Just American-Truckee!!

August 12th, 2012

Last evening was Truckee Thursday. The first in the series of arts and crafts and farmer’s markets for the summer season. Being the first, there was probably more excitement than the remainder would bring. The locals and what tourists happened in the area strolled through the maze of booths on sequestered main street. It was a jolly affair. Even the police rode their bicycles through having as much fun as the rest.

But, this morning it was all over.The locals to their homes and Friday activities and the tourists probably to Tahoe, Reno or points beyond. I gazed down main street. What a lovely sight from my sheltered second floor balcony.

 I had gotten up a number of times in the middle of the night with the blasts of the train’s air horns. It was exciting to stand and look at the passing train just fifty feet beyond. The night air had been cool and pleasant.There were the flashing lights, swinging signs and traffic barriers coming down. I could feel the rumble resonate thought the hotel timbers. There was the grinding of the wheels on steel and another blast of the horn. One train had ninety six cars. Then a rush of air and a surreal suspension of all sounds.  And there I was with jeans half unbuttoned and tee shirt and bare feet mesmerized by the chugging cars lumbering down the tracks. It all fit in the ambiance of the hotel. The trains every hours or so, the rough and tumble buildings along main street, the rugged mountains on all sides and the rushing Truckee river. Yes, it was easy to be transported to the early days of rail and stagecoach and river crossings and snows and wagon roads.

I wanted coffee but I kept leaning on the railing and looking out on main street. It was all over. The excitement of last evening. Just like the last chapters of Hemingway in the Sun Also Rises. Back to the sleepy town. The sign post said Donner Pass Road and Bridge St. Hmmm. That’s where I was yesterday. Up Donner Summit. I lifted my gaze above the tracks to the snow caps beyond. Yep…I had done it. Ridden my bicycle up the summit to Soda Springs. And back down around Donner Lake to Highway 89 and Tahoe City and completed the loop to Brockway and back to the Truckee Hotel. It had been an adventure to remember. I stopped at the River Ranch for lunch and dangled my legs over the wall as I watched rafters and kayakers ending their ride from Tahoe City while waiting for my lunch. Yes…it was much like the fishing trip with all the zest and sportsmanship of Hemingway’s book at Burguete. Just the beautiful parts though. Not the debauchery and ugliness.

I walked down the steps with my Justin cowboy boots resounding throughout. It was a western stairway, a bit rough but perfect for the Truckee Hotel. I imagined Hop-Sing perhaps rushing to the kitchen for the morning meal or even my old tv pal, Paladin from Have Gun Will Travel out on one of his capers from San Francisco. Dressed in jeans, t-shirt and cowboy boots I fit the scene too! I greeted the friendly receptionist and she handed me the corrected invoice with another apology.

I walked across Bridge Street to the broad sidewalks adorned with flowers on the street side. There was a couple up ahead looking over the Squeeze-Inn breakfast menu. I peeked in the windows of the American Bar right on the corner. What a great name for a  pioneer western town. I could see signs for the Sierra Tavern, Wagon Wheel a real estate office, some clothes stores and the rail terminal across the street. There was no Starbucks…Hmmmm. Interesting and refreshing all at the same time. There were no recognizable chain names to be seen. Coffee And….an old time coffee shop. I remember it from the eighties. Chuck and I stopped here for breakfast on our way to play Tahoe Donner Golf Course up the street. Nothing had changed…a vitrine of pastries by the cash register to the left and the small seating area in front of the kitchen. “I’ll have a coffee black and a plain croissant” I said to the smiling, middle aged waitress behind the register. She turned and poured coffee into a Styrofoam cup and handed it to me. No croissants just those in there” as she pointed to the rough hewn vitrine filled with bear claws, cinnamon rings and other sugary things. “Hmmm, the coffee will do. Thank you.” With a smile on my face and coffee in one hand I leaned into the door and mumbled wryly, “None of that frog stuff in here. Just Amerkin. Good old fashion bear claws. And smiled some more and laughed…it all fit.

And here is the original version written from the ambiance of the Truckee Hotel. A reception room with all the look and feel of the pioneer days and the old west!

Waking Up in Truckee

Last night was ‘Truckee Thursday’. It brought tourists and mountain locals to main street. The town was lively, filled with music and dining and drinking establishments busy. But…this morning was a Hemingway description of a town after the fiesta. The sidewalks were deserted albeit a few locals and shop owners. Delivery trucks with beer and restaurant stuffs were parked in front. The tin rattle of their roller doors could be heard opening and closing. There was the occasional bellow of the trains too. But, most notable was the air. Cool, clean, soothing to take deep in your lungs. It felt wholesome.

I walked down the broad sidewalks and I, well….I fit the environment with my jeans and Justin cowboy boots. Stopped to get some coffee and croissant but could only muster the coffee. There was a small vitrine with bear claws and sugary pastries but…No Croissants! Back on the sidewalk I laughed. None of that Frog stuff here. No sir!! Just plain ‘mercan grub’. It made me laugh. It fit. I loved it!

The Cycling Tuscan

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