Got up early and drove to Reno, Nevada. Was going to stay with a couchsurfer Zach who just came from a Burning Man experience.
I drove to Zach’s dad’s place residence – since that was where I was going to be staying. Since it was early in the morning I decided to go find a Starbucks and blog. However as I pulled over to the side to check my phone and find a location I had a man come over to me from across the street and look at my license plate and then walk away. When I observed this I asked him if I was in his way and he replied I know who you are and I have your tags. I replied I am just looking for a coffee shop in the area. Do you know of any in the area? The response I got was “Look around man, there are no fucking coffee shops here. I have your license plate, and you shouldn’t come around here at night.” 
I decided it would be best just to leave. What a great welcoming to Reno.
I got to Starbucks and caught up on some blogs.

I headed to Zach’s new home that he was fixing up and met another couchsurfer helping out on his new home.

Later I met Zach and another couchsurfer from France, Constance and we both headed out to pick up a couch he is going to buy. Along the drive Zach called me to ask if I had $350.00 he could borrow. I just met the guy 1 hour ago – although I am staying with him at his home. Talk about being out of your comfort zone. So after getting multiple reassurances from him, we pulled over to an ATM and I withdrew and gave him the money.

Moments later we loaded up.

And headed back to his home and Zach kept his word and gave me my money immediately. Whew (a big one).

We then headed to his dad’s house where the rest of the couchsurfers were. There was about 7 of them. And the two Australian’s were making dinner: Thai food. YESSSS!

Zach, his dad and sister were awesome. Very open and accepting family allowing total strangers in their home. We need more people like them in the world.

A wooden hand carved bowl.

Constance getting some dinner. God that looks delicious.

And all of us enjoying a wonderfully cooked Thai dinner outside.

Later in the evening the Dutch couchsurfing guests get back in and we all enjoy some ice cream together.

Constance decides to make some origami out of my business card: finally my card served a purpose.

One of the magnet signs on their fridge. Just amazing!

Reflections:
My first moments in Reno after I met that unfriendly stranger were awful. I hesitate to judge that he was a racist although the thought did come up. At the end of the day I am responsible for my own outlook on life and I cannot let people like that suck or affect my energy; valuable lessons learned from the Camino.

However after meeting Zach and his dad my first day in Reno experience was completely changed and very positive. Zach definitely tested my comfort zone and my insecurities with trusting others with my money. But in the end I learned to be okay with being uncomfortable for a few minutes and Zach was completely true to his word. Both him and his dad are just awesome, outgoing and positive people. Day 1 with all the couchsurfers: French, Dutch and Australian was a great experience.

Expenses: $2.97
Coffee: $2.97