Riding the rails to Reno: reporting on the “Tesla factor,” food and art

Amtrak’s “California Zephyr” (Photo: Mike Danneman)

I rode the California Zephyr over to Reno from Colfax for a few days this week for some meetings. Though I usually drive, I wanted to see more of the snowpack on the Donner Summit. It was a wall of white outside the window,  redolent of the big 1982 snowfall in the Sierra. One of the conductors reminded me of the “rotary snow plow” used for snow removal over the Summit and directed me to the You Tube video posted below.

I also enjoy “riding the rails.” It’s a slice of Americana right outside our back door, as the Zephyr travels from Emeryville all the way to Chicago. You meet some interesting people. On the way out, I visited with a millennial couple who got off in Truckee to ski; on the way back, it was more of a retiree crowd.

In Reno, I relied on Uber to get around. Compared with Seattle, San Francisco or Los Angeles — other Uber markets I’ve relied on — the number of drivers is more limited.

But one of the drivers told me Uber is a big hit with University of Nevada at Reno students to get from campus into town. In many cases, the students’ parents set up an Uber account for them to use, figuring it is safer and less expensive.

The city is excited about Tesla’s “gigafactory,” as the Wall Street Journal and other publications have reported. The Sacramento Bee’s version is here.

One unintended consequence, however, is that it has led to higher housing costs and is putting a squeeze on the city’s mainstay workforce, including casino workers. I have not read as much about this trend, but I heard it repeatedly from the service workers.

When I’m in Reno, I enjoy the Beaujolais Bistro — authentic French cuisine and French-style cocktails. A recent culinary addition is Morgan’s Lobster Shack and Fish Market, which started in Truckee. The Reno-Gazette Journal’s review is here.  The Nevada Museum of Art Features modern and contemporary works by artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Georgia O’Keeffe and William Wegman.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

One thought on “Riding the rails to Reno: reporting on the “Tesla factor,” food and art”

  1. Nothing is straight up anymore. Either there is a deal for taxes made or they go somewhere else.
    Nevada ultimately won the factory deal, but at a cost that has proven controversial: the state offered an incentives package that was the largest in Nevada history, and became one of the 15 largest nationally. Over the next 20 years, Tesla could take in nearly $1.3 billion in tax benefits for building its Gigafactory in Nevada, according to projections from the state, as hires are made for the factory locally and from around the country. Assuming Tesla meets its obligations under the deal, it will spend 20 years free from sales tax, and 10 years free from property tax, while it receives millions of dollars more in tax credits.

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