GT-24 was held in Lake Tahoe at the Cal-Neva Lodge, which literally straddles the Nevada and California state line. The state line actually divides the swimming pool so you can swim between the states.
By now we were both consulting in the telecommunications industry and had contracts which prohibited us from taking a three week vacation. We really wanted to to drive PRNCZ, and Steven appeared to have some unbelievable roads picked. We knew that they must be interesting, because the switchbacks were depicted on the map. But alas, we were again on the big bird. Since neither one of us had ever been to Las Vegas, we decided to fly there for a few days to check it out and then drive up to Lake Tahoe. Las Vegas was a fun experience (been there, done that). Frugal as we are, we decided to stay at the Marriott and use our AARP discount, rather than on the Strip with its exorbitant prices.
We spent the first day, Saturday, touring the casinos, including the Bellagio, where we had tickets to see "O" by Cirque du Soleil. This is truly an exceptional show, and if you can pony up the price, it's a great value. Steven had fun at the slot machines which, of course, were not very profitable. On Sunday we drove to Hoover Dam and took the hard hat tour. We had recently seen a program on the History Channel that described the building of the dam. It was interesting to actually walk through the bowels of the complex into areas that were shown on the program. Did you now that the concrete used to construct the dam will not be completely cured for another fifty-years? They have to pipe cold water through the concrete to keep the heat generated by the curing concrete from damaging the structure. After the tour, we headed back to the Las Vegas Hilton and the Star Trek Experience.
Diane with Ferengi Friend
We had lunch in a Deep Space 9 restaurant, where Klingon Khoch and other celestial delights were served. Here you can see that Diane engaged in acquiring a inter-spatial vacuum modulator for the car. Later on we ran into a Klingon warrior and his companion who were trying to compare Bill Clinton to James T. Kirk. Steven's a Trekkie, need we say more? Diane had a Klingon joke, but decided that discretion was called for — the Klingons were bigger than Steven.
Monday we struck out for Lake Tahoe. It was a beautiful drive - not a lot of traffic. It turned out to be the better part of nine hours, so we didn't take the time to stop alot along the way. Death Valley would have been interesting. It was also our first encounter with expensive petrol.
On The Back
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We arrived in time to hear the welcoming speech by Lawrie Alexander, the GT host. This was held in the room that is half in Nevada and half in California. Then off to the hospitality suite; no, we spent more time in the casino.
This GT weather was perfect: the days were sunny, and the nights were cool. It's much more pleasant to have to don sweatshirts than to apply icy washcloths to the back of our necks to avoid heat stroke! (sorry, Ed!)
On Tuesday the car show was held on a grass field, but with a nice California twist: each car was issued a drop cloth to place under the car to protect the grass from oil leaks. They must have been expecting PRNCZ! This was a manageable car show since there weren't as many cars as the last several meets. Neil Griffin went to the trouble of replacing his windscreen with the one he had at GT-5 because it had the GT-5 decal on it.
Neil Griffin's MGA with GT-5 Decal
On Wednesday we took the scenic tour which ended up at the National Car Museum in Reno. This museum is what remains after the Harrah collection was sold off. There was lunch on the patio with a group of Chevy people and then a tour of the museum. We missed seeing the the volume of cars from the old Harrah collection, but the museum is nice with many of the vehicles placed in period settings.
On Wednesday evening, our hosts served an Italian meal in the show room where the Rat Pack entertained and Marilyn and Frank rendezvoused. Mac Spears was certain that he and Billie Ann had Marilyn's room because it had a hidden back entrance. That night we reminisced with the Spears, the Ashes, Len Bonnay, Frank Tarpley and others in the lounge (very near the casino). Mischievous Mac somehow conned a roulette croupier into teaching some of us how to play the game. Few stood to the challenge, except Steven and Jennifer Ashe. It was $20 to get started. Mac's stash disappeared in about ten minutes. Steven managed to hit, to double his investment, and then to quit It was about 2AM when we adjourned, leaving Jennifer at the table. The next morning she confessed to losing it all. We all decided not to quit our day jobs.
MGAs at Donner's Pass — Beware, Cannibals
Thursday was a scheduled caravan to the Empire Gold Mine. This took most of the day and ran through some very scenic forest land and through Donner Pass. Luckily, we weren't snowed in, and no one had to cannibalize an MGA to get through. We missed PRNCZ because the roads were truly MG roads, and the scenery was just spectacular. It's tough to look up from the seat of a Detroit iron with no moon-roof. We got back to the Lodge just in time to prepare for the banquet which again was held in the showroom. Mark and Cindy Michalak joined us for dinner at our banquette We spent the evening making plans to spend time together at the summer regional GT in Grand Bend, Ontario. We were also pleased to see so many people here who were also at GT-5 at the Hilton down the road. Hal Roeth took a photo of all of us returnees for the MGA! newsletter.
We didn't have to worry about PRNCZ limping; on this trip it was Steven. He was a week away from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and was starting to feeling the pain of many hours on his feet. Actually, it was probably a good thing that we didn't drive.
After good-byes the next morning over coffee, we headed for Reno and the flight home. Can next year really be GT-25 already?