Life in Our Mountain Town: A trip to a faraway land, Carson City
Thank goodness for our health-conscious community. I am never more aware of the healthy lifestyle that most of us lead here in Truckee as I am when I go away.This past weekend my family and I enjoyed a weekend away in Carson City.
That may sound like an unusual choice for a weekend getaway, unless you are the parent of an AYSO soccer player.
We went there to cheer on our children as they fought hard against teams that play year-round down in the Carson Valley. Now I want to emphasize that I do not have sour grapes about the tournament. Win or lose, the wholesome, hard-working kids on the dozen or so teams that comprised the Truckee contingent played their hearts out.
I also need to be careful not to make a blanket judgment about a group of people such as those who might choose to spend their Saturday evening in a bowling alley in Carson City. However, the shocked looks on our children’s faces when we walked into the Carson Lanes spoke volumes. The air was dense with smoke, which choked our lungs and permeated our clothing. The bowlers did not look like your average Truckee soccer parent, an adult who maybe skis in the winter or who maybe doesn’t smoke two packs of cigarettes in an hour.
We had the strange experience of bowling in the dark, but not because the electricity went out. Except for the pins and the scoreboard monitor which were left well lit, the rest of the lights were turned off as part of the Saturday night atmosphere that the bowling alley called “Moonlight Bowling.” I can’t help but think that one of the reasons they dim the lights is so you can’t see how bad the air is that you’re breathing.
Although moonlight bowling has a ring of romance to it, all I can tell you is that it made it hard to see as you threw your ball down the lane. The kids seemed to quickly forget that we were all out of our element. The truth is, the kids had a ball. My friend commented that our kids were having as much fun as they do in Disneyland, and it was far cheaper.
Cheap, it was. Our meals, entertainment, and lodging were all fairly inexpensive. The motel where we stayed was not exactly a great bargain, however. It was more like, you get what you pay for. We had reservations for an upgraded “$40 per night deluxe suite.” I should have been tipped off from that oxymoron, but instead I booked the room. Our first morning there we woke up and realized that the motel had provided my family of four with two skimpy towels that were slightly larger than a dish towel. It turned out we didn’t really need towels after all, because there was no hot water for showers in the morning anyway. Now really, I am not crying sour grapes. The other side of the story is that almost the entire motel was full of families from Truckee, so that going to continental breakfast in the morning was like high social hour at any school function.
As I write this, my husband and children and I are each spread out into different corners of the house recuperating from the weekend, having our much-needed alone time. This is something we often do when we have just arrived home from a trip where we have spent every minute with each other for several days or more.
We will come together again for dinner tonight and laugh about the lumpy motel beds, which I hadn’t even mentioned yet, and our two days without a shower.
But the weekend held much more than that: memories of Truckee teams playing on fields back to back, with parents going back and forth between games inquiring about scores with the true caring and support that you can only know when you live as neighbors in a small town like Truckee.
As our car climbed up Spooner Summit heading back home into the mountains where we live, away from the miles-long strip of fast food joints and discount dealers, my family munched on apples and fruit leather, the healthy snacks that had gone largely uneaten during our stay in Carson.
I definitely sensed my family settling into a peaceful mood of quiet anticipation as the familiar road we were traveling took us past the lake and through the forest, closer and closer to Truckee, that wonderful place we call home.
Katie Shaffer has lived in Truckee since 1981.
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