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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Memories of Other Fires

30 October 2003

I've been watching the fires raging through Southern California on the television, and believe me...my heart goes out to all affected by the fires. I used to live in Crestline...above the Devore fire...and I used to live in Big Bear Lake...and am familiar with the horrible plight of fire on the mountain. Nearly 30 years ago I was one of those hosing down embers on my roof, and having burning embers flying through the air. We broke the rules and went up to another area to help a friend evacuate, and witnessed the underside of the air tankers dropping chemicals on the fire... from about 20 feet below them. It is a terrible and helpless feeling. And now I watch the scene on TV...worse than before... and watch the cameras looking down from Rim Forest and other locales along Highway 18...and even here...miles away... I remember the smell of the smoke and the burning eyes...and my thoughts and prayers go to all. Not just the San Bernardino mountain towns... all... Simi Valley, San Diego, Claremore... everywhere that is burning, my thoughts and my prayers are with you.

Getting back to the Reno area... I've been out and about, wandering through various casinos in Reno and Sparks...checking on new slots and the changes that occur during the Fall in Reno. One really notable spot encountered is Rail City in Sparks. It had been awhile since I had been out there... and I was amazed at the numbers of new slots in place. A lot of them are multi-denominational slots, offering you a chance to play pennies, nickels...or more... the service level was fantastic... I had coffee in my hand before I even sat down... and there was no slacking in any department. Most of the machines appear to be linked to the Bally E-ticket system, so there wasn't any waiting either. One thing about Rail City too that needs to be mentioned is the terrific food specials offered all hours. I'm sure you will be hearing more about Rail City from me in the near future. Meanwhile, if you are in Reno and looking for some good food, good fun, new slots and excellent service, go on over to Sparks and have some fun at Rail City. Look for games like Playboy, Coinopolis, Beach Party, Multi-Strike Poker and more.

While the season for outdoor activities has dwindled in Reno with the coming of fall and the time change, the fun still lives on. There are lots of tournaments and activities and things to do in Reno. On top of that, the casinos are all making changes to make things more fun. The perfect launch into fall is the numerous Halloween parties going on all over Reno and the surrounding areas. The most unique, in my opinion, has to be the festivities in Virginia City.

Most of Virginia City is being taken over by ghosts this Halloween, and anyone looking for some good clean fun that they can take the little ones to on Halloween should think about making a run up to Virginia City. If partying in the casinos isn't your cup of tea on Halloween, or if you are trying to figure out how to give the little ones a safe and sane Halloween treat...here's a really different treat for all ages...

You can join with spirits of by-gone days in Virginia City from 5 till 9 on Halloween night at Virginia City's "Ghost Town". The kids can get great treats from the town merchants in a safe environment on C Street and pumpkins for carving will be available at the Pumpkin Patch. Ride the Famous Ghost Train from Virginia City to Gold Hill. You'll never know what non-ticketed, unwanted passengers may be riding along with you… Your ride time is reserved by ticket purchase – seating is limited. Transportation around town will be available by horse-drawn carriage and the town trolley. Every thirty minutes join the Reno Little Theater group at the Silver Terrace Cemetery who will reflect on the lives of some of the inhabitants. You may feel the hair stand up on the back of your neck or perhaps feel a little chill, when you find out how they ended up in the cemetery. Get a little thrill by becoming acquainted with the beings in the haunted hallways of the 4th Ward School from 6-9pm. At the Chollar Mine tour, by the dim flicker of candlelight, you may meet up with a few of the miners who met their demise in this gloomy place. Tickets for this event may be purchased at the Mine. The party continues at Piper's Opera House with the 1864 GOVERNORS' MASKED BALL with music by David John & the Comstock Cowboys 8pm till Midnight. Tickets are $15.00. If you believed ghosts didn't exist before, you will now, if you dare to participate in an 1870's circa séance at Piper's Opera House during the evening. Your nightmares will come to life in a presentation entitled "Ghosts", by illusionists Kalin and Jinger. Virginia City basks in the aura of myths and legends of the 1800's of wild west cowboys, scoundrels, fancy women, politicians with questionable reputations and hardy miners who discovered millions of dollars in silver in the mine tunnels under the town. Experience the rich, colorful history and ghostly appeal of Virginia City in this year's "Ghost Town". Tickets for "Ghost Town" and "Ghost Train" may be purchased in advance with Visa or MasterCard by calling (775) 847-0311 or on the day of the event at the Virginia City Chamber of Commerce - located at the Old Crystal Bar at 86 South C Street in Virginia City. Tickets are: Adult - $20.00; Children - $10.00 or call (775) 847-0311 * This event is directed toward families and children. There will not be any gory or terrifying exhibits.

This past weekend was the final rounds of the Downtown Reno "Stay, Play & Win" million dollar slot tournament and I am still waiting word on the winners. I would have loved to have participated in this one, something like 2000 people were playing off for a million dollars... who wouldn't want to participate in that one? Anyway, as soon as I get the details I will pass them on to you. This, as far as I know, was the biggest slot tournament anywhere...held in the City Center Pavilion due to its size... winners from Harrah's Reno, Circus Circus, Silver Legacy and Eldorado squared off in teams to capture the prize. It had to be a sight! Anyone reading this who was lucky enough to go, please post a trip report over on the Reno Gaming Guide's Message Board and share it with the rest of us!

Have a safe and sane Halloween, be careful of children on the streets... look three times more than you would before crossing intersections... and if you drink... please remember to have a designated driver or other transportation available.