Reno, circa 1994

The day after Candace returned from backpacking around Europe and the day after Jody and I returned from long, separate camping trips, we loading into my car and drove three hours to Reno. Then, we drove back home a few hours later.

The trip is hard to describe. It’s been a couple of weeks and I’m still having a hard time adequately describing our time travel. No, I’m totally not kidding, we stepped back into time, to 1994. Imagine the sets of “Reality Bites,” “My So Called Life,” “Thelma and Louise” or “Singles.” Now, imagine there being no sets at all, but it being real life. I saw piercings that are so not cool anymore. There were button-up men’s shirts with prints that must have come from California’s thrift store leftovers. There were cut-off shorts, girls in bulkly sneakers and red sports bras, souvenir t-shirts tucked into elastic-wasted yellow shorts, that oh-so-’90s makeup. The punk-rock grunge that seemed so edgy when I was in middle school was back. So were men in trench coats; long guy hair; the shaved head with bangs; and smoking was all of a sudden cool again.

Before we left, I rather unsuccessful googled “Cool Places in Reno.” I had to get creative and finally found out that Java Jungle is the place in Downtown by the river where the cool kids hangout. So Candace and I went there, our California clothes on our backs and new books in our boho bags. Obviously, we didn’t fit in. It was hilarious and entertaining because my wardrobe is nothing impressive. Jeans and flip-flops are my staple, but it didn’t cut it. I kept looking up from my library book to see the girl — the one trying to make overalls look grungy — staring at me as she ranted about women’s rights. Are you serious? I think I remember that scene from some teen movie I wasn’t allowed to watch in the ’90s. Candace and I listened and gave each other those looks that said we were both thinking the same thing.

So here’s how our day evolved …. back in time.

(Above: First stop was for grub at Wendy’s. Notice the retro $10 bill?)

Love and lust: I want this Bronco.Reno, Nevada. They have nice clouds. Taken from the hotel room, where Jody got ready for the Monday afternoon wedding (that’s the whole point of our trip).I took a few before-the-wedding shots before Candace and I went exploring the city.This is us exploring.Ah, yes. The river. It’s right behind Java Jungle and it was popular on that sunny Monday. There are lots of ’90s kids ditching school and hanging out under the tree. Maybe they’re just waiting their turn to ride the blow-up air mattress (yeah, the bed kind) down the river.I did like Java Jungle even if the customers were weird. They make one of my favorite blended chais. I wanted to get shots of the people without being too obvious, so Candance agreed to pose. It doesn’t do the crowd justice.OK, so Candace does have retro Saltwater sandals, but I think they’re more ’80s, right? And they’re making a comeback.i love these two.we tried to get out of town, but the guy on the bike wouldn’t budge.

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4 Responses to Reno, circa 1994

  1. anwa says:

    I love the first photo — the color saturation is awesome.

  2. Anil says:

    Enjoyed the narrative. Such blue skies, and the clouds, well, I could float away on them. They’re like that magic carpet. Very alluring.

  3. ryanbugg says:

    Your blog about Reno is hilarious. Living in Reno (and happening by chance to be a barista at Java Jungle), I occasionally search for “Reno” on WordPress to see what shows up. Reno is such a weird place, haha.

    Nice post.

    • Lauren says:

      Oh my goodness, how embarrassing. I never expected a Reno native to actual read this. I’m glad it made you laugh a little … don’t you get what I’m saying though?! I did enjoy Java Jungle, and the chai reminded me of a drink I used to get at my favorite coffee shop a few years back. I know I asked the someone working there what the company was, but I can’t remember now. Happy Reno living! I’ll stop in and say hi someday.

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