Summer in Northern Nevada starts at Lake Tahoe. Then it winds its way through the hills and the valleys, and through the center of our burg, hoppin’ and poppin’ with events nearly every night. Then it heads out into the haze of the high desert and mystical, mysterious places like Pyramid Lake. So, yeah, the Truckee River is the perfect metaphor for summer around here. Such a perfect metaphor, in fact, that we decided to illustrate this year’s RN&R Summer Guide as a Truckee River board game.
The game is simple. Pick up a newsprint copy of the paper at a newsstand
near you or print this JPG. Set up the board by lifting the center spread, pages 22-23, out of the issue and then lining up the arrows to the corresponding arrows on pages 20 and 25. Cut out the tokens and die on this page—or if you feel bad about desecrating the beautiful sanctity of
newsprint, use your own. Begin by placing the tokens on Lake Tahoe. Three to four players, and the player who has lived in Reno for the least amount of time goes first. Turns rotate to the left. Simply roll the die and advance your token along the Truckee River, one square for each number, and make sure to respond to any prompts on the squares your token lands on. If you land on a Roman numeral, check the corresponding blurb on pages 27-28.
The game advances—very loosely—along the geography of the Truckee, as well as—very loosely—along the chronology of the summer. The first player to visit Pyramid Lake on Labor Day wins!
I The 46th season of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival runs from July 6 to Aug. 26. It features entertainment seven nights a week at Sand Harbor, 2005 Highway 28, Incline Village. This year, you can catch productions of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and/or Beehive: The 60s Musical, an off Broadway hit revue of women artists of the era—from the Supremes to Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin. If you find the cost ($15 to $99) or other factors prohibitive, stage your own one-night production of one of these plays. Learn more: https://bit.ly/1i9FlR0.
II River Ranch Lodge on state Highway 89 between Tahoe City and Squaw Valley is a great place to stop and eat, not least because of the gorgeous scenery. The restaurant extends out into a creek and the setting is surrounded by forest. If you are so bewitched by the location that you want to stay overnight, there is also lodging.
III Watch Buster Keaton’s fine silent movie Our Hospitality, filmed along the Truckee River in California. It’s a retelling of the Hatfield/McCoy feud that also stars Natalie Talmadge. Even in black and white, the scenery is striking, and Keaton nearly died making the film. (His restraint wire broke while he was being filmed in the river.) It is available on DVD or just watch it on YouTube.
IV Make a stop on Interstate 80 east to see bridge railings from 1914 that mark the original route of the Lincoln Highway. They were salvaged from the abandoned roadway, which is about 100 yards away and relocated along current I-80 at a scenic viewpoint and historical marker located between Exits 7 and 6. The words “Lincoln” and “Highway” were molded out of concrete to form the railings. Despite the fact that the Lincoln Highway once ran coast to coast, from New York City to San Francisco, only one other set of similar railings are known to have been made.
V While coming into Reno on old U.S. 40 a.k.a. Fourth Street, keep an eye on the right. Along the river is an elaborate abandoned resort hotel hulk. The site is called Laughton’s (sometimes incorrectly called Lawton’s), and it was the location for many years of hot springs and a swimming pool. In the 1960s, the River Inn was built here, and, for decades since, people have been buying the property, doing some work on it, running out of money, and letting the property go back to its previous owners. Laughton’s is also the site of the Nov. 4, 1870 robbery of Central Pacific’s Atlantic Express No. 1 train, carrying almost $50,000 in gold and silver.
VI Mike White and Mark Vollmer’s 2017 book 50 of the Best Strolls, Walks, and Hikes Around Reno is a great introduction to our region’s motherlode of trails. Now, the author/photographer duo is about to release 50 of the Best Strolls, Walks, and Hikes Around Carson City. They’ll sign both books and give a slide show at the Galena Creek Visitor Center June 9, 1 to 3 p.m. Learn more:
VII Four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul. Take your motorcycle to the Street Vibrations Spring Rally in downtown Reno, June 1-3. Don’t forget to do a standard pre-ride inspection on your bike before you go. If you’re not a rider, take your usual means of conveyance. At the rally—which is free to attend—you’ll find live music, new and used bikes for sale, vendors and food booths. Take a photo of your dream bike—or biker. Learn more: https://bit.ly/2IZo7gT.
