I stopped in Sparks for what was supposed to be a brief look in to tickle my club card at the Nugget, but it got longer, as I happened to notice someone working on the pinball machines in the arcade. Lisa and I had spent some time playing them on our Halloween excursion, and all of them were in sad shape. I went and talked to the man. He was carefully going over the Lord of the Rings machine, whose Dot-mation screen was shot (he had a replacement), and he said he really needed to take it back to the shop to give it a thorough cleaning top to bottom. I showed him all of the things that Lisa and I had found broken with Roller Coaster Tycoon — broken bumpers and flippers, a drop target that never resets, a drop hole that never registers, and so forth — and found that this guy really knew his pinball. I left him my e-mail and asked him to let me know if he hears of anyone selling a Creature from the Black Lagoon machine, as Lisa has always wanted one and now we actually have a place we could put it if we could afford to buy it. And since he's refurbishing that LOTR machine and promises to look into the condition of the RCT machine, maybe Lisa and I will actually come back and spend money on that arcade again.
I didn't get out of Sparks until after 2 PM, which was a little worrisome, as there were snow-looking clouds over the Sierra; however, all the road-status information said that Interstate 80 was open with no controls. Approaching Truckee, the signs warned that it was snowing over the summit and to take it easy, which I did. Light snow continued to fall as I climbed up the east side of Donner Summit, and there appeared to be around six inches of snow on the ground at the summit, although the road itself was clear and mostly dry. Snow fell faster on the west side, but hadn't yet started to accumulate on the road surface, although I expect I was lucky to get across when I did. (Checking the Caltrans highway information as I write this around 9 PM the same day, I see that there are currently R2 (chains or 4WD/snow tires) restrictions in effect from around Gold Run to Truckee, so it does indeed look like I made the right decision.)
The snow faded away below Baxter, and I stopped at Colfax for a coffee before continuing on toward the Bay Area. I stopped again at Tracy intending to have dinner, but the line at the restaurant at which I was going to eat was out the door and I lost my appetite. I did, however, take the opportunity to check availability of an item at Home Depot: original-type Lysol disinfectant spray. They stopped selling original Lysol in ordinary retail versions some years ago, and the only kinds you can get at most stores are the ones with heavy scents, and Lisa hates those, preferring the original scent. We discovered that you could still get "professional grade" Lysol in the original scent, but when we went to Lowe's to buy some, we could only find the scented versions. Home Depot, however, still carries the original. This isn't the first shortcoming of Lowe's. We have been shopping there in Fernley mainly because (a) they're the only game in town and (b) we had a bunch of discount coupons that are about to expire. Otherwise, they never would be our first choice.
(In fact, big box stores are never our first choice, but in many cases they've managed to muscle out everyone else so that they can impose their choice, which typically seems to be not that much choice at all as they try to drive everything to a single supplier, usually in China. You'd think a big place would have lots of selection, but it often seems to us as though it's a big selection of stuff all from one supplier of Generic Product. It's not always Cheap Chinese Junk, however, as there are some nice American-made shelves that Lisa bought and with which she turned more than a hundred boxes of stuff into a pretty well-organized garage. OTOH, when she went back to buy more of a particular type of shelf from the store, the person there said to her, "They don't make that type of shelf anymore." We went on their web site and found that they do make it and special-ordered one section of the stuff. Yesterday, we saw that the slot full of the shelving that the clerk had told Lisa "They don't make anymore" was full of the racks that Lisa had asked for. As I've said before, it appears that "They don't make that anymore" in some cases means "I can't be bothered to get it for you; go away and stop bothering me.")
Approaching the Bay Area, it started to rain, rather hard at times, and because it was dark and traffic was heavy, it was actually more nerve-wracking than driving in the light snow over Donner. I stopped for groceries on the way back to the apartment, and I got home between 8 and 9 PM, having not really made very good time, but having arrived in one piece.
I'm glad that daylight-savings time ends tonight; I could use that extra hour of sleep!