Sunday, January 6, 2008
Such is life that a levee breaks in a small town along I-80 about 40 miles east of Reno and the weekend takes a totally unexpected turn. You may have seen on the news that about 3,500 people were flooded out of 400 homes amid a nasty winter storm up here.
Well, The New York Times asked me to get up here to Fernley, Nev., and dispatched a freelance photographer from Sacramento. Both of us had serious access problems. The Reno airport was shut down because of weather much of the afternoon, so I rented a 4-wheel-drive Ford Escape (with an mp3 jack, natch) and drove the 400 miles north, snapping the pic above along the way.
Our photog got turned away trying to get over the Sierras for hours when I-80 was shut down. Both of us got here after midnight and will be up early Sunday looking for poor displaced souls to talk to for a piece for Monday's paper. It's a rather Herculean effort for a story that, I suspect, will not prove to be of great national importance as 400 homes isn't much, really, and nobody was seriously injured. But, to give you a sense of how silly the presidential campaign has become, both Hillary and Obama issued statements of solidarity with the suffering people of Fernley ahead of our Jan. 19 first-in-the-West caucuses. After that, something tells me they won't care so much about the good Fernleyans. Or, at least one of them sure won't, anyhow.
Meanwhile, I stopped for a potty break in the charming old-Nevada town of Fallon and thought you'd enjoy some pics of it. Fallon has a Naval Air Station but is best known as the scene of the most expensive cancer cluster investigation in U.S. history, which utterly failed to discern what caused several children to come down with leukemia. I covered it for Newsweek and the Boston Globe in 2003.
Don't think I wasn't tempted by the wares at Phat Tatz...
And finally, knowing how much Miles adores the snow, I figured I'd show him a little because, hey, nothing says romance like writing your partner's name in the snow collected on a garbage bin, am I right?