There was a thin morning sun illuminating the steps of the Saloon as workers gathered to hear whether the playa had dried out enough to allow Resto work to resume after a two and a half day wipeout. The air was chilly, bordering on cold, and if there were pumpkins on the porch, they likely would have had frost on them.
Coyote sauntered across the street, muttering “It’s not summer anymore.” No, for sure, it’s not. But the rain had stopped, and that was a good thing. “At least it wasn’t snow,” Coyote said. Snow? During Resto? “Sure,” he said. “We had to call it one day because it was coming down sideways.”
Ok, we’ll count our blessings, then, that it’s only been rain, and not freezing cold, too. People went inside for the morning meeting, and the Cobra Commander and D.A. gave the word that the BLM inspection had been moved back until Tuesday. That was the good news. The bad news was that the Resto team was going to need just about every minute of that time, because there was a LOT left to do.
“This is the year we are absolutely not going to fail,” D.A. said. The Cobra said there would be a full work day tomorrow, and a full work day Monday, as well. “We’re good,” he said. “Let’s kill it.”
So the troops loaded onto school buses and headed out to the playa. And you had to be on a school bus, or some other fleet vehicle, because there were no personal cars allowed this day. The playa was too wet, and if you tried to drive, you would likely get stuck, and no one wanted to waste time rescuing you.
The drive out Route 34 gave a hint of what was to come. The rain from the past several days made the playa look like it was covered with water, because the sun was glinting off the surface. But the desert was only wet, not submerged. But there WERE rivers of water in the depressions caused by off-roaders. Those were rippling in the morning sun, and the “tide” looked like it was carrying the water back to town. And when the buses traversed the desert streams, there was lots of splashing water and a pretty good jolt if you were seated in the back of the bus.
As roll was being called along the shoreline, Phoenix Firestarter was doing stretches off to the side. “It helps me get my mind where I need it to be,” she said. And what she needed to be, and everyone else needed to be, was focused. There were a lot of streets left to sweep, and there were orange cones all over the playa, meaning that the Special Forces team would need to give them special attention to get them cleaned up.
And then off everyone went, the line sweepers and the fluffers and the scribes and the line bosses and the special forces, maybe 80 people overall, off to to make the most of the day.
By lunchtime, it had become clear that people were making serious progress. The special forces reported “busting” 150 cones — six people in three trucks, cleaning and sweeping and raking the worst hot spots, and doing it fast and clean.
The regular lines moved through the middle of the city in the morning, then tackled the Esplanade in the afternoon. They were moving well, too, but then new clouds started moving in, and the wind picked up, and the weather forecasts that had predicted rain by 4 in the afternoon started to look pretty good.
The troops took a morale break around 2:30 in the afternoon, and by that time the sky had gone dark, and it looked like rain was already hitting Gerlach. There was also lightning in the distance, so the smart move was to get everyone off playa and back into town. And good thing, too. By 4 pm, sure enough, the rain arrived with a wallop, and with it came a lot of thunder and lightning, as well.
So that was it for the day — lots of progress, but more rain, and tomorrow’s work day looks threatened. The Hun will have her moop map update in another post, but for now, there are lots of antsy people wondering how it’s all going to get done.