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Friday, September 5
Day 16 - 1am (next morning)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

And the journey ends. Got up slightly later this morning for the final day of the journey. Headed into downtown Chicago for lunch at Pizzeria Uno (original location). Got to sit inside this time - it wasn't crowded at all like it was in the evening two weeks ago when we ate there. This time I got the simple pepperoni pizza - tried and true, no room for screw-ups. I have to say, the pizza, while delicious, isn't any better than I've had at other Uno's locations. On the other hand, the cheesy minestrone soup they served was quite remarkable. I'm not even much of a soup person, but this soup was damn good. I may have enjoyed it more than the pizza. Irony...

Driving trip wasn't so bad. Rained a bit more. Getting into the more densely populated east, we had to pay a lot of tolls. In fact, the tolls almost nickel-and-dimed us into poverty. We completely exhausted our cash/change funds and almost didn't have enough for that last fine toll, until I dipped into the dollar coins I was saving that I got from a machine earlier in the trip (ticket machine at parking garage in Chicago the first time, maybe?). And then, unloading the car tonight, I found another roll of quarters that had gotten away from us...

One thing I'll say traveling east from the west/midlands of the US, as amazing as those landscapes are (big skies, rocky mountains, desert wastelands, etc.), I've gained a new appreciation for the local landscape - specifically, the trees. I take them for granted, even in spite of the approach of the concrete jungle. It's remarkable how little of the country (that I saw, at least) is forested. I mean, Rock Springs, Wyoming is literally nothing but rock. It certainly feels good coming back to my hometown. You really can't appreciate a place as much until you leave it for awhile. But the excitement of being away, and the comfort of coming back, it's something I wish I could do more often. It just gets so boring staying in one place for years on end without so much as a vacation, or some sort of change of scenery.

It's late, I'm exhausted (I've been driving all day), and I gotta get up tomorrow to take the car back (to the rental place, not to Nevada...), so it's time for some rest. Home bed at last. Burning Man is over. Maybe I'll have some kind of overall summary in the future, after I get settled, and gain a little perspective. For now, this is the end. Burn on, man.

Burn on