Travelog: Reno 2006

By Xah Lee. Date:

Last weekend (2006-11-04 and 2006-11-05), me and my brother visited Reno. We rented a car ($35 a day) and drove from Mountain View, California to Reno, Nevada.


san jose to reno
Map from Mountain View (Sunnyvale) to Reno.

The route we took is Highway 101 to Foster City then CA 92 crossing the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge to Hayward , then Interstate 680 to Oakland (the city of blacks and crimes), then Interstate 80 all the way to Sacramento (capital of CA) then continue to our destination Reno.

lake tahoe
Map from Sacramento to Reno.

Then, we drove to Carson City (42 km), then drove around the west side of Lake Tahoe to the southern edge of the lake where California and Nevada meet, then took highway 50 back to Sacramento, then the same route back home.

We started very late, around 2 pm. We arrived at Reno around 8 pm. We walked around casinos and gambled slightly till about 1 am. (It is the first time my brother visited a US full-casino.)

After that, i couldn't find a motel that has open office in the city. Both of us are very tired. (having slept only 6 hours the previous night) So, we decided to drive towards Carson City, thinking there will more easily be open motels along the highway.

Carson city is only 30 min drive away. And i easily found a Days Inn in the city and went in for the night. $48 per night. (As i later realized, motels in USA are usually open at all times.)

The distance by road from Mountain View to Reno is about 370 mi. (595 km) The total distance we drove, round trip, is 808 mi. (1301 km)

Lousy Car

dodge caliber 2007 3080
The Dodge Caliber, 2007. Worst shit in design.

Our rented car, the 2007 Dodge Caliber , turns out to be a extremely lousily designed car. I didn't realize what capacity this car has. It doesn't have much power. And, just about every design of this car is wrong.

Your knees will bump into the bottom compartment housing the steering wheel, and your right knee will bump into the radio/air-conditioning cabnet.

The windshield's side frames, are humongous, so that, when you make a left turn, you have to shift your head to and fro to avoid the blockage of your field of vision.

The break pedal is way higher than the gas pedal, making the transition not comfortable. There is no speed-cruse-control.

The 2 cup-holders for the front seaters, are arranged in a tandem position. At first i thought it is one of those new design that on a first glance seems odd but is actually more efficient or convenient. But, it is actually so awkward to reach either one of them as they are way back.

The map pockets commonly found on the doors, are so sort in length that we couldn't put anything in it. The car has a stupid compartment above the glove compartment, that if you put anything in it (such as your cell phone, GPS, eye-glasses), then it will slide from side to side as you drive, scratching your thing and make clunky noises as it hits the sides on every turn.

Basically, i have a mid-sized flash-light, my cell phone, my brother's eye-glasses, and among all places in the front seat area, we couldn't find places to put them. The only place usable, is the glove compartment, and the box between the seats.

It has a CD player. However, it doesn't play mp3. What kind of CD player in the year of our lord 2006 doesn't do mp3? What a moronicity.

For cars of this class, usually there's a metal handle under the seat to move the seat forward and backward. This car has a metal bar for this purpose, and is not completely under the seat. It juts out in front, so that you are prevented from tucking your feet near the edge of the seat. What a incompetence.

We couldn't figure out how to turn on or off the ceiling lamp, as it doesn't have any knobs or switches on it. We could sometimes turn it on by opening a front door and try to hit the entire lamp. (it won't work if the door is not opened.).

After returning the car, i realized this is a 4-cylinder car. But even, my 2000 Honda Civic HX is a 4-cylinder car too and it accelerates much better than the Caliber.


Mountain View's population is 70.7 k, of which is a city i've lived in like over 10 years. For comparison: Reno is 207 k. Carson City is 57 k. San Francisco is 739 k.

«With a population of 2.5 million, the Sacramento metropolitan area is the largest in the Central Valley, and is the fourth-largest in California, behind the Los Angeles-Orange County area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the San Diego area.» —Wikipedia

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the human animal's gene pool there is pretty diverse, except you don't see much blacks. (the blacks are concentrated in Oakland)

One best way to get a quick look of the racial makeup in a city is to go to the local food super market. Everyone needs food, and there you'll see all sort of people coming out of the woodwork that you normally might not see in your day job field.

In the SF Bay Area, daily you'll see White, Hispanics, Far East Asians, Indians, Middle Easterners. But as soon as you go inland as near as Sacramento, you'll immediately notice, that the local food store are filled with attractive chicks. They are all blonde! (Personally, i LOVE blondes and blue eyed girls, for reasons i can't explain. Every of their moves, accent, talks, looks, confuse my brain and agitate my heart.)

