If they had enough stamina to last the distance, seniors in Carson City had a chance to watch both Republican and Democrat national conventions on TV. What they got out of the conventions may not be the most educational experience. Lots of non-substance programs floated, lots of claims and charges, but little that had not been said before. Republican Mitt Romney reported on his Mormon background, and former President Bill Clinton rattled the rafters with his well-received speech.
But as far as helping seniors come to an informed decision about voting, well, maybe it'll come later. Seniors per se were little mentioned at either event. So we'll have to wait for any proposals that would affect us.
Meanwhile, I have been rightly challenged about a note I made in a column concerning the Affordable Health Care Act that purportedly put limits on Medicare cancer treatment for those 75 1/2 or older. I got that one wrong; there are no limits in the Affordable Health Care Act. The Factcheck website reported "the law explicitly says" the Independent Payment Advisory Board "shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance and copayments) or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria."
So much for the "death committee."
Shows how easy it is to get something wrong about the ACA. I keep vowing to check and double check any item I get about the ACA.
A beautiful back road in Nevada
I may have been a little strident in urging seniors to get out of their ruts and take in something like the Burning Man event up by Gerlach. I did it again and did a little more than getting out of a rut; I overdid it. But in the process I discovered once again one of the many beauties of Nevada that we tend to forget.
That's State Route 447 north out of Fernley off Highway 50 East. Yes, it's a bit of a distance, but the road is nice and the traffic light (except during Burning Man), and it takes you through some awesome views of Nevada, both ancient and current.
The ancient views are off to the right of the highway: steep, water-carved gullies with the Truckee River flowing blue down in the canyon.
You don't have to just whiz along the well-paved road. Off to the right you'll see exits, some labeled, some just there. You can take almost any of these cutoffs and wind up with a lovely view of the Truckee and in some places trees under which to park and perhaps drag out the ice chest for a leisurely picnic.
Yes, this is a bit of a haul. But it's easy and you don't need four-wheel drive. And somewhere along the way you can spot a green spot or two among the fields of sagebrush up on the mountains to the left. You wonder how people live in such isolation, but obviously they do.
For a closer day out of town, give Dead Man's Creek hiking trail a go. For most seniors, this moderately demanding hike culminates with a lovely view of Washoe Lake up on a ridge where Boy Scouts built a gazebo to replace one lost to fire several years ago. The trail head is almost opposite the entrance to Washoe Lake Park off Eastlake Boulevard from Highway 395 north.
The new trail, never more than five degrees of slope, is a lot longer, perhaps two miles round trip (the sign at the trail head says a mile or so) and along the way Rangers and Boy Scouts have placed metal signs describing the vegetation at each site.
It's a good idea for seniors to use a hiking stick or two for this walk, and to tote water. A camera is a must because the views from the gazebo of the lake and Slide Mountain are among the best around the lake. There's almost always a nice breeze coming across the lake and up the hillside to the gazebo. Early morning and late afternoon are the best time for this trek.
If you still are ready for more, you can take the wide uphill stretch from the gazebo to a higher site where the views on all sides are splendid. But this can be more demanding, so use caution before trying this leg.
Once the dust settles down from the two conventions, I'll try to sift through the claims and charges as the two parties made their stands - more or less, as there weren't a lot of specifics floating around. And maybe touch on an outlandish claim or two from both sides.
•-Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.