Flight Centre's Debbie Vines travels to Reno in America's south west. Debbie observes a world famous balloon race and then heads back in time in Virginia City. Debbie also takes a trip out to Lake Tahoe and goes for a cruise on the M.S. Dixie II. Debbie, tell us about your trip.
Reno is famous for being 'the biggest little city in the world'. At least once a year, in September, the world descends upon it for The Great Reno Balloon Race. The event even features in the 2009 Katherine Heigl movie 'The Ugly Truth'.
Event buses are run from downtown Reno, making it easy to get from your hotel to Rancho San Rafael Regional Park where the action takes place.
This spectacular event will call for your alarm to be set on maximum volume but it's an event that will captivate both young and old. The Glow Show kicks off around 5am, followed by the Dawn Patrol. Even if you're not a morning person, how many chances will you ever get to see this kind of amazing spectacular? Grab a coffee and get going! It's all over by 10am, have a snooze then.
Some tips to make your day better:
- layer your clothes pre-dawn can be very cold
- Take a folding chair or a blanket to sit on while enjoying the sights unfolding before you
- Don't forget your camera!
For a taste of the old Wild West, take a day trip to Virginia City. Virginia City is the site of a gold and silver mining boom that occurred some 150 years ago. Making the city the most important settlement between Denver and San Francisco at the time. The city has been preserved and is now rated as one of America's 12 most distinctive destinations.
Spend a day meandering along the authentic wooden sidewalks of the town, shopping for a unique souvenir, or join a guided walking tour of the town. View the historic churches, period homes and public buildings, or spend a little time at the cemetery. Don't forget to drop into a Saloon for a little refreshment before starting your journey home.
If you'd like to get on the water, take a drive to Lake Tahoe (32 miles from Reno). Mark Twain described the lake as ‘the fairest picture the whole earth affords'. Its pristine beauty can be enjoyed via a classic cruise on the M.S. Dixie II (which features in the Clive Cussler novel, ‘Blue Gold'). There is also a multitude of activities to keep the whole family entertained.
Reno's famous arch was first erected in 1926. The second arch replaced the first in 1963, and has since been renamed and donated to Willits California. The third generation was installed in 1987 and is the one we see today, definitely on the list of things to do and see when in Reno.
I travelled to Reno from Napa Valley by Amtrak train. It was a very comfortable day trip and an excellent way to see the beautiful countryside. We then returned to San Francisco by bus, taking a couple of days and seeing much along the way, but that's for another time.
Looking for more information about travelling to Reno and the American south west? Contact [email]text=Debbie Vines[/email], a Travel Consultant with Flight Centre based in Smithfield, Queensland who can be reached at 1300 158 615 or by [email]text=email[/email].