Tales of a Subaru

It is with a heavy heart I write this. On July 4, 2020, I drove my 2012 Subaru Forester for the last time. I know it’s just a car, but as I was cleaning out my personal belongings and sat in the driver’s seat for the last time, I felt like I was saying goodbye to my best friend. So, in memory of my faithful companion, I wanted to reminisce about all the good times we’ve had over the last 8 years.

After graduating college, I couldn’t wait to buy a new car – something with all-wheel-drive, so I no longer had to put chains on or worry about how I was going to make it up the hill by my house after a snowstorm. I did my online research and decided to test drive the Subaru Forester. It was pretty much love at first sight. The price was right, so I bought the car brand new. She had the AWD to handle the snow and enough room to load up my friends and gear for whatever adventure we were headed to next – and that’s exactly what she did for the next 8 years.

The beginning was a little rough. In the first month, a rock cracked my windshield, and in the first 3 months, I was rear-ended on the freeway (only minor damage). After that, it was smooth sailing. A few minor scratches here and there, another cracked windshield, front axels replaced, but other than that she held her own. I did always have to add oil to the car, but that is a known Subaru thing.

While the Subaru had seatbelts for five, it wasn’t necessarily the most comfortable ride for five adults. Yet for some reason, there were always six of us who needed a ride. So, someone would have to crawl in the back. Some of my favorite stories are when we were driving to a Tough Mudder at Northstar and we went through the Ag Check station at the California/Nevada state line. We threw a blanket over the person in the back, and I felt like I was smuggling in an illegal immigrant. Or the time we went hot springing in Mammoth. While we had taken multiple cars to Mammoth we wanted to carpool to the Hot Spring, so everyone piled into the Subaru. To get to the hot springs you have to go a little bit off-road. I did not inch my way down the road, and I could see the person in the back fly up as I went over a bump. They had the biggest smile on their face as did all of us.

The longest road trip I took with my car was from Reno -> Kennewick, Washington. The biggest city we saw that entire drive was Reno. I had my good friend Wilma with me and on the way up we broke up the drive into two days and spend the night at a campground near Pendleton, OR.

My friends and I had permits to hike Half Dome, and my boyfriend had a court date the following day for not wearing a life jacket on a paddleboard. Because of this, we had to take three cars so my boyfriend could take my car back a day early and drive from Yosemite to Yerington, Nevada to appear in court. The funny thing about that trip was all three cars were Subarus. We said we were basically a living Subaru ad. Oh, in case you were wondering, my boyfriend won his court case for not having a life jacket on a paddleboard.

Many times, has my car made the drive to Pyramid Lake for our annual Slip N Slide camping trip. Through the sand, down some washed out roads often with a keg, BBQ and all my camping gear in the back. She almost got stuck once. I think it took a few back and forth rocks, but then we gunned it and out of the sand she went. One trip the wind was so ferocious it broke my tent and almost blew my paddleboard into the lake; the next year we decided to sleep in the Subaru.

Then there’s the snow. She was a dream in the snow. I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable driving that car through some of the worst snow storms. I’ll never forget the first time I approached Cal Trans in my Subaru on a snowy day and they just waved me through. I was so excited and might have started laughing, “Ha Ha!” to the poor souls on the side of the road that were having to chain up. Countless times we’d load the skis up top, load the car with people and head to the resort for an epic powder day. This last winter I was driving back to Reno after Thanksgiving when I hit a major unexpected snowstorm. It was slow going along Hwy 20 to I-80, but she did great. Subarus are known for their fantastic handling in the snow, and I can attest to this. But once I hit I-80 traffic was stopped. Turns out they had closed the road due to multiple spin-outs. I spent the next 6 hours bonding with my car stopped on the freeway. I called friends and family, watched some movies, ate a leftover Thanksgiving meal and had just made myself a nice little bed in the back seat to sleep when traffic started up again.

Listening to music was our other favorite pastime. I started with a small USB with all my music on it and eventually upgraded to an iPhone and Spotify. Over the years I had the stereo upgraded and the speakers. So not only were we cruising in style, but we had bumping tunes to go with it.

