What follows is a true account of one man’s long distance love affair with Northwestern Nevada in general, and Carson City, in particular. Some names have been changed to protect the, well, not so innocent.
I love and miss Carson City. There, I said it.
I am writing this from the comfort of my home some 2,200-plus miles away from the object of my affection. Columbus, Ohio is a nice, comfortable city. Not many people know that it is the largest city in the state, but it is. Like Carson City, it is the state capital. But, that is where the similarity ends. I have been here for 14 years, and I really like it. But, goodness, do I long for Carson City.
How did this perverse, but socially acceptable, affair get started? It began when I first decided to go to Reno in 2002 for a vacation. I like Las Vegas well enough, but I prefer some history with my travels, and after reading a bit about the past in Northern Nevada, I decided to venture out for a little slower, yet more fulfilling journey.
Upon my arrival in Reno, I fell in love. There was nothing about the area that I didn’t like, and over the five days I stayed, I found more and more to enjoy. During my stay, I had a rental car and drove down to Carson City. I was thrilled! I fell in love with the town, and even more with the people. No one uttered and unkind word, and the local folks I interacted with were as friendly as one could be. I would travel around the Reno/Tahoe area, but I kept coming back to Carson City. I really felt very much at home there. That comfortable feeling that one gets when there is a sense of belonging.
I know that this seems improbable – being that I was in the area less than a week. But, consider the following.
Upon my return home, I told my best friend that I really fell in love with Carson City, and that I want to live there and be part of the community one day. Remember, this was 2002. I never gave up on doing that, even as time passed, month by month. I always kept it in the back of my mind. I was 38 then, and figured I had time to make it happen.
I was a radio personality here in Columbus – well, personality is a stretch. I was a traffic reporter for several stations, and my voice was recognized every now and then. Oh, the price of fame. That and a buck could get me a cup of joe at any Tim Horton’s in town.
In 2005, I began doing DJ work. I bought my own equipment and started getting work doing wedding receptions and the like. Everyone ejoyed my voice, and the radio industry was eroding by the day. So, I decided I needed to do something for myself. I loved it and really got a kick out of the people I would meet. That was the best part of the venture!
I always took time out to point my browser to Carson City and Reno, keeping up on the events there and looking at pictures of the beauty that I missed. I would envision learning to ski at Mt. Rose, or even doing an event there.
In eary 2006, I wrote to a wedding planner in Reno I found on the ‘net. Just a little inquiry about the DJ scene and how it was there. She was extremely nice and eventually connected me a DJ in the area. I began to correspond with him and let him know of my desire to relocate to Carson City.
One thing led to another, as all love affairs do, and we were eventually discussing coming out there and working for him. I cannot begin to describe the joy I felt about the potential of realizing my dream. I was truly excited and, when dates were arrainged, and it was clear that he would welcome me, I let everyone important to me know that I was moving to Carson City!!
Going away parties were held, gifts were given and tears were shed. I hugged tightly some very important people and promised everyone I would stay in touch. In May, on a bright morning, after loading all of my things into my van, I departed for Carson City!
With my satellite radio as my companion, I travelled across the country. Using I-80, I passed through all manner of cities and towns, saw some wonderful scenery, and met some teriffic people along the way. One of the highlights was driving through the salt flats from west of Salt Lake City to the town of West Wendover, Nevada. I learned about the annexation issue (it had basically died) and saw gasoline for $4.75 a gallon! But, no matter, I was in my new home state!
I spent the night in West Wendover, and the next morning headed for 95, where I left I-80 for Fallon, to find 50 for my trip into Carson City. I arrived on a Friday afternoon, and was greeted warmly by my new employer. He actually had a wedding reception to do that evening at a church in Gardnerville, which I accompanied him to.
Saturday was a great day, as my employer, his girlfriend, and I spent the evening getting to know each other. It was a wonderful, restful evening and I starwted to feel as though this was going to be my home.
Sunday was another laid back day – I slept in, catching up on some much-needed rest. I cooked lunch for them that day, and went to the Nugget for the first time. I played poker in the Poker room, and was treated very well. Even won a few hundred dollars!
On Monday, disaster struck. I met with my employer in his office that morning. He and I began to talk, small stuff about starting work and getting my equipment out. The conversation took a bad turn when he told me that he “needed a financial interest” in my equipment for me to work for him. This was never discussed beforehand and it literally brought tears to my eyes. I almost pleaded for him to stick with the original agreement – which I showed him in our emails back and forth – but to no avail. I was asked to leave. I was stunned. I went to the Motel 6 and got a room for a few nights and tried to figure out what had happened. I called my empolyer to talk to him, and he insisted that I had somehow agreed to buy his business, with the equipment as security. I could now see my dream of living and becoming a part of Carson City evaporating. On Tuesday, after a few more discussions, we parted company. It was now over.
I went back to the Nugget, where the Poker room supervisor and I had had a discussion about moving here, and how excited I was. I told her what had happened, and she really was taken aback. She and I tried to come up with something, but I knew I wasn’t going to survive. I either had to come up with a job and housing quickly, or head back to Ohio. I stayed for another week, just soaking up the area and the experiences I could. Deeply saddened and hurt, I headed back to Columbus.
As this new year begins, I long now more than ever to be back in Carson City. Having a few moments as a “local,” I really miss it there. The feeling of loss is genuine. I miss a lunch at the Nugget cafe. I miss driving up the hill, through Mound House into Dayton. I miss having a beer at Bully’s. Carson City, I guess I really just miss you.
I am still looking for work in Carson City, perusing the classifieds and hoping to stumble across something that can get me back there. Who knows. I fell that as long as I hold out hope, and still have the desire, it will happen. Please know that my heart is there with you, Carson City, and I will be back one day to stay for good!