The day after the night before the rains came, things got pretty much back to normal. With maybe some exceptions:
1) The playa is in achingly perfect condition. The downpours have tamped everything down hard and firm. Because roads had already been mapped out before the rain came, vehicle traffic has been pretty much confined to defined areas, so much of the playa that had gotten chewed up in the early days is now nice and firm. This situation may change, of course, and there are still rather large mounds to negotiate around the city, but as of now, wow.
2) The hardships that the rain imposed have bonded crews together. “I have the tightest bunch ever,” Big Wig Mig said out at the Man base. “They’d do anything for each other.” That’s what happens when you get stranded in inches-deep water and have to spend the night in a shipping container with basically nothing. You get closer. (Or, I suppose, you tear each other to shreds. Fortunately, this was not the case.) “We’ve welded ourselves together with playa mud,” Muse said.
3) Crews may or may not be behind schedule. It’s honestly hard to tell, and no one is going to come right out and admit that they hey, we’re screwed. But if body language and general demeanor are any indication, the lost time is being made up nicely. There aren’t THAT many good actors out here. And Mig said he thought he’d actually picked up a day, because his crew was working as such a team now.
4) Traffic on and off the playa was re-routed for a day, to a new route dubbed “Dead Antelope Road.” Apparently a desert critter had picked that place to die, and in that it was on a dry path to the city, traffic started using that route. (We did go looking for the antelope, but we came up empty. It already might have been whisked away for eventual placement at the Black Rock Saloon. There’s already a big (stuffed) bear in there. A regular menagerie is coming together.)
So we’re about to head into Week Two with the distractions finally out of the way. Logan held his first on-playa morning meeting down at the Depot today, and he thanked everyone for persevering. “Thanks for keeping your wits about you,” he said. “Thanks for not panicking or freaking out or eating each other.”
Speaking of eating, the big-top commissary tent is in full operation now, and holy crap it’s amazing. It’s not just the tent, of course. Spectrum Services does the food, and it is good. “This is s good place to gain weight,” Just George said. “Yeah it is,” we said as we munched another piece of perfectly crisped bacon.
Also in the category of firsts, the bar at the Ghetto (where the DPW camps) was open for action last night. Customer Service, the guy in charge of logistics there, somehow managed to have cold beer on tap for all who wanted it. Dylan, Pigpen and other Jerk Church-y players sang for hours. And in the morning, all was spic and span. Miraculous.