Everything was quiet when I woke up at 3 AM. That didn’t seem right. High in the sky, I could make out the constellation Orion. 
 
I went back to sleep until just before sunrise, Monday, August 26th. I maybe got 7 hours of sleep. I desperately needed to wash my hair, but I didn’t want to take a full shower until it got warmer. So, I leaned over my foot-washing basin and poured a canteen of water over my head. With cleaner hair, I put on a clean shirt. It was a pretty sunrise. 
 
There was an extra bar section around back. It was being especially painted for a different camp. I used it to set up my stove. Breakfast was a can of stew. I ate it in the bar with a Dr. Pepper. Billy was up briefly. Peanut walked by on his way back to his camp. My tent neighbor Sarah said hi. I looked over the city map, read Ranger procedures and filled out my radio form, though I wouldn’t need one until Wednesday. After breakfast I went for a bike ride. Center Camp was still closed and would not open until noon. I found the commissary, just a couple of blocks from camp. (In fact, all week, I walked through another camp as a short cut.) I passed Ranger Kiote at the porta potties. They were marking the ones that were broken. The portable toilet company locked off a bunch of potties with zip ties, before the event, so there would be fewer they'd have to clean. According to the BRC Weekly, HOTD was “out” and the Black Rock Cantina was “in.” How rude.
 
I was trying to figure out a way to have the phone interview on Tuesday. The Green Tortoise ran regular busses in and out of the city. It looked like the only way was to take the bus into Gerlach, where I could get cell coverage, do the interview, and then take the bus back. I walked over to the Green Tortoise camp, right around Rod’s Road, but they didn’t have schedules posted. I passed by Silicon Village, where Kathykat was setting up an alien “greeter.”Down the road, a nice lady was handing out Trader Joe’s chocolate off a silver tray. A fellow campmate happily declared, “I can not believe I almost didn’t come to this thing!”
 
In the bar, I talked to a guy who said a Ranger named Abe, or Chuck, or something, wouldn’t be attending that year because of a broken pelvis. My neighbor Robin asked when the shower would be operational, because she had a date that evening. She was willing to help put it together. There were some random bar pieces left over, so I put some together to make tables for the bar. Brian Bong arrived, and there was much rejoicing. I went by the potties, and saw a girl calling out to her friends to check out the “super clean” potties, while holding a handful of cut zip ties.
 
The bar was really hopping in late morning. I came around from the back and heard my name called out. It was Nova, all the way from Missouri! She ran around the bar and gave me a huge hug. She had been awake for 20 hours, and just spent 10 hours in line at the Gate. It was great to see her again! The Captain gave me some ice for my cooler.
 
I got ready for my afternoon Ranger shift. I signed up to be an Operator that shift. The position of Operator was relatively new for the Rangers. It involved listening to the radio and entering information into a database. I made sure to go in early so that I’d have a chance to get a feel for the software. There was a version online that people could download and practice at home, but it was only for Apple machines. I saw Inkwell working one of the check-in windows. The Operator office was around back. I met up with Ranger Jeopardy, charming as ever. The software was easier to use than I expected. There was still a learning curve. 
 
Listening to the radio all afternoon was harder than it sounds. There were long times where no calls were coming through, and then we’d get three or four at a time. It helped to have more than one Operator listening. There were several medical calls. I messed up one entry, but I made a note of it for later. A lot of broke-down vehicle reports came in. Two different vehicles in line at the Gate both had their batteries die at the same time. 
Ranger Creech was all over the place. I brought beef jerky to share. There was an all hands on deck meeting at 6 PM for all rangers, but our shift didn’t end until 6:30. I was told we didn’t miss much. I got to meet Rangers Foofer and Tao Skye. Danarchy came through, and he thanked me for sending him coffee while he was in Afghanistan.
 
It turned out the Green Tortoise only started running on Wednesday, so I couldn't take a bus to Gerlach for my interview. I spent a big chunk of the afternoon trying to work out logistics. Walking to Gerlach and back was possible, but Jeopardy pointed out how dangerous it would be, with all the traffic. I figured I could catch a ride to Gerlach with somebody, or ride my bike to the Gate and pay the $20 in-and-out fee, but hitchhiking back I’d be in line with everybody else for hours. It looked like it was going to take me all day.  Ranger Tulsa came through, and I told him about having to hitchhike to Gerlach on Tuesday. He offered to let me use his Internet phone for the interview! After we got off-shift, we got it all worked out. What a generous gesture! That was a huge load off my mind.
 
I was overwhelmingly relieved when I walked back to camp. The MASH tent was already set up when I got back, the kitchen moved inside. The shower was still not set up. Supper was a tuna cup and a can of fruit cocktail. 
 
Spoon was in the bar! It was good to see him again. He was following a guy in a chicken suit; for some reason, wherever the chicken went, there was a party. We talked and got to catch up on stuff. The chicken left while Spoon was using the ninja potties. The bar had cold beer on tap, and cider, too. 
 
As soon as it started to get dark, Gravity Mike fired up his forge. He was melting down the aluminum cans from the bar to make medallions, belt buckles and awards. I met Jason, who explained that Gerlach rhymed with “Spock.” Dr. Jon walked around in a top hat. 
 
Someone brought a ride-able purple dinosaur, like something from an amusement park. When people rode it, it looked so wrong. Danger Ranger paid the bar a visit that evening. 
 
After the Sun went down, I went for a walk. There were amazing art cars all over the place. In Center Camp, a woman was singing opera. Her voice was thrilling, and soared across the playa. At Pandora’s, I saw Raven, who was taking it easy on a couch. Zay shook my hand, and Stacey waved to me. I spotted Nova off in a crowd. 

I walked out to one art installation, a big, wooden structure. Inside, I was amazed to see a life-sized replica of the Russian MIR Space Station-- all built out of wood. It was an incredible feat of construction. (At the end of the week, they burned it.) 

It was a long day, and I went to bed about midnight. 

 
  
 
Prologue  Aug. 21  Aug. 22  Aug. 23  Aug. 24 
Sunday  Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday  Monday 
Sept. 3  Sept. 4  Sept. 5  Sept. 6 & Epilogue
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Last updated: September, 2013