Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Picking Our Way to Tahoe

After checking out of the hotel today, our first setback was clearing the windows of the pickup truck. Lisa had bought a bottle of de-icing solution with built-in scraper -- which she left in Oregon. We improvised with windshield washer solution and the two plastic wheel chocks. Speaking of the windshield washer, the driver's side sprayer wouldn't spray. This is not good given how much muck and grime was being thrown up on the roads. So we had a couple of false starts after getting under way, stopping to try and fix the washer and clean the windows. Even when it started working, the wipers weren't clearing very well.

When we started, road conditions reported chains or snow tires being required clear from Reno to Tahoe, but in fact the chain controls had been lifted most of that way, and we were mostly on bare pavement or slush on the road to Carson City. There we stopped and had breakfast at the Carson City Nugget coffee shop. We then stopped at a Kragen Auto Parts to try and get replacement wipers, only to learn that they were out of the size for her pickup. She did get a replacement bottle of de-icing solution/scraper, though.

Now we started the climb up US-50 to Lake Tahoe, and finally encountered some significant snow build-up, including some drifting snow. Lisa took it pretty slow and carefully, apologizing for the slow speed. I told her I wasn't complaining a bit. The pickup has snow tires, but she hadn't engaged the 4WD by locking the hubs, and by the time she reached a point where she would have felt better with the hubs engaged, there was no place we could pull over and do it, so she simply drove more carefully.

After a patient, careful drive, we found ourselves in Stateline, Nevada, where I spotted that the parking garage had a lower clearance than her van could take with the antennas up. We therefore drove past the casinos to a Raley's shopping center just over the border in South Lake Tahoe, California. There, Lisa removed the antennas, and we returned to Harvey's. Lisa still doesn't like parking in a garage with less than 7' clearance, even though the pickup fits. After checking in, we made a couple of trips to lug our bags up to the room. We didn't feel like getting the van out of the parking garage to bring it to the entry way; it was less hassle to make two trips between the garage and our room.

The room we have is nice looking, has a decent view, and is certainly larger than the box behind the elevators we had at the Holiday Inn Reno. But much of this is show without substance. Power outlets are hidden behind heavy pieces of furniture and difficult to access, but fortunately not impossible. At least we have two chairs in the room instead of just one like Reno.

There is only wireless internet access, and there almost wasn't that. Although my machine could raise the hotel system easily enough, it wouldn't let me establish myself in their payment system, telling me that I wasn't authorized to charge to my room. The front desk said that I was so authorized -- I'd put up my company credit card -- and transferred me to tech support. A long wait ensued, followed by an even longer time on the phone as they tried to fix it. They still don't seem to understand why I couldn't sign in, and then after they worked around that, why I couldn't raise a VPN connection, but after fiddling around and trying several times, they finally got me engaged. I think this took more than an hour. Still, the signal here is excellent and hasn't been dropping constantly the way the (included in the room price) Reno HI did. I wouldn't have paid the $11/day except that I'm working and need to stay in touch. Indeed, as soon as I logged in, I found a support request left over from this morning (arrived just after I signed off this morning), and a different question about a project on which I have been working.

I dealt with the work calls, and then Lisa and I put our coats back on and we walked back down to the Raleys and bought some water, bananas, and other snacks for the room. We picked our way over the icy sidewalks back over the state line and went to the room, where I found myself in a work-related e-mail exchange that lasted for a while.

I had been concerned that I was supposed to be meeting co-workers for dinner, so we went back down to the lobby, where we did indeed find a group of my co-workers getting ready to head out; however, they clarified that this was optional and nobody was expected to attend if they had other plans. Lisa and I weren't really interested in going much beyond the hotel at this point, as the day's travel had taken a stress toll on us, so we declined the dinner outing.

Lisa and I walked through the tunnel to Harrah's across the street and went up to their 18th floor buffet. Even though I'm traveling on expenses, the $20/head didn't seem like good value. Lisa pointed out that for that price each, we could buy two meals at Hometown Buffet, and the food didn't look significantly better here. And it's nighttime, so the view from the 18th floor is wasted on us. Instead, we went back to the room and phoned out for pizza. We're waiting for it to be delivered as I write this.

Meetings tomorrow start at about 7:30 tomorrow morning (that's when continental breakfast is served), and I need to be there first thing because I have the data projector. So I'm in the mood for having dinner in the room and going to bed early.
Tags: lisa, reno, tahoe, travel
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