Tubing the Truckee

Those scruffy philanthropists of the DPW should have finished building the infrastructure of Black Rock City by now. One note about this year’s town—it’s located a bit more into playa “deep space.” As in a mile further out toward the Black Rock. Burners will still access town via the 8-mile playa entrance, but this year you could just as easily get there from the 12-mile spot. I’m sure that makes B-Man LLC happy; the further out into the playa the BLM lets ’em set up their little hootenanny, the better they dig it. Maybe it triggers memories of the old days, when burners would have to drive onto the playa and then speed off, Mad Max-style, into the Great Desert Void to go looking for the dang party.

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During our latest heat wave, I looked at my knees one afternoon and was greatly disappointed to find they weren’t immersed in water. So down to Wingfield Park I went. “I don’t give a damn if I’m the oldest guy there,” I thought, “I’m goin’ for it.” (I was, too). I went over to the shack where you rent tubes, got one ($10 for two hours), and became riparianly experienced. I’m happy to report, swimming in the Truckee is a total hoot. It’s just as nice being in the river as it is being next to it. And the water is fine. This ain’t Tahoe we’re talkin’ about, where teeth get to chatterin’ and bumps get to goosin’. Amount of time it took for my flesh to get used to the water temp—zero point zero seconds.

So yeah, we’re talking about an excellent way to achieve a full-body cooldown here. I recommend it completely. While the tube was fun, you don’t really need one. It’s plenty nice just to jump in and flail around with everybody else. And yes, there’s a pretty healthy social scene now thriving at the river park., as there should be. There’s something essentially good and right about Renonians now heading to Wingfield and sloshing around in our precious river. You get a sense of “this is how it’s supposed to be.” Especially when you think back to 1998, when there was absolutely no one in the water, save for the occasional frolicking wino.

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Speaking of swimming pleasure, Pyramid right now is as fine as the river. The water couldn’t be more pleasant, surprisingly clear and of perfect temperature. As always, if it’s a hot weekday afternoon, you can go out there and have an entire beach to yourself. Just you, your cooler, and this starkly scenic desert lake. Not sure how to explain this underuse. Are people still weirded out somehow by Pyramid? Or is it just too long of a drive after getting off work? All I know is, being out there on a roasting hot day when the wind won’t blow and the lake is glassy flat feels like you just might be livin’ The Good Life.