by Thomas Wollwo
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4 - Skanky Goth Girls
killed a man in Reno, just to watch him die" - Matt Weatherford
dropped me off at the airport and I tried to think of ways to get
out of my commitment to drive to Reno with Matt. He had dared me
to drive to Reno, have a meal there, sleep for a couple of hours
and go back. It seemed like an obviously stupid idea. Naturally,
I was in.
to hide at one of the baggage carousels. Unfortunately, he found
me anyway. We got a Suzuki at Thrifty that looked like it would
barely make it off the airport lot. None of the amenities of the
21st century seemed to apply here: No cruise control, no power locks,
only 20 PS. But it featured a cd player, which was important, because
we had agreed to prepare some music for the long drive. My cds were
labeled "peace", "understanding" and "friendship".
His were labeled "Annoy, volume 1-4". He had made a track
list that seemed mostly made up, with song titles like "Let's
rip off her head to see what's inside". Unfortunately, it was
turned out that of course Matt had an agenda for the trip. He was
to use my considerable artistic abilities to shamelessly make truckloads
of money. I obviously couldn't agree to help him, until he promised
me screen time on the world's only web site, the Fig's Umpire or
something similar. Obviously, he was in desperate need of help,
so I finally agreed, knowing that if that project would be completed
as fast as the trip report he promised last year, the projected
time of completion would be around 2023 (or whenever Echelon first
turns a profit).
a bit of time had passed when the Stupendous Suzuki reached Beatty,
a place full of exciting amenities like free parking. There were
quite a few wooden shacks, and Matt had to photograph every single
one of them. It turned out Matt was an expert on taking photos.
The spacious Free Parking in Beatty, now
used by a casino-turned-hardware store.
He also seemed to be
unduly interested in driving. I offered to take the wheel time and
again, but he just mumbled excuses like "you look tired",
"an automatic is a lot trickier than a stick shift" or
"whoa, that was a big truck I missed narrowly right there".
We had sandwiches for
lunch in a run-down casino near Tonopah. Our project (which I can't
say anything about, having signed 13 confidentiality agreements
- you do this sort thing when you're faced with the prospect of
walking back to Vegas from a dusty road not so very near Goldfield,
Nevada) started to take its toll - I was drained, physically and
artistically. Matt, of course, did not care, but cranked up the
volume on "Let's kill the foreign guy and leave his carcass
to rot in the desert", featured prominently (and repeatedly)
on "Annoy, Vol. 4".
Leave it to America
to procide a 30 minute traffic jam in the exact middle of nowhere.
There was construction going on, and our lane was closed. Matt had
great ideas about "just taking the Suzuki through this river, up
the mountains and down that shortcut I know". I wrested the key
from his hands.
We finally arrived in
downtown Reno and I got the grand tour. It felt good not being the
guy playing the tour guide for a change, as I had been doing that
for Wolfgang for quite a bit. So I followed Matt around as he constantly
took wrong turns and kept walking in circles. He explained he was
somewhat of an expert on Reno and that this was the way it was meant
to be enjoyed.
The interior of the underwater themed part
of the Peppermill.
headed over to the Peppermill, and while the downtown casinos had
been interesting enough but a bit blah, the Peppermill was everything
I had hoped for. There was glorious neon everywhere. Every restaurant
had its own neon theming. There was the coffee shop and Fireside
Lounge just like in Vegas, but with the added convenience of being
able to stumble up to your room after a cocktail too many. I took
about 60 pictures of neony goodness and then we checked into our
room in the Tuscany Tower.
It was just like our
room at the Western.
it was a very nice room featuring two King beds and a big soaking
tub with jets as well as a shower big enough for 6 with dual shower
heads (Matt tried to invite 5 girls to our room to share the shower
with him. Results seemed iffy). Nice as it was, the price tag of
$139 seemed a bit high, especially for Reno. To get the most out
of the many bucks Matt had to pay, I immediately pocketed the soap.
Oh, and the shampoo. I might have also taken the conditioner.
We had dinner reservations
at the White Orchid, the Peppermill's gourmet dining room. Value
was great here: a three course dinner for $49 featuring baby spinach
salad with pine nuts, lardons, cranberries and raisins, then a filet
mignon with horseradish potato cake and wild mushrooms and finally
"A Study in Cheesecake": All American, candied ginger loempia and
mascarpone amaretto semifreddo. The wine pairing went for $11. Great
food and a great deal.
We went to bed early, as
we wanted to depart early to get the most of the Sierra Nevada the
next morning. I actually was able to sleep 6 hours in my very comfortable
bed. And I can finally tell the world a really good thing about Matt:
he does not snore.
The awful good and awful big Awful-Awful.
next day, I got up at 4 for a long phone call with TBWOTP. Apparently,
our son had smashed the giant window in our living room with a hammer.
He was building a rocket, you know.
I played a little penny
video poker and happily woke up Matt at 6 a.m. We drove back downtown
to the Nugget's coffee shop for a healthy breakfast: the Awful Awful
burger at $5.50. It was supposed to be Awful big and Awful good
and it delivered on both counts, sitting on a big heap of fries.
There was a rail-thin,
skanky looking Goth girl sitting beside us at the counter. Matt
of course fell in love with her immediately, declaring her to be
"half orphan, half stripper, all good". I couldn't see
the orphan part (and the stripper part seemed to be pushing it,
too), but Matt was happy enough. He seemed to be an expert on both,
orphans and strippers. Oblivious to her actual appearance, he started
fantasizing about her looks and called her "Tiffany" (when clearly
she had to be named Zombie Kitten or Arachna). I looked over to
her and she hissed.
The drive along Lake Tahoe
was beautiful, especially as Tiffany had declined to join us. We took
395 south and drove through the great landscape of the Sierra Nevada.
I like driving through the desert, but the scenery on the drive the
day before had become a bit repetitive after 8 hours. Today, there
was much more to see, and the scenery kept changing. From time to
time, even Matt stopped reminiscing about his stripper orphan (he
kept proposing to return to Reno to pick her up). He also wanted to
make her "whole". I asked whether that might entail killing her remaining
parent, he said I obviously didn't understand the English language
well enough to grasp its finesses. I finally had to intervene by promising
him vast quantities of skanky goth girls in Vegas, a prospect that
seemed to cheer him up considerably.
The shore of North Lake Tahoe.
We chose a tiny cross
road north of Death Valley to rejoin US 95 back to Vegas. This was
an excellent road, with many dips and turns, glorious tarmac, great
scenery and even a bit of one lane road blasted through the rock.
We made it back to Vegas
at 6.30, having spent a total of 19 hours in the car in 34 hours.
I hadn't been bored one single minute of it.
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