31 July, 2008

Burning Man Travel Plan (Getting Back)

Okay, here's the plan for the home stretch, subject to the same disclaimers as the "to" plan.

Monday, September 1 - Burning Man is over. I anticipate getting up and out early, because it's a lo-o-ong drive through empty desert roads to get to Rachel, and they might not let us in (at the Little A-Le-Inn) if we get there too late. Plus, Rachel is like, tiny, so I doubt there's any hotels or even motels (except for the Little A-Le-Inn), and it /is/ in the middle of nowhere after all. (Incidentally, it looks like you can actually get a pretty good look at Area 51 on Google Maps. Kinda surprising. Check it out if you don't believe me). Anyhow, it's a good 7 hour drive to Rachel, and that's not taking into account Burning Man traffic. The route includes a stretch on US-50, the Loneliest Road in America, as well as potentially passing through some true ghost towns, Indian Reservations (as much as I wanted to love the Indians, I've heard some stories about the Tribal Police), and of course, the final stretch on the Extraterrestrial Highway (NV-375). Should be an unforgettable experience. I just hope we don't break down or run out of gas an hour's drive from the nearest semblance of civilization...

Tuesday, September 2 - Be nice to have some time to appreciate being a horizon away from Area 51 - they say the night sky out there is beautiful (for a number of potential reasons) - but there's lotsa driving to be done. At the very least, being able to see the Little A-Le-Inn will be really cool. Day 2 involves a lot more empty desert roads, but I decided it would be best to kill the detour and meet back up with I-80 as soon as possible, just to simplify things. And to cross the Great Salt Lake Desert a second time. I anticipate passing through Salt Lake City and making it up to Rock Springs, WY, where we stopped on the way out. The plan at this point has us stopping in the same places we stopped on the way out, for simplicity sake - of course, adjustments can be made as necessary. By the way, the trip from Rachel to Rock Springs is a good 9.5 hours, not including stops etc.

Wednesday, September 3 - The rest of the way home is pretty uneventful. Back on I-80 already, decompressing from the festival and the lonely desert roads of Nevada, and headed home. From Rock Springs, it's another 9.5 hours of driving back to Lincoln, NE (passing through Cheyenne, WY at about the 1/3 mark).

Thursday, September 4 - Lincoln to Omaha to Des Moines to Iowa City, eventually to Chicago. 8 hours of driving - a gradual easing up as we near the end of the trip. Eating at Uno's again is entirely up to how we're feeling at that point in the trip, as well as when we get to Chicago, where we stay, etc. But at this point, all that's left is the home stretch.

Friday, September 5 - From Chicago, 7.5 hours back to Pittsburgh. And that's that. Unpack. Unwind. Unravel. Take the car back the next day before noon. And there you have it. I /still/ think it'll be a miracle if this trip works out. But it sure won't be easy to forget. It'll also be a miracle if I have any money left afterwards. I hope I find something at Burning Man that'll help me live my life. Because if I don't, I'll be spiraling the drain.

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