Report and Photos by Carl Morrison (except where noted), Comments welcomed at Carl@TrainWeb.com
Amtrak California Zephyr stops in
Reno daily - once eastbound, about 4:30 pm, and once westbound, about
8:30 am. Check the Amtrak.com app. for Trains 5 and 6 for exact
times, or call 1-800-USARAIL and ask for Train Status.
The western terminus of the Amtrak California Zephyr is Emeryville,
California. The eastern terminus is Chicago, Illinois. It
also stops at Denver, Colorado.
Since the station is downtown, it is easy to walk to some of the
downtown casino hotels like Circus Circus Reno, Harrah's Reno, Silver
Legacy, Whitney Peak, or take a cab or Uber to Sparks and stay at
Nugget Casino Resort.
The Reno stop is below street level and does not block the many
streets in downtown Reno while stopped at the station.
Reno is a crew change station which usually means a stretch and
Inside the station are some historic photographs.
The 1910 Johnson-Jeffries Train with two 2-8-0 engines bringing
passengers from California to the "Fight of the Century".
City of San Francisco, 1936 alongside the station. Now the
tracks are below street level.
The tracks rise up out of Reno in this view from the last Amtrak
car heading east.
The track rises to street level east of Reno, before the Sparks, Nevada
Sparks, Nevada Station (above) with the two Nugget Hotel towers
The view from the Nugget Hotel Room 1854 of the Amtrak California
Zephyr passing through Sparks eastbound on its way to Chicago on August
5, 2016 during Hot August Nights.
Two locomotives on the point, then baggage car, transition
(employee) sleeper, two sleeping cars, observation car, diner, and
three coaches passing under the Nugget Hotel in Sparks, Nevada.
Three sleeping cars at the end of the California
Zephyr. The back window of the last car is where I took the
photos of the Nugget Hotel 4 photos above.
An excellent reason to take the Amtrak California Zephyr to Reno,
Nevada is the annual
Hot August Nights August 2 - 6, 2016
Hot August Nights (HAN) is a world
premier classic car event, celebrated its 30th year in 2016. It
showcases more than 5,000 pre-1976 vehicles including passenger cars,
pickup trucks and emergency vehicles from 38 states and Canada.
We like the Show-n-Shines at the Grand Sierra Resort, Peppermill, and
Atlantis; nightly cruises in Reno and Sparks; swap meet and Cool Car
Corral at the Livestock Arena; auction at the Reno Convention Center,
and free classic rock 'n' roll concerts by headliners and tribute bands.
First this year is the auction sale of a one-of-a-kind 1939 Futurliner
No. 3 Power of the Air Age and a drifting demonstration with ride along
A 2011 study showed the event is attended by 52% males and 48% females,
36% are age 45 to 54 who attend 3.5 days of the event while car
participants attend 4.8 days. 50% of the participants are from
California, 23% from Nevada, 7% Oregon.
Future Dates of Hot August Nights: 2017: August 8 - 13,
2018: Aug. 7 - 12, 2019: Aug 6 - 11, 2020: Aug. 4 - 9.
We used to drive our own classic cars to Hot August Nights, or flew up
from Orange County California and rented a car, but have found that the
best way for us is to drive up on Wednesday, participated in all the
events we wanted to and drove the 10 hours back home on Saturday.
The following are photos from the events we attended:
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photo for a larger copy with black background; Click BACK in your
browser to return to this page.)
Sparks Victorian Square
In downtown Sparks, a vendor provided camel rides. I used this
photo on my Facebook account and said,
"It was a long, hot desert ride from Orange County, California to Hot
August Nights in Reno, Nevada."
SP Engine #8 in Victorian Square among the classic cars on display at
Hot August Nights.
A vintage steam locomotive, cupola caboose and Pullman executive
car are displayed along with a depot replica, the restored one room
Glendale Schoolhouse and a monument to the Chinese rail workers.
city received a federal grant a few years ago to help refurbish two
cars that are on display in Sparks’ Victorian Square. One car is a
caboose and the other is a club/executive car. Both of the cars have
been refurbished to the 1920s time period. The two cars are attached to
SP Engine #8 which was a working steam engine used in Nevada. Engine #8
is on loan from the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City.
The City of Sparks was created when
Southern Pacific moved all of their operations from Wadsworth, Nev. On
July 4, 1904, SP picked up the houses, the trees, the plants, the
chickens, and the people, put them on flat beds, and moved the entire
operation 30 miles west to the eastern side of the Truckee Meadows.
