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Highway 395's Must See Spots, Plus Reno, Nevada's Best Bars and Bowling Alleys
The Volcom Skate Team hit the road in our 1983 Blue Bird Wanderlodge up Highway 395 to Reno, Nevada to film for a Thrasher edit and tour through Reno, Nevada to find the best bars and bowling alleys to occupy our time. This is the story of our road rager debauchery.
Not too long ago, we hit the road in our 1983 Blue Bird Wanderlodge to Reno, Nevada to film for our latest Thrasher Magazine edit with Dustin Dollin, CJ Collins, Caswell Berry, Omar Hassan, Louie Lopez, Grant Taylor, and Dane Burman. Packed with dudes, skateboards, gear, fuel, and some highly questionable items, we set off from Volcom HQ in Costa Mesa, CA at dawn and headed our way north up Highway 395 to Reno. You can read about some of this trip in Thrasher issue #450, which covers a lot of our shredtastic stops to and from Reno, however, all of the non-skating shenanigans and debauchery from the trip was omitted, which is essential reading in this crowded, unconscious pool of content which fills up your daily feeds. Continue below to learn more about cool spots to stop along Highway 395, and Reno Nevada's best bars and bowling alleys (along with the crew's road-rager hijinks along the way)!
Betting and Bowling Alleys in Reno, NV
Recommended Bowling Alleys in Reno:
- GSR Bowling Center
- The Rack
- Kingpin Club by Brunswick
- Grand Sierra Resort and Casino
With 10 days on the road already under our belt, filled with non-stop skating and chores off a checklist (not to mention suffering from intense malaise), hitting another skate spot just wasn't going to happen. The crew rallied together to piece something meaningful together that would revive the spirits and bring everyone back to life, so we decided some bowling and bars was the perfect combination to cure our cement blindness. In some respects, bowling is kind of like skating, you get to hang with your buds, talk shit, drink beer, and do a somewhat meaningless, but also competitive, activity together. Even a good bowling throw can be compared to a solid push. Bowling is also popular with the teenage youth these days, such as CJ Collins, and he was expressively stoked to hit the lanes. Plus, he could do something with the team before we all hit the bars and got super weird.
At 14, he was definitely the youngest of the trip and by far the most vulnerable, especially with this rowdy crew who made their way onto the Wanderlodge. Let us dive deeper. We were waiting in the bowling alley parking lot for the rest of the Volcom staff when none other than Dustin Dollin decided to kick his football on the roof. Dane was nice enough to climb up the ladder and retrieve CJ's prized possession. What a nice guy. While we were still waiting, bullshitting outside, CJ saw some pool tables next door and claimed to be an excellent pool player, as did Dustin, so this quick under-the-breath statement turned into a full Reno dual, and the challenge had begun at the pool hall next door. CJ gets $20 from his dad strictly for magnets or some sort of souvenir from his travels, and Dustin convinced him to put it down on their game of pool. CJ is actually pretty good at pool for a 14 year old, but not as good as Dustin who's practically grown up in bars and spent plenty of time around around the coin-hungry tables. High with confidence, Dustin spent his winnings on beer before he even won, and CJ was a little bummed to say the least. Never bet against the house, young buck.
After Dustin finished his victory beers, we headed next door to join the team in their rented McDonalds-like shoes and bowling alley madness. CJ was still down from his unfortunate turn of events, but he seemed to cheer up when he started bowling. Any aggression he had, he let it out on Caswell as they've been butting heads ever since CJ apparently stole Caswell's knife on an earlier trip. Thing is, Caswell doesn't like being messed with and as soon as the beers kicked in, and Caswell had been pushed too far, CJ got an ultimate wedgie. Can't imagine what the other bowling patrons were thinking watching a grown ass man holding up a 14-year old by his underwear in a bowling alley. We could have sworn we heard our bowling neighbors call us a bunch of pinheads, but we doubt they were that witty.
We soon came to know that bowling's a big deal in Reno. The National Bowling Stadium, aptly named the "Taj Mahal of Tenpin," is the city's finest bowling alley which has a nice $50,000,000 price tag attached to it. The cult classic movie Kingpin was also filmed there, which lends itself to some favorable opinions of the establishment. Who knew that the self-proclaimed "Biggest Little City in the World" would have a huge bowling scene? But that wasn't our vibe. We happened to be bowling at High Sierra Lanes which looked like your standard bowling alley with all the older décor and tacky carpets that you would expect. It wasn't the Taj Mahal of Tenpin, but we still had a good time. If you're ever in the area, check out National Bowling Stadium or High Sierra Lanes for a grand ol' time.
Bar Hopping in Reno, NV
Recommended Bars in Reno:
- Death and Taxes (fancy)
- The Eddy (day drinking)
- Public House (hipster)
- 1864 Tavern (Nevada theme)
- Lincoln Lounge (Abe Lincoln theme)
After exhausting ourselves of bowling gutter bulls, an idea sparked from Dustin Dollin, so we gathered around the tabletop full of empty pitchers and listened in. To no one's surprise, the idea consisted of hitting some of Reno's finest bars, which ended up being mostly dive bars. Perfect. The first bar we went to was The Saint. With a wide selection of micro brews and ample space for all sorts of shenanigans, it was a great place to get the night started and enjoy some craft beers (even though we mostly drank cheap beers like Hamm's). Only problem was that it was only 6pm, so we were the only ones at the bar - or was that a good thing?
