Waking up today knowing it was our last official day of the road trip was both heartbreaking, and heartwarming. I had now had 22 days worth of new experiences, stories, and memories; but I was ready to not live out of a vehicle anymore, and see my family. As I gathered all of my things to bring to the car, I told Anna I was going to head down to load the car and have breakfast; she assured me she was right behind me. I sat in the crowded small lounge area at a table for two, and ate my yogurt, banana, muffin, and juice (continental breakfast.) Anna arrived as I was finishing up and not before long we were on the road again. We had a good amount of driving to do before reaching Lake Tahoe, some highway, and the rest through small towns. Passing through Squaw Valley was pretty memorable since they have a monument with the Olympic rings, all that ran through my mind was how fun these towns would be in the winter for snowboarding! As we neared the North shore of Lake Tahoe, we Googled places and things to see; which lead to a few dead ends in residential areas. One of which we just parked in the street, hiked down a little and took in the brilliant blue water reflecting off the equally as cobalt blue sky. The mountains, the water, and the forrest were breathtaking; here we go again for my struggle of mountain love vs. beach love; I think the mountains still win. The majority of the places we Googled, were hours away from where we were and visiting them wouldn't be feasible with the deadline we were on for returning the rental later that evening in Reno. We did make the best out of our short stay at Lake Tahoe though; visiting Crescent Beach right outside of Crescent City, a few other beaches, one of which we would have lunch at, and lastly a docking area that looked as though it could be a tropical resort. We sat at a picnic table a few hundred feet from the water, and only forty feet or so from our car. One last Mountain House meal would make me smile for lunch, knowing it would be the last one for awhile. Exploring the beach lead me to finding one of the biggest pinecones I have ever seen, it was almost as big as my head! (see photo below.) The water was surprisingly very warm, I walked with water up to my shins observing rocks, crabs, boats, and other beach-goers. The wet sand was almost a terracotta color, with jet black strewn throughout; which made the sight so vibrant in comparison of the deep blue water. We hung out at the beach for awhile, I mostly walked the beach; whereas Anna chilled more in one place. What I wouldn't give for a boat right now, I can see myself coming back to Lake Tahoe in the summer years from now with my family for vacation. As we were getting ready to leave the beach; we saw a guy getting his wind surfing board ready, naturally I had to see him in action. We sat where the sand met the grass and watched as he set everything up, then finally made his way to the water while his kite soared wild and free in the sky. We had time for two more stops, and as we pulled into our next destination the "change oil" light came on; not an official road trip unless the car yells at you about changing the oil. The next stop was more of a nature walk/rest area location; we explored the trails losing one another to meet back up about 20 minutes later. As I explored the massive boulder formations; jumping from one rock to another, I met a nice couple who ended up taking a couple photos of me on the giant rocks. The photos don't even come close to expressing the beauty of this place; looking back at them now, sure they are beautiful, and I am sure you as a reader will swoon over them (hopefully,) but believe me when I say, it was 100 times more beautiful being there. The enormous rocks were as smooth as river rocks in the bed of a river, they looked as though you could purchase them in a store they were so polished, though what you would do with them would be beyond me at their size. The last stop was a boat launch, and small beach; which you had to pay for parking and we didn't want to so late in the day. We parked quick just to capture the beauty, if I saw these photos on a website somewhere I would believe they came from the Bahamas. The water was so crystal clear that you could see the bottom miles away, the ripples magnified the glimmer of yellow, blue, green, and pink hues. Opting to say "goodbye for now" to paradise; we hopped in the rental to go over the mountain and down and around into the valley of Reno. As we drove, I texted with Jonny to let him know our approximate time of arrival and that the car and to be back at 5:00pm. We summited the mountain by vehicle, and began descending when I had to pull to the side of the road to take in the beauty below. It was such a drastic change of scenery from the luscious forrest, woods, and lake we had just witnessed. The valley below was brown and desertsous, with civilization densely packed in tiny squares. As I was taking photos, a guy came walking out of no where (or so it seemed) Anna waited in the car, so I asked if he would mind taking my photo and he asked the same of me. We chatted for a minute and I learned that he too was from Connecticut visiting his mother; what a small world! I wished him well, and got back in the car to continue our journey down into Reno. Just prior to reaching the city, I almost hit a coyote as it sped across the road in front of me; proceeding all the way across into on-coming traffic. We arrived earlier than expected, but Jonny was out of work so it wasn't a problem for him to meet us at his place. My least favorite part of traveling (or grocery shopping) unpacking! We parked the rental on the street and made trips back and fourth unloading our life for the past month. It was a tedious project, but like anything that seems never-ending; we finished. The Chevy would sure need a nice cleaning inside and out; but it looked so bare and boring with none of our belongings scattered around. We arrived at Avis, and it was time to say our goodbyes; we went inside to sign paperwork and notify them of the crack in the windshield. I stated that it happened this morning when I went down from our hotel room and found it like that (the funny thing is; when I started writing this mornings portion of the blog I actually wrote that I came down to find the crack on the windshield before my continental breakfast ((since it is now four months later) and then had to think real hard to remember I had already written that and it did not in fact happen at this hotel but in Napa Valley!) The employee was rather, unsure and talked very slowly, making me wonder if he was just stoned. After awhile, everything was rectified and I was notified that I would not be charged for the windshield which was relieving! We asked him to take a photo of us with the Impala as a proper final goodbye, and then sat on the curb waiting for Jonny; where had he gone? He left the same time we had. About 5 minutes later he pulled in, and away we went to downtown Reno. We parked on the road where we wouldn't have to pay; and it smelled like a porta potty; I guarantee a bum peed somewhere nearby it was that bad. We stumbled upon a street full of white convention tents; apparently there was some motorcycle event this past weekend and they were still cleaning up from that. Walking around Reno reminded me of a smaller, less extreme Las Vegas. We walked past one of the largest rock wall climbs which was adjacent to a high rise. It was pretty terrifying and impressive, and there was someone currently attempting to climb to the top. Jonny assured us that by the time we walked to the end and came back that he would probably be reaching the top, so we continued our walk. We saw a "wedding party," very classy folk, as well as other interesting individuals along the way. When we reached the end; we saw what looked like a very beautiful river if it hadn't been so low, as well as a bike/walking path, and park benches and flowers. It was beautiful. Deciding to head back, put us in perfect timing for when we reached the rock wall, the man had reached the top! Impressive, it must be so windy up there. We arrived back at the car, to meet Allie back at the house for dinner. We continued to pack all of our stuff back into our massive suite cases, while listening to records, drinking beer, and socializing. We ended our evening with some lovely homemade pizza by Allie and Jonny, thanked them for the billionth time for everything, and said our goodnights. My flight was at 8:00am, Anna's wasn't until 2:00pm; since Jonny got up at 5:00am for work, we said our goodbyes the night before since Allie would be bringing us to the airport tomorrow morning before work. Jonny and I used to be best friends back in middle/high school; I hadn't seen him in over 7 years, and it was so great to reconnect and meet his other half. I am forever grateful for friends like them. Hopefully tonight I can sleep better than the first night here in Reno, early flight in the morning home!