VIII Celebrate a dad you know—maybe even your own—by taking him to Greater Nevada Field for a game between the Reno Aces and the Omaha Storm Chasers. The Aces’ homestand run leading up to this game starts on June 13 and continues through June 19, so you’ve got some wiggle room on the dates. The Father’s Day game on June 17 starts at 1:05 p.m., but you can go early to play catch with the old man on the field. For nerdy dads, consider the Saturday evening game. It’s “Super Hero Night” featuring Captain America. Learn more: https://bit.ly/2IyXPCN.
IX Take a walk along Arlington Avenue between First and Court streets. This is Belle Isle, now the site of Wingfield and Bennett Parks. But close your eyes and imagine it a century ago when it was Belle Isle Amusement Park, which featured a Ferris wheel and other rides, boxing, a dance hall, boat rentals, skating, swimming, and a theater. The Arlington bridge did not exist then, and people crossed the river from the north by a footbridge. It was a time and place of grace and fun.
X For the entirety of July, Wingfield Park is Artown central. Free concerts and other events are held in the park nearly every night. One highlight is Rollin’ on the River, the RN&R’s summer concert every Friday night. Check out the Artown guide in our June 28 issue for details.
XI The Nevada Humane Society’s annual Duck Race & Festival raises money to help homeless pets. Last year, the Truckee River was too high for the race to happen. But in 2016, some 30,000 yellow duckies raced down the river—each urged on by a paying sponsor hoping to be the winner of the race’s grand prize (which, that year, was a new Toyota Corolla, donated by Dick Campagni’s Carson City Toyota). It brought in tens of thousands of dollars for the Humane Society. If you want to sponsor a duck, stay tuned to the event Facebook page (https://bit.ly/2IXAQAI) for details. Opportunities for volunteering will be posted in late July. Otherwise, just go to the event. It’s set for Aug. 19.
XII Polyesther’s Boutique—outfitting Burners, partygoers and the generally fashionable—marks its 10th anniversary with a rooftop fashion show, “Past, Present, Future,” June 7, 5-7 p.m., at the Nevada Museum of Art. Expect burlesque kimonos, fitted men’s vests, models painted like robots, performers from the 2017 El Dorado show Cirque Le Noir, and a boutique selling makeup, hats and accessories. If you’re inspired, sign up on the spot for Polyesther’s summer sewing workshops.
XIII Among plug-and-play festivals, Dragon Lights could be a highlight. This collection of giant lanterns from China includes blinky dragons, glowing pandas and tunnels you can walk through. The whole radiant menagerie comes to the grounds of the Wilbur D. May Museum June 30-Aug. 5 and lights up nightly from 7-10 p.m. Tickets start at $12. Visit
XIV Think you can’t draw? It’s not a gift from on high for a few elites. It’s a skill you can learn. And you can learn it fast at the Nevada Museum of Art’s crash course in drawing fundamentals, part of a summer-long series of three-day and five-day intensives where you can also learn to paint or master a DSLR. Visit www.nevadaart.org/learn/e-l-cord-museum-school/.
XV When you reach Wadsworth, take a drive along the river on the short Virginia Street. Keep an eye out and you will spot a footbridge that crosses the Truckee. Visitors tend to stop to have their pictures taken on the bridge.
XVI Take a look at the Truckee River about six miles north of Wadsworth. This is a restored section of the river. Forty years ago, without permission, the University of Nevada, Reno altered the river course, impeding the upstream spawn of trout and cui-ui, prompting a complaint and $2,000,000 claim from the downstream Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe that forced UNR to agree to restore the river channel.