Sunlit Water

March 4, 2009

Day Fifteen

Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 11:25 pm

The Spanish word nevada means “snowy,” and today amply demonstrated its aptness in this area.  It snowed in Carson City last night, so this morning there was quite a bit of snow on the ground when I went out and took pictures.  I then headed up to Virginia City and took some more.  Virginia City is really up in the mountains, so it was hardly surprising that there was a lot of snow everywhere.  It was quite cold, too, so I didn’t stay all that long.

From Virginia City I continued going north to Reno, where I drove around a bit and took some pictures.  When I was done there I set out on I-80 going west, intending to cross the Sierra Nevada and head to Sacramento.

Alas, the snow had other ideas.  It began soon after I crossed the state line, as the highway began to climb higher into the mountains, and by the time I got to Donner Pass it was very heavy and rather nervewracking, particularly given all the eighteen-wheelers around me.  Traffic gradually slowed to a crawl and then a stop, and the CalTrans guys were out in force directing people around.  We finally got moving again only to be directed right off of the freeway and back on going the other way.  I guess there was an accident or something; in any case, the road was closed off.  I got off as soon as I could, in Truckee, and tried to figure out what to do.  I could have just stayed in Truckee, but it’s a very small and rather upscale town, the kind of place with lots of fancy shops and an economy geared mainly toward selling real estate to rich people.  There are a handful of motels there, but they seem to  be very expensive and mostly of the “secluded ski chalet” type.  Not exactly my kind of thing.

So, given the circumstances, I did what seemed like the best alternative, which was to go back to Reno and stay there.  I got back on I-80 and headed in that direction.  The freeway was eerily empty, with only a few other cars, which was a striking contrast to the hordes of people trying to go the other way.  There was still a bit of snow for the first part of the drive, which made me a little nervous, but it turned out to be nothing problematic and it began to peter out around the Nevada state line.

A few miles after I crossed back into Nevada, the car behind me suddenly began flashing police lights.  I thought it seemed a bit odd that the cops would be pulling me over, since I was going quite slow and there was no way I could have been speeding, but I obediently pulled off the road and a Nevada state trooper came up to me and asked for my license and registration.  He said I had drifted over across the white line dividing the road from the shoulder a couple of miles back and he wanted to make sure I wasn’t too tired to drive or anything.  I assured him I was fine, and he seemed satisfied with that, but he still ran my license and registration then called me back to his car.  He didn’t give me a ticket or anything, just a warning, but he then asked me if I had any illegal items or large amounts of cash in the car.  I said I didn’t and he asked if I would consent to a search, since they were trying to crack down on stuff going across the state line.  I consented but said there was hardly anything in the car at all and they definitely wouldn’t find anything interesting.  They went ahead and searched the car, after I signed a form stating that I consented to the search.  First the cop’s partner took a drug-sniffing dog all around the outside, which apparently didn’t turn up anything, then the cop himself looked through the inside of the car and through my bags.  As I had said, there was nothing there, and the cops let me go.  They were very friendly throughout the interaction, and it seemed clear that they were just looking for pretexts to conduct searches.  I’m not sure how I feel about all that, but I figured I’d put it down in writing so there’s a record.

Once I got into Reno I checked into a Motel 6 and went to eat at a Korean restaurant near it.  The waitress was very funny.  I ordered pan-fried kimchee, and she was very impressed that I liked it.  She asked me if I had lived in Korea or had a Korean friend, to which I replied no, that I just liked it.  Apparently it’s not the sort of thing white people often order or like.  There was a ton of it, plus a bunch of sides, so there was no way I was going to finish it, and she brought me a box without my even asking for it.  It was a pretty entertaining experience in all, and now I have a bunch of delicious leftovers.  So the day wasn’t the best of the trip, but it ended up okay.



  1. I have to admit, I got pretty nervous reading this post but I figured, since you did manage to write it you hadn’t been in a car accident and weren’t in jail. I knew I knew someone who liked kimchee, not surprised at all that it’s you. I’d be tempted to try it pan-fried. I actually don’t mind it. I wonder what was up with that cop. Was he just bored? What kind of stuff is being smuggled in from California??? Were you swerving because of the snow? I’m glad you made it safely back to Reno. Are you still going to Sacramento or straight to Santa Cruz? Will you be able to make it to California at all today? Can you believe it’s been 15 days?! I think I’d be going crazy by now. I hope there aren’t any more posts like this although I am relieved knowing you have a spare tire and a AAA card.

    Comment by mcmegan — March 5, 2009 @ 2:29 am |Reply

  2. Interesting and probably unsettling day. Here is a webcam site for the Truckee/Donner area. My quick read: A lot of snow around, but main lanes of I-80 look clear, and skies generally clear (and forecast says same). May want to wait for midday to go for it.

    Stop by cops seemed weird, but very similar to the one I had near Magdalena and described in comments in to Day 1 (or maybe Day 2).

    Comment by JP Stormcrow — March 5, 2009 @ 7:55 am |Reply

  3. I am also happy that you have fully appreciated the joys of the to-go box.

    Comment by mcmegan — March 5, 2009 @ 9:08 am |Reply

  4. It’s pretty clear that the cops are under some pressure to stop the flow of drugs (weed and coke are the ones he asked about specifically) and associated money (bundles of cash over $10,000) across the state line, and they seem to be using any pretext they can to stop people and do searches. There was no longer any snow by the time I got stopped, and while I’m sure I did swerve over the line, that’s such a ridiculous reason to stop someone that he didn’t even pretend he was going to give me a ticket. He apparently followed me for a couple of miles after the infraction, probably to see if I did anything more stop-worthy.

    I’m going to try to make it all the way to Santa Cruz today, possibly with a stop in Sacramento (and maybe another in the Bay Area). The CalTrans website says 80’s clear, so I think I’ll be okay.

    Comment by teofilo — March 5, 2009 @ 11:20 am |Reply

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