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Journal

Some blather about the last couple of days

Added: 28-9-2007

another night, another motel...let's see...left you last time with notes from Delta, a town you never ever want to find yourself trying to hitch out of. after a comfortable Monday night of TV comedy and wheat beer, and a Tuesday morning of big breakfasts and pharmacy resupply shopping (a knee bandage for Mr Toolan) we set ourselves the near impossible task of hitching out of a town most distrustful of men hanging around on the city limits trying to get somewhere else. we were at our spot by 11am - at 3.30pm we were still there and not a single person had fallen for us and our lost looks. normally we get a couple of beeps, some waves - but here nothing. Delta is a solidly Mormon town and, while I cannot say for sure this has anything to do with anything, I do feel able to say that most of the LDS (Latter Day Saints) people we have met have all been extremely nice, if incredibly uninclined to take a gamble on two strangers trying to leave town (oh, I should also mention there are also two escaped convicts in Utah the time of writing).

anyway, in the end we were saved by the younger end of the Mormon church, in the form of good fella Josh, a 18 year-old dude who pulled up about 4pm and offered to take us up to the Nevada border if we could only swing by his home and let his dad know first. Josh was great, and his dad was cool too, as well as his solidly rightwing 16 year old brother. I really wish we had more time to hang out because for almost the first time during our stay in Utah we were able to ask a lot of questions about the LDS church and get some decent answers. very nice people.

so where did that leave us...Tuesday night, camping in freezing conditions just over the Utah/Nevada border, extremely happy to be in charge of our own 3mph destiny once more. we set off early Wednesday morning and got straight on the 50, our friend and tarmac lover for the next 350 miles. Dave is in slow form due to his knee problems but he dutifully followed behind me as we made our way to Majors Station, a place we'd already visited on our hitchhike down to Vegas (see 'Beaver - Las Vegas!' below).

the most notable thing that happened on Wednesday was a meeting with a great dude called Larry who I met first up in the hills we crossed in the morning and then again later in the afternoon in the middle of nowhere on the 50. Larry looked younger than me and was on his second divorce, and he was totally into our walk. so totally that he very kindly provided me with two nicely chilled cans of Miller Lite for the last couple of miles of the day. not having any divorces of my own behind me I was kinda unable to truly empathise with Larry's situation, but I did promise him that I would treat the Miller Lite with the respect it deserved.

at 4pm on Wednesday therefore, you would have seen me walking down Highway 50 in the middle of absolutely nowhere toasting Larry's forthcoming emancipation from the world of ill-advised marriage. you wouldn't have been the only ones either - almost as soon as I'd cracked the can a group of 15 tourists/pilgrims/LDS landowners literally appeared out of nowhere (I kid you not) on the left hand side of the highway, fresh from inspecting something important (I cannot stress how much in the middle of nowhere I was - where do these people come from?). completely surprised, it was all I could to toast them as well, raising my Miller Lite high in a decisive way that can only have made them think that I spend most of my time hiking through America's backroads drinking lite beer. I hurried on, slightly embarassed...

we spent last night at Major's Station, courtesy of the amazing hospitality of Kathy and Don. good chatting once more with Michael Carrick too - Michael, thanks for the donation. not much to report save that this week in America is is NEW TV week, which means that the country goes mad for new programs, only 25% of which will survive the extreme advertising Darwinism that inevitably comes with anything on American television. last night I watched Dirty Sexy Money with Peter Krause in it (formerly of Six Feet Under, surely one of the best TV programs ever) and was...well, I'd have to watch it again. if it doesn't get pulled.

today was all about quick miles (God this journal entry is going on. Dave has gone to the gas station to get a phone card and I'm left here typing, buying more new music (new Broken Social Scene kind of thing! and new Gilles Peterson Digs America thing) and surveying yet another motel room covered in hiking stuff) and we made 'em: 25 miles in 8.5 hours for me, not too bad. we're in Ely, the biggest town on the 50, and all is well. it's been a day of more valleys and hills, and its very apparent that Nevada is going to be a lot of flat, then up over a range and then down the other side (I think we cross 14 mountain ranges) to more flat. nice scenery though, a bit like being on the moon, if the moon had gambling every 70 miles or so.

so that's about it for now. we're off to Eureka next, expecting a big moment, and that's gonna take us about 3.5 days we think. more news then. in the meantime I should just reiterate that we are aiming to get to San Francisco for the first weekend in November, and that we hope to finish the walk itself on Friday the 2nd. we really really hope that people will consider joining us over that weekend for drinks and laughter and fun and stuff, whatever we can drum up, and if anyone is interested please email me at stu@walkingthestates.com and I'll get a small mailing list up with more detailed details regarding our plans. basic outline: we hire a house in the city and have a couple of days of open house with food, drinks, general tomfoolery etc. let's see.

all for now. Spurs 2, Middlesborough 0. here we come, hold on Martin Jol...

