As with April's trip report to Las Vegas, I am posting this entire trip report here, one day at a time. I was in Reno over Memorial Day weekend to bowl the USBC Open Championships. Saturday, May 28 - The often-used 6:25 AM CDT departure from Milwaukee was in play (again) (Side note; I wish there was a flight that would get me into Nevada at 10:00 AM PDT without me having to set my alarm for 3:30 AM CDT). My alarm went off and my lovely wife was already up. I had assumed that she was too excited to sleep and was already dressed and ready to go. I grab my robe, schlep to the bathroom, then go to the living room to see her in her pajamas with ice on her knee (she had knee surgery three weeks earlier) and watching Law and Order (Side note; That show is ALWAYS on). I ask her why she is up, and she said that her knee was sore so she wanted to ice it a bit before going back to sleep for an hour. Turns out she did the math wrong in her head and had her alarm set for almost 5:00 AM CDT. Thank goodness I had my alarm set! But we did get ready, left the house on time and arrived at the off-site parking by 5:00 AM CDT. We knew that the holiday weekend might be busier, but there were about 15 cards ahead of us. Suddenly I was worried about the security line and even being at our gate in time to pre-board (we get the authorization with my "Customer of Size" extra ticket on Southwest). Regardless of how bad it looked, we were inside the airport by 5:20 AM, and through security by 5:45 AM, and to our gate just as they called for the pre-boarders. Apparently we left at the right time! About two years ago, I began to re-watch every episode of the HBO series Treme. I had almost finished season two six weeks earlier when we arrived in Milwaukee after our trip to Las Vegas, but the DVD player ran out of juice just before the end. So a week before this trip, I made sure the battery was fully recharged. But what I neglected to do was make sure the power was off. By the time I was ready to watch the show, I tried to turn the DVD player on but the battery was again dead. I had five hours to kill and no entertainment. I did manage to doze a bit, but I woke up halfway to Denver. I resorted to using Southwest’s free TV service – which is great when flying during prime time, but not so much when it is barely 7:00 AM in New York. Southwest’s free TV service also includes some on-demand titles, so I watched a couple of Simpsons episodes and about three full episodes of NFL’s Top Ten by the time we got to Reno. (Note that I am at over 560 words and I just arrived in Reno. You might want to pause here and grab a beer.) My Uncle John, who has bowled with me for years, picked us up at the airport. For this trip, it was just my uncle, my wife and myself. In October, I had my own knee surgery, and not knowing how long the recovery would be, I told my team to replace me for this year and I’d just catch on with another team that posted a need on an internet sub forum. My uncle wasn’t crazy about me dumping him and the team, so I had to find a group for him as well. Our first stop was the former John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks. I am not sure of the proper new name, and I am certainly not sure how to differentiate it from the little Nugget downtown on Virginia St. The reason we were at the Sparks Nugget was because I wanted an Awful Awful. Although I like the one at the Sparks Nugget better, the real reason we were there was because my wife’s recovering knee wouldn’t really allow her to walk from our hotel (the Sands) to the Nugget on Virginia St. The Awful Awful certainly did not disappoint, and I even won $2.50 at Keno… well, as my wife would say, it’s not a win when it costs you $20 to play. I love her, but sheesh… what a buzzkill. After lunch, in a surprise “Separate Activities” portion of the trip, we dropped her off at the Gold Dust West Casino. I had been tipped off this promotion…. For earning 150 points, my wife could get a stuffed animal with a prize inside. So I dropped her off and went to check into the Sands and take the luggage up. Shortly after, I got the call that (dum-da-da-duuuuuum) the stuffed animal promotion was only the previous Monday. I turned around, picked her up and we then headed to Walgreens for some room supplies. Remember this TR from a couple of years ago when I decided to honor the signs of local motels that really should be condemned and demolished? Well, having a car allowed me lots of opportunities to photograph away. Here are just a couple. After some gambling time at the Sands, we headed to the National Bowling Stadium as my uncle was scheduled to bowl Saturday evening. We watched him for a while, but bailed on him before the first game was done because we had to get to the Atlantis for dinner and the Dana Carvey show. Where I had gotten lucky underestimating the crowd on the way to the airport, I didn’t do such a bang-up job at the Atlantis. The resort’s valet was full, and I drove around for 20 minutes looking for a parking space before settling on one