Reno 2005

Diary of Linda, Meggie, and my RV trip to Reno, July 2005

6/29/05 Left this morning for our long 70 day Pacific Northwest RV trip. It was 96 F. in Bishop where we stopped at Schatts Bakery to buy fresh bread and cookies. The Chevy diesel overheated going up the grade to Mammoth Lakes as I left it in cruise control at a constant 3000 rpm’s. I pulled over, continued on at lower speed, only at 2000 rpm and it cooled down to normal quickly. We stayed at Sherwin Creek NFS campground near Mammoth which was very pretty green and had a refreshingly low temperature.

6/30/05 Left at 9:00 a.m. for Markleeville, CA. We took highway 89 over the 8,400’ Monitor Pass. I stopped at the top, turned off the engine and quickly lost 1 to 2 gallons of boiling coolant. I know now to never turn off a hot engine at high altitude. The descend down the 8% + grade was brutal. The truck speed limit was 20 mph which I obeyed, but it required constant braking. I will avoid Monitor Pass when towing for the rest of my life. Arrived at Markleeville about noon and decided to stay at Turtle Rock County Park. A very nice wooded Ponderosa Pine Park. Linda was very stressed by the challenging summit route over Monitor Pass and decided to spend the afternoon in camp. I drove to Hangman’s Bridge to scout the East Fork of the Carson River raft trip put in. I then drove down the hill to scout the put out just 3 miles south of Gardnerville. This put out if missed, may be one’s last raft trip ever as there is a dangerous old diversion dam just east of the put out. I did a fix here into my GPS, so we wouldn’t miss it tomorrow. I then returned to Gardnerville to fill up with gas. I then made a very stupid and expensive mistake putting regular gas into my diesel truck. I fortunately realized what I had done before starting the engine. I called AAA to tow me to the local Chevy Dealer. They had to remove the gas tank, drain it, and flush it at a cost of $300 plus $70 for new gas. They couldn’t do it until the next morning, so I called Kathy Evans and begged her to come from Sparks, NV to pick me up and transport all the rafting equipment into her new Subaru. I had to wait about 2.5 hours, but she came, picked me up, drove me to our Markleeville camp site. She stayed over night in the trailer. She brought a good DVD movie which we watched.

7/1/05 Got up about 7:00 a.m., walked Meghan in the big Ponderosa Pines, had breakfast, and drove to our put in location. Spent an hour inflating and rigging up the rafts. At 9:30 a.m. our shuttle company showed up. I paid $45 for the 35 mile transport service. Kathy and I hauled the rafts to the very cold fast moving river. The cfs was about 1300 the highest at this time of year since 1985. The acceptable range or cfs is 600 to 3000. We started out with Linda alone in the 12’ raft and Kathy and I in the 14’ raft. We were amazed at the river speed, quantity of the rapids, and the size of the rapids. The river was relatively narrow and very curvy. It was important to approach curves on the inside of the curve or it was impossible to keep the raft from bouncing off rocks or undercut on the outside leading edge of the curve. Kathy picked up paddling very quickly and has lots of strength for a women. Linda was having real problems keeping her raft pointed into the waves and was also bouncing off rocks and undercut every turn. I knew that soon or later she was going to dump herself. We made a decision to put Kathy alone in the 12’ raft and move Linda into the 14’ raft. Meghan started out sitting in front of me, but I moved her into the back of the raft where she was much happier and less likely to be hit by a paddle. The river was very beautiful and exhilarating. The scenery on the wilderness upper portion was to die for. Once one starts this 20 mile trip there is no stopping as there are no roads or put outs except in the beginning and end. Kathy was loving the solo trip and began asking about the cost of purchasing a raft. At noon we stopped near some thermal pools for a picnic lunch which we brought with us. Meghan enjoyed scrapes which Kathy lavished on her. After 45 minutes we continued. We stopped often as it was somewhat strenuous constantly paddling to avoid rocks and outer curve trees or undercuts. Kathy was doing great, but then it happened; on a particular swift section of the river she hit a rock sideways and was thrown out of her raft. She kept her paddle and a hold on the raft. I grabbed the front raft and guided it about 100 yards. There was no suitable shore to land it and we were approaching rapids. Linda could not keep a safe course through the rapids so I had to let go of Kathy’s raft and guide our raft through the rapids. We gained lots of distance between the two rafts. We turned our boat upstream and tried to paddle toward Kathy but the flow was too strong. Kathy was in for a self rescue. We eventually came to a slower apart of the river and a good shallow put out place, where Kathy was able to stop and re-enter the boat. She did incredibly well to keep the boat and paddle with her for the 200 – 400 yard swim. I would probably still be in the river. She was very cold and wanted to get going right away. The only problem Linda and I had was on Wrapper Rapids rated 2+ but for sure a 3 in my book. On right curve there was only about a 2’ wide path through big rocks to pass. I selected my line, but the strong flow immediately push me off course right through a horrible course of big rocks and tree branches. I do not understand how we got through without wrapping or flipping the boat, but we made. I give credit to the boat on this not our paddling skills even though we did do a couple of rock avoiding strokes after getting off course. At 2:00 p.m. I started checking my GPS for the put out location. It kept saying 1.6 miles to go forever. One must remember that the GPS uses as the crow fly’s, but the river curves like a snake with the hiccups. I didn’t want to miss this take out and encounter the dangerous 4’ drop old diversion dam with old rebar sticking out. At 3:15 p.m. we finally reached takeout with no problems. It was a very long exhausting float, but I would do it again. Took us an hour to pack up the equipment and boats. Drove out and stopped at the Gardnerville Chevy dealer to pick up my diesel truck. The truck ran just fine now that the regular fuel had been removed. We returned to our campsite and had a frozen pasta dinner. We were a very tired and sore, so we retired at dark.

7/2/05 The Evans, Linda, and I went to dinner at La Strada Restaurant in the Eldorado Hotel and Casino. The Italian Chefs Surprise dinner 3 of us had was to die for. It was the best dinner I have had in two years. The sampler included Anti Pasta salad with cheese and various roasted vegetables, Mushroom Ravioli, Veal Stuffed Tortellini, Chicken Parmesan, Veal Picata, and a wonderful desert of Vanilla Gelato topped with a liqueur sauce. After dinner we attended a show called Smoky Joes Café which consisted of singing and dancing 50’s music. It was very enjoyable, lasting 1-1/2 hours.

7/3/05 Conrad and Kathy took us for breakfast to the Atlantis Casino Buffet which was excellent and well worth the price of $15 each. Conrad and I played BJ for 45 minutes. We both won a moderate amount. Returned to our trailer and Linda, Kathy, and I took Meghan for a 3 mile walk on the Truckee River Trail. We all then drove to Sparks and visited some model homes that Conrad on a waiting list for. Returned to Conrad and Kathy’s house. Kathy made Steak Diane, oven baked potatoes, salad, and Joanne’s peach cobbler dessert for dinner. Yum yum. Watched a movie and returned to the trailer park.

7/4/05 Kathy and Conrad picked us up at 10:30 a.m. and we went to Baldini’s coffee shop for a good and cheap breakfast. We then went to the Reno Regional Park Arboretum spending about two hours looking at flora and fauna. We then all drove to Conrad and Kathy’s house; relaxing, doing laundry, surfing the web, and watching TV. For dinner Kathy made pastrami sandwiches, corn on the cob, and peach cobbler with ice cream. We said our good buys and left for our trailer about 7:30 p.m. We really enjoyed our stay with Conrad and Kathy. Hope to have many more visits in the future.

Last updated on February 6, 2019