Even though last night had a clear sky, I woke around 1am and checked the clouds to see if a lightning storm was coming. In the dark even I could tell that the clouds looked like happy clouds, but I wasn't taking any chances. I broke down my tent, put away all my sleeping stuff, and slept in my car with a pillow and a blanket. I woke up around 3:30am and drove to my bird point, and of course the skies were clear and beautiful. Even on nice nights I can't sleep and think too much about lightning.
The county road was now dry, and my car had no problem making it to my point. I hiked in for a ways, the whole landscape had standing water like a bog. There were lots of meadowlarks, and my favorite, upland sandpipers which sound like a guy whistling at a girl. I think I accidentally did some points on private land, but no one asked me what I was doing.
When I was done, I drove the short way to Upton then I drove to Newcastle. I spent hours in the library, and emailed Erin to give me a call when she was in town. She emailed back right away that she was in the Newcastle library. I emailed back that I also was in the Newcastle library and I looked around a bookcase and saw her. We talked about frightening lighting storms, muddy roads, bears, and hard transects. Then we did paperwork and she called landowners while laying on the library sofa, her bare feet out of her flip flops dangling in the air. She sounded like such the surfer girl she is on the phone, with such a friendly tone, and from what I heard she got all the landowner permissions that day. Even a long conversation about birds with someone on native land granted her her access, something she was worried about. I was waiting till 7pm to call my landowners, because that is when ranchers actually answer their phones in my opinion. So many at home wives tell me that they have to consult their husband when he comes in from the ranch. I did make a call to one up by the Montana border though, and he was a friendly oil man and granted me access after a quick chat. He laughed when I told him what I drove and said I should make it alright on his nice roads though, if I made it there even.
Erin and I had dinner at a restaurant across from the library, she was set on having a burger but changed her mind when she saw the ravioli special. I could only afford a slice of pizza, money was really low. A lady at another table talked to us about saguaros in Tucson where she was from, while I savored every bite of my dinner.
I stayed late reading magazines long after Erin left at the library, just trying to be selfish and reclaim time for myself. It seems this job blurs the lines of working and not working, and I don't get to do the things I normally would after coming home from work after a long day. I finally drove to South Dakota to camp for free up on Forest Service land.
I just went across the border and looked at a detailed map of forest roads the lady at the headquarters gave me earlier that day when I talked to her about camping. I didn't drive far down one road, until I parked my car. I could hear the highway and several forest fire trucks that kept coming down a nearby road. I pulled everything out of my car to move the large trunk in my backseat to the car trunk, allowing room to sleep in my backseat on scary weather nights. I even organized my food in an easy to find way, and put everything in a good place. Everything at easy access for living out of my car. I had a good nights sleep surrounded by tall pine trees, not scared of lightning. I'm such a city girl still sometimes.