StuartHave a comment? Please sign the guestbook

Post-Vegas

Added: 25-9-2007

ah Vegas...all done and dusted now but the memories (what we can remember) live on. a great time, good company and fond memories of, well, swingers clubs and then, on Saturday night, a right proper punk bar off the strip where we got to listen to music played loud and fast with extremely shouty vocals. we saw about six bands, met some nice folk (Dave met an extremely hands-on lady from Sacramento) and even drank the bar's signature drink: ass juice. nice.

that was Saturday night. Sunday saw us recovering extremely slowly, a difficult task in a hotel that was permanently turned up to Manic, and in the evening getting out of town on the greyhound to Parowan, UT. we reached our stop about 11pm only to find no motels in the vicinity. luckily for us there was a kinda lost person sweeper available at the gas station, in the form of a nice fella originally from Afghanistan called Mike, and he dropped us off at the Parowan Days Inn where we pretty much immediately fell into a deep slumber (but not before Dave had watched When Harry Met Sally for the first time).

naturally we overslept this morning and woke up to find the world extremely cold - in the distance there was snow on the mountains. this is not good people, not good at all - we aren't expecting this sort of weather so soon. anyway, it didn't put us off our hitching: by 2pm we were on the road in a good fella called Casey's car - he took us a good 100 miles up the Interstate 15 and told us a fair bit about the Mormon church along the way (we are still playing catchup on our LDS knowledge).

we got dropped off on the 50 about 4pm, ready and willing to hitch the 150-odd miles west back to where we left off near the Nevada-Utah border. two and half very cold later were still there - with about 5 cars having passed. not good, and no manner of comedy hitching signs could change the situation. when we had finally given up (and were ready to spend a freezing night in a tent by the side of a lonely road) we were luckily rescued by the efforts of a State Trooper called Curtis and his mate called Martel - between them we managed to get to the town of Delta, some 100 miles from where we need to be.

so now we are nicely ensconced in a warm cheap motel room, Seinfeld on the TV (later Simpsons, later Family Guy), wheat beer on the go and a feeling that we are doing quite well. more to follow.

StuartHave a comment? Please sign the guestbook

Beaver - Las Vegas!

Added: 23-9-2007

a long one here. it's been a week, and what a week. last journal entry came from the town of Beaver where we had an entirely unsuccesful night out at the Renegade Lounge, the bar that promised much but only delivered a strange woman who insisted on playing us at pool and then refused to say anything to us. we left after two drinks.

after that we hot-tailed it 26 miles across to the rather more pleasant town of Milford where we were taken in and made to feel very at home by good people Mike and Camilla, Kevin and Chalys and Teddy and Lola. home-made burgers, barking dogs, Busch Lite (check the soon-coming pics of the Busch Lite Christmas tree Mike constructed) and a comfortable night's sleep in a small trailer for me.

next morning (last Monday) I got my latest set of medical tests (no results yet) in the morning and we hit the road in the afternoon for one of the most isolated sections of the trip yet - Milford to Baker, 83 miles of absolutely nothing (no offence to the small town of Garrison on the Utah-Nevada border but, hard as it may try, it can only qualify as a town of absolutely nothing. well, absolutely nothing and a limited genepool as a side dish, but that's another story (it was an extremely strange place, the people we met were, er, a little funny looking)). we posted a new WTS career best of 57 miles in two days, and received the giant blisters and knee problems that come with such an acheivement. it was a pretty good experience on the whole though - hardly any traffic, giant wide valleys which took hours to traverse and two days in a row when, as if by magic, cars stopped by us at dusk to deliver soft drinks. the road provides.

we reached the little village of Baker just over the Nevada border on Thursday morning at 8.30am (nb. parents of us - we are now on Pacific time, which means we are 8 hours behind you). Baker was one of those surprising small places with a funky cafe with an interesting menu and great coffee, and some forthright people who we took to straight away. I have a good feeling about Nevada - the people seem to speak their mind (sample from a woman we had spoken to for about a minute: "You went to Burning Man? That's just a load of city people taking drugs, getting naked and f**king. I don't like to see the desert screwed up that way.") and there is a real wild west feel out here. mostly because there is hardly anything out here.