Until that time, the area was a swamp and a few scattered ranches. SP
worked for a year to fill in the swampy wetlands area in what would
become the town and the rail yard before the big move. The citizens had
a few choices for a town name: Harriman (E. H. Harriman asked to not be
honored this way), Glendale (there already was a Glendale stop in
California), East Reno and Sparks. The town was eventually named after
a Nevada Governor from the area.
It is fitting the line connecting the
east to the west so mirrors our Nevada history: Nevada was admitted to
the Union in 1864 in large part due to the transcontinental rail line.
The entire community was connected to the railroad: either one worked
there or were married to someone who worked there. The schools, the
parks, the entire city grew up around the rail yard. The high school is
still known as the Sparks Railroaders and uses a steam train in their
logo. UP runs the railroad yard and until the 1970s, when Interstate 80
was put through the city, the yard still had the original round house.
Today, along with a few original
brick maintenance buildings, the original yard tower is still used to
oversee operations. Our town is still known as the Rail City and the
rail yard continues to play a vital role to our entire valley's
economy. A few years ago, along with expanding the tunnel size over
Donner Pass (to accommodate double stacked cars), UP put in a third
line in the yard to help accommodate all the traffic coming from the
west. Sparks is the site for locomotive and crew changes. UP is a vital
business partner to our entire region, and most importantly to Sparks.
City of Sparks is grateful for the opportunity to be recognized as an
important part of the 150 year celebration of the Union Pacific
A good spot for a classic car photo is in front of the restored
one room Glendale Schoolhouse in Victorian Square.
Classic cars were on display in Sparks Victorian Square.
Brightwork photos are the best to try for with typical hoods-up,
trunks-open car shows with marginal background.
Reflector in chrome left of the two stars.
Grand Sierra Resort
Grand Sierra Resort has vendors and classic cars in their parking
lot. This trailor winches the load and ramp inside.
Again, with many cars parked side-by-side, the best photos are
closeups of brightwork. Oldsmobile hood ornament.
Sometimes you see something so unusual you just need to back up
and take it all in. 1955 Chevy 8-door.
Some vehicles have descriptive information posted.
Some owners add auto accessories and even timely items inside. My
reflections in the mirror is incidental.
Written so it can be read in a rear view mirror.
Flames are not new, but some designs are.
Bug-eye headlight lenses always catch my eye.
Pontiac Motor Division
Doesn't the International Harvester emblem look like a man on a tractor
coming at you?
The big guys had no lock on creative hood ornaments, as can be seen on
Fred, Russ, and Paul - Ready for the action to begin in
Victorian Square, Sparks.
You can order any Porsche kit on a VW chassis nowadays.
Absent a couple of years, Bobby was back to dance during the
cruises in Victorian Square
Poster Packard from 2 years ago, still cool with vintage hats of
Not a truck you want to haul hay on.
Swap Meet, Cool Car Showroom and Drifting at Reno/Sparks Livestock
Events Center, Thursday August 4, 2016
View of I-80 from 10th floor of the Nugget in Sparks
This vendor paints appropriate signs on old Model A Ford doors as art.
Since I was born on a farm on Hwy. 50 in southern Indiana, this US 50
sign caught my eye.
Cars for sale on the arena floor.
Some inside vendors have classic cars of their own.
Sam Wilson had his '56 Jag MK-1 from Roseburg, OR, for sale
(For a double-sized image, click the image above. Click BACK in your
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There are some original finds here as well.
"Business Coupe" meaning no back seat making room for a traveling
salesman to store product.
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in your browser to return to this page.)
Back area of the business coupe.
Outside the arena:
Vendors in the parking lot.
Drift Evolution's drifting and
participant rides for $10 in the parking lot by Drift Evolution of
I heard the tires squealing and smoke rising from the drifiting
demonstration, so I asked this young lady to take me to her leader so I
could interview the person in charge. The umbrella is a Snapon
sold at Summit.
Some were circling as individuals.
Sometimes 2 raced on the track.
Some cars looked pretty nice.
Some sent the barriers flying.
Some broke tie rods and had to back off the track.
Jason, left, was a good PR man for the group and offered me a free ride
(which I declined).
This young lady took a ride after doning her helmet.
Tire changing is a constant activity in the pits.
A driver, left, discusses track layout with an Evolution manager.
One thing I can identify in the cockpit is a bag of chips.
A drone was taking movies. Link to their photos under LINKS below.
