A 473-hour instrument-rated private pilot, alone in a fully fueled Cirrus SR22-G2, took off from Reno, Nevada, early on a Sunday evening in February 2005. The sun had set half an hour earlier; the moon, above a layer of clouds, was a mere sliver. He had filed an IFR flight plan via Truckee and Sacramento with a destination of Oakland, California, 155 nm to the southwest. The cruising altitude was to be 12,000 feet. Reno, where the field elevation is 4,415 feet, was reporting an overcast at 5,500 feet, light winds, and a surface temperature of 6º Celsius with a 7º temperature-dew point spread. The pilot's weather briefing, obtained from an FSS briefer an hour before the flight, put the freezing level at 6,000 feet and reported no precipitation in the area. No pilot reports were available for the route. When he filed his flight plan, the pilot told the briefer that he might request 14,000 once airborne.