The first order after arriving at KNPB was to Thank the Lord. The next was to go in and let everyone know I had made it safely. There were many people who were very happy to see me! The next step was to find out how to get to the storage facility. It turns out that it is practically behind the station. It takes three minutes to drive there only because of the University of Nevada-Reno's convoluted road system. So, I headed over there.
When I arrived at the facility, it was everything I had been led to believe. Originally, I was to recieve two spaces just inside the entryway. In fact, one of them had 24 hour access, which was not necessary. Eventually, I obtained two slightly larger spaces that were still easily acessible. A third space was reserved for household goods until I could arrange for an apartment. After all the paperwork was straightened out, I went and got a room at a nearby hotel. Somehow, I lucked out and got a deluxe room for a basic price!
Next, I tried to contact Todd. No luck. I left a message on his voice mail. I then went out and found a steakhouse, and had a real steak dinner!
When I returned to my room, I discovered that Todd had recieved my message, and had returned my call. However, he was having severe trouble with his cell phone, and could not be reached. He instructed me to go to a certain truck stop and try to find him there. So, I went down to the truck stop. My, my, what a busy place. I looked all over for him. After nearly being run over by 18 wheelers several times, I decided it was not worth wrecking my vehicle to find him.
Luckily, Todd had arranged a contingency plan, wherein we would meet at the storage facility at 8 AM the next morning. He had already lined up some help from Laboready to assist us with unpacking.
I did not sleep well that night, knowing that unpacking would be the single most difficult thing I would have to do during the settling operation.
The next morning, I was down to the storage facility at 8 AM, ready to go. Todd showed up a few minutes later. A few minutes after that, three helpers arrived from Laboready. The forklift driver was ready. We were set to go!
Todd left no doubts in anyone's mind who he wanted for president! As soon as he was parked, we started to unload. First off was the furniture he had picked up in Evanston, Wyoming. It was massive timber pine furniture. As soon as this was unloaded, we started to unload Quadruplex Park, plus the few household items I had. After helping with the first few unloads, I ended up spending much of up spending much of my time making sure everything went into the right place. To speed up unloading, a cage would be held against the back of the trailer, and it would be filled. Then, it would be transported over to the appropriate storage location. With all the help. things went quite smoothly.
About 10:30, I was pleasantly surprised when my new boss, Fred Ihlow, and the operations Supervisor Evie Chmura showed up to help.(Fred is the person in the middle, who is partly hidden.) This made everything go all that much faster. Evie also arranged for pizza and soda for the hard-working crew. They stayed until about 2 PM. By then, all the real physical work was done. All that reamined were the large pieces, and lots of boxes!
It quickly became apparent why the front of the truck was so heavy. There were more boxes there than anyone had imagined. And hardly any were light. Most of the boxes went in one large storage area, and equipment in the other. A smaller space recieved the stuff I would fom the apartment. This turned out not to be enough space, so I ended up renting a fourth storage space for more equipment.
Finally, it was time to unload the big stuff. James Sexton is the forklift driver wo worked with us for much of the day to get us unloaded. He is a snloaded. He is a super guy, and he goes out of his way to say 'hi' everytime I visit the storage facility. Western New York readers of this story will appreciate the fact that James is a devoted Buffalo Bills fan!
Despite the hugeness of these machines, all 7 quads and the 2 one inch machines easily fit in the ramaining space with room to spare. After that, it was just lots of details to put away odds and ends that had been set aside. I knew I would have to come back at a later date to do some reorganizing, but for now, it was all stored away. Quadruplex Park was safe at last!
Here is the hard-working unload crew. Standing in the trailer is my former neighbor and truck driver extrordinare Todd Bowman. The two fellows on the Left and the one on the right are the crew from Laborready (I have lost their names somehow). The fellow second from the Right is the forklift driver James Sexton. Not pictured are Fred Ihlow and Evie Chmura, who had gone home by this time.
After everything was set at the storage facility, Todd and I went to a local truckstop/hotel/casino and partook of buffet these places invariably put on. We settled financially, and went our seperate ways. Yet, I seriously doubt this is the last time I will see Todd! (Indeed, he has run two deliveries for me since.)
