So, I turned a whopping 34 years old this passed Wednesday. For people like me, every year gets even more and more amazing in the fact that we’ve made it this far. Birthdays become more precious than ever. I have to say that this year was probably one of the best Birthdays I’ve ever had. Having lived in the Midwest most of my life, I’m used to my birthday being rainy and gloomy. This year, the weather was my friend and I was afforded the ability to enjoy the outdoors. I got to spend it with my favourite person in the world and felt completely loved, which is how everyone should feel on their birthday.
We just recently purchased a 2012 Honda Civic Sedan and have been having a few adventures, so the past couple weeks have been pretty nonstop. We left for Reno late Tuesday morning and arrived around 4pm. We stayed at the El Dorado Hotel and Casino. Mark booked us for a Deluxe room, but after we got there and found out that they have only a seasonal pool and hot tub (which don’t open until sometime in May), we decided to upgrade to a suite. They only had a couple types of suites available and gave us a really good deal on the Player’s Suite. It was the best possible room you could get there and it had a jacuzzi in the room. The upgrade was DEFINITELY worth it.
The room was nice, but the hotel itself was just “eh”. Having lived in CA for a while now, it’s shocking to visit places where people are smoking openly in public areas. For me, this was one of the biggest drawbacks, as the El Dorado didn’t have a non-smoking area in the casino. Thankfully, our room was non-smoking at least. It was somewhat aggravating to see people blatantly ignoring the signs saying that smoking was permitted in designated areas only and just wandering around blowing cancer everywhere.
The hotel was connected to two other hotels, the Silver Legacy (where I spent all my time on the Black Jack tables), and the Circus Circus. You could walk between them and gamble/dine/shop, kinda like a mall.
The first night, we wandered around for a bit, did some gambling, ate dinner at a place that was literally called “The Buffet”, and then went to our room to relax in the jacuzzi and enjoy the view from our room (it was pretty spectacular, we had a panoramic view of the city and the mountains).
The next day was my birthday. We had room service for breakfast and then decided to head over to Lake Tahoe. I had never been there, so we thought it would be a fun idea to drive over and get some good pics in. It was a sunny day, but a little chilly with it being so windy. The lake is absolutely gorgeous and I got a few good shots. The scenery is amazing, but I can’t imagine living at such a high altitude.
When we got back, we rested for a little while, I did a breathing treatment, and then we were off to find a nice restaurant for my birthday dinner. There was one place that I had read about that got really good reviews, it was called the Roxy, so we stopped in there. We had a wonderful dinner and the Roxy really lived up to the reviews. Our dinner even came with a sundae for dessert. Afterwards, I wandered back over to the Black Jack tables at the Silver Legacy, and Mark wandered around some more. Not being a gambler, he found some arcade games at the Circus Circus.
I had pretty good luck at the tables. We split a $100, Mark took $40 for the video games and I took $60 for the tables. I had maybe a total of 6 hours worth of gambling on that $60 and even ended up ahead by $96. I consider it a win if I make it out of there with what I went in with.
We had a late night bubble bath in the jacuzzi and a champagne toast with some Moet to top off the night. It was the most perfect birthday I have had in a VERY long time.
Despite having a great time, I don’t think I would stay at the El Dorado again. There were only two things that were really “wrong” with our stay. One, the smoke. The whole hotel is just nasty with the smell of smoke and it permeates everything there. This is mostly the reason that we spent most of our time either in the room, outdoors, or in another casino. The Silver Legacy seems to have a better ventilation system.
Two, the shower in our room whistled like a freight train. I’m not kidding you, I ended up naming the damned thing the “choo-choo shower”. It would fluctuate between a slight hum all the way up to an ear-splitting, piercing scream.
There were good things about the place though too. Parking is comped if you have a room there, so you don’t have to pay for that. Rooms are pretty cheap as they are merely a means to keep you in the building and to keep you spending money on the casino floor. Therefore, you can get a really nice room for a decent rate. Room service was fast and accommodating. The pricing at the eateries was decent as well, ranging between $-$$-$$$. Our average meal for two cost about $30. Not bad at all. Another plus was that the operators answering the phones were always pleasant and never seemed like they were put out by our call and hated their jobs.
There was only one other thing that was a downfall for me and that was the altitude sickness I had. My body barely takes in enough oxygen for me at sea level, but when we got up over about 3000 feet, I could feel a definitive difference. I’m happy that I didn’t get nauseous, but I did get pretty severe headaches CONSTANTLY, and even had some disorientation. Reno sits at about 4200ft elev. Tahoe was even higher, up to about 6500ft elev. I had to eat aspirin at least twice a day there, once in the morning and again later in the day. I definitely do not recommend traveling to such altitudes without oxygen for people with any sort of breathing issues. Lesson learned.
We check out early the next morning, around 10am, and headed over to a local coffee shoppe we had heard about. We got on the road home around 11am. We ran into some pretty inclement weather through the Sierras. I tried to get a good shot from the car. It was the first time I had seen snow in almost two years. We drove until we were out of the storm and then pulled off to a cute little restaurant on the side of the freeway for some lunch. San Francisco was a welcome sight. We got back home at about 4pm.
All in all, it was a great trip and I am thankful that I am still here to enjoy such things, especially with someone I love so much. I am super excited that we have a car now too. We are able to roam as far as we like when we are afforded the time. Future adventures await.
Be sure to check out my photo set on the flickr!