Our family recently spent five nights in Truckee, CA before stopping for an unexpected night in Reno, NV prior to heading home. We journeyed to California because we were invited by our friends John and Lena to go rock climbing with them during their stay in the area. Angela had previously climbed with the couple, but this was my first time.
This was our first road trip with Fitz since our aborted stay in Park City, UT last year. We wanted him to join us given the frequency of our international trips this year and as preparation for trips to come. Fitz has started to mellow out a bit as he’s gotten older, which has prompted us to start thinking about traveling longer distances with him.
We wanted to be close to Donner Lake, where our friends had rented a house, during our stay. That meant staying in Truckee rather than in Reno or Tahoe, limiting our options a fair bit. Further decreasing the available properties was the fact that many of the points-eligible hotels unexpectedly eliminated all eligible rooms from the award calendar starting in the middle of June. Given this, I chose the hotel that had the latest available start date for a stay that lasted five nights.
Due to a car maintenance issue, I booked us a room in Reno, NV near the Tesla service center before our drive down the length of the state. We evaluated each of the hotels within a two-mile radius and chose the highest rated one that was pet friendly.
- One room for five nights at the Hampton Inn and Suites Truckee-Tahoe for 43,200 Hilton Honors Points per night with fifth night free with Fitz incurring a 125.00USD pet fee
- One room for one night at the Homewood Suites Reno for 40,000 Hilton Honors Points per night with Fitz incurring a 75.00USD pet fee
June 17, 2023
We packed the day our trip started so as to reduce the stress to Fitz caused by the suitcases coming out. After gathering up all our gear and loading the car, we set off on our journey.
The drive to Truckee is long and relatively boring. We stopped every few hours to charge the car and stretch our legs. Our first stop was Beatty, NV.
Next, we charged in Tonopah, NV, where we took a stroll after eating some delicious sandwiches that Fitz was ready and willing to consume if we weren’t able to finish them.
Our third stop was Hawthrone, NV, America’s Patriotic Home. Fitz was starting to get tired, and the temperature was hot, so Angela and I went for a stroll on our own. We took some pictures of the munitions museum before walking to Mr. Beane’s Espresso. Angela ordered the Black Beauty while I chose a cappuccino. Both drinks were surprisingly delicious.
Finally, we briefly stopped at Sparks, NV to top-off before continuing on to our hotel because we weren’t completely sure how convenient the charging situation would be in Truckee, CA.
Arriving at the hotel, I left Angela and Fitz with the car while I checked in. The experience was odd with little greeting or introduction, a lack of status recognition, and no mention of the fact that I had a dog with me even though I put it in my reservation notes. I was given my keys, returned to the car, and Angela and I unpacked Fitz and all our luggage.
We were both quite hungry, so we visited Burger Me for dinner while Fitz rested in the car thanks to Tesla’s “Dog Mode,” I ordered the Elk Burger with some additional toppings and Angela opted for the Cowboy Burger. Both were absolutely delicious. Angela also enjoyed a local beer with dinner.
Exhausted by the day of travel, we returned to the hotel to rest up for the following day’s activities.
After attending to Fitz’s morning business, Angela and I alternated visits to breakfast. For the duration of this trip, I would eat six hard-boiled eggs and two bowls of Fruit Loops while Angela would consume a waffle with peanut butter and a Fairlife protein drink.
We packed up the car and headed to the trailhead where we met up with John and Lena. Our first day was spent at Indian Springs > Falls Walls (two routes) and Indian Springs > Johnny Wall (one route). At the first stop, we watched John lead climb the first route and then Angela was up on the wall. I got to admire her strength and flexibility as I waited my turn.
When Angela returned to solid ground, Lena taught me how to tie-in with the “trace eight” knot and then Angela told me to climb the wall, so off I went. I had a lot of fun and never felt any type of anxiety or like I was in danger in any way.
We climbed the first route a couple of times before transitioning to another on the same wall. We and then walked to a different trailhead to reach the second wall and complete our climbing for the day. From here on out, I’ll list the locations that we climbed, but will refrain from any type of narration in favor of photographic evidence.
Luckily, Fitz took all this activity in stride. Throughout the trip, he was happy to hike to the climbing spots (with a little assist from me) and then chill on a blanket while being leashed to a stationary object.
After eating some sandwiches, Angela and I took turns lifting weights in the hotel’s fitness room before meeting up with John and Lena at Taco’s Jalisco for dinner. Angela and I both enjoyed hearty burritos with a unique flavor. While good, I wouldn’t say the restaurant is a must-visit.
With temperatures having dropped quite a bit, Monday was a break day from climbing. After breakfast, we visited the Truckee River Regional Park and walked a little over a mile-and-a-half on the Our Truckee River Legacy Trail before turning around so that Fitz didn’t overdo himself.