Thursday afternoon we started hitching. and how. for four windswept hours we sat by the side of the Route 50, now officially recognised as the 'Lonliest Highway in America' and our friend for the next 300 miles or so. we could see traffic coming from 20 miles away and none of it stopped. it's funny how when we walk people stop to offer us lifts, and then the moment we actually need one, they drive past at 80mph looking like they think we want to kill them.

anyway, after a very barren spell broken only by the amusement of Dave's hitching signs being blown away on the wind and his desperate limping attempts to run after them (Dave has worn down his 'special' insoles to the extent that he is now suffering a recurrance of an old knee injury - we need to sort this situation quick as it has dire implications for the continuance of our walk if we can't find new supports for the Toolan) we were finally picked up by Linda Davenport and her son Rafe from San Francisco (Ralph? not sure how to spell that but we hope to see you both in a few weeks) and taken some 30 miles to the junction of the 50 and the 93 - our direct line south to Vegas. here we endured another three hours of passing RVs, terrified pensioners and trucks with no room for weekend party people.

dispirited but not totally despondent, we repaired half a mile up the road to the only building withing 25 miles - Majors Place RV park and bar, and we made ourselves busy with the beer they served. we were treated like kings by the manager Kathy and were lucky enough to finally shower (four days without) and do laundry (I think it was about 8 days without. not good). we got a bed for the night, chatted politics with truck driver Michael Carrick (and you lot thought he just played for Manchester United - no! he is in fact the leader of the people who really run America (as he said): the truck drivers) and marvelled at the number of antlers on display in the bar. these people love their hunting.

yesterday morning we were back at the junction desperately performing for lifts. we tried dancing, signs that said 'We're not hippies' and all sorts of lame goofing, but still they would not stop. after an two hours, however, our saviour appeared - Gary from Ely. he stopped, jammed us into his Ford Bronco II (both of us in the front passenger seat for the first 100 miles) and took us south. after about 45 mins of conversation  Gary remarked to himself that he really wasn't doing anything today, and that he would take us all the way to Vegas. sweet.

some 250 miles later and here we are. we got in about 5pm last night after a tour of the Vegas speedway (Gary used to be a drag racer) and have been adjusting to Sin City life ever since. as expected, it's quite a scene. and, as with all good tourists, we came expecting to stay in a cheap motel off the Strip and have instead installed ourselves in the same hotel that Hunter S.Thompson memorably had trouble with the carousel in, as described in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Circus Circus. there is actually a fully fledged circus in here somewhere, I'm not sure if that includes the rather ornery tiger that tried to eat Siegfried or Roy a few years back but Dave and I are on the look out. if there is a sighting, there will be a picture.

so far it has been an obvious trip. we're here with our friend we met in Ohio last year, Ulane from Estonia, and she has sister V in tow as well as friend Mari. last night we first hit Dino's Neighbourhood Bar, a supposedly 'local' bar which was right up our street in that it was dirty, and cheap. they were doing weird kareoke though, so we went down to the south strip and hit a right swanky club that Ulane's friend Mike owned - Asia something I think it was called.

I say think because by the time we got there Vegas was already taking its toll through a variety of cocktails and killer beers. Dave and I have no posh clothes, so we're doing this whole thing in our hiking outfits (hiker chic, a quality look) and we did look kinda outta place in this posh club with girls wearing next to nothing and fellas looking like they had too much money. my running shoes were a real hit. despite our shabby appearance we were treated by Mike to the run of the VIP room and received more cocktails on the house. we failed to see Pamela Anderson (rumour was that she was there, but all I saw was any number of generic pneumatic blondes siliconised to look the same) but did rule the dancefloor for a short period of time before we all realised the DJ was awful. the evening ended quite spectaculary - Dave running out of the club at 3.30am with a look of fear on his face shouting at me 'Stu! We've got to get out of here - they're all swingers!' (it is true that the VIP room seemed to have more than its fair share of couples who kept chatting up Dave in ways not found at, for example, the Renegade Lounge or the Majors Place RV park and bar), Ulane's sister V disappearing somewhere (we still not know where she is) and me waking up in an entirely different hotel to the one I checked into earlier in the day.

