Note: First published on Blogger on September 5, 2006
Unfolding the Map
Sal doesn't stop, and Jack doesn't mention much, and I've never been there so we're taking a gamble with Reno. But in the spirit of Jack, we should gamble as much as possible. As always, click on the image to see the map.
"...then out to Nevada in the hot sun, Reno by nightfall, its twinkling Chinese streets..."
On the Road, Chapter 11
Okay, I've never been to Reno and the only real thing I know about it comes from reruns of Reno 911, which I'm supposing doesn't give a very accurate picture of the place. Sal doesn't stop there but passes through on the bus and uses a very strange phrase to describe Reno. I'm not sure what the heck he means by "its twinkling Chinese streets." But an interesting thing occurs when you type "twinkling Chinese Streets" as a quotation into Google -- underneath the young kid from Reno on MySpace who uses it in his profile (and proclaims "I'm not afraid of you and I will beat your ass" in capital letters), and underneath the woman who seems to have posted On The Road in its entirety on her site, you come across a whole bunch of sites that also appear to be postings of various parts of On the Road, until you click them and are taken right to a porn site. Then, if you look closely, you will see intersposed in Jack's words on the Google page various X-rated words. Somehow, I don't think Jack would have minded that too much.
I have one story about Reno, however, that has come through my family. My mother and father got married there. Not only did they get married in Reno, but they eloped there, with the the California state police alerted to pick them up.
Here is the way that I heard the story. My mom wanted a church wedding (Catholic) but my father didn't. They agreed to elope. My mom was supposed to take care of her sister's children while she and her husband went out on a date. She called her brother's wife to come over and take care of the kids on some pretext. My father drove up, she got in, and off they went to Reno. All hell broke loose when my mother's family found that she was gone. After all, even though she was out of high school and legal, it was the 50s. Police were called, and an alert was sent out over radio. Somehow, my parents eluded the trap and made it to Reno, where they were married in one of those quickie wedding chapels. They then called back to my mom's family. Allegedly, my mom's brothers threatened to kill my father when he showed his face at home, but that all seems more bluster and custom than for real, because they were all friends otherwise. So as far as I know, my father never got a beating at the hands of my uncles. And I'm sure the honeymoon was spent taking in shows, throwing money away at the casinos, and doing what couples do on honeymoons.
That's all the connection I have to Reno. And Jack's was just as slight, it seems. A bus ride past the Chinese streets, and on to California.
If you want to know more about Reno
Next up: Truckee, California