A short trip through Nevada

Reno welcome sign, saying "Reno, the biggest little city in the world".

Away from the rush of New York you can find a very different but no less interesting image of the United States. Dry and sandy lands that seem uninviting for tourists, yet still attract people from all over the world. Today we invite you on a small tour through Nevada!

Fortuna is fickle

Spend a few days at the casino, lose a little money and win much more! It’s the dream of many people who like to gamble. Luckily (for us at least), we don’t have leanings toward gambling. But we wanted to see firsthand how it all looks in the casino.

We bought a flight from New York to Reno, and we started to search for a host on Couchsurfing. Bill agreed to host us and we really couldn’t be more lucky! From his profile we could tell that Bill is incredibly open and friendly person. Upon arrival we learned that in addition to this he’s the manager in one of the largest casinos in the city.

Casino room with card tables, with a lot of people gambling.
In casino.

How many people are employed in the casino? How much are the monthly bills for electricity? How many rooms in the hotel we’re booked when president was supposed to visit? How much on average do “regular customers” lose, and how much they win? Thanks to Bill not only we saw how it looks in a casino, but also learned a lot of interesting stories and details from the industry.

Dawid placed a bet on American football match. The coupon costed 11 USD and it included free drink at the bar – given the fact that the team lost, we didn’t feel like losing much. We just spent a pleasant evening at the bar with a friend – watching the match and having a drink;)

Not only gambling

The time we spent in Reno with Bill was more than sensational. It wasn’t only conversing numerous hours on different topics, being walked through the casino and putting a bet. One day, when we were to go to the city together, standing in the garage he asked us: “Hey, would you like to drive my Porsche?” Welllll… Sure!

Patrycja sitting in silver Porsche.
Patrycja in Bill’s Porsche

We went for a little ride around the area. Beautiful car, sensational engine sound. But when we returned the keys we said that we couldn’t have such a car. Firstly, so far we can’t afford such a luxury, and secondly – when Dawid with his nearly 2 meters height bumps his knees with the steering wheel – that’s a sign that car is far too small for him.

We still had a chance to ride a Porsche. Bill proposed to go together for a game of American football. We’ve never seen this game so we agreed. Honestly – three people in a Porshe is not very comfortable, especially for the person who sits squeezed in the back seat (a.k.a. Patrycja).

A picture of players standing ready to start play in American football.
American football game.

We really enjoyed the game. Beginning of the season drawed a lot of fans to the stadium. Great atmosphere, interesting match, fantastic orchestra and great company of Bill, his son and daughter-in-law and friends – we couldn’t ask for more!

Taking some rest on the lake

The most common words that go with “Nevada” are usually “desert”, “Las Vegas” and “military areas”. And all are absolutely correct. However, Nevada is not only a dry land, casinos and areas with restricted access for civilians. There’s a lot of people like you and I living their normal lives here. What’s more, it takes less than an hour drive to do some skiing in winter and relaxing on a beach by the lake in the summer.

A view over a viewpoint terrace and Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe.

Surrounded by mountains Lake Tahoe, is lying on the border between Nevada and California, and it’s the second deepest lake in the United States. Surrounded by mountains of the Sierra Nevada, its crystal clear water attracts crowds of tourists – both in summer and winter. We were invited on a tour around the lake by Matt, whom we met thanks to Bill. Matt came to the United States several years ago to make his ‘American Dream’ and it seems to us that he did – like Bill he has a responsible position in the casino.

Unfortunately, while visiting Nevada in the late summer we couldn’t see how picturesque is skiing with the view of Lake Tahoe. However, we managed to see the most beautiful bay of Lake Tahoe – Emerald Bay. Despite the cloudy sky that day, it looked lovely.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam wasn’t really on our list of “must see” things. But when we got around we couldn’t drive away without stopping just for a moment in one of the most famous hydroelectric power plants in the world.

A picture of Hoover Dam.
Hoover Dam

Placed on the list of National Historic Places of US, at the time of opening in 1936 the dam was the world’s largest hydroelectric plant and at the same time the largest concrete structure. Each year, it produces 4.2 billion kWh of electricity, and supplies both private and public users across 3 states – Nevada, Arizona and California. What’s interesting, for the construction more than 2.5 billion cubic meters of concrete were used – that would be enough to build 2-lane road from Miami to Seattle, which is over 5000 km.

The entrance is secured by guards who check every car, so it takes a while to get to the dam itself. Yet it’s worth the wait because the construction is really impressive. The waters of Colorado river have amazing turquoise color, but it’s certainly the view over the canion below the dam that is breathtaking.

And even though we were just passing by (we stayed no longer than half an hour), we still felt really charmed by the place.


Practical tips:

  • Prices for American footbal games are varied. It all depends on the places and teams. For example – price for ticket to a match of Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles is from 50 USD up to 240 USD. If someone is interested in American Footbal, you can find scores, games and prices for tickets here.
  • Does any of you like craft beers? We love them, so we always try to choose small breweries over commercial ones. Yet there’s a place where we just couldn’t try all the beers available. In BeerNV bar in Reno you can choose from 60 different kinds of beers from small breweries – pils, ciders, ales, IPAs. There’s a large display with detailed info about alcohol and IBU of each kind of all the beers available. Everyone can find something suitable for themselves. So if you’ll ever end up in Nevada – don’t forget to visit BeerNV in Reno.
  • The entrance to Hoover Dam is free. But there’s a fee for some of the parkings on the place – mostly those closest to the dam, and their prices start with 10 USD. The remaining parkings on higher levels are free.