That evening was spent carefully going over the Reno Area Apartment Guide, trying to identify the best prospects for a place to live. Relieved that the big unload job was done, I hit the road the next morning with new energy. I visited lots of interesting places: Townhouses near a large mall, a geothermally heated unit by a small lake, and a nice unit up in Stead, close to where I wanted to permanantly locate. The last place I looked at was an almost new unit, on the slopes of Mount Peavine. It had an absolutely stunning view of Reno. I went to bed that night, with visions of apartments dancing in my head. The next morning, I got it down to two choices: The apartments in Stead, or the mountainside apartments. As much as I liked the mountainside apartments, economic, space and other things eventually made me take the unit in Stead.
I went and did the paperwok for the apartment. Pluses I quickly found out about: I was walking distance from the Reno-Stead Airport, where the famous Reno National Championship Air Races are held. The other plus is I was also within walking distance of the zoo, which has 2 lions, 2 tigers, and a liger! After signing the papers, I went around and estabilished utility accounts, bank accounts, internet accounts, etc. That all out of the way, I could finally relax for the first time in a month. Praise God!
Reno is a city of festivals, and that would make sure I didn't relax for long. First of all, two famous cheetahs were in town at a facility called Animal Ark. These cheetahs starred in a widely-shown Mountain Dew commercial that debuted during the Super Bowl earlier this year. Not only do I know about these chetahs, but I know their owner via the internet. The next weekend, she would be out to give a lecture, and I would be able to meet her in person. Besides the visiting cheetahs, Animal Ark is home to many different cats, including 2 tigers, a snow leopard, a cougar, and a variety of lynxes and bobcats. A number of lions live nearby, in a private facility!
Later that day, I had a chance to practice being carnivorous myself, at the annual Reno Rib Cookoff. I went back to the hotel absolutely stuffed with some of the tastiest ribs I have ever had. It's good this only happens one weekend a year!
The next day found me visiting Sierra Safari Zoo on a private tour they had organized as a fund raiser. Those of us attending were led about by the head keepers, who told us a lot of interesting background material on each animal. I nearly lost my shirt and shoelaces to some hungry deer, as you walk through the deer area to get to much of the rest of the zoo. (If you go there, wear old clothes!) As you can see from the picture, their lion is a fine specimen of the species! There is also a liger there, by the unassuming name of 'Hobbs'. As is typical with ligers, he is absolutely huge, much bigger than either of his parents. He is also a very sweet cat, according to the keepers. Lunch followed in a private area of the zoo, in the presence of a lion cub! All in all, it was a really fun afternoon! (Little did I know I would eventually move next door to the zoo, and volunteer there 1-2 days/week!)
Monday, September 4th was Labor Day. That day, I drove up to Virginia City, a historic silver mining town. At one time, it was the richest city in the US, as it sits on the famous Comstock Lode. Despite all the history there to explore, I ended up spending most of the day at a radio museum!
The next day was my first day on the new job at KNPB TV. Wow! My decision to move out to Reno was fully justified that day. This will undoubtedly be the best job I have ever had. The people are wonderful, friendly, and laid back. yet, there is a serious commitment to quality public television at the station. Everything about the job has been enjoyable! (And I write this now having almost a month's experience.)(You can read about our Digital TV sign-on, which took place on September 29th!)
I moved into my apartment on Tuesday night of my first day on the job, living out of a couple boxes for the first few nights. On the following weekend, I got enough stuff home to really begin to settle. I also visited Animal Ark again, and heard my friend give a lecture about Cheetahs. It's always fun to see a face and hear a voice, when all you've seen before is typing! As a surprise, a baby tiger paid the Ark a visit just as I was getting ready to leave!
The other neat event of that weekend was the Reno Ballon Races. This is held close to where I work, and we had balloons going overhead all morning Wednesday, Thirsday and Friday. So early Sunday, I found a spot with a good view, and took in the spectacular event. I know now I should have been there much earlier.However, the BIG aerial event was the following weekend!
The second week of work started out with an evening visit to another long-time internet friend who runs a cat sanctuary and research center called Tigertouch out in Fallon, NV. It was a wonderful time, and the Williamsons are wonderful people! I hope to be doing a lot of volunteer work there in the years to come.
