September 2007


We’ve adopted two four-month-old cats from the humane society.

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I drove 6835 miles. The majority of miles were driven in seven days. If the mileage was divided equally among the days I was gone, it would amount to 455 miles a day. Of the days, though, three driving days were quite short and five days I did no driving at all.

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Note that this is somewhat inexact; I did not leave home with a full tank nor did I return with an empty tank.  I did leave and return with similar fuel levels.

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BM virgins are welcomed to the city.

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After arriving and setting up camp on Monday evening, I left Black Rock City early Tuesday morning to go back to Reno. I had the 5000 mile service done on my truck (conveniently emptied of cargo) and ran a few more errands, being slightly inconvenienced by some closed roads; the President of the United States had decided to visit Reno on this particular day. I found a county campground and had a shower, arriving at the Reno airport with just a few minutes before RabidKitten’s arrival.

RabidKitten had no checked bags so we went out to the truck and made our way to the parking exit. The Reno airport has a parking arrangement where you take your ticket to a kiosk in the parking lot and pay the ticket; you then put the ticket in a slot at the exit gate and the gate lets you out. We were trapped right inside the exit gate for about twenty minutes while the President of the United States made his way onto the airfield. The ticket value had increased by the time we were allowed out of the airport which had the potential to be annoying; I called the attendent and outright refused to pay the difference and they finally agreed and let me out for the amount paid.

We went grocery shopping and bought, among other things, 40 gallons of water. Then we drove to Fernley and up towards Black Rock City.

On the way, Rabid suggested that we stop for a bit to get out and look around. At an intersection in the middle of nowhere, we drove off down a desolate road towards some cove on Pyramid Lake. After about three and a half miles, the gravel road started getting sandy and then turned into sand. At first the sand was packed but it quickly became soft. Before I knew it, I was bogged down in sand, more than three miles off the road in the middle of nowhere.

I tried to gun and rock the truck out; I succeeded only in getting the rear wheels buried to the hubs.

Rabid went off to pick up litter along the beach while I puttered. I was not willing to face the hassle of hiking back to the road, getting to a town, and finding someone to somehow drag out the truck.

Inconveniently, I had removed a shovel from the truck that very morning. I was happy to have some tools and a drill; I removed the plywood side panels and got to work digging out the tires with my hands and a few bits of scrap wood that Rabid found on the beach. After about an hour’s digging and several attempts I managed to back the truck out of the hole onto the side panels. By replacing the side panels in front of the tire in the direction of travel, we were able to get the truck to where the four-wheel-drive was able to gain enough traction to move without the boards.

We were relieved. We went for a walk on the beach before heading on to Black Rock City.

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These pictures were taken towards the end of the process and show the tires dug out. I was not able to overcome my horror enough to take pictures earlier on.

I got a late start even though I left right on time.

Well, actually, I left thirty minutes behind schedule, the first time. I got as far as Bennington, seventy miles, and decided the truck was overloaded. I drove home and spent the next few hours winnowing and repacking. I was able to eliminate the generator and the four 4’x4’x3/4″ sound baffles.

I got back on the road about 18 hours behind schedule.

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This is the truck after it was repacked.

I drove almost straight through to St. Louis; 1140 miles in about 22 hours including stops. I slept for about two hours in a rest area in Ohio.

At the rest area, I saw the first group that appeared to be traveling to Burning Man.

On Friday afternoon, I arrived at Rozebud’s, about two hours after Peregrin8 and Cyntergomes left. P & C were traveling from Washington, D. C.; we had planned to meet in St. Louis and caravan the rest of the way after a night with Rozebud and Mike. I spent the afternoon and evening hanging out with Rozebud; Mike had to work. I got an early start the next morning and drove 1340 miles to someplace in Utah where I met up with P & C. This leg took about 26 hours including stops; I had a 4 hour nap in a rest area in Wyoming.

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Here we are at our meeting.

We caravaned the rest of the way, stopping at a few places to get out and look around.

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Bonneville Salt Flats.

We spent the night in a motel in Winnemucca, Nevada.

On Monday, I got up and drove to Reno. I ran a few errands and then went and picked up Mr. Darkness at the airport. We drove back out to Fernley where we met up with P & C before driving the remaining 90 or so miles to Black Rock City. Traffic on the two lane road was heavy but smooth and we arrived at the city after two hours of driving through the magnificent desert. We queued on the road for quite some distance but the line was quickly absorbed into the city.

I’m back in the world. I’m okay. Dusty, but okay.

I won’t attempt to convey my last week-and-a-half in this post; I will post later (and/or over the next few days). I’m currently in Winnemucca, Nevada, staring down the majority of the journey back east.

In other news, my hiking mug, a nearly ten-year companion on various trips and expeditions has been totally destroyed in some unknown incident. Very sad. Pictures later.