viva Las Vegas.

in light of all this, I therefore predict that this evening we shall do more of the same, only with more Elvis impersonators, rollercoasters and faux everything. the strip is incredible, faux people in faux buildings and shows and lights and neon and Everything Is A Little Too Much. I like it way more than I expected to.

anyway, all for now. there are plenty of slot machines in this town that need playing (mostly by people who look really desperate) and I'm off out to try and find a Bar X, the only one I know how to play because there used to be loads of them in the Herne Bay seafront arcades...


StuartHave a comment? Please sign the guestbook

Circleville to Beaver

Added: 16-9-2007

whoa. we have done admin. we now have (only) 991 miles to go, according to ADT estimates (it should be less than that, I hope so or else we ain't gonna make it to San Francisco in time for our own party) and we're well up for it. we're almost across Utah, as you can see on the recently updated Route page - only a hundred and twenty odd miles to go and we're looking at the state line. between us and there is Milford and the superbly named Wah Wah ranch (it's where old effects pedals go to die) and, er, not much else. in fact, we have a 97 mile stretch of nothing between Milford and the next place in Nevada. wish us luck.

Dave has also been busy putting up loads of pics of Burning Man and Utah into the Gallery, and I believe he will be captioning them the moment he wakes up from his motel room slumber on the bed behind me. yes, we are in motel world again, this time in the town of Beaver, Utah, about 30 miles west of our last resting place, Circleville.

we left Circleville yesterday morning after an extended map session with the natives in Butch Cassidy's Hideout, the local cafe. we were looking for a route to Beaver that would mean we didn't have to destroy any more of our feet going over 10,000 feet mountains and the locals were very obliging (they were also more than forthcoming with tales of 150 tagged bears to be found along our route, tons of mountain lions and the odd warlock or two hiding out in the bush). about 11am we left town, heading south then west then northwest to circumvent the mountain.

it was a pleasant day, foot injuries aside. today is the start of elk hunting season so all day yesterday we were passed by men in ATVs and trucks wearing combat fatigues, happy preparing hunters all of them, all ready to 'respect' the local elk and then see if they could bring home their heads for the wall (nb. I don't mean to disrepect the local hunters, it's just that the whole respect-destruction thing sometimes just doesn't work for me. I suppose it would be different if the elk were rampaging through towns (and who knows, I don't live here, perhaps they are) and picking on the local ladies but there you go. anyway, all the hunters we met were very nice and some even gave us much needed water.

we spent last night back on the Liptons/Knorr packet pasta, camped somewhere between Circleville and Beaver. we left ourselves 15 miles to town which we completed this morning in extremely high winds - something tells me we are going to get buffetted into non-existence while walking the next 400 miles west across extremely isolated parts of Utah and Nevada. saying that, we're almost out of Utah now and boy am I ready to leave. no offence meant to the Utans but I need to feel I am getting somewhere and only a state line will do that for me.

so anyway, right now we are in Beaver in a nice little motel just kicking back. there's a decent Internet connection which means new music (Go! Team, Richard Hawley, Bat for Lashes, Elektrons, lots of podcasts) and emails, and we even have a night out planned. we realised recently that we've met hardly any local people from Utah on account of us being in the middle of nowhere all the time. tonight we intend to change that by drinking at the only bar in town, The Renegade Lounge. yep, the Renegade Lounge people, a club for those of us on the outside, on the very edge of Utah existance. will we meet Mormons? absolutely not. we might meet other people who live in tents though, and that at least will give us something to talk about...

StuartHave a comment? Please sign the guestbook

Circleville. Oh Yeah.

