North America, Photography, Travel

Road Trip: Reno to San Francisco

reno to san francisco
Us getting the hell out of Reno.

The road trip from Burning Man to Reno to San Francisco is one of the most horrific experiences I have had driving so far.

The morning started out with Shaun (who used to be a mechanic) helping a few people out with their cars. The harsh desert conditions appeared to have taken its toll on a few vehicles and he was more than willing to help. This led to him to jump start a car that was jimmy-rigged to start in reverse (and the owner forgot to tell him) running over a tent, our new propane stove, our bike rack, and someone’s bike before kareening into a very expensive RV. With our bike rack in a tangled mess we manage to use Sarge’s truck hitch to rebend it and reattach it to our car.

McGyver would have been proud.

Thinking we were going to leave early from Burning Man to avoid traffic, a 2 1/2 hour drive still managed to take us approximately 6 hours to get to Reno. By the time of our arrival we had not eaten in 16 hours, were tired, stinky, sleepy, and hungry as all hell. We just so happened to pull into Reno on Labor Day weekend, during the mass exodus of Burning Man, along with some cantelope festival that took over the city. Needless to say we had issues finding a place to rest our heads.

All I  wanted was a shower, some grub, and a good nights rest. What we got was more than we could have imagined. We pulled up to a motel that managed to have their vacancy sign turned on.

Tired and dusty we go into the lobby (which was attached to a house) of Craig Motel and a scary looking one eyed man slowly slinks up to meet us. He has a sinister glint in his eye and I knew this was going to go badly.

Man: “So you are coming from Burning Man?”

Shaun: “Yes.”

Man: “That will be $75.”

I look around and realize there is no room fee posted. Knowing this and realizing how tired we are, Shaun pulls out his credit card and hands it to the man.

Man: “Cash only.”

Great. So we ran to an ATM to grab some quick cash and come back to find 2 other burners had pulled up into the parking lot. After doing some searches later I come to find out the average fee for a room there is about $50. I guess people really know how to take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable.

We walk into the room and I immediately start crying. I’m exhausted and this is the most shady room I have seen in my life. The box spring and mattress are stained, the covers are questionable in regards to being washed, the paint around the room is stained yellow from the years of smoke, the shower smells like a wet cigarette, and the toilet is less than a foot from the wall. I had to pee at an angle because my legs would not fit in the front of the toilet.


We start unpacking and start to be yelled at by our neighbor that was woken up by us alarming the car in this questionable side of town. We realize that we are stuck at the motel without food. If we get into the car and unarm it, we run the risk of being shanked by the scary yelling man. We go to bed hungry and spend the next 4 hours barely sleeping with a pocket knife in Shaun’s hand at all times.

Ungodly traffic.

Moving on to San Francisco wasn’t much better. The moment we got into California we started to be subject to their horrific traffic. A 4 hour trip turned into 8 hours of road trip hell. I seriously wish we had our own private Car Hire, or even considered getting our own Private Plane to get there it was so long and miserable. Between Tahoe and Sacramento, we spent more time in traffic than we did moving on the highway. Not to mention, Sarcramento is depressing as hell to look at and we spend 2 hours making our way through! Everything is super dry right now and all of the sunflower fields on the sides of the road are withered. Needless to say we were extremely happy when we reached San Francisco and the confines of our friends house in Walnut Creek.

There is nothing like cool weather and a hot shower to make all your cares disappear.

Honestly, I was so flabbergasted by the whole experience that I forgot to document most of it. Here are a few of our trip to San Fran.

reno to san francisco

reno to san francisco

reno to san francisco

Walnut Creek area

Disclosure: The links in this post are paid.

1 thought on “Road Trip: Reno to San Francisco”

  1. That was really a horrific experience you had. Driving in that road really left you with memories that you wouldn’t forget as it is very bad. But it’s all done, you should recover from it and make up for the stress it gave you.

    Riza from Credit Card Knife

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