Well, here I am in a hotel room in downtown Reno, Nevada, the time on the clock too weird and distressing to mention. But I wanted to get this post out the door (or onto the Internet, to be more precise) while my chosen title was still valid, or at least approximately valid, because it’s now in the wee small hours of Saturday, August 27th.
As the savvy traveler knows, the casinos often offer perfectly nice hotel rooms at loss-leader prices, with the expectation that you’ll drop your quarters—and plenty of them—in the slots that they force you to pass en route to the elevator. I’m pleased to report that they’re making no profit off of me.
The day began at the Hotel Aura of Millbrae, California, just uphill from San Francisco International Airport. I talked myself into one last meeting for my company, which I took in the front seat of the Toyota Tacoma rental truck. As I explained on the call, the truck was the only quiet place I could find. Which was a true statement. Did I mention I’m traveling with my wife, son the teenager, and son the five-year-old?
The evening previous, looking out the window of our room, my wife notices a dryer (as in the dryer of a washer-dryer) in the back yard of the dinky apartment building across the alley. She convinces me to knock on the door, which I do the following morning. The caretaker is Hispanic and speaks no English, but after phoning a friend and with a little help from the language-skilled teenage son of mine, he communicates the intelligence that the dryer is “garbage”—meaning it is absolutely perfect for my needs. Maxwell and I load it into the truck, no fuss, no charge.
I feel great!
By 9:00 AM, the truck is loaded with one dryer plus all of our luggage, an amount that counts to twelve (that’s 12 in numeric form, or 1.2 x 10^1 in scientific notation) suitcases and duffel bags of various shapes and sizes. Half of them contain our clothes, the other half hold the hardware, blinky lights, and other needs of my art project.
Soon my family and I are hightailing it east, over and across the bay, through downtown Hayward and scenic Crow Canyon, all the way to Danville, CA, where we pick up the bike trailer.
Next stop Harbor Freight Tools of Pleasant Hill, followed by a Target, then terrible traffic on I-80 interrupted by a fun stop for grapes and pistachios. We hit the lumber yard about 45 minutes before closing, and I buy my 9 posts, each 4 x 4 x 10 feet, plus a tenth 2 by 4 for good measure. Druh insists on loading them and tying them up in the most safe and efficient manner possible.
We’re getting full up.
Then comes a Goodwill store that appears out of nowhere, where we spend $160 on bags and bags of fascinatingly tacky clothing and shoes and hats and heaven knows what else, and at 7:30 PM we hit the road for Reno. The Sun sets, the freeway is crowded with fast-moving cars and slow-moving trucks, and I’m at the wheel and exhausted and entrusted with my precious family and a cargo of luggage and unusual purchases, including lumber that extends itself 5 feet beyond the open tailgate, a makeshift red flag on its end. This nighttime drive across the Sierra Mountains and Donner Pass is a LOT scarier than the Halloween supply store that the five-year-old and I had visited earlier, and which had scared the willies out of him, so it does feel like a good accomplishment to make it into town with life, limb, and property all intact and in working order.
Tomorrow we get the bicycles (don’t ask me how we’ll fit them in the truck) and lots of groceries (ditto) and then hightail it to the Burning Man festival.
It is not easy to travel to the Burning Man festival.
You could call it a logistic nightmare, and an expensive one, too. But no nightmares, really, not yet, and none expected. We’ll be fine. I’m looking forward to installing the art project. It’s not everyone who brings a garbage dryer to Burning Man. We’ll have a good time.