I got back to the Bay Area on Monday night, 3440 miles and 10 days after leaving Chicago. I forgot to check the odometer on the Ryomobile when we left the Bay Area in April so I don’t know the total mileage of this entire trip across the country, but I think it comes out to about 9000 miles. The route I took from Chicago is approximated in the Google Map embedded above, and as you can see, I took the “scenic” route. The return trip was, in many ways, more enjoyable than the trip to Chicago. Unlike in April, the weather was much warmer, and I was able to camp every single night, except for that one night in Salt Lake City that I spent in my car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. I also stayed off the interstate highways for the vast majority of the trip, spending most of the time on nice two-lane roads where I often had the entire road all to myself for as far as the eye could see. And nothing beats the complete freedom of traveling alone; of being able to stop when and where I wanted, or to push on as long as I wanted, to see what I wanted to see. I saw quite a bit of history, that gave me much to ponder. I was surrounded by gorgeous scenery pretty much the entire way, and there was just enough variation that it never got old. Every single day, as the sun gradually sank towards the western horizon ahead of me, I would look at the scenery around me being lit in that magical glow, and think to myself with a grin on my face, “man, this is awesome.”
On my way through California, I made a slight detour to my land to drop off some supplies, and explore a bit more. I tried driving the Ryomobile into the back of my property using a dirt road that cuts through some neighboring land, and found the path to be too rough for my little city car. I tried inching along, clearing big boulders away by hand and shoveling in dips, but after my car nearly got stuck in the soft dirt, retreated back to the paved road. Unfortunately, this throws a pretty big monkey wrench into my plans. I definitely want to set up camp in the back of my property, where it’s farther from the paved road, has better scenery, is closer to places where I can shoot, and is also closer to a new source of water I discovered. But I’ll have to find some way to get my 600+ pounds of supplies from the paved road to my property. I’m debating between buying a cargo trailer and towing it on to my property with a rental truck, or leaving my car near the road and hauling my supplies to my camp by myself.
On a more positive note, though, I was able to verify a spring or pond about 200 yards west of my property, on Government land. It’s just a little pool of mirky greenish liquids, but teeming with signs of life, both visible, and invisible. It is almost certainly a cesspool of nasty bacteria that could probably kill me, though with proper treatment, I may be able to draw drinkable water from there. At the very least, the water should be good enough for irrigation, and with some sanitation, maybe even bathing.
After discovering that I still had more logistical issues to work out, and after hearing about my friends preparing for Burning Man, I had a change of heart and decided to go to Burning Man next week instead of going straight to my land. After all, I’d prepared to go live in the middle of nowhere for an extended period of time, which means I’m definitely prepared for a week in Black Rock City. In fact, planning for Burning Man is, in some ways, easier than what I’ve been planning, because it only lasts a week, and I don’t have to think about shooting (so I can leave my guns and shooting supplies behind), or making improvements (so I can leave some of my tools behind).
That’s not to say that the last couple of days have been easy… I have a pile of stuff to pick up in Sunnyvale, but my car was packed full of stuff from my trip back from Chicago (which included, for instance, my miter saw that I took with me for Scav Hunt), but my storage unit is completely full as well. It’s hard to shuffle things around when you don’t have any buffer space. I started tackling this problem by picking up my roof rack, then driving to the East Bay to buy a used cargo basket. Today, I moved some of my stuff into the basket, threw some stuff in my car into my storage unit, and built a cot to be installed in my car. Now that I’m done with construction, I can put my miter saw away, which further frees up space in my car. It’s like those brain teasers you sometimes get in job interviews, but doing it in real life requires a lot of work, as it turns out.
In any case, hopefully tomorrow, I can pick up all my stuff, pack my car, and head out of town. I’m not sure where I’m going yet. I might go to my land, or maybe camp somewhere for a couple of days until Sunday, then head to Nevada (again). After Burning Man, I have about a week and a half to kill before my parents are coming to visit. I’m planing on spending a week-ish with them, then I might finally be able to head to my land for real (although I might head up there for the week and a half between Burning Man and parents too). In any case, the adventures continue…