A newcomer’s initial impressions of Fernley

By Jim Vallet, For the Fernley Reporter

My wife and I moved to Fernley three weeks ago, and I have several first impressions, which may or may not change as we get to know the area and people better.

  • What’s the deal with the car busting curbs on driveway entrances in many of the areas where there are sidewalks? The first time I turned into my driveway I got a head meets ceiling jolt when I attempted to turn into my driveway at what I thought was a safe speed. Since then, I have witnessed and experienced many similar nails-on-chalkboard metal meets cement crunching moments if the driver does not properly angle the vehicle upon entering a driveway, and I cringe every time. I also see many people have installed driveway ramps in an attempt to save their car bottoms. Beware to the driver whose attention wanders at just the wrong moment (like my neighbor who waved at me backing out of her driveway) and is rewarded with a metallic crunch.
  • In the year 2019, it seems weird that the waste management company in our area (Desert Lakes) does not offer curbside recycling. In addition to that, we are charged a $20 a month “Container Fee”. I have never heard of a “Container Fee” and have not spoken to anyone anywhere in the country where curbside recycling is unavailable. I really don’t know how much our container costs, but it looks like ours has eaten more than its share of trash and 20 bucks a month times 12 months is $240.00 a year for the privilege of putting our trash in their container. When I asked if we could purchase our own container, the lady who helped me said we would still have to pay a container fee even if we use our own container.
  • After three weeks I think I qualify as “Roundabout Challenged”. Some drivers just cruise up to the entrance and smoothly merge in roundabout travel causing not even a ripple to the flow of traffic. Not me. The first time I was ever in a roundabout was in Athens, Greece and I went around the roundabout three times before I could get off at the proper place. Sadly, I have not improved much. But, I was “set straight” by a longtime local as I was complaining about the roundabout in Fernley when I was told that locals can always identify roundabout complainers as newcomers because of how much worse traffic was before the roundabout. 
  • The outside athletic track and fields at Fernley High School are beautiful and well-kept. Even more important, the track is accessible to the community to use, which is not true at every high school. Sadly, there was quite a bit of trash in and around the home bleachers on Monday, July 1, and was still there on Wednesday, July 3. Maybe there is an explanation for the trash (it was really windy) but there are lots of trash cans in that area. 
  • The drivers in Fernley are, for the most part, among the best and most courteous drivers I have seen anywhere in this country or Europe. Of course there are exceptions, but they are just that, not the norm. Some of the exceptions seem to think Farm District Road is the Indianapolis Speedway on Memorial Day, and others avoid waiting at the roundabout to go from Main Street to Highway 50 east by exiting on Farm District, going up to the entrance of the park, turning around and quickly merging onto Highway 50 East. But the left lane merge lane onto westbound Highway 50 seems to work very well, in spite of my initial skepticism. Not all the roads in this area are as good as Highway 50, but the drivers seem to handle the roads pretty well. 
  • Probably the most subjective of my impressions is my impression of the people here. It is also possible (probable) that my impression of the people here will change as I meet more people. But right now, I see people who are friendly, but not outgoing. Most people I have talked to here seem reluctant to talk to me, but once talking, seem very friendly. When we first moved into our home, none of our neighbors came over to welcome us or say hello, but our next door neighbor did rescue and return our Houdini-like dog who escaped from our fenced yard when we were not home on our second day here. He even found where the dog escaped and closed that potential exit. If we run into people in the neighborhood, people will smile and say hello if we can catch their eyes, but, so far, no one has stopped to talk. Store clerks and waitresses seem aloof at first, but warm after a little conversation. The mail lady seemed to ignore my wife at first, but was very nice and very helpful once she started talking. Maybe my impression is not at all correct, or maybe it is correct and is because so many new people are coming to Fernley.
  • We had a really hard time finding how to get to Lowe’s. Apparently, not many others had the same problem we did, as there were lots of people in the store once we finally found our way there.
  • We like to play video poker, but we did not see anyone getting a hand pay in several visits to Fernley casinos.
  • The weather here, coming from southern Nevada, is to die for. We have been warned that the last three weeks have been very mild.
  • The golf course is great, the greens are very fast, the workers are nice, the sandtraps are in bad shape, and the rough is impossible. We have had a lot of fun there at a fair price in the time we have been here.
  • The Terrible’s parking lot lives up to that name.
  • Just like every place I have ever been to, there are some people whose houses are neat as a pin, and others who don’t do anything.
  • The people who work at the public pool seem very nice. The lady with whom we spoke patiently and completely answered every one of our many questions that she probably gets 50-60 times a day.
  • Our cable and internet company’s advertisement has a price advertised that we exceeded by more than $50 a month once we added things like DVR and two receivers. 

None of my impressions are anything but anecdotal, and all of them are subject to change. I know a year from now, I will look back on this and see how I feel. Right now, I’m happy to call Fernley home. 

Jim Vallet and his wife Melanie moved to Fernley from Moapa Valley in June. He will be writing occasional columns about Fernley from the perspective of a newcomer, as well as stories about local people who are making a positive difference in the community.

One thought on “A newcomer’s initial impressions of Fernley

  • Ealph Pickering

    You really caught the best of our town. The curbs are atrocious and recycling is virtually non-existent.

    I am as guilty as the next about not introducing myself to the new neighbors yet I know form personal experience how one neighbor can make a newcomer feel a part of the community Here in Desert Lakes we have an HOA and I would invite you to attend our monthly meetings so that you can give your input into community concerns.

    I am still impressed with how the general population greets you in the stores and on the street. When I lived in another state I didn’t know my next door neighbors for the first five years and then they tended to close themselves from the rest of the community (not the fault of the neighbors that I did get to know).

    I also was heavily involved with my whole town because I was required to be involved by my employer. Because of this I looked for ways to be connected to the larger community and joined the Fernley Chamber of Commerce. We meet most every Tuesday morning at 7:30 in the golf course club house. Join us and enjoy networking with business people and regular citizens like myself. You will see that our “Friendly Fernley” has a lot to offer to everyone including new comers.


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