Category Archives: Nevada

Truckee Whitewater Park – Reno, Nevada

hunter peter tim reno launchThe Truckee Whitewater Park is located in downtown Reno, Nevada. We have been trying to paddle here for three years so were excited to hear last week that the water was flowing (compared to our last visit where only the ducks were playing…).

reno slalom course FordoAs the park is located downtown and has other amenities (tennis, basketball, walking etc.) we learned that we needed to get there well before lunch in order to get a parking spot, or two, or three to fit into!

hunter side surf warmupThere are two channels in the park. The channel closest to the parking area has a slalom course and makes for a great warmup lap – fun little surf features and a good set of gates to practice precision moves on.

hunter wave 5At the bottom of the confluence of the two channels is wave 5 – the largest wave of the five features. Can be sticky or flushy or great depending on the water levels…

tim wave 3 back surf

Wave 3 is also referred to as the competition wave – it is a slight hole but also has a green tongue section for front surfing. It was a great place to build confidence and experiment with old and new tricks.

peter loop reno

Peter Holcombe showing that old guys can still throw loops!

nathan wave 3 loop

Nathan O’Connor getting some AIR!

cameron reno wave 3

Cameron O’Connor showing the younger boys how it’s done

abby reno wave 3

Abby Holcombe rocking her front surf

We were lucky to venture to Reno with our new friends the Holcombe’s (a full time travelling family) and then to meet the O’Connor clan as well.

hunter ender rockstar reno

Hunter was able to borrow a small Rockstar from the O’Connor boys and LOVED it…which is great as we have a new to us Rockstar sitting in Calgary waiting to be picked up. With his new friends cheering him on he pushed his comfort zone and tried his first loop!

hunter nathan cameron reno april 2016

Paddling with other kids has been great for Hunter – pushing his comfort zone while having fun and goofing around! He’s stoked for paddling this year, which is exciting for us…

18 hours in Vegas

LOVE - beatlesOn our last Friday night in Oceanside we were at the movie theatre to see Mr. Peabody & Sherman. There was a preview (one of a zillion) that showed the Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. The boys were intrigued so we did some quick checking on distances, timelines and tickets and TA-DA – Vegas was added as a quick stop on our way home….

We left Oceanside Sunday morning at 9:00 am, after a last breakfast burrito at the Buccaneer cafe (a must stop in oceanside, great food, great views & great prices). We landed in Las Vegas by 2 in the afternoon at the Oasis RV Park. In typical vegas style, it was gated, had a HUGE lobby and 2 swimming pools. It was 3 miles from the strip ($20 cab ride) so not as convenient as I would have liked for a quick stop, but it was very clean, well maintained and safe which are high priorities these days.

LOVE sign - mirageAfter a quick swim we cleaned up and pulled out the stash of “good clothes” (first time they have been out all trip) to head off to the theatre. The show was GREAT. Hunter has never been to a Cirque show and his eyes were wide open and mouth was grinning from beginning to end. Everyone was busy pointing things out to ensure that no one missed a single fun thing. The music was fabulous and a neat story line to the show.

lee & hunter bellagioWe spent some time wandering south on the strip after the show and stopped to enjoy the lights at the Bellagio – another new thing for Hunter (we were in Vegas 3 years ago with him but did not catch this). He loved it so much we stayed for a second show before heading back to the campground.

This little side adventure made for a very long day’s drive to San Francisco (9 hours) but we all agreed that it was well worth it!

Shut out at Truckee Whitewater Park, Reno Nevada

lee hunter reno 2

We drove 12 hours out of our way (through a snowstorm for a good part of it), going North rather than South, to paddle at the Truckee Whitewater Park in Reno, Nevada. It is a series of 11 features on the Truckee River in downtown Reno. Everything we have read says that the park is open year round with relatively steady water flows so we were highly optimistic after being shut out of paddling the 2 whitewater parks in Idaho due to lack of water.

reno river park 10

Unfortunately… we showed up the morning after a snowstorm and the water levels were perfect for ducks, not kayakers! It was a beautiful fall day and the ducks were actually floating down the water features and splashing around in the waves. The water was low enough for one dog to be running around in the river chasing the ducks!