Added: 14-9-2007

we've made it to Circleville (Butch Cassidy was born here!). I'm writing this at the town's fine RV park, a place complete with good owners, clean showers and good fellas shooting the breeze on the porch of the office. my left leg is resting on ice, there are beers on the table in front of me and, if it were not for the up and down Internet connection that is preventing me from downloading Big Star tracks and the latest podcasts, all is well with the world.

left you last with a missive from Torrey where we holed up, got clean and watched the slightly-above-average 'Wedding Crashers' on the TV. next day we got back on the road, taken out to our last place of walking courtesy of the wonderful Alan and Margaret - from Peacehaven near Brighton of all places. we got back to limping on the trail about 10am Monday morning therefore, and soon enough we were hiking west through the Dixie National Forest across to the Aquarius Plateau.

a quick word about where we are, because I worry I've just been writing nonsense about how we got here, had these blisters, these discussions etc. we're in south central Utah, heading across to western central Utah. if you check the Route page (updated after this, connection permitting (update: connection does not permit. damn.) you can see where we've got to. it's incredible out here, very isolated, and at times very green - not something I expected from Utah, especially after the easten part of the state which saw us hacking through extremely hot and dry desert. since we got back from Burning Man we've been walking at altitude (almost always above 8000 feet) up and down over ridges that are mostly heavily forested, occasionally breaking out into meadows and lakes. it's all extremely pleasant, beautiful in fact, but as time goes on I'm ashamed to say it's wearing off on me: too much scenery is a little like eating too much roulade - it's great at first but the returns diminish over time. we're needing to get to San Francisco and we want to get moving now. the last week or so has been hard and slow going (despite us making good miles every day) and we're mighty chuffed to get down here to civilisation (well, Circleville).

ok, so back to our latest trip. we got going, injuries and all, on Monday morning. by Monday evening we were cursing our GPS and camping nervously near Bear Creek, flinching at every movement by the cows in the trees (Bear! Could it be a Bear?!) and freezing our asses off overnight as the altitude and time of year combined in an evil mix. more of the same the next day, save with extra up and down - sometimes 1500 feet up and 1700 feet down. we did shoes-off creek crossings, one of which saw Dave scream the trees down due to his recurring tendonitis, and ended up yesterday doing the mother of all downhills, a real Sisyphusean downhill that never ended, as if we'd been condemned to permanently descending a terribly stony path that caused us to curse and almost fall over every two minutes.

eventually (but not before we crossed a cattlegrid with a dead cow stuck in it. nice) we made it to the town of Antimony (Pop 163, the town sign was a wolf howling at the moon. if life were a horror film, we shoulda kept walking through that town...as it was I didn't see any signs of hairy knuckles on the locals) and ate giant burgers while rejoicing in human company. it's hunting season again, so the ATV people are out in force - my favourite moment yesterday being a pair of Dick Cheney-a-likes in fatigues waving strangely at me as they drove past at 10mph (beware the Cheney hunter!)

last night was spent at Otter Creek State Park, a nice evening by a lake drinking a couple of Mexican beers and talking about how cold we had found the previous couple of nights. now we have dropped down to 6000-odd feet we can sleep easier again - man were we freezing up on that plateau. we'll go up again tomorrow, over some trails to Beaver, and after that it's all roads. yep, from here on in it's a race against time to get to San Francisco. I've just read it takes $300 to renew our visas (I only need 20 more bloody days on mine) and we're on a mission to get this thing done. ADT people, I am sorry to report this means going across Nevada on the 50 - apologies. we really have to race. why? because we want to party. and how: our plan is this - to finish the walk on the first weekend of November and then to hire a house for two or three days in San Francisco. who's invited? you all are. priority spaces in the house for Europeans coming over to hang out. we'll be receiving visitors, holding a party and getting some good food in for anyone that wants to make it. we'll also be Going Out. I repeat: we will try to get to Point Reyes by the first Friday in November (2nd November), and then we'll party in San Francisco for the days following that. hit me for more information, we want you here. we love you all and, to paraphrase Oleta Adams, we don't care how you get there, just get there if you can (you can get there by sailboat, hanglider, one of them railroad things where one person pumps the thing and then the other person pumps it). nice.

Most Important PS: My sis, who is way way cool, has been nominated for a National Care Award in recognition of her work with young adults with specific behavioural difficulties. Jen, you so totally rule :)

PS: Dave has uploaded loads of fantastic new photos of Burning Man and Utah. Check them in the Gallery.