In Reno Casinos we strolled, we can't infer the city's racial mix up since they are all tourists. In Carson city, it is immediately clear it is White awash. The rubs and hillbillies. You can clearly see it from their faces and accents, and constantly be reminded by their Jesus affiliation.

In the motel Days Inn we stayed, the receptionist is a obese white woman, perhaps 300 pounds (or 140 kg), and the TV has Jerry Springer Show on. And, right on the wall is a paper sign, printed by a computer and tacked there, that goes something like “To serve humanity is to serve God”. (perhaps it needs to be mentioned, that the woman is nice though.)

Check out the “The Crowd Chants” section on wikipedia: Jerry Springer Show. Hilarious.


I've been to Las Vegas, as well as Reno. So, gambling isn't new to me. [see A Encompassing Travelog on the City of Sin]

I'm not much into card games, for, i don't doodle my time with card games and thus never developed a knack in playing it. Although, i know that for some card games such as Blackjack and Poker, with sufficient skills one can beat the house.

I absolutely find no interest in the lifeless slot machines, of which these days are computer controlled and networked.

«Today, slot machines are the most popular gambling method in casinos and constitute about 70% of the average casino's income. » —Wikipedia

Nor do i have interest in sports gambling, because i despise the act of watching team sports on TV. Nor am i interested in Keno, of which i'd better off buying Lottery at a local food store for the excitement and chances.

«As a casino game, it [Keno] is notable because it provides the casino with an advantage against the player greater than any other gambling game — on some bets up to 66%.» —Wikipedia

The games interesting to me in a casino, is roulette and craps. These are brainless games as there are no skill involved. Thus, it is a form of pure gambling. Where, you put down your life's worth, and in a few eye blinks, god determines where you go from there.


The part of roulette that makes it interesting is of course the wheel. To make the wheel so balanced as to generate perfect random numbers is extremely complicated refinement both in technology and engineering.

I'm not too sure, that those roulette machines are perfectly balanced. Let's say, there's a spin every minute. Then there are 1440 spins in a day. A roulette typically has 38 slots. 1440/38=37.8947 So that each slot will be filled about 37.9 times. In a month (30 days), each slot on average should be filled 38*30 = 1140 times. So, i guess one month of spinning may be sufficient to gather statistical data on whether the wheel is balanced perfectly enough.

In a month, there are 43200 spins. In 4 months, there are 172800 spins. Perhaps, that's enough wear to require the machine to be tuned to maintain its balance. Tuning the roulette must require some specialized expert, which takes money. I wonder how often casinos tune their roulette.

Now, even suppose those roulette machines are statistically off balance. As a gambler walking into Casino, you wouldn't know which sector it is tipped. So, as far as you are concerned, you are still playing a fair game, provided that you make your bets random. For example, if i flip a loaded coin and you are to guess the outcome, and if you always guess randomly, your chances are still a fair 50%.

For the above reasons, i'm not too worried if the roulette wheels are not perfectly in balance. And, in these modern days of incorporated casinos, it is not likely that the wheels are intentionally loaded. I just make sure that i place my bets randomly. And, if i were to bet huge sums, another rule is to try to place the bet opposite to the most betted spot. So that, in the case there's cheating by the house, the odds are good to me since the house would like to swallow the spot that has the most money.

As for the betting strategy in roulette, as any one who studied probability knows, that there's absolutely no winning strategy whatsoever.

There are 36 numbers, half colored red and half black. Then, there's a 0 and 00 slot, both are colored green. So, your chances of winning on red is (36/2)/38, which is 0.4739 or 47.39%. Meaning, that out of 100 games, you'll win about 47 times. If you multiply the probability of winning by 2, we have (36/2)/38 * 2, which is equal to 36/38 = 0.9477, or 94.77%. This is your expected outcome. Meaning, on the long run, a investment of $100 will have a expected return of $95.

Now, if you bet on a number and win, you'll get 36 times your investment back. Now, since there are 38 slots, your chances are 1/38, multiply that by 36 (since you get 36 folds back if you win), and we get 36/38 = 0.9477, or 94.77%. This is your expected outcome. Meaning, on the long run, $100 investment will get you back $95.

As you can see, regardless whether you play red/black or by numbers, your expected outcome is the same. All other bets have the same expected outcome (some are worse. See roulette for the full detail).

Whether to play red/black, or by numbers, is a matter of betting ratio preference. With red/black, you get even payback. With numbers, you have big money but slim chance. So, if you have say $1000, you can either do it one-shot with red/black, or you can prolong your play by dividing your money to some 50 portions and playing the numbers. If you are daring, you can put your $1000 on a number one-shot. Mathematically, all the above are the same with respect to expected outcome.


… more to come here.

… my planned gambling scheme, and the outcome … (to be written later)