Thanksgiving at Lake Tahoe

“A tranquil lake is more significant to my life than any big city in the world”

Munia Khan

State 22: Nevada - November 23, 2017


We woke up in a Walmart in Carson City, ready for a brand new day. The first item on the agenda was a drive across town to visit the Nevada State Capitol Building. The external construction of the capitol building was neoclassical Italioanate style, and featured a ridiculously small rotunda appearing to be more of a cupola! There was a very nice large wrought iron fence surrounding the entire capitol grounds, and they were in the process of decorating the capitol for Christmas. Please see the pictures below.

We entered the capitol building via the not so grand external staircase, and were pleased to see there was no security checkpoint at the entrance. Beyond this, the Nevada Capitol proved to be overall disappointing. The Nevada Capitol only offered a self-guided tour with the aid of a small pamphlet, which was no help whatsoever. Not only was there no central room, for some unfathomable reason they chose to cover up the internal rotunda during a previous restoration! On a positive note, there was a fascinating 43x1 foot mural highlighting the natural resources of Nevada along crown molding of the entire first floor. The Nevada Hall of Governors was absolutely exquisite! The paintings of the governors hung throughout the first and second floor hall measuring 36”x 48” inches, and the detail was captivating! Please see the pictures below.

In addition, the Nevada Capitol was the most open, casual and welcoming capitol building we had visited on our cross country trip. Everyone was very down to earth and friendly! We casually meandered in and out of every office in the building including the Governors! Unfortunately, the Nevada Governor wasn’t in during our visit, but we had a nice chat with his receptionist! I even heard 2 security guards laughing and joking with each other about who had a worse thanksgiving at their in-laws. Please see the pictures below!

For over 50 years, all three parts of the state government were housed in the capitol. The Supreme Court moved out in 1937, and surprisingly so did the legislature 1971! Today the capitol serves the Governor, and historical exhibits. As it turns out, Nevada is only one of 3 states to have each branch of government in separate buildings! Call me old fashion, but I believe a capitol building should serve its intended use and contain all 3 branches of state government. Having each in a separate building gives an impression of fragmentation. If there is one aspect of politics in which all agree it is everyone needs to work to together! Nevertheless, off we went in search of the Judicial and Legislative branches of the Nevada government. This is a perfect example of why a guided tour is very helpful to visitors especially those who are considering moving to your state!

We came across the legislative branch of the Nevada government in a modern building about ¼ mile from the capitol building. There was no security check at the door, which is always welcoming! We proceeded to view both Nevada’s Assembly and Senate, and both were largely unremarkable. Please see the pictures below.

After departing the Nevada’s Legislative Building, we set off to find the building housing the Nevada Supreme Court. We found the state’s highest court on the far side of the capitol courtyard, but it was regretfully already closed. While enroute back to Rosie, I saw a family of 3 black tail deer munching away on the bushes on the far side of the courtyard. I was shocked to see so many deer in the desert and so close to civilization! Out of the blue, an 8-year-old kid started yelling and chasing the deer across the courtyard while brandishing a stick! Lori said “Nate you should tell that kid to cut it out”, and I responded “That kid is not my problem”. No sooner had those words came out of my mouth, the 3 deer took a sharp left, and charged directly at us! This snot nosed brat’s action instantly became my problem!!! Lori and I jumped up on a nearby stone memorial with seconds to spare before the 3 deer stampeded by! Lesson learned! The next time I see something wrong occurring, I will make a point to respond appropriately. Please see the pictures below.


After departing the Nevada Capitol Complex, we drove 19 miles Southwest to the Cross Country Couple's "Can’t Miss Attraction" for Nevada; “Lake Tahoe”. Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake straddling the state line with 2/3 in California, and the remaining 1/3 in Nevada. It is approximately 22 miles long, 12 miles wide and has 72 miles of shoreline. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains. At an altitude of 6,225 ft, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. The lake is also the second deepest lake in the US at 1,645 ft, and the 16th deepest lake in the world!

Nate and I were extremely excited to begin our exploration of beautiful Lake Tahoe. We would drive clockwise around the entire lake in a 68-mile paved loop road via the Lake Tahoe Scenic Drive consisting of US 50, NV 28 and US 89. Although the drive consists of beaches, lookout points, and cute tiny towns, we had no scheduled stops, and would stop at whatever points we found interesting! Please see the pictures below of our trip around Lake Tahoe!

After departing Lake Tahoe, we drove 37 miles North to the Cross Country Couple's "Can’t Miss Attraction" for Nevada; “The Reno Arch” Sitting at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, and second only to Las Vegas, Reno is the most populous city in Nevada with 241,445 residents. When the state of Nevada legalized gambling on March 19, 1931, Reno became world famous for it's hotels and casinos.

The Reno Arch was erected on Virginia Street in 1926 to promote the upcoming Transcontinental Highways Exposition. After the exposition, the Reno City Council decided to keep the arch as a permanent downtown gateway. The then mayor held a contest for a slogan for the town to be placed on the arch, and offered a $100 reward for the winner. A man known as G.A. Burns was declared the winner on March 14, 1929, for coming up with the now world famous slogan "Reno, The Biggest Little City in the World".

Reno was America’s premier gambling hotspot until being dethroned by Las Vegas in 1950. Now, I am far from a fan of Las Vegas, but I can clearly see why Reno is no longer Nevada’s top dog! Since the casinos are precariously spread out all over the city, we narrowed our exploration to the blocks surrounding the Reno Arch. One side of the street was well developed with large lighted casinos, and the other side was dark, closed, and looked abandoned with the exception of riff raff hanging out in gangs on the sidewalks. The whole area was poorly lit, old, dirty, dated, and I did not see one cop during our entire time. There were a few times during our walk I would have really felt more comfortable with a uniformed cop nearby! We have seen all we needed to determine our new home was not Reno, and decided it was way past time to leave!

After departing Reno, we drove 32 miles to Fernley where, we not only found a Walmart to spend the night, we also found ourselves in the midst of Black Friday pandemonium!!! As minimalists living in a 76 sq ft van named Rosie, neither Nate nor I are a fans of shopping. We loathe shopping malls, and never once went shopping on Black Friday. Unfortunately, due to the nature of our current journey, Walmart’s are where we sleep, so we found ourselves thrusted into a tumultuous sea of shopping carts and an angry and aggressive mob of shoppers! I had never seen such a scene in my entire life! First, only the main isles were open! All of departments around the perimeter such as: clothing jewelry, electronics, housewares, automotive, and even the dairy department were all sealed off with bright yellow caution tape, with at least 50 store employees placed on guard duty at strategic locations! Around the entire sealed off perimeter, they just dropped entire pallets of hundreds of sale items! I saw 10 pallets of pillows, 5 pallets of televisions, 3 pallets of tupperware, and on and on and on! All I wanted to do was ask permission to spend the night and use the bathroom, which usually takes 5-10 minutes, but tonight it took over an hour! Please see the pictures below.

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