StuartHave a comment? Please sign the guestbook

Of German hair bands

Added: 10-9-2007

well, as I sit in a hotel room in Torrey, Utah, I feel it is appropriate to quote the observations of Freiheit, German Hair Band in their tremendous tune 'Keeping the Dream Alive': "The hopes we had were much too high, Way out of reach but we had to try." it's true that Walking the States is a confident beast but the last few days have proved that we sometimes overestimate our skills...first we get back from Burning Man brimming with walking confidence, then, four days later, we emerge from the woods with our soaked tails between our legs longing for beds, food and blister repair.

we set ourselves a quite ridiculous timetable of walking from the 95 to Antimony (about 119 miles) in four and a half days. the route was over the Henry Mountains, including the 10,500 ft Bull mountain. well, we began slowly, not having done any walking for two weeks due to the extended partyfest that was Burning Man, and we continued slowly, all the way up to the end of our attempt after 66 miles. basically what happened was that we encountered a shedload of uphill and it never let up (except for the downhill bits, which were just as bad). on Thursday we got a lift out to where we left off a fortnight ago courtesy of Michaela, daugher of Ed the Hanksville motel owner, and we set out with good cheer and much confidence. this soon ebbed as it was apparent that to get over Bull Mountain we would have to go up, and up, and up, all of this carrying a heavy bag. I have no idea why this came as a surprise to us but the first afternoon only yielded 12 of the 16 miles we needed.

the next day we took on the mountain and all was good, apart from the fact that it was steep, hot, and very harsh on the feet. at the top it was also bloody cold, just for good measure. we came down the other side and started to get blisters and for the first time began to question the wisdom of our schedule. we managed 24 miles (this was Friday) which is a darned fine acheivement considering we went up nearly a vertical mile and then came down nearly the same distance, but by the time we made camp we could hardly move (or enjoy our Ramen noodles).

yesterday morning we limped off again, a nice morning's walk that took us to Sandy Ranch, the only place for miles with any decent drinking water. ranch-hand Hile provided us with a 'short cut' which, sadly, was anything but - although it did have the bonus of sending us past irrigation machinery that sprayed us with water as we walked past. we finally reached our nemesis - Oak Creek - about lunchtime and then the fun began. our route instructed us to walk up the creek - little did we realise that we would have to do this while the water was still in the bloody thing. we looked in vain for a trail that ran alongside but eventually we bit the bullet and spent four hours walking in knee deep water up the canyon. quite a trip.

by the evening we had made about six miles and were exhausted. my achilles tendon on my left foot was playing up (giving me a taste of what Dave dealt with last year) and Dave had tremendous blisters from wet shoes. we camped at 6pm, some seven miles short of our day's target. knackered was not the word (insert something rude in front of it), although we managed a fire and some more noodles before going to bed at 9pm (the last three nights have seen us in bed by 9pm, whereas the previous two weeks we didn't get to bed before midnight).

this morning things got no better. feet problems, problems with the route (I took us a mile our of our way, a right pain in the ass) and a general lethargy that saw us hatching motel plans by lunchtime. in fact, by the time we reached the main road halfway to our destination of Antimony we were so ready to get out we had fashioned signs for hitching that enabled us to either go south or north - anyway to get to a bed and some rest.

so here we are now. Dave is watching some black and white program on the TV and we've got the washing on. we've watched two episodes of Family Guy and cursed a lot at the slow Internet connection. Dave is desperately trying to get Utah and Burning Man pics on the site without waking the neighbours with his swearing. despite this, we are in good spirits. tomorrow we will start again and hopefully hit Antimony by Wednesday. more then.

PS: Amanda from the Guestbook -  we have reviewed the Dave and Stu cheerleader footage and have pronounced it, well, terribly embarassing. we look forward to bringing it to you soon :)

StuartHave a comment? Please sign the guestbook

The giant in a dress? Hes been there all day...

Added: 6-9-2007 1

so we are post-Burning Man. it's taken a while, as apparently getting to a post-Burning Man state involves a huge amount of packing up in a dust storm, a two hour drive to the festival gate in a dust storm, Dave snoring loudly in the back of a car for the duration of a dust storm, and a dodgy journey back to Reno avoiding everyone's escaping garbage sacks that are flying across the highway and worrying about loose ladders on the top of our trailer. after that it involves wandering round a casino motel in Reno at three in the morning with tons of other spaced out burners, dressed in the only clean clothes I had (yes, I have now given the world the Short Shorts and Smart Shirt look, coming soon to a hotel cafeteria near you) and then sharing a room with four other people and luxuriating in the fact that I had clean sheets and pillow.

