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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Pizza for breakfast!

May 14, 2023 (Sun)

9:30 am WinRiver Resort & Casino, Redding, CA

Ever since we got here, the staff has been talking up this Mother’s Day Buffet—“Oh you need to check out the Mother’s Day buffet, its great!”

Well, here we are on Mother’s Day (all Gini’s kids called her), we’re hungry, let’s head on over!

One teeny little detail all this hype forgot to mention was that Reservations were Highly Recommended. It was a huge hall (maybe 50 to 75 tables) and they were all sold out(!). “Maybe if you come back at 2:00, we might have an opening?”

Our stomachs weren’t having any of that nonsense, so we headed to the café and Gini had some fresh fruit, bacon, eggs, and toast. Robert had a pepperoni pizza (“The Breakfast of Champions!”). We think we got the better end of the deal, because they probably didn’t have any pizza at their buffet.

10:55 am Redding, CA

We’re not sure of the shape of this tribal reservation, but we pass a gas station offering gas for $4.10 a gallon and Harvey leaps over to the pump. Either we’re on the rez or we’re buying stolen gas, but it’s $1.50 a gallon cheaper than the prevailing price!

Gini is feeling perky. This next stretch of driving is on I-5, and it’s flat as far as the eye can see. She climbs into the pilot’s seat and takes off!

1:00 pm California somewhere

While Robert snoozes in the back, Gini just keeps driving (we usually try to switch drivers every hour) and apparently found her groove because two hours have passed and she wakes up Robert to ask when her turn is over.

“Uh, an hour ago,” replies Robert, “But you can keep going if you—”

“No!” responds Gini, “It’s your turn!”

Gini is well on her way to the Buns of Steel club!

2:00 pm Lincoln, CA

Welcome to the Land of Lincoln! (Named after the car.)

One thing that us little bitty RVs have to deal with is laundry (the big rigs just fire up the washer in the back and breeze down I-5 while soaking their woolies). We can go five days between washings, and it’s been six, so everybody downwind of us is heartily encouraging us to stop.

It’s 90° outside, and a laundromat is not a fun place to be, so after tossing the clothes into a washer (Robert double-checks), we climb back into Harvey and fire up the generator. Yes—we have a built-in generator that is useful for three things:

  1. Making coffee when we’re dry camping

  2. Using the microwave when we’re dry camping

  3. Running the air conditioning when we’re parked outside a laundromat watching the asphalt melt

When it comes time to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer (although Robert suggests we just stand outside with it for five minutes), there’s the usual Robert confusion. He puts the wet laundry into another washer (although a bigger one). He notices when he goes to pay and thinks, “$4.25 for 10 minutes? I ain’t paying that—oh wait…”

Folks, don’t ever let Robert near your laundry.

4:00 pm Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Lincoln, CA

As you know, we’ve stayed in Casino parking lots before, but there’s usually a procedure and it’s pretty clear what’s going on. There are signs and check-ins and it’s painless and easy.

Not here boy! No signs, so we park at what looks like the front, and Robert walks through a forest of slot machines to the Security Desk (for some reason at the back of the casino?). “Just drive around and look for all the other RVs,” suggests the security guy, after finally understanding that we want to stay here in our RV.

The RV parking (part of a giant parking lot) is about half a mile from the casino and has lots of semi-trucks and some RVs scattered all around (the trucks are all parked next to each other in neat rows—the RVs are all higgledy-piggledy as far from each other as we can get).

Harvey in today’s resting spot

There’s no shuttle, trash cans are overflowing—this must be a teeny little casino, right?

Nope, it’s got a 17-story hotel, over 3,000 slot machines, and a music venue that seats 5,000 fans. You can even get a gold-leaf facial (which is mighty tempting, especially given Robert’s goatee—“Cover this in gold leaf!”)

Some people just don’t respect a good process.

4:05 pm

The tribe that owns this casino is the United Auburn Indian Community, composed of what’s left of the Miwok peoples.

Even Wikipedia is getting exhausted with the stories of the California tribes: they just say the tribe “survived the depredations of the 19th century” by which they mean the genocide, starvation, loss of land to setters and gold miners. You know, the usual.

Like many other tribes, they were given a Rancheria (kind of like a reservation) in the 1920’s and then had it taken away in the 1950’s because that was boring. Then, “Whoops,” that was illegal and finally in 1994, they were recognized by the Federal Government and were given permission to buy back the land that was stolen from them.

We like the traditional game that the Miwok played (before contact with Europeans):

“Similarly to soccer, the object was to put an elk hide ball through the goalpost. The girls were allowed to do anything, including kicking the ball and picking it up and running with it. The boys were only allowed to use their feet, but if a girl was holding it he could pick her up and carry her towards his goal.”

We would watch the heck out of that game—hey, TV Networks, here’s your next big hit!

4:30 pm Thunder Valley Casino

There’s a lot of electronic posters advertising upcoming shows by people we thought were dead. Among them:

  • Air Supply (remember their hits from 40 years ago?)

  • Journey

  • Jethro Tull (Robert saw them 25 years ago and they were a nostalgic group then!)

  • Kenny Loggins

  • Styx (“featuring” Starship in much smaller type)

  • Peter Frampton (still Coming Alive!—this 50-year old joke brought you by Robert, who graduated high school when this guy was the bomb!)

If you ever think, “Gosh, it’d be great to be a musician and be famous,” just remember what you’ll be doing 50 years after your big hits—playing those same songs for a bunch of old people in a casino.

These guys are still around?

5:00 pm Thunder Valley Casino

It’s still as hot as the surface of the sun near Harvey in the middle of the blacktop, so we retreat to the cool A/C of the casino, and find a bar that’s not too noisy (3,000 slot machines make a racket!). We rehydrate—Gini with a Mai Tai, Robert with a Mock Colada (for some reason, a bar in a blazingly hot town doesn’t have a blender, so they can’t make proper Piña Coladas).

Aah—our electrolytes are coming back into balance.

Gini balancing her electrolytes with a Mai Tai

6:00 pm Thunder Valley Casino

We decide that some Szechuan food sounds lovely for dinner.

“No reservations? Well, there’s a two hour wait right now,” says the Maitre’d (although we’re not sure that’s what this role is called at a Chinese restaurant (Google says it’s “Lǐngbān” which means “foreman,” and that’s not quite the same meaning).

The story of today! We settle for some Panda Express at the food court.


Sunday Travel

Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff

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