Besides getting me to and from work every day, the little Subie and I went on numerous ski trips, trips to Lake Tahoe, trips to see family in California, desert adventures, camping trips, hikes, tailgating at Nevada Football games, you name it. Just scrolling through the photos on my phone I can see pictures of smiling faces or gorgeous vistas and my Subaru got me there in probably 80% of them because the other 20% were fly destinations. She was always there for me no matter what kind of adventure I had planned, and it was always a good time. The Subie also sat in my parent’s driveway for a few months while I was in New Zealand patiently waiting for me to get back, and then again when I went to Europe. When I first bought the car, the salesman said he calls the Subaru Forester a Billie Goat because it’s tough and can pretty much handle anything – he was right.

In the end, yes, a car is just a car. She got me from point A to point B, and the fond memories I have were created because of the people. But it was still the first new car I ever purchased on my own, and it was a great car. I know I will have just as much fun and amazing memories in whatever my next vehicle of choice is – but I will never forget my first Subaru.

Thank you if you read the whole thing, and if you’re in the market for a new car I can’t recommend the Subaru Forester enough. Yeah, it’s not going to be to the fastest car up the mountain, but otherwise, it was everything I could have wanted out of a car and more.

In Loving Memory of Billie Goat, the Subaru Forester – May 28, 2012 – July 4, 2020

5 Tips for Night in the Country

The tagline – Pure Country. Pure Farmland. Pure Nevada. So, what is Night in the Country? It’s a 3-day country music festival that takes place in the tiny desert farming town Yerington, Nevada.  If you like country music, camping with your besties, and making new friends over a cold one and a game of corn hole, then Night in the Country is the festival for you. Last year was my first year. I convinced my Mom and Dad to join me, and I met up with some friends who are seasoned pros and we had a rockin’ good time. Luckily, my friend gave me some good pointers before heading out there, so I’m here to pass on the favor. Here are 5 tips perfect for the newbie heading out to Night in the Country (NITC).  

Prepare for Sun  

All the shade is Bring Your Own. That Nevada sun can be brutal, so make sure you bring enough water and shade to help keep you cool during those long days. You will see trailers running their generators to pump the A.C. or people hanging out in those above ground pools to cool off. And not only is the desert hot, but it’s dusty. Not quite as bad as Burning Man though since this festival takes place on a hay field. But you will still want closed-toe, sturdy shoes to protect your feet from any sharp hay and to help keep them clean. Boots and shorts are the popular outfit choice out there. And since you’ll be spending all day out in the sun playing games and getting rid of that hangover, you’ll want to bring plenty of sunscreen.  

The good thing about the Nevada desert is the temperature does cool down at night. I’d recommend bringing a light jacket. Last year it poured rain Thursday and Friday and morning which made for a cool Friday night.  

Party All Night 

Night in the Country is a party. People are there to have a good time and listen to good music. They are loud, things can get a little rowdy, but it’s all a good time. So just embrace the madness and have a little fun. If you do want to be away from the party-goers, there are Quiet Zone campsites you can book, but I wouldn’t expect complete silence out there. The hardcore campers will be playing their music till 4 a.m along with the Full Moon Saloon. So, I recommend some earplugs and a couple of drinks to put you right to bed.  

Clear Bags Only  

NITC takes places on the fairgrounds in Yerington, NV. In 2019, General Admission was updated, and the whole outdoor area is now grass. I’m not sure what it looked like before, but after talking to some friends that had been there in the past, they all said it was a huge upgrade. The venue is set up like an outdoor arena. VIP passes get you closer to the stage, but they have huge screens if you want to see the performers up close. The acoustics were great, and really, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. You can bring chairs or blankets to sit on in the grass, or there is a gravel area off the side which is for sitting. But you can just stand, walk around and dance during the show too. Similar to all shows now, the only bags allowed inside are clear. Also, if you want to purchase drinks inside you must have already purchased drink tokens. It’s supposed to make the line move faster.  

Don’t Forget Your Boots 

If you are wondering what to wear to Night in the Country, I recommend checking out their Instagram. During the day, you can find most people in swimsuits and beach-like attire hanging out in large blow-up pools to escape the heat. For the show, the girls put on their cutest daisy dukes or dress. As for the guys, well you’re looking at fitting jeans or shorts – it’s hot. But the number one thing you can’t forget are your boots. First, it’s dirty in the camping area, so the boots help keep your feet clean, and the camping area is a cut-down hay field, so the boots help from any sharp hay pieces going through your shoes. Do like farmers do and don’t forget your boots.  

