Our riders’ voyage in Long Road Home Project is a lengthy one— 4,200 miles long to be precise.
After overcoming obstacles and meeting the gracious residents of Portland in Oregon, they move on to another city to bring awareness about the plight of our war heroes, some of whom are now homeless and emotionally scarred. Their next stop? Reno, Nevada, the World’s Biggest Little City.
Even with very friendly residents and wonderful tourist sites, this place remains underappreciated. In fact, only 4 million people tour Reno annually. This is a meager 10 percent of the whopping 40 million visitors Las Vegas welcome every year.
During their 90-day cycling expedition, Glenn, Ryan, Marty, Colleen, and Steve were able to have a one-of-a-kind experience in this welcoming city and write a traveling essay.
Colleen and Ryan’s Tour
Formerly known for divorce, gambling, and dead silver mines, Reno’s popularity faded in the years that it remained under the shadows of Las Vegas. After its southern cousin offered tourists with glamorous casinos and easier access to divorce, Reno didn’t stand a chance in terms of fame.
But even with this, our riders were able to see the beauty beyond the shadow. Colleen met with some people from South Wells which houses several Latino businesses. Here, you can smell the economic prowess of the Hispanic community from a mile away.
8 Interesting Facts About Reno
- During its founding on May 13, 1868, the town was named after Civil War General Jesse Reno.
- Ironically, Jesse Reno, who was shot in a battle in Maryland, has never been to the place. It turns out, the township was named after him to follow the tradition of naming train stops after fallen soldiers.
- Although Las Vegas overshadowed it in the gambling industry, Reno still has one slot machine for every 14 residents, bringing the total to over 16,000 slot machines.
- When in Reno, you should never use curses or bad words in the presence of dead person unless you want to be arrested.
- The world’s biggest little city is rich in terms of its association to sister cities around the world, including those in Israel, China, Canada, Thailand, Spain, Russia, and Taiwan.
- Reno’s Lake Tahoe is home to the Loch Ness monster’s North American counterpart, Tahoe Tessie. This creature is believed to be 80 feet long and can travel at a speed of over 60 miles per hour.
- With about 1,000 earthquakes occurring annually, Reno is lucky to be still standing to this day. This is because most of these shakers are too weak even be felt, let alone do any damage.
- While Las Vegas is currently the home to more casinos, Reno is first in the gambling industry. In fact, the township has been welcoming players since the pre-colonial times where such games are done to celebrate the harvest and successful hunts.
Accessible via the no. 19 bus from downtown, the neighborhood is home for people from different walks of life. Although it is home to many Hispanics, it is a diverse community with various business establishments, including Irish bars, Latino tattoo parlors, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Pupuserias, and the grocery store called “Marketon.”
While exploring the city, Colleen and Ryan were acknowledged by a group of women who looked like they recognized our two vets. Curious, the two approached the group to introduce themselves.
Interestingly, the ladies immediately recognized them from reports about the Long Road Home Project. Our riders initiated a conversation which led to the ladies showing them around their humble-but-welcoming locality.
They went from Marketon, where many Latino products are being sold, to a restaurant that serves scrumptious Mexican food. Out of curiosity, our riders investigated further about how the women knew who they were. It turns out, they have been following news about the Long Road Home Project online, both in the news and social media, because one of their university maintenance crew was a retired Marine.
They recalled how the man, whom they decided not to name in the conversation for privacy concerns, shared stories about his time in the force as a photographer. With his interest sparked by a story of a kindred soul, Ryan became chummy with the women.
After getting familiar with each other over lunch, Colleen, Ryan, and the group of women continued with their tour until they arrived at the University of Nevada where the ladies graduated from. Unfortunately, the retired Marine they were talking about is no longer working there.
Still, it was fortunate for Ryan to find someone, albeit indirectly, who had the guts to recall the tell tales about the traumatizing experience of being in the battlefield with only a camera as a weapon.
When the tour ended, the women promised Colleen and Ryan to do everything they can to spread the word about the Long Road Home Project. Although they may not be able to contribute financial support for the cause, they showed the wonderful attitude towards people they barely know by joining our riders in exploring the city.
The Long Road Home Project
In the Long Road Home Project, five war veterans took on a 4,200-mile ride to raise funds and awareness about the plight of the country’s heroes. From Tacoma to Washington DC, these emotionally scarred individuals brave their own struggles to help bring their comrades home.