May 12th, 2021

Reno

Short Trip Made Long

Yesterday afternoon, when I got off work about 3 PM, Lisa and I went to Reno intending to get grocery shopping done at the newly-remodeled and rebranded Raley's O-N-E market in south Reno (Galena/Wedge Parkway). the O-N-E Market branding appears to be an attempt for the Raley's family of grocery stores to pick away at the Whole Foods Market segment, and in this case, it hasn't worked for us.

There is a long-term road project at the so-called "Spaghetti Junction" of I-80 (east/west) and US-395/I-580 (north/south) that makes the junction an annoyance to be avoided except in times of very low traffic. Fortunately, for what we wanted to to, Veterans Parkway, which forms a partial beltway on the east side of the Reno/Sparks metro area, bypasses the mess.

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Oddly, both Winco (where we usually get bulk items) and Raley's (which usually has a better-quality selection) seemed to not only be out of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce (or any brand, for that matter), but also didn't seem to have any space for it on the shelves anymore. It's hard to believe that the stores would drop what seems like a standard condiment item. After the disappointment at Raley's we initially thought to head back toward home and possibly swing by one of the other grocery stores that direction that might still carry the sauce.

As we neared the north end of Veterans Parkway, we ran into a slowdown. While waiting our way through it, I spied off in the distance that the cause of our backup was that traffic on I-80 eastbound (toward Fernley) was at a standstill. That was not good. I-80 east of Sparks is a bottleneck between there and the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Park at USA Parkway. Accidents or blockages there, especially during rush hour, cause huge delays. Even if it would take longer in net travel time, we'd rather keep moving.

Not wanting to spend an hour-plus in creeping slow traffic, I made a U-turn at the last available opportunity before being committed to the freeway, and made our third trip of the day down Veterans Parkway, turning onto US-395 Alternate (the former main highway, now superseded by I-580 between Reno and Carson City) and headed south. This is a pleasant enough drive, and usually lightly traveled, which suited us, even though the speed limit is lower. In Carson City, we turned back east, and as we got to Dayton, we decided to try the Smith's grocery store (part of the Kroger grocery conglomerate) there. We found that they had Worcestershire sauce, and bought several bottles. We also took advantage of gasoline prices 30 cents/gallon cheaper than Fernley to refuel the Astro before heading for home.

A wrong turn going to the gas station with the cheaper fuel also gave us the opportunity to read a historical marker. Dayton (site of Nevada's first gold discovery) has some interesting history, and we've meant for some time to come explore it more thoroughly, which we may do post-COVID. Alas, we'll never get to see the former Carson & Colorado railroad station, as it burned down a couple of years ago. The local historical society has pledged themselves to attempt to rebuild the station they way it used to be in the days when there was a railroad connecting Carson City, Virginia City, and Tonopah (and thus also Goldfield, Bishop, and ultimately Las Vegas and Los Angeles) running through here. The railroad is long gone, but there are dirt roads and embankments that look to me to probably be the old right-of-way.

It's never really a quick trip to Reno given that it's a minimum of 25 miles to the edge of the city from Fernley, but this was a particularly long day, and not one I enjoyed that much given that it was a work night. We got home, I had a quick dinner, and went to bed two hours later than usual. That has made today a bit of working through a fog, but I've managed.