After our walk, we stopped at Whole Treats Bakery & Coffee House where Angela enjoyed a cortado and pumpkin donut hole while I enthusiastically consumed a triple macchiato and apple cider scone.
Early in the evening, we headed over to John and Lena’s rental house where John had cooked an absolutely delightful chili. I ate three bowls topped with cheese, onions, and fritos. This was also an opportunity for Fitz and Angus to meet for the first time. It went better than I expected it to!
On our second day of climbing, we visited the Indian Springs > Lower Cliffs (Lower Tier) where we tackled three different pitches.
Again, Fitz was an excellent mountain dog and, after a short bout of shivering from the cold, settled right in after the sun came out and relaxed the entirety of our time by the cliffs.
Leaving the trailhead, we visited Dark Horse Coffee Roasters where we enjoyed some absolutely incredible drinks. I ordered the French toast latte and Angela opted for the Strange Brew, a cold brew and chai tea concoction. We also consumed some excellent breakfast burritos.
We stopped at the local charging station to fill up the car and went for a short walk with Fitz.
For dinner, Angela walked to the nearby grocery store and retrieved us some fresh-baked pizza.
Our third day was spent at Grouse Slab > Southwest Face where Angela and I successfully climbed one route and failed on the other. We still had a great time and it was fun to be challenged so much, so quickly.
The surrounding scenery on this day of climbing was absolutely incredible and Fitz loved it.
After we departed, we visited Wild Cherries Coffee House where we had some incredible flat whites (even though they were off-menu) and delightful pumpkin and banana breads.
We returned to the hotel room and ate some leftover pizza to tide us over until dinner which we enjoyed at Thai Delicacy. The food was delicious and hearty, with large enough portions for everyone. At this point, we said our thanks and goodbyes to our friends, including Angus, and returned to our hotel for our last night in Truckee.
After breakfast, we packed up the car to head to Reno. We left a bit early because Lena informed us that maintenance crews were sweeping the highway, causing delays. Arriving in Reno, we stopped at Lighthouse Coffee on Virginia St for a couple of drinks and some light snacks. The shop was very busy, and the proprietor was incredibly friendly. We’d recommend a visit.
We stopped at Bartley Ranch Regional Park and walked along the Quail Run Trail. Fitz dunked his little paw in a small creek while crossing a rickety two-board bridge, saw some horses in the distance, and enjoyed his short walk.
After leaving the park, I drove to our hotel in Reno where we were lucky enough to be able to check in and get access to our room early. Hurriedly unloading the car, I took my leave of Angela and Fitz and headed to the dealership. Our stay at the Homewood Suites was legitimately great. They handed me a welcome sheet for Fitz with information about local pet stores and veterinary hospitals, thanked me for my status, and informed me of all the amenities without requiring me to ask. The room was spacious and comfortable with fluffy towels and a comfortable bed. We would all recommend the Homewood Suites Reno if you’re passing through the area.
I drove to the Tesla dealership, dropped off our car, and drove back to the hotel in a loaned Model X, my first time driving one. It was certainly a different experience driving with a steering yoke and without any control stalks.
Angela and I took Fitz for a walk around Anderson Regional Park, conveniently located across the street from our hotel. Fitz got to meet cows for the first time. Luckily, he was slightly more well-behaved around these the bovines than he was around horses.
Our car was ready a few hours later so we all drove over to the service center to pick it up before heading to dinner at Great Basin Brewing Company. We split the onion rings as an appetizer, and both enjoyed the 50/50 burger for our entree. The burger had a delicious flavor and cook. While the food was good, the service was bewildering, with our server removing my plate right out from underneath me as I enjoyed the last few bites of my burger. The dessert we ordered was mediocre at best and definitely not as it was described. While we would recommend the burgers, come prepared for a bit of a weird experience.
We returned to the hotel and plugged our car into the on-site Tesla charger before feeding Fitz and relaxing for a few hours. After our vehicle had fully charged, I moved it to a more convenient parking spot for us to pack up in the morning.
After a breakfast similar to each of the others on our trip, we headed home. First, we stopped in Hawthorne, NV, where Fitz went for a walk with us to burn off some excess energy he seemed to have.
Next, we stopped in Tonopah where Fitz was carried around like the little prince that he is. He was even amenable to standing and taking a few pictures with some town monuments.
Our final stop before arriving in Las Vegas was Beatty, the Gateway to Death Valley. Again, I carried Fitz around, this time because it was too hot for him to walk on the pavement. He was so tired by this point, I don’t think he particularly minded.
And thus, our trip came to an end. We both had a blast hanging out with our friends and are so appreciative that they were willing to spend the time teaching and coaching us through the climbs that we did. I’ll always be thankful for the time I was able to spend with Angela and Fitz hiking in the mountains and taking goofy pictures on the way up and down to Reno.