Blog Archive

Monday, August 25, 2014

Burning Man Is Closed

WHAT?!? That is what the local sheriff at the corner said. A huge rainstorm flooded the playa (which means: dry lake bed) making it impassable and bringing the festival to a wet halt. I was lucky- on this end of town I was sent back to Fernley. Those on the other side (literally the other side of the street) were being sent back to Reno. The plan? Camp at the local Walmart with a couple hundred others for 20 hours or so until the playa dries out. Bonus: we get to watch the locals circle us in their cars and take photos of 'the wierdo's'. Really. What fun can be had watching the yoga group, listening to the drum circle, checking out the group playing 'pass the bottle', and debating on whether the T@B is a real camper or an art installation of some kind? Bbq cookers are going and some guys are playing a form of Star Trek cornhole with bloody tribbles as sand bags. All this and more happening at the local Walmart free for your evenings entertainment. I wonder what the folks are doing that got stuck on the Piute tribal lands... Here are a couple of shots out the T@B portholes. Did I mention that it rained for an hour here too?

Calm before the storm

A long day and a half with an overnight at the laundry & shower friendly KOA in Salt Lake City and I'm finally in Winnemucca, NV doing the last of the packing and preparing for Burning Man. I'm not real thrilled with their opening the gates 14 hours before the event begins but I guess I'll camp where I can. Word is that WAY too many people were let in to set up 'their art'. The gal who runs the RV park in Winnemucca is an EMT and set up the med center on the playa 2 (yep 2) weeks ago for the thousands already there. Hmmmm. No great photos so here are a couple oddities from this trip.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A rainy day

Up early to beat the ranger and get to my favorite mountain destination, I am greeted by a steady, light rain. Only briefly deterred, I don the appropriate gear and head for Maroon Bells Wilderness. Crap! There is a ranger in the kiosk. It used to be that if you got there before the rangers did at 8AM you could get in free. After 8 they sent you back and you had to take the hybrid bus up for $10. A cheereful ranger says that I can indeed drive up for $10 or for free if I have a National Parks 'Senior Pass'. I mumble that I'm 3 months shy and reach for my wallet. She says "Close enough. I'll take your $10 for the pass (they cost $10 and last for life!) and give it to you early!!" Whoo oo ooo! Made my day! The hike in the rain was glorious an I hung out with all manner of nice folks and critters including marmots, beavers and an awesome mountain goat. I have been here many times and never seen a mountain goat. The rain came & went and the sun made a few vain efforts but nothing could diminish the grandeur of this place. Later I hit downtown Aspen, ostentatious capitol of America for some new batteries and veggies. Witnessing a flurry of activity as a insanely well-dressed and expensively shaped woman (things like that don't happen in nature) is ushered to her limo by the gushing employees at the local 'Prada of Milano' I beat a retreat back to the T@B among the aspens, pines, chipmunks and bear warning signs. I'll prep for the long ride (through rain?) To Salt Lake City's finest KOA where a shower and laundry await. This KOA is a regular hygene stop on my travels west and it is usually 98 degrees or so. Tomorrow the high is to be 72. Might have to skip the swim.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Aspen, Colorado

Not being able to reserve my favorite camp site outside town I found another just east of town. It is typical alpine camping complete with bear boxes and warnings stapled to every non-organic surface. A hike, fire, small steak and prep for a hike tomorrow round out the day that started Walmart Wonderland.

Kansas to Colorado

After finding out that every quick lube business in Salina, Kansas had gone out of business I hit the road thinking 'ah well, highway miles don't count as much anyway.' After a stiff wind produced dismal mileage I began to think that the air filter was messed up too. Further discovering that no quick lube place in Aurora, Co. would do the job without dropping the T@B off first I returned, in rush hour traffic, to the Walmart chosen for a big parking area for overnighters. Upon arrival, a sign claiming 'voted best oil change value in Colorado' was hanging outside the auto service area. They got me right in and even diagnosed a wonky air filter- which they were out of. A quick negotiation of the brand new streets in that area got me to O'Reily's auto parts and a new filter. Back to the WM which I discover is a monument of sorts to recycling. The base layer of this WM (which is one of their biggest- at least 6 times the size of the bigger ones at home) was made from the old main runway at the old Stapleton Airport in Denver. Everything inside was made of recycled stuff. Pretty impressive. Rest assured- this also meant that there were 6 times the number of the 'people of WM' in all their glory. After a rainy nights sleep, at 6:30AM I found a spot at one of the 40 gas pumps at this full service WM but no place for gas or breakfast. The last of the tea from a rest stop yesterday and some BelVita biscuits and I made it through Denver and the Eisenhower tunnel by mid-morning and a toast and java rest stop. The mileage was excellent in the mountains!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's back!

On the road west again. Spent a fine night among the diesels boondocking at a Walmart in Salina, Kansas. Now after a McBreakfast and some McCoffee (a coffee-like drink with a polyurethane finish) I'll be off to Jiffy Lube for and oil change. Hope it stays under 100 again today. It's official: all the summer heat is in Kansas. My, how it's grown!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I-80 Express

Two days later finds me camped at chez Walmart in Kearney, Nebraska. This is my second free night at a WM.

What the environs lack is made up by the cost, convenience, good lighting and proximity to the highway and anything else one might need.

Yesterday I camped in the Rock Springs, Wyoming WM within walking distance of good Mexican food for supper. After a good nights sleep I was packed, gassed up, had breakfast and got an oil change all before 8:15AM!!!

Both days have been good for driving except the late afternoon temps in the upper 90's today kept me watching the truck temps pretty closely.

I have @650 miles to go but think I'll split them up into a medium and a short day by comparison to the last 48 hours.