Remember to Have Fun  

This tip is a given. Night in the Country is a lot of fun. It’s a great place to meet new people and the best part is you already know you have a few things in common. It’s a great place to step outside your comfort zone and let loose a little. So, kick back and enjoy the music.  

Have you been to Night in the Country before? If so, leave me a comment with your best tip for the first-timers! See you in July 2020!  

Until next time… 



Pyramid Lake

Located about 45 minutes northeast of Reno is Pyramid Lake. This lake is on tribal land and it the terminus point of the Truckee River which starts in Lake Tahoe. The drive out there is desolate and barren, that is until you reach the top of a hill and get a catch of the turquoise lake – she really is a desert oasis. Whether you are a Northern Nevada local, or visiting the area, if times allows, make the trip out to Pyramid Lake. And I’ve created this guide for you so you know what to expect and tips to ensure you have the greatest time.

Don’t Forget Your Permit

Like I said, Pyramid Lake is on tribal land, and they have instituted a permit system. Not only do you need a permit for day use or to camp, but you would need separate permits if you want to launch a watercraft, fireworks or fish. Also, a regular state fishing license is not required at Pyramid, just the permit. Fireworks are usually purchased in nearby Nixon around. The 4th of July, but you will see people launching them all summer. The easiest place to acquire a permit is online, but you can also pick one up at the Visitor Center in Sutcliffe or at Crosby’s Lodge.

Home the Lahontan Trout

In the summer time Pyramid is known for boating, camping, your usual summer shenanigans. The rest of the time the lake is known for its world class fishing. Stop by Crosby’s Lodge and see pictures of the trophies people have pulled out of the lake. I also recommend stopping by the Reno Fly Shop. Talk to an expert and get tips on bait, and they might even recommend a few beaches to you. Speaking of beaches.

Where to Go

Visitors are only allowed on the west side of the lake, and check this lake out on a map because it is gigantic. They do have some designated beaches with pavement for cars and trailers, but the beauty of Pyramid is the ability to pick a dirt road and choose your own beach. Besides the pavement areas there are no designated campsites. While 4-wheel drive isn’t required, it is recommended. If you stay up top or on the hard packed dirt road, you’ll be okay. It’s when you want to bring your car right on the beach that it starts to get a little soft. Interesting fact – AAA cannot come out to the reservation. So if you get stuck you’ll have to call the tribal tow service.

The Natural Elements

Pyramid Lake is in the middle of the desert. There is no sugarcoating that. And the services are extremely limited. If you’re lucky, you’ll pick a beach that has a porta-potty. So prepare yourself for hash elements. Bring lots of shade to protect yourself from the sun, and bring heavy duty stakes for the ferocious winds. I have been going out the Pyramid for almost 10 years now, and we always experience some kind of wind. It usually takes place around sunset, but this last year the mornings were windy and the afternoons calm. The desert is also known for unexpected rain storms. If you are in a trailer or coming out for the day you won’t have a problem, but my friends and I go out there in tents, and we have to prepare for everything. The wind can be destructive. Also, if you don’t have a trailer, prepare yourself in case you have to go to the bathroom. You might have picked a location that doesn’t have a porta-potty, so you and your group of friends can designate a couple of bushes away from camp. There are no water services, so make sure you bring enough water, food and supply for the time you’ll be there.

Have Fun

This is the most important. Yes, the desert can be a little harsh sometimes, but that’s part of the adventure. Enjoy the lake, enjoy the warm sunshine and enjoy being with friends and family. My friends and I started a tradition of going out to Pyramid every July, and it’s been going on for about nine years now. It started with maybe a group of 8. We brought a keg, but forgot the tub to keep it on ice and had to dig a hole, lay tarp and put the ice on the tarp, then bury the keg. We also forgot a shade tent and had to string a tarp between two cars. We were 21. And now nine years later we’ve had as many as 25 people join us and have constructed a water slide the last 6 or so years (and that has seen significant improvement over the years too). It’s just been a lot of fun hanging out in the desert with your friends. Just check out my video and see for youself! 

Have you been out to Pyramid Lake before? What was your experience like? Tell me in the comments below.

Until next time…