A Hard Rain, p. 2


And what’s more, it seems that the metallic rain of space shuttle parts began right here in Nevada. A amateur astronomer in nearby Sparks, an average guy with a large telescope, captured the first videotape of the Columbia breaking up. This is evidence, he claims with NASA’s agreement, that pieces of debris will be found out in the far reaches of the Nevada desert.

The morning promised little good news from the weatherman either, with a cold front moving in, accompanied by rain. And, as they say hereabouts, snow in the higher elevations.

Despite the sad news and the gloomy weather forecast, my first taste of real Reno winter, Judy and I headed out to an historic hot springs spa south of Carson City. But when we got to Wally’s Hot Springs Resort, we discovered that it had become more yuppified than Judy recalled. The parking lot, she pointed out, was crowded with California license plates. I soon learned to affect the proper Nevadan disdain for the invaders from the west. Since it was cold and rainy to boot, we decided it wasn’t worth $20 to sit in a pool with those people from across the border.

We drove back to Carson City, where we were both familiar with the down-home commercial hot springs, The Carson City Baths. Attached to Joe Bob’s Roadhouse bar and grill, the baths are said to have medicinal value. Joe Bob probably says the same thing about some of his other liquid concoctions.
We had planned to end the day at these baths, but we arrived there much earlier than we expected due to our quick turn-around at Wally’s. So we decided to take a detour and head up into the hills for some exploration.