Downtown Reno Controlled Cruise
View of the new Virginia Avenue bridge over the Truckee River where we
watched the Cruise.
Sculpture in Truckee River park near Virginia Avenue.
Our destination before the cruise.
Evidently an entry from Oregon.
Ready for another night of classic cars passing us.
Nothing like an evening when the car show passes you rather than
walking around them.
This fellow provides rock n roll music throughout the cruises.
From this location, you can also see some nice August sunsets with a
Cruising under the "Reno, The Biggest Little City in the World" sign.
Peppermill Resort "Mill Mile" Show n
Cars under the tent have less reflections to worry about in photography.
1955 Chevy Nomad
1957 grill bar on the 1955 Nomad.
Best of Show at Grand Sierra the previous day.
Nice to talk with the owner of the favorite '59 Oldsmobile.
I saw this car the previous night - Wounded at War 34 Ford.
Owner Fred Loveland, 650 224-4310, PO Box 493506, Redding, CA 96049 FredLoveland@comcast.net
Triple reflection of the POW MIA symbol.
Yours Truly enjoying Russ' new hat.
Motorsports Auction Group (MAG)
Auction at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center, Virginia St.
Motorsport Auction Group (MAG) will take hold of the auction gavel for
the first time at Hot August Nights from Aug. 4-6 at the Reno-Sparks
Convention Center. During the three-day, indoor event, cars will cross
the block every few minutes and while the public can explore a
multitude of automotive-related vendors and exhibitors. From street
rods and classics to special interest and exotic vehicles, gearheads
will find an exhilarating automotive array at the new auction,
1939 Futurliner No. 3 Power of the Air Age
only 12 Futurliners ever manufactured and nine known to exist, the
Futurliner No. 3 displays an Allison J-35 jet engine inside and
singularly stands out, said MAG spokesman Frank Yaksitch. In 2015,
Futurliner No. 11 sold for $4 million at a Barrett-Jackson auction in
General Motors toured the Futurliners
during its 1939 Parade of Progress, a North American traveling
exhibition promoting future cars and technologies. Harley Earl styled
each Futurliner with Art Deco bodywork, red sides, a white roof and
large articulated chrome side panels. At a massive 33 feet long, 8 feet
wide and more than 11 feet tall, the vehicle weighs more than 12 tons.
It features a gasoline GM 302 inline six-cylinder with a Hydramatic
Kindig and the crew at Kindig-It Design in Salt Lake City restored the
vehicle from 2013 to 2014, as seen on the television show "Bitchin
Quoted material above from:
Watch an original film of the Futurliners above.
Channel 8 KOLD interview of the Futurliner rebuilder.
Vendors at the Auction
Susan Heberger, owner, triggersreno.com
This guy saw my Media badge and asked for me to take his photo in the
60 Second Eyelift booth.
Cars to be auctioned on display
If you want to bid on a vehicle, you must first register and get a
bidding number, follow this sign.
Once registered, you will receive this backpack of information.
Cars inside that are ready for auction.
This burlwood looks natural, but it is painted.
1954 Chevy with Corvette grill
This was for sale at the auction, basically an electronic piano.
The auction was set up much better for spectators like us this
year than in the past.
Cars are pushed up from the left, auctioned with bids on the large
screens, then started and driven off to the right.
1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass coupe sold for $13,500
2 auctioneers rotated at the microphone each half hour.
1956 Chevrolet Apache Half Ton did not reach the reserve.
1950 Chevrolet Fleetline Sedan sold for $10,000
1953 Ford F100 Custom Pickup
1973 Ford Bronco sold for $32,000
During the auction of the Bronco, the screen showed the reserve, and
the current bid and bidder's location.
1957 Chevrolet Custom Wagon (stretched 10 inches) sold for $25,500
Shot of the screen whild on the block, this 2000 Chevrolet Corvette
reached $13,750, but did not sell.
1934 Dodge Model DR 4-door Sedan sold for $16,000
Remember A&W rootbeer floats? Have one near the Convention
Center at 900 East Plumb Lane, Reno , NV
This location has classic car shows other than just during Hot August
Downtown Reno Controlled Cruise
Our last night at HAN, we went downstairs from our Nugget Hotel to
Victorian Square in Sparks to watch the cruise.
You will see some of the same vehicles as in earlier cruises, but
surely many you have not seen before.
A landscaping company was giving their clients a party at the RR Museum
See you next year at Hot August Nights in Reno and Sparks, Nevada?
Hot August Nights Media Contact: Heather Libretti,