Ken hadn't been to the Rib Cook off in Reno in years. I've never been and it sounded like fun. It also sounded yummy, so Friday night I made a reservation at the Nugget (amazed we got a room for one night at the Nugget - the sight of the rib cook off) and arranged with our wonderful pet sitter, Sue Stack, to come hang with the animals while we were gone.
On the drive to Reno we saw more horse trailers and truck campers than we've ever seen in one day. I don't know why there were so many horse trailers, but the truck campers and all the other RVs were on their way home from Burning Man. We could tell by all the white dust on the vehicles. A dead giveaway.
Parking at the Nugget was a challenge. The traffic was understandably heavy and roads were blocked off. The signs for all the parking lots were full and even the valet parking said it was full. We drove in circles and finally asked a security guard at one hotel parking lot what the secret was for getting a space. She told us we needed a room key. Ah ha! So Ken and I tag teamed it. I drove into the line for Valet parking and registration and Ken went inside to register and get our key. He was able to stand in line with probably 30 other people and get back to me with a key before I'd made it more than a hundred yards in the car. When he got back to the car he said we couldn't check in yet because the room wasn't ready yet but when he told the hotel clerk that we couldn't park without a key she gave Ken a blank key. Voila! We drove back to the lot with the helpful security guard and she recognized us (the MINI is fairly memorable I guess) and when Ken showed her the key she let us in. Success. We were parked. We brought our bag to the bell desk and went in search of RIBS! We didn't have to go far.
Walking out the door of the casino onto the street we're immediately overwhelmed with smoke from all the barbecues Ahhh....we breathed deeply and enjoyed the smells. We were both of the same mind in thinking that we wouldn't visit any of the rib places that we have at home, like Kinders, Back Forty, or Armadillo Willy's. Why waste our time with something we've had before when there were so many others we'd never get any other way? We also planned on only ordering one "sampler" from each of the places and sharing it. A sampler had three ribs - Ken would have two and I would have one. That was my compromise for Weight Watchers. We didn't waste stomach space on pulled pork sandwiches, beans or rolls either. We were going for Ribs, and Ribs alone. It was the perfect plan and we stuck to it.
Even when we waited in line for 45 minutes at this year's Peoples Choice winner we only got the sampler.
The "Porkinator" sounded truly yummy but we stuck with their ribs and topped them with Jamaican BBQ sauce.
We'd eaten at three rib places and were getting full. We weren't ready to stop, of course, but we needed to see if our room was ready so we took a break and went into the casino. The room was not ready. Sheesh. I think it was about 3pm at that point, and check-in was supposed to be at 3 but the desk agent said it was their busiest day of the year. This was obvious because the line for first time reservations (meaning the one Ken stood in line earlier) had to have 150 people in it. It went all the way to the bar. Since our room wasn't ready but the Giants game was on we grabbed two just vacated seats at that bar and watched the Giants give up 3 runs to lose the game. What timing.
I sent a picture to my brother while we were in line at Awesome Aussie Australian BBQ.
We went back out to the cook off and tried a fourth rib joint. Then we walked around the craft fair but that wasn't very exciting. A whole lot of booths that didn't interest us, except one place that sold metalwork from whom we bought a metal bug for the garden.
About 4:30 we went back into the hotel and our room was finally ready. It was a non smoking floor but we walked in our room and it reeked of cigarette smoke. Ick. Of course, so did the casino. But since it took us so long to get the room we opened the windows and let it air out and went to the Tiki Bar (the one with the giant fish tank - can't remember what it's called) and ordered a Scorpion!
It has been decades since we drank one of these and that was with 6 people drinking it.
Blue Oyster Cult was on stage at 7pm so we brought our unfinished Scorpion up to the room and ate at two more rib joints while listening to the Cult play. They were on for a little over an hour. I'm not a big fan but Ken is and he enjoyed it. Though he said they didn't play enough of their own songs. They did covers. Not that I knew what was theirs, anyway!
The sun set - with beautiful color in the clouds over the signs of two of the places we visited. The Checkered Pig wasn't my favorite. Though we both wondered if, after eating at 6 places they were all running together. We'd certainly eaten our fill, so maybe it wasn't fair to compare anymore.
We were full, had truly enjoyed ourselves and there was nothing bad that happened - but you've got to wonder what they were expecting with this on site...
We did play casino games for a while and Ken won a bit - enough that we came home with money which is always a win in my book! We went to bed early and got up early. We wanted to make sure we didn't get stuck in Memorial Day/Burning Man traffic. We didn't.
The weather at home was perfect and we hung out by the pool enjoying the end of Summer.