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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: 39.5245, -119.812
Wide open valleys, devoid of any vegetation more than waist high. Absent of brilliant green. Absent of shade or towering pine. Lucky to have green grass call it home. Rabbitbrush, thistle, juniper, sage. (Nothing on earth can compare with the scent or the hue of Sierra Nevada sagebrush. I remember coming come from New Zealand, after living there for 6 months. My mother picked me up at the airport and we drove out to Washoe. I hung my head out the window like a dog, bliss filling my nostrils at the prodigal smell.) Mountains in every directions at various distances. Those closer clothed in greens and browns of juniper, pinion, ponderosa. Each range growing more and more aqua as the distance grows, until the furthest mountains are just a pure, deep blue. Some people, many people, see the Nevada landscape and despise it. Barren. Dry. Expanses of nothingness. I love it. And for this reason, I know that I will always be a Nevadan at heart.
I spent nearly two weeks in Reno. Spending time with family, friends, Tahoe. So much happened, including building a pretty fantastic home in the back of my truck (which will merit its own entry),
so I may just ramble a bit and regurgitate a few of the memories from this trip.
Hot. Good lord. The sun is intense in Colorado at 7000 feet, but for some reason it was different here. I felt like my skin was on fire. But it's a dry heat. 😊
I did get to spend one afternoon at Lake Tahoe. Solitary trip. Everyone I know has a real job, and it was a weekday, but that's fine. Parked along the roadside a mile or so shy of Sand Harbor and hiked down to the water. I knew what lay ahead of me, so it took probably a half hour of standing on the granite slab staring at the water before I finally convinced myself to jump in. It wasn't as cold as I was expecting! The waves, however, combined with my sink-like-a-rock swimming abilities, almost drowned me as I swam to an island of stone about a hundred feet offshore, where I enjoyed a quick nap. Warm sunshine. Cool breeze. The occasional seagull. Sound of the waves lapping and kissing the rocks. Tahoe is like nothing else on earth. So blue. So clear. Open your eyes underwater and you can see
forever. Which makes jumping in deceiving. Looking down from shore, it often appears that you will be able to stand on a rock or the lake bottom, only to find, after jumping in and trying to stand up, that it is twice as deep as you are tall, and your relaxed body sinks as the water fills your nose and mouth. Or maybe that's just my bad swimming again.
Sushi. Five times. Maybe 6. Love.
$700 of repairs on my truck. New starter, new rotors, new brakes. It's nice to know that my truck will always start, and to not have the steering wheel vibrate and shake and nearly jumping out of my hands when I brake coming down a mountain pass.
New computer monitor. Some pixels were going bad and were just red all the time. Took it in on the 29th. Guess when my warranty expired. Yep. The 28th. The Mac store was generous and repaired it under warranty, anyway - an otherwise nearly $400 visit to the shop.
Silver Springs with grandma. Went out there to spend some time, have lunch. She pretty much ordered me to take a nap, seeing the exhaustion in my eyes. I gladly accepted.
Her new dog, although cute, was begging to be kicked as it jumped up against my legs again and again and again and again and again and again... Kind of like a lot of girls out there. Good thing you're cute. My grandma, allegedly the leader of a Puerto Rican gang in the Bronx back in the day (no, she is not Puerto Rican), has always been one of the most bad-ass, don't take no shit, give lots of shit, raise some hell, hardest working people (men and women alike) I have ever known.
You don't fuck with grandma. This visit was different. She got old. Her recently deceased husband had been sick for years. The past few Christmases we always say, "This might be Kelley's last Christmas, so besure to spend some time with him." Then the hardheaded old fart pulls thru somehow for another year. Stubborn, just like the rest of the family. In and out of the hospital for years, his body finally could not handle anymore and decided it was time to shut down, surely against his will - that old man never would have given up. Taking care of him, especially these last 6 months,
taxed grandma dearly, and it is now showing. It was strange to see her like that. Shocking. Unreal. Sad. When I first saw her, I had that feeling in my head, when you are nearly overcome with emotion and everything stirs up a little bit, it feels like waves and currents of static tingling, looking for an outlet, wanting to be expressed. When I left, she was standing on the ramp leading into her home, her cute little jumping dog next to her, and I saw that same look on her face. S/he who loves much also loses much. The driving force is that what is gained outweighs the loss.
Got to play a couple open mics at some old haunts. Found a couple new haunts which will require regular visits on any subsequent trip to Reno.
Hike up to Castle Peak (well, just shy of it - had to get back in town to pick up my truck from the shop) with my friend Jen, from Flagstaff. "We shouldn't encounter too much snow," we said, before the hike. Yeah. About 90%!o(MISSING)f it was on the snow. Marshmallow snow, speckled with potholes and dusted in faint, yellow pollen. Me
sliding down on my ass, her freaking out that she would have to drag my lifeless body out of there. Following the path of Stickman - someone who had dragged a stick the entire time, like a path of popcorn, as to not lose their way home.
A couple late nights out with my old Friend Jonathan and his crazy (but awesome) girlfriend, and her sister + hubby. Walking in to the sister's house was like walking in to Jumangi. Big, dark rooms with all sorts of foreign and ancient decor, giant peacock feathers painted on the ceiling looming 20 feet overhead. I slept in the "Tropical Room". Standing around a kitchen island instead of out on a back deck, it reminded me of my late nights in Mariposa (apparently I have a thing for staying out way too late with crazy people... but maybe they're in the same boat. hehe). Burning Man regulars, they run the popcorn shack that blesses and saves the lives of many tweaking folk at all hours of the desert night and early morning. Not that I needed much convincing before this, but spending time with them, as well as going to a Burning Man fundraiser
one night, there is no doubt that I will be attending this year. I don't have a ticket, no do I know where I will be when the time comes around... but I guess I'll figure it out when I get there.
Family. Drives me nuts, but I love em. Anyone reading this can relate, so I don't need to go in to that. 😊
I may, from time to time, revisit this entry to add random thinkings and memories. All in all, it was a very busy trip. Wrapping up one of my contracts, sushi, repairs on the truck and computer, sushi, building my home, sushi, swimming, hiking, sushi, friend's newborn's baptism, sushi, Burning Man, pho, sushi... The time flew by. It was good to be there. But it's also good to be back out on the road, heading north.
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