The Bronco fan's (and Boise news team's) road to Reno: long, dark, sad and empty
Chinese philosophy tells us: A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. My sports director says: A drive to Reno starts with a visit to Max. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Chinese philosophy tells us: A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. My sports director says: A drive to Reno starts with a visit to Max.
The Broncos' sports-information czar (the aforementioned "Max") handed over our press passes, Thursday, and then released us to answer the road’s beckoning.
“I’ll get my first text before 2 p.m.,” field producer Matt Covey said as we turned onto the interstate.
With Sports Director Paul Gerke behind the wheel, we passed through the Gateway to the Owyhees (Marsing) and the unofficial southern border of Bronco territory.
“We’re going downhill and downhill fast,” Covey announced.
From there, the landscape and our fellowship’s collective morale grew drab.
“God,” Gerke said. “It’s so gray.”
“It’s desolate,” Bronco fan James Carpenter agreed once we – spoiler alert! – arrived in Reno. “But you know what? This is Nevada. It’s a diverse state.”
Like us, Carpenter drove through shifting shades of gray to get to Reno – with only Kerouac's empty sky as his witness.
“A tough pull,” he said, chuckling.
Our party wanted to visit the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in Winnemucca, Nev., but found it closed for lunch and its curator in no hurry to return by 1 p.m.
Winnemucca seemed sad to see us go (signs throughout town read: "Welcome, Bronco Fans!"). We were sad when we realized the next closest outpost was Puckerbrush, Nev. with a population of 28 that burgeoned to 31 when we stopped for gas.
“OK,” Covey said, pointing out the window to a prison on the horizon. "That’s where [Heisman Trophy-winner and NFL-Hall-of-Famer OJ Simpson] lives.”
“That’s a sad place to live,” I said to no one in particular.
We looked for locals with whom to chat but it’s tough to meet a town’s inhabitants if you don’t pass through any towns. Sagebrush and sleeping rattlesnakes remain notoriously stingy about doing interviews.
“We are getting into a big football game!” Bronco fan LeaAnn Reed shouted at us when we – again: spoiler alert! – arrived at our hotel.
Reed told us she'd seen two games a year for the last 20. She also demonstrated some wisdom our club did not: She flew to Reno via Seattle.
“Easy trip,” Reed said. “Beautiful trip.”
I promise nothing about our trip was either easy or beautiful.
“This is where they should’ve sent the Mars rover,” Covey said while looking out at the desert passing by his window.
Finally, we arrived in Reno. Once in the wolf’s den, we found one of its cubs from 1984 still howling about 2010.
“That was a great football game,” Nevada alumnus Todd Wilson said. “It was so cold, we were getting up to leave after half and then the Wolf Pack scored.”
“I do not want to talk about that,” Reed said.
A Bronco win this year would do much to make the trip home for Reed and other Bronco fans more pleasant than it was in 2010.
“Light years,” Carpenter said. “It [would be] time travel [comparatively]: A couple of minutes and we’re back in Boise.”
And so, as Reno dusk faded into Reno darkness, we recalled another passage regarding the hero’s journey. This from Pat Conroy: “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers.”
Ugh. In the case of this voyage, I really hope that’s not true.