Summer Guide 2003

Summertime, and the living’s easy

Photo by David Robert

I’ll never forget the night I rolled into town. It was summer, July or August, 1984. I was just coming off really evil times with a female of the species and thought I needed a change in scenery. I’ll tell you what, she dang near broke my heart, but as I come over the I-80 rise and Reno’s lights run through the valley like batter on a griddle, I felt like I’d come home. It all lay below me like the devil had put it on a platter. From my seat in my old Ford pick’emup, I could see miles of off-road trails. Just over the guardrail, I could see a river that must surely be filled with trout of the eating variety.

I remember thinking that this must be where the deer and the antelope play—I saw half a dozen of them as I came over the rise—damned near turned one into steaks for the prison. I’d heard about a couple of big lakes hereabouts, Tahoe and Pyramid.

I remember there was a baseball stadium over on Moana Lane, blonde girls in muscle shirts at the Grand Ballroom and Frisbee at that park over on Washington St.

I could see how a man could grow accustomed to this place. I drove on over to the Cal-Neva and had that world-famous 99-cent breakfast. I couldn’t of been in town for more’n a day when I caught my first softball game over in Sparks.

I guess I was lucky. I had family living here. Phil, my brother in law, he showed me which way the wind was blowing. “Jim Bob,” he’d say, “You don’t want to let no grass to grow under you.” First day, he took me for a round of golf over at the county golf course, pretty nice when you think it’s a golf course right here in the desert. Second day, he took me to Sand Mountain outside of Fallon to ride on his dune buggy. Third day, I joined their family for a kayak trip down the Truckee. Fourth day, I headed out to Mustang Ranch, but you ain’t got to tell nobody about that.

Seems like there’s more than ever to do when summer rolls around, and it’s kinda hard to believe I’ve been here almost 20 dang years. I met my first ex-wife here, up at Sand Harbor in ‘87. I should have known she’d be a problem when I discovered she was goin’ to the nude beaches when she was supposed to be going to her yoga class. Well, that’s all water down the Truckee, now. I got me a place out in the North Valleys these days. I can hardly believe Reno is the same little town I moved into. Skate parks for the skaters, bike trails for the bikers, outdoor concerts for music lovers and events all summer for just about anyone.

Poor Phil, though, he’s passed on. It was a terrible accident. His old hound dog got drunk and wandered into a mine shaft. Phil, he always was an animal lover, same as me, tried to rappel down using the winch on his dualie. Probably would a been all right if the cable had been hooked right to the winch, but it wasn’t. Anyway, by the time they found him, well, that dog musta been pretty hungry. <div align="right">—Jim Bob</div>

Dune buggy at Sand Mountain

Photo by David Robert

Shop, don’t bother Pop
If your kids are like mine, they’ll drive you up the wall lookin’ for attention just when you’re workin’ on your roadkill taxidermy collection. But still, you wanta keep them children occupied. One great way to do that is to send ’em to thrift shops. Give ’em a couple dollars and challenge them to come home with as many fun items as possible. Point the girls in the direction of clothes. My squirts will play dress-up for hours in these garments. The boys can do the same thing, though I discourage them from panties and such. The boys do better gettin’ things like tennis rackets and old dolls. Junior likes to rip the heads off the dolls and bat ’em around with the rackets. Let the kids be creative. My favorite place is the thrift store hotbed on Gentry Way: Wizdom—they’ve got lots of rackets, and they support cancer—is at 630 Gentry Way, 829-4482; WARC is at 570 Gentry Way, 825-1972; and The Salvation Army is at 560 Gentry Way, 688-2240. Them kids can shop ’til they drop. <div align="right">—Jim Bob</div>

Rodeo drive
My friend Brian ain’t got what you’d call the best head on his shoulders—in fact, I always kind of figured his neck just kind of thickened out at the top and grew hair—but he does love a good rodeo. Reno’s got one of the best around, he says, and this year’s rodeo, which will run from June 21-29, is going to be a hoot. His favorite sport is the bull riding, but not for the reasons you’d think. “I like them clowns,” he says. “And look at them dang bulls. They gotta weigh—what?—double what them cowboys do. Sometimes the bulls even win.” That ole Brian, his attic’s pretty much cleared out, but he’s got a good heart. At any rate, I like to bring the little buckaroos out to the rodeo every summer, so they’ll have an idea what their ancestors were up against when they were pioneering the Truckee Meadows—heat, crowds, high-priced snow cones and long walks from the parking lot. In fact, me and Brian love the rodeo so much, we like to get our tickets in advance, so I call (800) 225-2277. <div align="right">—Jim Bob</div>