So we got up, put on dry socks, maybe pushed some dried mud out of the tent or living container, and went back to work.
At the morning meeting, Logan quoted Coyote and said, “Next we’re going to have to work harder, stronger, longer and faster.” Joe the Builder said it was “business twice as usual.”
The day after two big storms hit the construction site known as Black Rock City, things were bright and beautiful – thick puffy big-sky clouds, and none of the dark ominousness of the previous days. The roads in the city were still muddy at midday, and you had to drive around the wet spots so as not to chew up the playa.
Despite the second “snow” day in a week, most of the crews were confident that they were on or could get back on schedule. The Man will have his legs raised in the air tomorrow morning, and the towers that will support the heads at the “Embrace” installation were being lifted into place Wednesday morning.
“The storm hit us right in the warp core,” Coyote said, “where we were most vulnerable. The whole west side was taken out, the Commissarry where we eat, the Black Hole is pretty devasted. Crazily enough, the east side of the city is just fine.”
For a time, trucks coming out of Gerlach were navigating to the city via Jungo Road, the usual path to the hot springs. But by the early afternoon, Coyote, Booya and the road team found a new path for cars and trucks to get on and off the playa. All the semi trailers and vital deliveries that had been held up in Gerlach could finally make it to the playa. The new route was immediately dubbed … River Road. It was also being called Bubblegeek Memorial Highway, in honor of the person who apparently found the dry route.
The road opening was good news for just about everyone, because the closure had led to the marshaling of certain resources, like water. The practical outcome of that action was that the showers have been unavailable for two days.
There were very healthy wind gusts in the afternoon, but instead of kicking up dust storms, they were mostly benign. The surface of the playa was drying nicely, and a new crust was keeping down the dust, at least for the time being.
“Sounds funny to say it, but you know we’re gonna have to water” the new road, Coyote said. It won’t take long for the trucks and other vehicles to break through the crust and crumble the surface to a fine powder.
At this point it is unclear what long-term effect the rain will have on the quality of the playa, but the immediate effect is a good one.
Over at the Temple, it seemed like barely anything was out of the usual. At tea time, Little Wing delivered oranges and cookies to the lift operators and other folks who were stacking the first two big pieces.
More than 20 workers who were supposed to be on the Temple site yesterday had gotten trapped in town, but they should be able to make it out here soon.
We were told that during the height of the hailstorm, the Temple crew had a snowball fight with the hail balls. That might give you an idea of how large the pellets were. Laurent Le Gall, who is out here working on a documentary about Temple builder David Best, said he got some amazing footage of Best dancing and celebrating in the rain, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing that. Best is in constant motion at the Temple site, checking on everyone’s progress, doling out praise and encouragement and generally being an inspirational force of nature.
So the city snapped back to life today, and the roads were drying out, and the special orders and inventories were arriving, and the troop strength was building up, and things in general were moving forward smartly.
And as evening approached, a most happy radio transmission was received from Pillow Talk: With the roads open and things going back to normal, the shower station, aka the Wet Spot, would open again. “Come get yourselves clean,” she said.
Well, if you insist …
Here are some more pics from the day: