Mom Visits Reno!

August 14-19, 2014


Thursday, 8/14/2014 - Eldorado Casino, Downtown Reno: Mom arrived shortly after noon. I picked her up at Reno Airport and our first outing was to Reno's remarkable Downtown Corridor, where the famous Reno Arch is located (with Reno's slogan, "Biggest Little City In the World"). We had lunch at Dos Geckos Cantina just a short walk from this spectacular fountain.

Friday, 8/15/2014 - Virginia City, NV: Friday was our first full day of touring. We spent that day in historic Virginia City, starting with a visit to Comstock Mining Museum, the one museum in Virginia City tht's actually worth the price of admission!


Friday, 8/15/2014 - Virginia City, NV: Here I am at the staged photo shoot area outside the Comstock Mining Museum in Virginia City.


This view shows the terrain of the entire state of Nevada; high desert with one mountain range rolling into another. Virginia City is at an elevation over 6,000 feet above sea level. Amazingly, Death Valley, home to the lowest point in North Amaerica (over 200 feet below sea level), is only about a hundred miles from here.


Friday, 8/15/2014 - Virginia City, NV: Here is my very supportive girlfriend and partner Colleene outside the Comstock Mining Museum.

Friday, 8/15/2014 - Virginia City, NV: A horse drawn carriage and Harleys; a typical tourist day in Virginia City.


Saturday Morning, 8/16/2014 - Colleene's House: After I fixed us a breakfast of French Toast (one of my favorite breakfasts Mom used to fix for me), Colleene's grandchildren came over so Mom could meet them. She was an instant hit with both boys. Of course, it didn't hurt she brought each of them a new toy! Here Hunter is showing her his box of animal crackers. Together they figured out what each cracker's shape was.


Saturday Morning, 8/16/2014 - Colleene's House: Whenever the camera comes out, Brian wants to take some pictures, too. Here he does a pretty good job capturing Colleene, me, Mom and Hunter.

Saturday, 8/15/2014 - Colleene's House: Hunter and Brian demonstrate their toys to Mom.


Saturday Morning, 8/15/2014 - Colleene's House: As Hunter munches animal crackers, Brian continues to discover the cool new toy my mom brught him.

Saturday Morning, 8/15/2014 - Colleene's House: Now it's Colleene's turn for a demonstration of new toys by Brian as Hunter looks on.



Saturday Afternoon, 8/16/2014 - Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe: This is it; the reason I've allowed myself to stay in Reno for so many years. Within just a few hours of being in Colleene's living room, Mom and I were standing here at one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places in all of North America. This is Emerald Bay, an inlet from Lake Tahoe formed by a glacier. Lake Tahoe makes living in Reno tolerable.

Saturday, 8/16/2014 - Lake Tahoe Airport: This is one of those fun, local's favorite secret highlights to the Lake Tahoe area. Tourists don't usually think of going to an airport for cocktails or dinner, but, since Lake Tahoe Airport is just a small, municipal flight center, it isn't overrun with TSA security or crowds. As you can see, visitors can sit on a deck right over the runway. With the magnificent surrounding mountains and an occasional small aircraft to watch landing or taking off, it's one of my favorite under-discovered places around Lake Tahoe.



Saturday, 8/16/2014 - Lake Tahoe Airport: You may notice a slight bluish tint to Mom's and my faces. This was a clear, very bright August day in the mountains, and we were standing in shade. Anyone with camera experience knows this means we were just dark silhouettes against the very bright background of the photo. That is, we were silhouettes until I applied PhotoShop Elements' "Shadows / Highlights" adjustment, a techbiaue I only recently learned. Now you can actually see who is in the photo, even if the adjustment does give us a slightly blue hue.

Sunday, 8/17/2014 - Taylor Creek, Lake Tahoe, NV:  This creek is the largest tributary to Lake Tahoe. This makes it a very attractive place for a state park with lovely walking paths and bridges, but this is also the creek where lake salmon come to spawn every fall. In early October, this creek is loaded with millions of dark red Kokanee Salmon. Autumn is the season during which I'm trying to talk Mom into visiting next. And maybe she can get Dad out of the house for a few days, too! Imagine all those trees in the background with golden leaves and imagine that creek with a traffic jam of Kokanee Salmon. Walking through Taylor Creek State Park in Fall is another of my favorite things about this area of the world.


Sunday, 8/17/2014 - Sand Harbor Beach, Lake Tahoe: Keep in mind this is a woman who has recovered from blood cancer, a brain tumor and osteomyelitis in just the past year. Any one of those diseases can kill a person, and when I saw her last November, my mom could not even sit up in bed without assistance. Now here she is bounding around on a beach just hours after hiking the Taylor Creek path. You're an inspiration to us all, Mom.

Overlooking the lake is Sand Harbor Amphitheater, home to Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, the highlight of Mom's trip. Later this evening we saw "As You Like It," one of Shakespeare's less-often produced comedies. Mom, being a former English teacher, thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and she helped explain the tangled story line to me!


Sunday, 8/17/2014 - Sand Harbor Beach, Lake Tahoe: Here is Mom with my very dear friend, Agi, who also conquered a wretched cancer in recent years. These are two very sweet, very tough ladies.


Monday, 8/18/2014 - Upper Kingsbury, overlooking Lake Tahoe: This is the front deck of Agi's mountain townhouse, where she prepared a glorious brunch for us on Mom's last day at the lake.

Monday, 8/18/2014 - Upper Kingsbury, Lake Tahoe: How nice it is to have a friend with a home like this at Lake Tahoe! Tourists pay thousands of dollars to spend just a week at locations like this. Driving up to Agi's place is like visiting a thousand-dollar-a-day resort. For this brunch with my mom Agi, prepared Eggs Benedict Florentine.



Monday, 8/18/2014 - Upper Kingsbury, Lake Tahoe: Here's one more photo of Mom on the deck of Agi's townhouse, this time with me joining her in the shot. Note that Mom is wearing a sweater. Even in mid August, mornings can be a bit chilly in the mountains. Dang, what's not to love about Lake Tahoe?

Monday, 8/18/2014 - Agi's Living Room: Being the classy lady she is, Mom brought gifts for both Agi and Colleene in appreciation for their hospitality. Here Agi opens her gift, which is a floral scented soap, hand-made by one of Mom's cousins. (I think I got that right.)


Tuesday, 8/19/2014 - Tropic Hut Cafe, Reno: We stopped at my cafe for brunch one last time before taking Mom to the airport. I had not thought of it before this moment, but Mom would be back in El Paso within hours, so this gave us an opportunity to make up a carry-out package she could take with her, allowing Dad to be in on the fun of sampling my Tropic Hut Cafe food! Pictured with Mom is my three person crew; Aleena, Candice and Nick.

Tuesday, 8/19/2014 - Tropic Hut Cafe, Reno: Here's me being a goof with my crew as we say farewell to Mom. Less than a week later, on Monday, 8/25, we would start the Montessori School Lunch Program. I didn't know it at the time, but this would be the last relaxed, enjoyable day I would have for two months - the time it took to get the school lunch program organized and under control. Also, just two weeks after this photo was taken, the crew had increased in size. The school lunch program so overwhelmed us I immediately hired another person to help handle the load.


Thursday, 10/9/2014 - Revisiting Taylor Creek, Lake Tahoe: Now it's early Fall, the time of year when Kokanee Salmon usually fill this creek like a New York sidewalk. I couldn't help reminiscing being here less than eight weeks earlier with Mom, so I shot this video.

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