How we celebrated Nevada Day

Weeks ago we had decided that we would drive up to Carson City for Nevada Day. I heard the announcement for the trip to Carson City for Nevada Day sponsored by the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau.

I told Terri that I was going to win so we didn't need to make reservations yet. On Oct. 19, Phil Burger from KNPR called to let us know that we were the winners. Being the happy KNPR winners (and listeners), here is our trip diary.

Friday, Oct. 29

6 a.m. - Jared brought out the bag from his room that he had packed the night before and headed out the door to catch the school bus. I yelled after him that we would pick him up across from the school when it let out.

8-11a.m. - Did the little chores to get ready (taking care of the animals, mowing the grass, finishing up laundry, etc.)

12:40 p.m. - Terri has showered and was packing. I said that I guess I should start since I only had an hour before we had to leave...she told me I had 20 minutes since it was a 15 minute ride to school, and Jared got out at 1:15.

1:05 p.m. (just a few minutes late) - Showered and packed and out the door (whew!)

1:20 p.m. - Picked up Jared and headed for the airport.

2:40 p.m. - We're at the airport and the plane hasn't arrived yet. I started whining to Terri that we could have been almost to Indian Springs if we had driven.

3:10 p.m. - The plane has arrived, we've boarded, the doors are closed, and the plane pushed back. We powered up and waited another 20 minutes on the taxi-way before getting clearance for take-off.

4:45 p.m. - We arrive in Reno and head down to pick up the rental car. Not leaving anything to chance, I had made reservations the prior Tuesday. Confirmation number in hand, we walked from car company to car company checking to see if the number was theirs. It seems that I forgot to write down the name of the rental company and can only remember some of the ones that I know it wasn't. One enterprising agent who quoted $33/day over the Internet asked if he could steal us away with a $28/day deal. For $2 less a day we kept looking and found good luck at the next counter.

5 p.m. - Bags at our side and keys in hand we left the airport for an uneventful ride to Carson City.

5:50 p.m. - Checked into the Ormsby House, went up to the room and started getting ready for the Grand Ball.

6:40 p.m.- Our journey back in time began. Dressed in our period outfits, we entered the Ormsby ballroom and stepped into 1864. President and Mrs. Lincoln were there. Soldiers, gentlemen and ladies were all well represented. Across the room we could see the gunslingers and saloon girls from Virginia City in their Sunday best. Looking through the costumes, we could see familiar faces like Lorraine Hunt (lieutenant governor).

We were lucky enough to have Janet Jones from the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau sit with us. She provided lots of insight and information on things to do and see in Carson City. She also queued us for the promenade and made sure we participated in the Virginia Reel.

All in all, a very good time.

Saturday, Oct. 30

9:30 a.m. We had a pass to the judging and dignitaries review stand for the Nevada Day Parade. We walked up and down Carson Street from the Ormsby to Carson Station, to the Ormsby, to the Nugget, to the "other" reviewing stand (where we found out where we were supposed to be), and then back past the Ormsby and Carson Station to the reviewing stand at the Carson Mall.

The parade started at 10, kicked off by a flyby by Navy jets out of Fallon Naval Air Station. They actually did two flybys. The announcer claimed that the first one didn't count because they were trying to find Carson Street which wasn't on their map. I didn't believe him.

While we waited for the first entry, we met Candy Duncan from the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau. Candy had made all the arrangements, making sure that we had hotel reservations, tickets for the Grand Ball and the pass for the reviewing stand. Candy introduced us around and it was great to be a celebrity for a while. We were introduced as "the winners from Las Vegas" and as "the people who listen to public radio."

This year's parade theme was "Steaming into the Millennium." Grand Marshal Patty Sheehan led the parade riding a steam engine from the Nevada Railroad Museum. The governor, lieutenant governor and Sen. Bryan followed. The Budweiser Clydesdales, Gunslingers and Saloon Girls of Virginia City, bands, Shriners, police and fire department, horses, dogs, clowns, dancers, tumblers and scouts helped to round out the 240 parade entries.

2 p.m. On our way to the Mint, we stopped and watched the drill contest where each entrant swings a four-pound hammer for 10 minutes, drilling into rock. An impressive feat of endurance. This year's winner drilled over 14 inches.

We toured the old Carson City Mint which is now the Nevada State Museum. Coin press No. 1 was operating and striking commemorative silver medallions. We paid our $25 each and got to strike our own coins.

3 p.m. We worked our way to the Governor's Mansion. It was open to the public. The mansion was just remodeled with new carpeting and drapes. We had two choices walking in; put on booties or take off our shoes and walk in our stocking feet. We chose the socks (it sounded like it might be more "homey"). The governor's wife greeted everyone as they came in (she didn't know we were "the people from Las Vegas" or at least pretended she didn't know). The governor was in the new Nevada Room shaking hands, asking kids if they had a "B" average.

4:30 p.m. - Fireworks were scheduled to be shot from the Ormsby House at 7 p.m. Janet had encouraged us to attend the fireworks and so we wandered across the street to get a good seat. We didn't have a pass for the special seating area but we had enough names to throw around of who we knew and whose guest we were that we overwhelmed the guardian of the gate and her guest list. She gave us the arm bands and told us to pass.

The fireworks didn't start at exactly 7. Kenny was running a little late and the show wasn't starting without him. The governor, family, and entourage arrived at about 7:15 and the show started at 7:30. The fireworks were great! They were set to old western themes like Bonanza, Rawhide, The Rebel (Johnny Yuma), and the Big Valley. (Somehow they squeezed in Michael Jackson's Thriller). Firework "gunfighters" shot at each other across the top of the Ormsby with surprising accuracy. A waterfall of fireworks showered from the top floor and draped the entire front of the hotel. The finale boomed and banged overhead as a "Nevada 2000" flashed to life on the front of the Ormsby.

Sunday, Oct. 31

We decided to drive around Sunday morning. We drove down to Gardnerville, Minden and Stateline and then back through Genoa (Nevada's oldest settlement, according to the sign). Not too much was open but it was Sunday, after all. We came back into Carson City and headed out towards Virginia City. Highway 50 seemed to be a good place for ranching. We thought if we had one, though, we wouldn't have called it "Bunny."

In Virginia City we bought tickets for the V&T train ride to Gold Hill. We thought we were catching the 12:30 train but found out that we had forgotten to "fall back" and we were actually catching the 11:20.

After the train ride I ended up almost getting hung for not paying my debt with not one but two of the local saloon girls. I guess I was lucky that I knew the marshal. He paid the girls off and sent me on my way. A couple of the gunslingers were still looking for trouble and ended their day with a shootout with the marshal.

Monday, Nov. 1

More sightseeing. We drove down to Tahoe. A lot of places were closed for the season. We stopped in Tahoe State Park for a little hike down to the water. We continued towards Incline Village and then headed back towards Reno to catch our plane home.

We really enjoyed our trip to Carson City and want to thank the Carson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Janet Jones and Candy Duncan as well as KNPR.




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