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Sunday, August 24
Day 4 - actually, a little past midnight
Motel 6
Reno, Nevada

We've made it to Reno. For a sleazy motel, this Motel 6 is actually kinda nice. It might have something to do with the atmosphere of there being a lot of anticipatory Burners staying here tonight - as well as wandering the city. The amount of potential Burners we saw on the road increased as we traveled west. In fact, at a gas station in Elko, Nevada, a slightly older couple remarked that they had seen us at an earlier stop possibly on an earlier day (I'm not clear on which stop it actually was). They were also headed for Burning Man, I think it was also their first time, and I think they were from Colorado.

I climbed this mountain. See that light, sandy path? It's just as steep as it looks.
[*Just* off I-80 at a small no facilities turnoff in Utah (east of Salt Lake City)]

Traveling into a town at night, and then waking up to see it in daylight for the first time is always exciting. When we got up in Rock Springs, Wyoming this morning, we found ourselves already in arid, desert-y territory. With the rocky outcroppings, it looked in places kind of like Arizona. Utah was a beautiful state - and perhaps the most exciting, landscape-wise, of the trip. First we went through some gorgeous pine-y mountains, with some nice houses and slopes for what must have been a deluxe skiing resort. Coming down out of those, Salt Lake City spread out before us, with more mountains in the distance. And then there was the Great Salt Lake Desert - a large, salty, white, flat, barren desert that took over an hour to drive across. It was really cool. Nevada had some beautiful mountainscapes, too, with the majority of the landscape lush with desert flora. The amazing thing about Nevada is how barren it is. Fewer stops, fewer towns, smaller towns (if you can even call them that), and fewer people. It got dark on our way across the state, and it was amazing to see such an expanse of landscape with very few to no lights scattered about the countryside. The nighttime lighting of civilization is beautiful in its own way, but to see such a distance of night unpoisoned by the evidence of man is beautiful itself.

The Great Salt Lake Desert

There's a Rest Area along I-80 near the western edge of the desert,
not far from the Nevada-Utah border, where you can walk out onto the salt flat -
it's an out of this world experience.

Should get some sleep. Happily, with the exception of getting to the playa tomorrow, the driving is done until after the festival. I'll enjoy the rest. Should like to pick up a few last minute things, including more water, before heading out there tomorrow. We walked just a bit down central Reno, but couldn't find this interesting store that was supposed to be there. It was neat with all the casinos and flashing lights, though. Not Las Vegas, for sure, but similar in a sense.