I bet you think this post starts in the morning with me complaining further about this godforsaken campsite! Well, you’re wrong. It starts at 4:15 AM with me complaining about this godforsaken campsite. Though I guess this part really wasn’t their fault.
I went to bed early, prepared for a nice long snooze, and was awoken at 4:15 AM by the wind whipping my tent sideways as rain came down like tiny bullets. Fortunately (still), my tent is quite waterproof and very wind-resistant. But remember, I was camped in the middle of a field with no shelter in any direction… describing the noise as “loud” is like describing Jane’s exhaust sound as “mild”. Pretty impossible to sleep when the tent keeps whipping around, so I just picked my book back up and read for however long it took for the storm to calm. Then it was back to bed with me!
Near as I can tell it rained steadily all night, because when I woke up the entire campground was a massive muddy mess. Good thing I put my tent on the patch of grass! At least I did that one thing right. Jane had, of course, protected all of my stuff so it was quite dry. But it was still covered in mud because the rain had hit the ground so hard that it slung little bits of mud up and onto everything. Ugh. Useless!
I scrapped making my own breakfast and went inside their café to make someone else cook me something. I tracked mud everywhere and almost felt bad about it, but I was pretty grumpy at that point. I’m pretty sure I had part of a thornbush stuck to my leg. I did my best to be pleasant, and I think they felt bad for me because they were super quick on the service and they let me linger over three cups of tea while I charged up my phone. Their pancakes and hashbrowns were pretty awesome too.
I headed back to camp and started putting things up, somewhat appeased and thankful that at least it wasn’t raining anymore. So it started raining again. Hard.
Thoroughly ruffled, I ended up loading my gear and an extra few gallons of rainwater into Jane. I was soaked and bedraggled and my shoes were so muddy that I had to drive barefoot. I had a five hour drive home through an endless rainstorm with a vintage car, and I had to do the whole thing wet and tired and cranky.
And yet as soon as I got onto the asphalt, everything seemed to melt away. As always it was just me and Jane. The windshield wipers beat steadily as the motor – always reliable to a fault, even while suffering from undiagnosed issues – hauled us tirelessly down the blacktop towards the horizon. The exhaust hummed happily in countermeasure to the howling wind, and the radio dribbled out some appropriately laid-back tunes that I could almost hear. I forgot that I was wet, and nevermind the fact that I was getting wetter because I had the window cranked down and my arm hung out into the storm. I forgot that anything had been bothering me. I forgot that I might be cold, or tired, or achey, or anything else. None of that matters once you’re in the driver’s seat of a vintage Mustang. Sometimes I think that I could probably break all four limbs and still feel completely fine once behind the steering wheel.
Cruising down the highway in that car is like hopping in an exceptionally well-designed time machine. Not the kind that takes you back into the past – though it should, since the whole car still retains a very 60’s feel – but the kind that takes you into the future while showing you the amazing sights along the way. You kind of pop in and out of awareness based on the beauty of your surroundings. If there’s something to see, you’ll notice it. But if there’s nothing to see you just sit back and keep going on and on and on and then somehow, some way, you’ve arrived at your destination. It’s always a bit surprising when you get there.
I’ve found out from experience that I need to set the GPS before I get on the road. Jane’s time machine effect sometimes really gets a hold of me and if I don’t have a GPS telling me where I’m supposed to go, I’ll just keep following the road until it ends or I get low on gas. I’ve ended up a hundred miles out of my way before. I just get really into a zenned out frame of mind and just… go.
One day, I’d like to take a road trip where I don’t have a destination in mind. I really think I would end up in some amazing places. But for now I’ve got a time frame, so I do my best to stick to it so I can see what I think seems the most interesting.
And so this trip has quietly drawn to a conclusion, ending with me pulling into my driveway in Austin sopping wet, thoroughly disheveled, and once again all in one piece mostly due to the help of friends and my fifty-year-old car’s seeming inability to quit. I’ve had a blast this trip but now I’m ready for some quality R&R. Jane is now hanging out in the garage taking a much-needed rest of her own, waiting for me to get off my butt to clean her up. Hopefully I’ll figure out what all the smoking is about too sometime soon. I’m sure it’ll be ridiculous, whatever it is. And that’s cool with me.
Until next time… Kelly signing off.
** Addendum: I will try to post a few other updates in the near future as pictures from other people trickle in to me - so keep an eye out for a bunch more awesome Reno pictures when I get my hands on them! **