Travels in the American Southwest

Chores at Spenser's Springs

Thursday, 8/28

Our time at Burning Man had come to an end. We struck camp, loaded the RV, bid farewell to our neighbors and headed south on SR447. $60 worth of $1.98 a gallon gasoline and we were topped off and ready for US 50, America's Loneliest Highway. We stopped in Fallon for more provisions and decided to blow off our planned laundry exercise. We should have enough clean clothes to see us through Bryce, Utah!

With each click of the odometer, we were that much nearer to our evening's stop, Spenser's Hot Springs some 7 miles from the junction of US 50 and SR 376? We had only one stop to make before reaching our evening's destination - We had to stop at the Austin Cemetery. An e-mail acquaintance had earlier written to me asking about a long ago relative who was rumored to be resting in peace in Austin. During our exchange of e-mails, I confessed that I was not from Austin nor even Nevada. All I know of the town came from some old books and my too short visits on a few occasions so I would not be a good source of information for her. I did agree to scout out the old cemetery for her ancestor's grave but didn't hold much hope for finding it. Many graves have lost their markers or they have worn so completely that only a few letters or dates remain legible. MSO and I strolled from stone to stone having no success. Just as I was about to call it quits, there was the name! Turned out that the massive stone contained information only on two of his wives. There was no mention of the body of the man for whom we were searching. Photos of what we found will be shortly winging their way to the requester.

Arrived at Spenser's in late afternoon. We were the only humans in sight. Rather than set up that night's camp, MSO practically sprinted to the waiting spring. This was her first chance to get really clean since we'd left the Golden Nugget six days earlier! Some moron had blocked the hot water's inflow into the pool and plugged the pool's outflow. As a result, the hot spring pool was merely tepid. MSO expressed disappointment but I quickly cleared away the obstructions and within minutes, boiling hot water was raising the pool's temperature to a much more hot spring-like temp.

Cleaner than we'd been all week, we meandered back to the RV where I got the rotisserie and grill ready while MSO prepared the food. While the meat slowly grilled to perfection, I prepared the fire pit for the evening; Tonight's fire would be especially large and hot. As usual, we ate very well!

Later, under a sliver of the new moon, I set fire to a dozen and a half US flags. No, it wasn't in protest of anything - my protesting days are for the most part behind me! These flags had been collected from gutters and the side of the road. I suspect most of the flags blew off passing vehicles and their absence was never noticed by their owners until much later. The destruction of the flags was done with honor and dignity.

It seemed like Mother Nature approved of our actions. Menacing dark clouds coalesced into a sky of angry black. Jagged bolts of lightning jumped from cloud to cloud; An occasional bolt connecting with the far away Toiyabe Mountain Range. Rain raced north through the Smokey Valley but where we were camped, few drops made it through the dry atmosphere to hit the us and ground.

As we crawled into bed, we were in awe of the lightning which would momentarily light our camp and the surrounding desert brighter than daylight. What a display! With raindrops pattering on the RV's roof, I drifted off to sleep knowing that tomorrow, we'd at last find that for which we unsuccessfully searched last year - The geographical center of the Silver State.

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