Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Harrah's Reno to Close; Our Final Visit?

I read yesterday that the iconic Harrah's Reno hotel-casino has been sold and that it will be redeveloped a non-gaming property, changing it from a hotel-casino to an apartment-office-retail building. So today, Lisa and I went to Reno to do some shopping and to look in on Harrah's for what might be the final time.

Since getting the tooth removed that was pinching a nerve, Lisa says that the "primary" tinnitus (the high-pitched tone) is mostly gone; however, years of using a white-noise masking device has left her with "secondary" tinnitus. It's not as bad, but it's still troubling her. There are times, however, when she can get "off the wire," and that led to our shopping trip today.

We plan a trip soon that will take us to hotels with indoor pools/hot tubs. Lisa hasn't been able to be in a pool since she started using the masking devices. She may be able to do so on this trip, and she wanted a new swimsuit. I needed new swim trunks myself. For roughly twenty years, I've been mostly using the San Jose-imprinted trunks that the San Jose convention center gave me while we were bidding for the 2002 Worldcon. Sometime in the past year, I think I must have left them behind in a hotel, because I can't find them. They were pretty worn out anyway. So in we went to Reno to search for swimsuits. We found something that will work for Lisa (amazingly, it was US-made and on sale) and I managed to find something that fits me as well. I'm not really a flowered-swim-trunks kind of guy, having tended to mostly solid black for many years, but these will fit and I'll survive.

After dealing with the shopping, we drove to Harrah's, intending to have dinner. We noticed that they have a big "locals discount" on their buffet for members of their affinity program. Although it hardly makes a difference with the casino about to close, I went to sign up. I discovered that I was already in their system twice and that I'd forgotten about it. Being in there from the Sunnyvale address didn't surprise me. Having a record going all the way back to Sutter did. I told them that both the Sutter and Sunnyvale addresses were me, and that I now live in Fernley. They reactivated my account and issued me a new card.

Before going up to look for dinner, Lisa and I admired a small dragon parade (the hotel being all done up for Chinese New Year) trailing through the casino floor. The buffet had just opened when we got upstairs and the queue was long. Lisa held our place while I used the restroom. When I came back, I found that Lisa had balked; the lowball price on the buffet was because it wasn't all-inclusive and would have nickled-and-dimed us and that annoyed her. We also checked out the Hash House A-Go-Go franchise, where we'd eaten once before, but there was nothing that grabbed Lisa's attention this trip. So in the end, we just ended up looking around and not actually spending any money in the casino before heading home after stopping at Raley's in Sparks to pick up a few items not stocked at the Fernley location.

It's unclear how long Harrah's will remain as a hotel-casino. If you come through Reno on your way to Westercon 74 and the resort is closed, you can still see the last remnant of Bill Harrah's legacy: the National Automobile Museum, which was created from Harrah's massive collection of automobiles. It includes the Thomas Flyer, winner of the 1908 New York-to-Paris automobile race that is the (very loose) inspiration for the movie The Great Race. That race is part of Tonopah's history, as it passed through the town, as commemorated by a mural on the side of the Mizpah Club. Thanks to Bill Harrah, you can come through Reno, see the winning car, then come to Tonopah where the race actually passed more than a century ago.
Tags: casino, reno, restaurants, tonopah, westercon
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