yes, the post-Burn experience is as intense as the event itself, especially as the next morning we had to unload a trailer in storage unit and deal with stinky trash. thank God all the people we camped with were troopers of the most upright kind. we finally said goodbye to all of our new dust-covered friends on Tuesday afternoon and have been on the road back to Utah ever since, taking advantage of Daud's generosity and doing our water drops across Nevada along the way. Daud is the Imagenode practical guru, skilled in the arts of dirty water disposal and flamethrowers, although to me he's now like Neal Cassady towing a horse trailer, fearlessly driving mile after mile across Nevada despite loosely lashed ladders and a tire blowout on route 50 that left us stranded in the middle of absolutely nowhere for two hours waiting for a man with a giant jack thing. 

now we are back in Utah and, apparently, we have some walking to do. so weird to have taken two weeks off to kick back, get dusty and party hard with 46,000 looners in the middle of a desert. quite an experience, and to be back in Hanksville, UT, is a bit of a shock. as I write this Dave is asleep in his tent snoring merrily (this has been his default setting since Burning Man finished, he was in rampant party mode for two of the last three days and is kinda more subdued at present) and the motel I am in is still playing host to the film crew shooting the horror movie. saying that, there has been one addition to their crew: the dude who played Michael Myers in the Halloween movies is here and he's massive. rumour has it (according to Ed, the motel owner) that he once chased down a deer on foot while hunting. cool.

I wish I had time to write more stuff about the Burning Man experience. seems that this year we are really scrambling for time on the computer to report anything - we have been in much more isolated areas and when we reach a computer it's all we can do to stay up to date with email. when I get the chance I'll post some highlights and whatnot but before then I think Dave will get some pictures up so you can all see for yourselves how ridiculous things got. can't wait to go back already, despite the dust and damage to all of our equipment...

from here we head back to where we left off and trek over the Henry Mountains west towards the Utah border. we've got two weeks to clear the state as we're due in Vegas on the 21st. gonna be tough. not sure when the next Internet access is but we'll find something, in the meantime keep checking the Gallery for Dave's pictures, sign the Guestbook, donate to the charity and pray to God that England beat Israel and Russia next week, cos if we don't the we're not going anywhere near the European Championships next summer...

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Final BM dispatch

Added: 2-9-2007 1

and so it ends. or drags itself out to the end. last night we burned the Man, whooped and hollered around his remains and enjoyed some intense fireworks and fire performances by hundreds of people from all over the country. the burning of the Man is the traditional end for the festivities but not for us - we're getting on another round of White Russians and doing serious sitting around. it's Sunday morning 10am and we've got the music as loud as I've heard it (deep funk courtesy of a fella whose name I really should remember, I've met him a couple of times. Eugene McDaniels playing at the moment). other camps are packing up but that's for the weak - the strong stay sitting, letting others free up space that we can exploit later (getting all of our cars and trucks and stuff out of here is going to be a logistical nightmare with our camp the way it currently is).

quite a week then. my first burn. tens of thousands of freaks, and Dave and I. Dave took to things like a duck to water and I'm sure he'll be back. figure I will too - once I've figured out a way to dustproof everything I own. Burning Man is as unique as I imagined it to be, a trippy scene in the middle of nowhere that is equal parts bad techno, great art, luxouriously stocked camps (thank God ours was one of them), beautiful women, large numbers of naked cyclists, stilt walkers, jugglers and the usual festival types, drummers, DJs, dancers, pyromaniacs, crashed space monkeys, whirling carousel monkeys, dust victims, math camp attendees, pervy workshop holders, kilt wearers, lighting engineers, and the just plain wrong. our camp itself included software programmers, biochemists, literary agents, gallery owners, more software programmers and systems experts, jacksofalltrades, paramedics, movie production assistants and idiot walkers. it has been the perfect mix.

but now we have some serious walking to do. with less than three weeks until our next holiday in Las Vegas (why do we keep scheduling breaks? there is too much to do in this part of the country) we've got to cover the large amount of ground left in Utah - s'gonna take at least two and a half weeks methinks. I haven't even considered walking for the past week, lost as I have been on the Playa, and it's going to be interesting to see our physical state once we start moving again.

until then, though, there are White Russians to drink. more soon come..
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