Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

After All These Years

I have passed through the city of Grass Valley many times. When I worked at a comic book store in Marysville, I would sometimes drive to Grass Valley, where our distributor (Bud Plant Inc.) was located, to collect our shipment of comics a day earlier than if we waited for the UPS shipment. It's located on Route 20, the road between the Marysville-Yuba City Area and Reno. But as it happens, I've never eaten or shopped or done much of anything else here. (I have stopped now and then slightly up the road in Nevada City or in the area between the two cities.) But since there is no longer a Holiday Inn-chain hotel in Yuba City and I have lots of Priority Club points to use and since it seemed prudent to get over Donner Pass the night before Thanksgiving, Lisa and I are staying at the Grass Valley Holiday Inn Express for two nights and will be going on to Sutter later today to spend Thanksgiving with my mother. And we have a lot to be thankful for there, as not too long ago, none of the doctors expected that my mother would be alive this Thanksgiving, while now she's significantly recovered and is happily working on making us all Thanksgiving dinner today.

I managed to get my work assignments as clear as they could be until other people come back from their holidays by about 1:30 yesterday, and Lisa and I set off first for Reno, where we stopped at the DMV. We were all set to register all three of her vehicles (including the trailer) in Nevada. The projected hour wait wasn't too wonderful, though. We sat down and went through the checklist. It looked like we had everything we needed, until we got to the bottom of the list and realized that we may have been short one item. We went back to the information desk, they looked at what we had, and agreed that there was one more document we needed for each vehicle, and those documents were still in Fernley.

I said, "Well, there's no point in us hanging around then. We'll come back next week." The info-desk attendant agreed, and suggested we hold off until next Wednesday at least, due to the likely backups on the first two days after the long holiday weekend.

I handed him our ticket for our place in the queue and said, "I don't guess we'll need this, so you can have it back."

He said, "That's fine; I'll give it to her," motioning to the next person in line to get a number. So she effectively got to jump the queue by about twenty or thirty people, cutting her wait time from about an hour to maybe 45 minutes.

We made a brief stop at the Nugget to tickle our affinity card — the final drawing for a car or $18,500 cash is this Saturday night — and were pleased when we got an actually useful win: $25 off a $50 or larger purchase from one of the Nugget's nicer restaurants sometime after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. We just have to check the schedule at Oruzko to find out when they don't have music playing, because their music is in our opinion much too loud and ruins our appreciation of the meal.

After our Reno-Sparks errands, we were actually on our way to California. Aside from the inevitable clog in the middle of Reno, where the road construction is still going on, the drive yesterday afternoon was actually rather pleasant. There was no bad weather, the roads were clear, and we got to Grass Valley before the sun set.

When I checked in, the front desk clerk asked if I'd stayed here before. I said, "No, but I've stayed at lots of other Holiday Inn hotels."

The clerk looked at my Platinum Priority Club card and said, "Oh, my, yes!"

While I was checking in, Lisa examined the restaurant display. There appeared to be plenty of places to eat within easy walking distance. Indeed, one of them was apparently in the same building as the hotel itself, although not actually inside the hotel. We moved our things into the room and decided to check out the Bear River Pasta Company just outside the hotel's Bank Street entrance next to the casino and the Kinko's.

Bear River Pasta is a pasta/Italian deli, mostly for take-out, with a small number of tables. They have lots of pre-made pasta meals and Italian-style foods. Since our hotel room has a microwave oven and refrigerator, and since we'd brought sodas with us in the electric ice chest in the van (so they were still cold), we decided to pick up a couple of pre-made pasta meals (clam linguini for both of us), and Lisa found some undyed cookies. We went back to the room, heated up the pasta — the folks at the deli toasted the garlic bread we'd bought before we left, and being so close to the hotel, it was still warm by the time we got back to the room — and had a nice quiet meal.

After all of that pasta, we certainly needed a walk, so we headed out to explore downtown Grass Valley. Unlike some cities whose downtown areas have completely burned out or turned into a desert of antique stores, Grass Valley appears to have made some effort to keep its downtown business district going. Although it's on the side of a hill, we found it quite walkable and pleasant, and we spent more than an hour walking through the area seeing what was what. I was amused that there were two separate places that sold Cornish pasties, something that you rarely see at all in the USA in my experience. There's also an impressive looking bank (now a Wells Fargo branch) and library, and a hotel that claims to be the oldest continually-operating hotel in California.

Picking up some milk from a Circle K on our way back to the hotel, we went back to the room, where a test of my blood sugar showed that I had not only worked off the pasta's deleterious effects on my blood chemistry, but I could afford to eat a few of the cookies, too. But unfortunately, I also determined that my pedometer must have broken, because it registered only about 1000 steps for the entire day, which is absurd, since just the downtown walk should have been good for several thousand steps. I also discovered that I must have left my telephone charger in Fremont. I'm not completely out of luck because I have a 12V charger for the phone in my van. Regrettably, this phone apparently has a completely custom charger that works on no other model of phone in the world. The last time I was without a charger for this phone, I went to a Verizon store, which sold me the phone in the first place, and they said they don't have chargers that fit that model and can't get them. After all, the phone was made more than fifteen minutes ago, so it's completely obsolete. *sigh* I'm just glad I bought the spare charger when I bought the phone, on the grounds that if you don't buy a phone's accessories when you buy the phone, you'll never be able to find compatible accessories for it. (I do hope that eventually the phone makers stop acting like Compaq computers and standardize on, say, the micro USB connector for charging phones.)

There's a fairly good chance that this won't be the last time we spend the night in Grass Valley as long as I'm using/earning Priority Club points, so perhaps we'll have an opportunity to explore more of the shops and restaurants here in the future.
Tags: family, hotels, lisa, travel

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