close to Circus Circus (that's an inside joke to Reno fans... Circus Circus is the furthest casino possible from the Atlantis in Reno). I can honestly say that I’ve never seen Reno so busy as this past weekend. I mean, I knew it would be busy when the best hotel room that I chose to afford was the Sands, but this was ridiculous. The worst part was that it was for a (mostly) kids basketball tournament, which meant tripping over obnoxious, oblivious kids traveling in groups of four to seven. Now way behind schedule, it was going to be a challenge to eat separate meals (in hindsight, I didn’t actually spend a lot of time with my wife this day) and get to the show in 90 minutes. She headed to the Painted Parrot, while I first went to pick up the tickets, then went to the Sky Terrace Oyster Bar. I got to the Will Call area of the theater – well, I thought it would be a theater, turns out it was their Grand Ballroom – and excitedly opened my envelope to see my seat location. Turned out my $75 (each) tickets were General Admission. Looking at my watch turning 7:00 PM (and on a “5-10 minute wait” for a bar seat) and having been craving a Lobster Pan Roast for years, I had to weigh a decadent dinner with decent seats… and becoming frustrated that nowhere had the “General Admission” part of the VIP Pricing Level been identified. I went with dinner at the Oyster Bar, and when my wife texted me that she was done with her meal, I asked her to come up, get the tickets and go snag some seats. While my pan roast was absolutely to die for, I inhaled it so that I could get to the show on time. I did taste it, but I wasn’t able to properly savor it. Next time… As I was walking to the ballroom, I received a text “Last Row of Sect B”. Dammit. Now I really wish I knew about the GA seating in advance as I would have never stayed around to watch my uncle bowl. Even worse than the last row was that because it was a ballroom, the floor was flat, and the seats were those horrible banquet chairs that don’t fit a man of my ample carriage in the first place, much less when squished in the middle of a row of them packed frame-to-frame. The show was really great, I think, though I became even more frustrated that I could see the show better on the big screens they had set up next to the stage. Here I was, spending $75 each (plus fees) to lose feeling in my left arm (as I kept it on the back of my wife’s chair as it was the only way I fit on the chair) and watching the performance on TV. One other thing about the show… Dana Carvey owes me a drink. He lives in the Bay Area and is obviously a Golden State Warriors fan. He came on stage while the game against Oklahoma City was in the fourth quarter, and was obviously watching the game while doing his set. When it got down to the last minute or so, he started doing a play-by-play and during a commercial break said “Sorry about this… but if the Warriors win, I’ll buy you all a drink”. I’m still thirsty, Dana… Atlantis is really good to bowlers, so I had stopped at the desk for my packet of love, which included a $5 table game match play. The Dana Carvey tickets also had a $5 match play, so I decided to play a few hands of blackjack. I sat down and used the first coupon (the green bowler’s coupon) with my $5 bet had an opportunity to double and I lost. So I pulled out the second coupon (the blue Dana Carvey one) and placed it on the spot with another $5 bet. The dealer called over the floor supervisor, who said that I could only play one coupon per day. I tried to argue that they are different coupons, and I swear to God he pulled out a small penlight and showed me the fine print about one coupon per person per day. It had been a very, very long day (remember, I had gotten up at 1:45 AM PDT time and by now it was after 9:30 PM PDT) and I had been frustrated by horrible seats to the show, and so I said a few choice words (that I probably regret) and stormed out before they threw me out. How in the Hell, on a weekend when the casino is packed to the gills, can they be sweating two $5 match plays? I still don’t get it. And I am still not convinced that you can't use two different match plays in one day. I can see not being allowed to use two of the same ones, but different ones? After walking back to the Circus Circus to get my car and driving back to the Atlantis to get my wife, we went back to the Sands. We gambled a little bit, but I was pretty tired so we went to the room. That was the first instance of having only one elevator working in the Regent tower. I had pressed the button to call the elevator, when it arrived, people started falling out as if they had been in a clown car, then the door closed before ANYONE could get in. There were at least five of us, and we all agreed on “That’s *bleep*ing *bleep* *bleep”. About five minutes later, the elevator came back and we made sure to keep the door open long enough for people to get on, but by this time there were so many people that a few got left behind due to capacity. Evening came and morning followed, the first day.