The skies around Reno, and especially up in Stead where I lived, became increasingly noisy all week. Every sort of aircraft, from P51's to C130's to F-16's arrived to take part in the Reno Air Races and Air Show. This was very excitinhis was very exciting for me, as I am an avaition buff. Because I had just started my new job, I could not take off the first two days of the races. But early Saturday morning, I was on my way to the races, walking! (I drove there the next day, and deeply regret not walking again!)
Preparing the aircraft is a big job. You can obtain a pit pass and see the aircraft being prepared. It is very much worth the expense. Here, we see that some racres get the entire family involved. Notice the several young childern, rags in hand, helping polish the AT-6 Air racer 'Six Cat'. They were having a grand time!
Probably the most unique aircraft there was this heavily modified biplane. Note the cockpit is in the rear. This is similar to the famous air racers of the 30's, such as the Gee Bee. The plane has a conventional piston engine at the front, spinning a conventional prop. But, it also has a jet engine mounted on the bottom. Note the deflector to prevent the jet from burning off the tailwheel! In any case, it soulds like a piston-engine prop plane as it approaches, and a jet when it recedes. With the two engines, the plane could do intricate aerobatics. Then, he would stand the plane on it's tail and go straight up! On Sunday, they added a wingwalker to what was already an amazing demonstration!
The Blue Angels put on a show everyday. Their jets were parked out in front of the grandstands at show center, and they put on as much of a show prepping their aircraft as they did flying them. The show starts with their C-130 support aircraft 'Fat Albert' doing a JATO-assited takeoff. The eight rockets strapped to the aircraft literally lifted it into the air! Of course, the thing the Blue Angels are most noted for is their amazing close-formation flying. Here, there was hardly more that a couple of feet between each aircraft! One really interesting thing about the Reno air show: The Blue Angels fly right in the midle of the show, around noon. They are the final act at all other shows!
Of course, there were plenty of other military aircraft there as well. I got a nice picture of an F-14 crew waving to the crowd. There was one of each of the in-service F series fighters there except for an F-117 stealth. The crowd could never get enough of the near-supersonic passes these aircraft made!
There could have even been a war at the air races, if they had wanted. There were four Russian Mig fighters there as well. Two bright red Mig-15's (pictured), a Mig 17, and my favorite, a Mig-21. On Saturday, I was in a spot where I got a real good view of the crew prepping this aircraft. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera that day. On Sunday, when I had a camera, they did not fly the Mig-21.
Just like auto racing, a pace aircraft is used to help keep everyone together for a clean start. For the faster racers, they actually used a jet fighter. This aircraft, a very rare T33 (Two seat version of an F-80), had advertising painted on it as well as it's military markings. Something you don't see every day!
I guess up to this point, I have been ignoring the races themselves. There are quite a number of classes, and they race various sizes of closed courses. There is the challenging formula 1 class, the competitive biplane class, the new sportplane class, the noisy AT-6 class, and everybody's favorite, the unlimited class. Races were run off and on all day and were 6 to 8 laps in length. The best races were usually late in the day. The extremely exciting (and dangerous) Unlimited Gold race was the last race on Sunday afternoon. The heavy favorite Dago Red (pictured), a P-51, easily won the race. The pilot then planned to go on the course alone to break the course speed record. After a stop to cool the engine and refuel, he took off to challenge the record. Unfortunately, his engine threw a rod just after takeoff, and he was forced to come right back and land.
All the race aircraft are propellor driven. This year, they tried an experimental race with some of the jets: the Migs and the T-33. The race quickly turned into who could best manage their afterburner time; still the Mig-17 won hands down. A bit later, an F-14 tried to break the all-time, all aircraft speed record of 680 MPH. (Set the year before by an F-16) It came close, but did not succeed. Unfortunately I missed this very exciting attempt. But, it gives me something to look forward to next year!
I hope you enjoyed this story of what was undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges I ever undertook in my life. The next big challenge will be finding a new permanent home for Quadruplex Park! Keep an ear out for more news as I begin looking for that perfect spot!
The other thing I wanted to illustrate was that Reno is not just another Nevada gambling town. it is a great place to live, and there is almost always something interesting going on. Come and visit!
Above all, I want to thank God for being faithful in the midst of this adventure. There were many times and many places where I would not have made it except for His direct intervention. Paraise the Lord!