After a couple games of pool, a few brews in our system, and some dollar bills in the jukebox, we decided to keep it rolling to the next bar. Before we go any further, we would like to mention that a Dollin and CJ rematch was put on the table, but one of them quickly dismissed the idea. We won't say who it was. Continuing on in our story. We attempted to visit Shea's Tavern where it just so happened that the reggae band Pato Banton was playing for a hefty fee of $20 each. With a crew of 15, and mixed signals from our price negotiations with the door chief, we happily left and headed to The Public House where there was a contemporary selection of micro brews on tap, and heavily advertised to the crew from the bartenders. But after drinking Modelos and Tecates on the Wanderlodge for a week straight, we figured we would chugging what we knew best. After a few rounds of beers, the place started filling up and we decided to get out and try our luck back at Shea's Tavern once again. On the way there, we stumbled upon some people jumping rope, and found Louie and Omar eager at the chance to get involved. After several failed attempts and an increasingly angry professional jump roping team of onlookers, it was clear that we had overstayed our residence on the grounds and knew our jump roping days were over.
Upon the arrival of Shea's Tavern was a jubilant sense of relief from the crew. Relief in the sense that we had been on the search for a bar that fit our presence for hours now. Shea's looked like our kind of place: trashy, dingy and dark. It was also where our spot guide for Reno recommended we visit. Good call, spot guide. Open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, this spot would embody the true spirit of a skateboarder. Your typical go-to skate bar! After some heavy price negotiations at the door, we were in, and we were stoked. Legendary reggae artist Buju Banton's brother, Pato Banton, happened to be playing that night and it really put us in the party vibe.
It’s super easy to lose track of time in a bar that’s open 24/7 and even the locals had stories of going to the bar for dinner and leaving at breakfast. This was something only fitting for Reno. The place was raging and everyone had a blast. The bartenders were cool and the people ruled. A well-worth visit.
Brunching in Reno (or where not to):
The next day was a doozy. Starting off with brunch with the whole crew, getting some food in your system is a great way to nurse a hangover. Since we were in Reno, we were staying at the Nugget Casino and their all-you-can-eat brunch buffet sounded like a great idea, especially since Johnny Stone was paying. The brunch buffet was called the Rotisserie and seemed like it would do the trick, but little did we know, we would all be rethinking that decision soon after. Granted it was a little past noon, but not having any breakfast items at your brunch buffet is definitely a red flag. As we saw our options before us, the thought of eating some dry fried chicken for breakfast after a solid night of drinking kind of made you want to gag. Being the healthy young men they are, most of the skaters opted for whatever fresh fruit and bread they could find, relinquishing the platefuls of greasy, dry, and questionable food items. We don't even think this would have been good after the bar at 2am, let alone the first meal of the day. In retrospect, we should have just stuck to what we knew and rolled 15 people deep into a Starbucks line like we did every other morning. Damn you, all-you-can-eat buffet!
Highway 395 and Virginia City
Recommended Spots to Check Out:
- Donner Pass
- Bodie State Historic Park (Ghost Town)
- Travertine Hot Springs
- Fossil Falls
- Convict Lake
- Buttermilk Country Loop
- Lake Sabrina
- Alabama Hills
- Manzanar National Historic Site
After our stay in glorious Reno, Nevada, and experiencing all the fun the town had to offer, it was time to BAIL. While most of the skating was done, it was time to just chill on the Wanderlodge as it wandered down California’s infamous Highway 395. After a couple weeks of skating every day, then our brief stint as non-skateboarding party-going locals in Reno, we were toast. We decided to stop at some spots on the way back that didn’t involve skating and didn’t involve much effort. One of the top “things to do” on the 395 outside of Reno is to check out this old mining town called Virginia City. I think we expected it to be like an old ghost town you could quietly roam around and learn about, and for the most part it was with an added bonus of hundreds of drunk bikers mixed with other tourists making their way through the area. There’s no open container laws in Virginia City, just like the old days! Ye-haw. A welcomed point of interest for Dustin Dollin, and within 30 minutes he was hanging with the locals talking about heading out to their campsite to romp around on some ATVs while they drank more beer.
Meanwhile, the amount of tourist trap shops we were checking out was escalating, making unconscious, questionable purchases. Weed and happy-faced sunglasses were popular with everyone, and CJ was down for anything and everything that was under $10. Louie was also doing some R&D on all of the crazy tie dye options the t-shirt store had, not to mention the tremendous amount of immensely entertaining people watching that was available. After about an hour of walking around and trying to find a reasonable place to eat, we decided to hit the road before we would lose Dustin to the redneck locals.
Back on the road, Wanderlodgin', we took in all of the exquisite panoramic views that the 395 had to offer. We were racing down to Travertine Hot Springs to try and get a quick soak before we lost daylight. Located right outside of Bridgeport, CA, and about 30 minutes from Mono Lake, Travertine Hot Springs is an epic place to really kick back and enjoy your surroundings. Bring some beers, some music on low volume, and you've got in made in the shade. Bridgeport is actually one of the coldest places in California and sometimes the continental US. The road up to the springs was too narrow and bumpy for the Wanderlodge, so we took a little hike to get there.
This would be the last stop of the trip, so the boys took it all in until the sun went down. There are a couple hot springs in the area and they are open to the public, so we lucked out when we found the main spring to be empty. Right around sunset, we hit the road to head straight back to Costa Mesa - only seven more hours to go!