Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Today we drove into Reno, Nevada. Reno is my hometown. I was born here in 1971 and lived here until almost my 10th birthday. Even after my dad got transferred to Boise, we made regular trips back to Reno. My dad was born here, too, and my dad’s mom moved here when she was a very small child. Her dad – my great grandpa – built many of the houses in the older neighborhoods here. My uncle owns one of the biggest real estate companies here. I even returned here with my family to attend UNR for grad school (until my mom got too sick and I discovered that political science was too political for me (hence the MA in English Lit – still political, but open to more interpretation).

Reno, we discovered when trying to survive 6 months here with our kids, is not the most hospitable place to raise a family. Dave was miserable here, the kids were miserable here, and other than getting to see my grandma and my aunt and uncle regularly, I really did not like living here. We’ve been gone for 6 years, but it only took a few minutes of being in the downtown area to remember why we dislike it.

The traffic is crazy!!

Our worst experience has been with Circus Circus. A place of my childhood that was a marvelous adventure has been a nightmare to us as a family traveling with a child in a wheel chair. The facility barely complies with ADA requirements, and is very insensitive to the needs of the wheelchair bound. Luckily, Kyle can get up and walk when necessary – the chair is because he can go only 40-50 feet before reaching his limit. But for someone who couldn’t get up and navigate around the ten steps it takes to get to the elevator to get to the rooms in the Sky Tower, I don’t know what you’d do. There’s a wheelchair lift there, but it’s locked, and you have to call for an attendant to unlock it. The first time we tried, they couldn’t find a security guard with a key, and all they could do was say, “Sorry.” The second time, we were at the top of the steps and needed to come back down, but the only phone to call for the lift access is at the BOTTOM of the stairs. Fine for someone who has a traveling companion, but what about the individual traveler who is wheelchair bound?

Reno is a great place to visit. My suggestion, however, if you have kids in strollers or someone with limited mobility is to stay somewhere else and only come in to Circus Circus long enough to play on the midway. And be careful driving…people will get out of their cars and come after you if you somehow interrupt their race.

Reno is still my hometown, and I have very fond memories of living here. I had a great visit with my grandma and my aunt and uncle, who served up a very welcome home-cooked meal and spoiled the kids with a trip up the hill to see the wild horses. It makes it all worth it.