Donner/Tahoe development, Truckee, California

Bret came down for the old chop-chop of his red locks, a free service Erin provides for him every month or so. We left a little late for the airport, though not necessarily as a result of the haircut, but even worse, we encountered terrible traffic along both I-5 and I-205. By the time we rolled into PDX for our Southwest flight we were only 30 minutes away from departure. 

Then we were selected for the full “just making sure you’re not a terrorist” treatment. They sent our bags through a high powered scanner, and apparently found neither bombs nor weaponry, which is good because there wasn’t any to be found. 

We got to the C14 departure gate with about 15 minutes to spare then got yanked out of line to be more thoroughly searched. It wasn’t all that intrusive or difficult on us: they waved a detector wand around us, carefully examined our shoes, and rummaged through our carry-ons. We were headed on board in less than 5 minutes, though delay did mean that there were no two seats together available on the flight. We made the best of it and sat 1 row apart on the aisle. 

Mood on the plane was buoyant, as is typical for Southwest flights. The passengers and crew sang Happy Birthday to a flight attendant before take-off, and upon landing in Reno we were treated to Kazoo renditions of TV theme songs over the intercom while taxiing. You almost wonder why “Strange, Funny, and Inexpensive” isn’t Southwest’s motto.

We were met in Reno by Erin’s parents Bernard and Liz. We’d not eaten more than a pack of peanuts on the plane, so they treated us to dinner at Sweetwater restaurant in Circus Circus hotel in Reno. There we passed a flying trapeze act, a singing Elvis impersonator, and a whole lot of slot machines on the way to the meal. It was a fascinating glimpse into a world I know nothing about and have no desire to be any part of but really wouldn’t mind studying. The chance to look closer will likely arise over the course of the next several days.