Due to the Kincade Fire that was raging just a handful of miles north-east of Sonoma’s county airport, my flight out of Santa Rosa bound for Portland was understandably delayed. This in turn pushed my flight down to Reno back by a couple of hours. The smoke was clearly visible as I boarded my Alaska Airlines flight and, once airborne, it shrouded the scenery below for miles.
My time in Portland OR was regrettably limited but I did have the opportunity to stretch my legs, grab a coffee and a bite to eat, and head out beyond the confines of the rather pretty airport and take in the views of the Columbia River and the city of Vancouver WA, both being very close to PDX. The sky above Cascadia was of that rich, deep, almost-sensuous blue, affording unrestricted and spectacular views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams.
Arriving in Reno NV a little after 7pm, and before I’d even had a chance to claim my luggage, I was confronted by a hand-written sign held tightly by two rather striking young ladies who happened to be so similar in appearance that I was left in little doubt as to their being sisters. The sign read:
“The Infamous British Author – M Blasdale”Melinda Love & Teresa Love
Damnable fate had prevented me meeting up with my great friends – Melinda and Teresa – when they found themselves temporarily domiciled in London in the June of this year. So, the thought of not seeing them on this adventure was utterly unthinkable. Promptly introduced to Clark and Liam (Teresa’s husband and son, respectively), I was whisked away for a delicious meal at the Silver Peak Restaurant & Brewery. For those of an enquiring disposition, their Chicken and Basil ravioli comes highly recommended.
The conversation was easy and natural (as I had always suspected it would be) and I found myself instantly taken with these genuinely lovely people. Much was discussed and debated, but I must confess that when Melinda and Teresa introduced – and began extoling the virtues of – those stalwarts of BBC light comedy – Keeping Up Appearances and Are You Being Served, I found things a little surreal. To come five thousand miles and find myself talking about Hyacinth Bucket – that’s just plain weird. Truly Madly Deeply, Die Hard – Politics and the what’s going on in our respective countries – all integral to the night’s conversation. After so long, it was truly fantastic to be finally basking in their company.
On the way to my hotel, I was treated to a mini tour of this neon jewel in the Northern Nevadan crown. Stopping on Lake St. Bridge, I watched the ‘mighty’ Truckee River plough its unrelenting course through the heart of the city, and took a couple of photos of what was the original Reno Arch (the current Reno Arch was also seen and captured as we approached the Silver Legacy Resort Casino – my home for the next three nights).