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Coyote Nose V2:#02:09.20.04

September 20th, and there's snow in them there hills! Just yesterday while we were enjoying a richly deserved sunday off shooting pool at the Black Rock Saloon, the whole valley got hit with the very rare thunder and lightning snow shower. We all piled on to the porch and watched as nearby mountains disappeared into a windy white swirl, and right on cue, one of the locals rolled into town with about an inch of snow on his truck! It was then that I decided it was a bad day to be wearing flip flops.

It's amazing how fast the winds of winter can blow change into everything. The whole summer season has been on the cool side in general anyway, and it really was over night that temperatures dipped into freezing. This morning when I was backing my truck out to get to the playa for the first day of line sweeps, my eye happened to light upon a sorry, cruddy twisted up tube of sunblock in the bed of the truck. Sporting about four jacket layers and a fluff hat while clutching at the puny warmth of a coffee cup with chattering knuckles, that tube of sunblock seemed like it was from some far forgotten history and from a different planet all together.
(Wasn't it not too long ago when that we were bounding about the playa wearing very little and wishing we had ice bags for pillows?! )
It's not surprising that many of the crew members are coupling up now, ya know. Love the one your with!

Yes, today was the first day of line sweeps, (walking along the entire Black Rock City site picking up litter), and we were met instantly with a sharp slant of freezing rain and high winds that were chilling down to the low thirty's. Sun burns were turning into wind burns, and the clouds of dust raged on. This stellar Viking crew of desert rats, had already gotten rid of every stick and rebar hunk of Black Rock City, and were now faced with a very littered up playa. We only have two weeks to clean this, and it's painfully clear that the city is sixteen big blocks bigger. The other day while pulling down the last of the perimeter fence, the dust white out got so bad, that no one could see from one fence post to the next. So I'm telling you all with a serious tear in my eye that these kids just knuckle down, set there jaws into the wind, and shout there common battle cry. " Get 'er done!!" What a tough hearty bunch of wrought iron unsung heros!

Trailer Trash -

For those just checking in, complicated politics that swirl around our 200 acre work ranch 12 miles north of Black Rock City have left us with no options for housing a DPW crew of about sixty plus but to hole up in Bruno's trailer park on the back side of the town. The idea of having the DPW living and breathing in Gerlach had given us some somewhat snarky pre-season jitters and It was impossible for anyone to imagine how it might play out. But as we start scraping along the bottom end of the whole '04 BRC project with only about two weeks of line sweeps until the final BLM inspection, we've found it to be somewhat doable. But I will always miss the wide open spaces of ranch life, and will never stop yearning for the day when we can return there to live our summers.

Then there are those who have taken to the trailer park life quite naturally. Mr. Mayfield, the trailer park Mgr. was having life flashing moments when he realized that he had a wife that was barefoot and pregnant, and was operating a trailer park in a town with the population of less than 300. Here comes the Tuna Helper and and the Pabst Blue Ribbon.

(Cowboy Carl has just informed me that Hamburger Helper is a better trailer trash item than Tuna Helper because you can use it with possum - Who knew?!)

On a side note: DPW hottie and super dynamo, Mushia came shuffling out of her trailer at the 6:30 am morning bell with a face full of sleep and wearing the perfect trailer trash mom bathrobe right on down to the blown out arm pit and coffee stains. Somebody made a mention of this, and she swung around sporting a perfect southern accent saying, "I have lived in a trailer park previously you know!" Then with a nose to the air, she spun on her heal with a hair fling, and proceeded to step into a porta potty slamming the door. Integrity certainly comes from within.

Here's a good one -

A while ago, I was doing a Reno run, and every chance I get, I have breakfast at Peg's Glorified Ham and Eggs. Highly recommended! Something to do with a honey butter banana glaze on an enormous ham steak. Anyway, I always choose to sit at the counter and to my glee, I got to watch a very busy waitress change the cartridge on a whip cream dispenser. More affectionately known to many of us as a "cracker". She hurriedly set the oh so familiar box of whippets right there in front of me as she popped out the old one and screwed in the new one. I seriously had to resist making a grab for them! Then when I heard the gas hiss into the container, I could only think, what a waste! I do think it was the first time I saw a whippet used for what it was intended for. And what's more, I'll bet that cartridge lasted for days! What a concept. Are there too many hippies in my life?

On a somber note:
A dark cloud and the appropriate stormy weather hung over our heads yesterday as we received the news that America's grim highways had claimed another beautiful soul. One of our own sturdy and powerful desert flowers has been plucked from our world by a tragic traffic mishap outside of Hawthorn Navada on Highway 95 heading into Las Vegas. Hugely strong, beautiful and confident, we all had the pleasure of watching her grow and build into the young super woman that she truly was. She was a natural that took to any of the very complicated jobs of building and striking the center camp cafe like a trapeze master. She never lost focus.
She never stopped working.
It all happened so damn fast.
By having someone so seemingly impervious and unfathomable be torn from us in just a matter of moments is like having the brunt of an earthquake crack your foundations and make you feel helpless and vulnerable in this craggy old world. I walk with an unsettled step today.
We all wasted no time in telling each other how much we loved each other on this day as well.
The authority of death reminds us all of the value of life.
We will all miss you terribly, Stevie -

Coyote Nose