I woke up before the alarm in my hotel in Union City this morning, which is good because I'd accidentally disabled the alarm while setting it last night. Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express (stay 3 of 4 to trip another goal on the promotion I'm chasing) was shared with a lot of high school students apparently involved in a speech and debate competition. I'd seen "MHS" on a vehicle with Oregon plates and asked one of them which "M" it was: McMinville. I mentioned that I'd lived in Mehama (stretching things a bit) and they knew were it was, which is more than a lot of Oregonians do. I wished them good luck and set off for home.
Departing in light fog and drizzle, I headed toward Yuba City, where I loaded my minivan with yet another load of boxes, mostly of books. This is likely to be the last "easy" load, by which I mean nearly all of the boxes were paper cases and those stack nice and neatly. The remaining boxes are odd-sized stuff that won't be so simple to pack. But the good news is that the locker is now only about 40% full, and a lot of the remainder is actually large empty boxes I put in the locker "in case I ever need large empty boxes." In one or two more trips, I may actually get the locker to the point where all that's left is stuff for which we'll either have to bring the utility trailer down from Fernley (only in fair weather because it's not enclosed) or else rent a truck for a one-way movement.
Then it was into town to visit for an hour or so with my sister, mother, and nephew. The nephew was working on the family car, which had a flat tire. I asked if he needed help, which he did not, but when he said it would take $30 to pay someone to fix the flat, I volunteered it straight away. I'm not rich (indeed, I'm deeply in debt not even including the house), but I've a lot more income than my sister and mother do and I'm happy to help where I can.
Mom was down from her home in the hills in part so that she could watch the Olympics, as my sister has the full package including the "other" channels besides NBC. Mom said they'd been watching curling, and while I've not been able to watch any of it (my hotels have not had anything other than NBC itself), I know enough about how it's played that I was able to explain how the scoring worked, which she'd never been able to puzzle out.
(We have no television at all at home in Fernley, so I won't get to see any of the final week of the games, unfortunately. It's just not worth what I'd have to pay for ongoing service for the few times each year I really want it. Maybe If I'm home more than 50% of the time, we'll revisit that decision.)
I would have loved to have stayed and talked all afternoon; however, a storm was chasing me, and I really needed to get up and over the top before the snow arrived, so I had to leave around 2 PM. I made good time through Grass Valley and up to Donner Summit, where I encountered light snow (and a lot of people playing in the snow despite all of the Caltrans signs saying "No Sno-Play") at the Donner Summit rest area. The pavement was dry, however, and I continued on to Reno, with the snow turning to rain and then giving way only to some really heavy wind.
The wind was pretty wild, and I was very glad that the minivan is chock-a-block with boxes and boxes of books, because those boxes are heavy and without it, I would have been blown around even more than I was. As I left Sparks, the wind intensified, and I slowed down because there were tumbleweeds all over the freeway. Lots of tumbleweeds, some of them the size of small sheep. I didn't want to hit any of the large ones; they can get trapped under the van and under the worst cases, catch fire on a hot engine. Other people blithely shot through at 70 MPH, but I slowed down and mostly managed to dodge the pesky things. Incidentally, while tumbleweeds are often portrayed as stereotypically a "traditional Wild West" thing, I read not too long ago that they're actually an imported pest of a plant called the Russian Thistle and are not native to North America. Picturesque they may be, but I could live without them.
I got back home to Fernley just after sundown, stopping to pick up a few groceries along the way. Lisa has had a very disordered sleep schedule these past few days and had warned me that she'd probably be asleep in the trailer when I got home (she was) and that it would be best to leave her be (I did). She's been busy in the house, putting up a new light fixture in the living room that throws a whole lot more light on what has been a dreadfully dark room.
Not that I would have unpacked the van in the dark anyhow, but I'm happy to leave it sitting there weighed down with 30 or 40 boxes of books. The way this wind is blowing (dust storm warnings are up), I might find the van blown halfway to Fallon tomorrow morning otherwise.