Most of the places I've been so far didn't feel all that different from Portland. At least some part of Portland. Redding was probably the furthest from what I was used to, but I could imagine it was one of Portland's suburbs that somehow managed to import a couple of palm trees.
Reno? I can't imagine Reno is a Portland suburb. I'm not sure if it's the mountains in the distance, the wind, or the lack of traffic. Something about this place feels definitely and completely unlike where I'm from. Not in a bad way. It's the first time I've really felt like I'm "far away."
I think in practice I'm getting closer to Portland for the next couple of months after this. I have the general shape of a plan down to the exact parks I want to stay at through September, and a vague idea of where I plan to go after that. I'll get as close to Portland as Eugene before I hook East towards Bend and eventually Texas.
I've spent my two weeks in Reno at the Grand Sierra Resort, a location I've been to several times before. Enough times that I've somehow managed to earn the second level of their player's club card. I don't gamble particularly much; I'm too familiar with statistics to really believe I may have already won. The flashing lights though. The best slot machine is the one where cows abduct farmers. You can disagree but you're wrong.
Of course, my real game of choice is craps. Specifically the fully-automated electronic version known as bubble craps. Primarily because it allows bets as low as $1, whereas the real craps tables usually require at least $5 and during prime hours on Friday and Saturday the minimum is often $25. Too rich for my blood. I'll sit at the bubble craps for a few hours with friends, enjoy the free drinks, and win or lose the same $20 over and over. That's my kind of gambling.
Of course, I didn't really come here for the casino. That was just a fringe benefit, but I'll talk more about that next week.