Absolute and utter disappointment. Total Bummer verging on tears as we had driven so long, through such crappy conditions and spent the previous night sleeping in a truck stop! ARGH…

truck stop sparks nv

We walked all around and are jealous of the features – it looks like an amazing run with very fun play spots and lots of learning opportunities. The silver lining is that we are coming back north in March so we will be watching the water levels closely in hopes that we can justify another detour to finally get some paddling at this park.

Great Basin National Park & Lehman Caves, Nevada

nevada cave features

Great Basin National Park is tucked in a remote corner of eastern Nevada, just off historic highway 50. It is the 9th least visited National Park in the USA so the staff were happy to see us! This obviously leads to curiosity about who else is in the top 10 least visited parks – check out the list here… Not a surprise to see 3 Alaska parks in the top 5.

Anyways… one of the main features in the park is Lehman Caves so we thought it would be a great stop on our way to Reno. We pulled in just before dark and were able to pick up a Junior Ranger book to work on and find a camp site. There was about an inch of snow on the ground and the campsite was at 7300 feet elevation so things were definitely cool that night!

nevada cave ranger katie

The next morning we were up bright and early to make it to the Ranger Station for the 9am cave tour. Ranger Katie toured us through the caves for 90 minutes and it was so interesting and captivating. To make it accessible, the park has put in a paved entrance and exit, paved floor path and LED lighting throughout. They have done a good job with the lights and paths and they aren’t all that intrusive into the experience. It was much better than we had anticipated.

hunter cave candle

Lehman caves was discovered in the late 1800’s and the first explorers paid $1.00 and were given a coffee can with a candle inside and the guarantee that someone would come in after them if they did not return within 24 hours of going into the cave. At one point Ranger Katie had Hunter hold a coffee can lantern and then turned all of the lights around us off. She then had Hunter blow out his candle and we were all left in the dark imagining what it would have been like to be exploring, trip and fall and have your candle snuffed out. Total darkness with no sense of which direction to turn.

Doing the Junior Ranger book the night before was great as we all learned about Cave features such as stalactites (hang down), stalagmites (come up from the ground), cave popcorn, cave drapery, cave parachutes and the best of all – cave BACON (named for it’s wavy shape & brown colour)!

Hunter successfully completed another Junior Ranger book and got his badge after being sworn it. Note the coat & hat due to it being very WINTER like 🙁hunter jnr ranger swear in


Nevada – full of surprises

windmills 2 nevada

We were heading into Nevada specifically to go to Reno and paddle the Truckee Whitewater park. It was taking us 12 hours out of our way but the pictures looked amazing and the write-ups all said that water flowed year round… It was an interesting geographical change from Utah, as we drove into the Great Basin area with large expanses of flat desert landscape.

nevada snowy road #1

Surprise #1 was a pacific storm rolling in on the day we were leaving St. George. It was bringing high winds, low temperatures and precipitation to Northern California, all of Nevada and parts of Utah. Oh GREAT… We’ve done this once already in September in B.C. – should we start to anticipate this on a monthly basis???

nevada snowy road #2

Surprise #2 was learning that Nevada is the most mountainous state in the United States and that means when you are driving east to west (or west to east), all you do is cross summits! This makes for long driving and alot of work for the truck (aka poor Fordo).

nevada snowy road #3

When you put #1 and #2 TOGETHER you get 6 hours in a winter snow storm for what is supposed to be a sunshine filled, warm vacation! It also made for a long drive with a few held breaths as the truck started to go sideways going both up and down the hills. We even came across a road closure with State Trouper’s blocking the roads. Tim’s awesome driving left nothing to fear and we came through it all without a bump…

nevada snowplow

The really humourful part is that we are driving in more snow than they have at home in Whitehorse right now…

More to come on Great Basin National Park & Lehman Caves (where we camped at 7300 feet and were surrounded by snow) and our exceptionally quick visit to Reno.