 2 weeks before leaving, I’d been trying to get one, but the stores in San Francisco were always sold out.

With my new phone in pocket, I walked across the parking lot to where a Farmer’s Market was just shutting down … just in time to buy some of the remaining items: tomatoes, zucchini, brussel sprouts, and peaches.

I had expected nothing from Reno, but what I got was everything:  a visit with a good friend, a vigorous yoga class in a beautiful park, a happy dog, a new iPhone, and a bag of fresh produce.

I proceeded to thoroughly enjoyed the 3-hour drive from Reno to Winnemucca – relishing my perfect morning, admiring the dramatic desert/mountain landscape, and breathing in the occasional waft of garlic emanating from the cooler on which I rested my arm.

Julia - Kevin - Abby

Kettle wouldn't go near them.

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