Thursday, June 26, 2008

Still Smoky

Posted Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 2:18 PM

What’s missing from this picture of Stephanie Way?

Oh, that’s right. The mountains. The mountains are missing because there’s so much smoke in the air. From the National Weather Service:

Smoke has reduced visibilities to between 3 and 5 miles across northeast California and western Nevada this morning. The worst conditions have been observed in the Sierra from Lake Tahoe north into Plumas and Lassen counties…and in western Nevada in the the Reno-Carson City areas.


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Curry Street Promenade

Posted Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 2:05 PM

Carson Times has a photo gallery of the Curry Street Promenade. Apparently Curry Street is being slowly redeveloped, partly just to make Curry Street look better, but partly to try out a few of the design concepts that the city wants to use on Carson Street after the freeway is finished. What I notice about this Curry Street photo gallery is that many of the improvements are coming from private enterprise, not from the city. There are photos of the Firkin and Fox, and the new Bella Fiore Wines, and the new back patio that Doppelgangers recently completed. This is the way it should be. The city can make the streets and sidewalks look nice, but it’s up to these businesses to make people want to come downtown. And we’re actually seeing some nice stuff happening in that arena. So I’m optimistic for the future of downtown, and maybe by the time the freeway traffic gets off the street, we really will have a downtown worthy of standing on its own.


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Carson City Library Plans

Posted Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 1:50 PM

Carson Times: Don’t give up on that new Carson City Library just yet. After the failed boondoggle that was the city trying to acquire the old Post Office on Plaza Street, it sounds like Carson is pursuing a more reasonable plan of building a brand new library building, probably on the site of the old V&T Shops one block north. Reasonable, but expensive. The library has no money to put up new buildings with, in fact they’ve recently had to cut hours and staffing levels. But it sounds like the Federal government has programs in place to help with redeveloping the neighborhoods that their buildings are located in. So maybe the Feds would give the city money to help out with building a new library and improving that part of town. Which is a good thing, because the city sure doesn’t have any money to do any of this.

That whole part of town has been designated the “Roundhouse District”, referring to the V&T Shops that used to be on the empty lot at Ann Street. The funny thing is that the shops were never called the “Roundhouse”, because it wasn’t round. It was square, so it was properly called just an enginehouse. I think it was usually known as the shops, or the Old Stone Fort.

There’s a lot of land around there that can be improved, room for parks, fountains, even an amphitheater. If all these plans come to fruition it could really transform that part of town into something great. Of course, that’s a lot of ifs. And plans in Carson City have a way of going from “if” to “whatever happened to”, so maybe none of this will ever come to pass.


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Truckee Rafting

Posted Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 12:32 PM

At the Travel Nevada blog: Rafting down the Truckee River:

Somewhere between us swimming in our raft, getting our bodies bashed against rocks and running into a cove of trees, we decided that we really did buy a cheap boat.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Locomotive #29 Back on the Tracks

Posted Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 4:30 PM

Some good news coming out of Virginia City. After spending 7 years in the shop, Locomotive #29 of the V&T is all fixed and up and running again. That’s an extraordinarily long time for an overhaul, but apparently it wasn’t just a matter of doing some simple repairs, they had to make some upgrades to comply with stricter FRA regulations. That plus budget problems that they probably had, added up to a long hiatus.

And even now, the engine isn’t out pulling trains daily. They ran it last weekend to shake it out and see how it performed, but they haven’t put it into regular service yet. This is a big step forward for the railroad, though. We need steam in Virginia City. We’re getting a little tired of that diesel engine.

Missing from the story, though, is news on the other steam engine they have up on the hill, #8. All these stories focus on #29, as well they should because it’s the more elegant engine and it’s been on the Comstock the longest. But #8 is also up there, sitting in the shop, inoperable, and nobody ever talks about it. Maybe they wanted to focus all their energy on #29 first, get it done, and now that they’ve done it they can shift their attention to #8. Because you have to admit, it’s always better to have two locomotives running than it is one. Back in the late 90s, when I was riding the train all the time, both were operational, so they could put one in the shop for some minor repairs for a week or two and it wasn’t a big deal. The other one would take over responsibilities for that time. That’s what they’ll need to get back to, and they’ll get to get #8 running again to do it. But these new stories never even talk about #8, so I really don’t know what’s going on with it.


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