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Back Home after Tough Drive

While my Mercedes Sprinter photography adventure van has been a tremendous boon in the field for photography, saving me a lot of time (and adding a lot of comfort), it has eaten up some time lately as an ongoing multi-stage project, such as adding a 2nd 5 kilowatt battery.

Yesterday I drove to Reno to have a 47.55 gallon fuel tank for Mercedes Sprinter installed, replacing the 26.4 gallon stock tank. All is well, and now I can stay up in the White Mountains and similar remote locations, where 26.4 gallons just doesn’t cut it for more than a few days (can burn 3-4 gallons just getting there and 0.8 gallons/hour idling for heat and charging).

Today I returned after an extremely demanding drive home. Last night a major storm blew in, and up at Boreal off I80 I was told that I’d be towed if I stayed there since several feet of snow were expected. So I headed west on I80 and what an awful drive trying to see through blinding snow and hardly being able to see the road while big rigs coasted up my ass. Pretty wiped out by then (had gotten up at 4 AM to drive to Reno), I did not feel like dying, so I pulled over and slept the night in a roadside stop just east of Colfax on I80. That’s one of the benefits of the Sprinter—any spot will do.

This morning, I waited until 10 AM when things seemed to have settled down to mild rain. That was premature. I made it home through 50 mph blasts of wind from the side, which is not fun in a high-top Sprinter even with its stability system. Add in blinding downpours just to spice it up. It was a harrowing drive I don’t ever want to repeat.

Jackasses abounded (the rabbit analogy is perfect), dropping their speed from +10 over the limit down to 65 mph—I watched one idiot spin out a full 180° about 100 yards ahead of me—hydroplaning I think. A 2nd idiot in the left lane seemed to think this was just an opportunity to pass me, accelerating to pass me on the left, deftly swerving around the spun vehicle and (one can wish) heading towards a nice deep watery ditch somewhere.

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