It’s been a long 48 hours. I’m not entirely sure what day it is. But after listening to my field mate’s music I am certain of one thing: I want to hunt down and kill the next artist I hear singing a bubbly love song…and maybe have a beer and discuss plans for kidnapping my ex-boyfriend’s dog with the next musician I hear singing a what-doesn’t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger-he/she-is-a-moron-for-leaving power ballad. Side note, I don’t want to harm his dog, I am slightly concerned about it’s well-being actually. It should be on a heart worm medicine regime considering he takes him to parts of the country overwhelmed with the parasite and I know it’s not. This thought emerged this morning when I was being devoured by mosquitoes… But I digress.
The beginning of my adventure to Phoenix started when I left Reno at 10:00am on Sunday and arrived at LAS airport early, only to be delayed on the tarmac…but BFD. I got off the plane eventually and my field mate and I took a cab to USGS where our field truck was parked. Another side note: Vegas is a shitty town. I could not stand on the parking lot in my converse without my feet burning like I was standing on hot coals for more than 5 minutes. Why live there? We got to our field vehicle only to realize we had one centrifuge in the car and about 100 capillary tubes. Not enough capillary tubes to process all our blood samples and one centrifuge short to create an efficient lab in our hotel room. We made about 15 phone calls – no one answered.
After spending 2 hours and 59 minutes too long in Vegas, we drove off in our field vehicle, headed for Phoenix. We would have more capillary tubes shipped to our hotel, and we would make due with one centrifuge. Things would be ok.
While driving to Phoenix, we pass Lake Mead, saw a beautiful rainbow and
drove through a fantastic lightening storm ran out of gas in a lightening storm only 30 minutes away from our hotel. We had to walk 2 miles in the pouring rain to a gas station. This really didn’t bother me as much as you might think. We had been driving for almost five hours and I hadn’t been in a rain storm like this in years. We bought the gas, put gas in the truck, filled up the tank and we were off. After our three hour delay back in Vegas though, this hour delay set us back even more. And now, we weren’t going to get to the hotel until about 9 or 10 and we had to buy breakfast and lunch food for the field. Also, we had to be in the field by 5:30am the next morning. I really just wanted to sleep once we had the truck going again.
None the less, we had to buy supplies. So we checked into the hotel and headed to the nearest grocery store. As soon as we get out of the car at the grocery store, we heard a sickening sound. A hissing sound. We had a flat. In fact all four tires were on their last leg. The wall on the right rear had just worn through. Is this really happening? I’m still soaking from our jaunt to the gas station and now I have to change a tire.
C, my field mate, called her boss. “We have a flat and I’m buying 4 new tires tomorrow” “No! Don’t buy 4 new tires that’s too expensive!” “OK, then I’ll buy 3″ “Don’t do that either, you have to buy them in even numbers…buy 4!”
I started changing the tire. No tools in the truck would take off the lug nuts. The jack wouldn’t jack up the truck, it was too low and wouldn’t even crank. Life sucks. I thought. Life sucks. And then, two men, native Arizonians, took over, and changed our tire. One, worked at Olive Garden, still had his white dress shirt on and started rolling around the parking lot turning his white shirt almost completely black. Another, had a pick-up filled with odds and ends and and was able to jack the truck up off the ground. Once the tire was changed, they left without even sharing their names.
C and I got back to the hotel around 12am. We had to get up early to find saline and a meat thermometer for field work the next day. I was eaten alive by mosquitoes today and I am running on less than four hours sleep. But, I have caught tortoises and seen rattlesnakes. ….that almost makes up for the shitty 48 hours and the heart break.
As for Phoenix, I am never living here. Any place that forces you to be inside between the hours of 10am and 6pm is unnatural…even for a herpetologist.