29 March 2010
The Gilded State
Gold plating curls at its edges, exposing years of ostentatious opulence decayed to a stark reality of garbage strewn highways, abandoned parks, and a chasm between wealth and poor that is wider and deeper than the deepest cell crushing unexplored trenches in the oceans.
With that building in my mind over the last nine months, I finally decided I had enough of the Golden State. I packed up the car, leaving a seat for my best little friend, Pippit, and moved on, once again. I'll miss certain people but, as always, we'll cross paths again at some point.
I love to drive long distances. Several of my favorite memories are galvanized through methodical recollection and organizational mental filing (not the grinding filing but the compartmental filing). Along with the replayed memories, new thoughts and observations churn themselves to the surface like the skim of creamy milk. Most of the thoughts are useless in everyday standards of usefulness. One of these thoughts is that I noticed that I'll be listening to a station (after poking the tuning button to advance to the next frequency that meets my radio's standards for reception) and find that I enjoy the song, tapping the steering wheel in time to the beat and swaying my head during the bridge of a guitar solo. Only when I begin to familiarize myself with the song enough to sing along with the words do I realize it's, what I refer to them as, a Jesus song. "Lift these restraints from my heart and let Him in!!" The frightening part of this scenario is that I leave the station in place and wait for the next song. On this trip I actually left it going for six songs in a row. The Jesus bands are getting pretty good. Maybe I'll start going to church more often, like maybe once.
So, I pulled into Reno, NV and met a person I've known only through comments on my blogs. Darren is a runner and a former competitive cyclist who lives in Reno with his wife and daughter. They were out of town and he remained for work duties. I emailed him and mentioned that I'd be rolling through his "Biggest little city" and that we should meet and run together.
He took me out on the trails he runs daily, which are the same trails used by the Silver State 50/50. We ran for 1 hr 45 mins. Afterward, we just hung out at his house for about an hour chatting. It was very nice and I'm hoping we'll get the chance to run together again some time.
Back on the road, I drove onto Wendover, NV (and Wendover, UT); it straddles the two states. One one side you have neon/casinos/24 hr buffets/girly dancing, your typical human adult escapes, and on the other side of the border that clearly bisects the town you have quiet darkness and a convenience store that closes at 8pm. I stayed the night on the sordid side.
Utah is one of the few states that has several signs warning of drowsy drivers: "Driving drowsy is dangerous. Drowsy drivers pull off next 5 miles." I can understand this. It's not that the Mormon way of life is boring; far from it. 5 wives and 20 kids would hardly make me bored. It's the driving along the Bonneville Salt Flats (where they did/do speed testing). Just driving that l-o-n-g stretch made me want to speed.
More on traveling later. I do have to return to CA for the Miwok 100k. Hopefully my comments won't get me lynched and dipped up-side-down in a hot tub in some ocean front condo that's sinking into the water as its sandstone bluff foundation decays like the rest of the state.