Saturday, May 17, 2008

What Fits Into Nevada?

(Based on a segment from this classic SCTV episode where a Soviet satellite interfered with the SCTV signal. Yeah, I know, Laugh-In did it first. Relevant scene is at about 4 minutes in.)

We from the East Coast of the U.S. are blissfully unaware of just how large the West is. Heck, we in the Northeast Corridor can drive through parts of five or six states in, say three to five hours.

And even the first couple times I visited Reno didn't do much to burst my bubble. Reno is only a handful of miles from the California border, and Sacramento is a three-hour drive, with the Bay Area about another two beyond that.

Yet almost every time I mention to someone who doesn't know that we're moving to Nevada, they immediately think Las Vegas. Quite understandable: it is THE Nevada destination that everyone knows about, and was until recently one of the fastest-growing areas in the country.

But guess how far Vegas is from Reno. 50 miles? 100 miles? 200 miles?

Try 445 miles. That's more than from Baltimore to Boston. And . . . it's still inside the same state! Those from Texas are probably nodding in agreement because it's over 900 miles from Texarkana to El Paso. There's nothing but mountains, high desert, and extraterrestrials [redacted] between Reno and Vegas.

Oh, you can drive the 445 miles, but it's almost all the way on desolate two-lane highways. They don't call Rt. 50 across Nevada the "Loneliest Road" for nothing! Well, there is a route via interstate highway between the two cities . . . if you don't mind going through Salt Lake City! So most folks take a one-hour flight between the two cities.

And not only are Reno and Vegas separated geographically, they also differ in climate, culture, and size. Vegas is much larger, louder, glitzier, and warmer (110+ temps in summer), but it's also seen as sprawling and vapid. Reno is smaller, more community-oriented, and more temperate, but is seen as more run down and boring. Both also demand getting used to seeing a lot of brown, although that's not as true toward Lake Tahoe and the Sierras near Reno.

Here's a brief discussion on the topic from The Urban Blog, and a column from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

And one final bit of Useless Reno information: It's actually west of Los Angeles. Check it out on a map sometime.

BONUS: Here's a video amends just for Bigbro from my earlier post:
SCTV presents . . . Benny Hill Street Blues!
Gahhhh, it got removed from YouTube!