Last night we drove to Vegas to stock up on food and buy some warmer camping clothes at REI before starting the 7 hour drive to Elko, Nevada. We drove about two hours out of the city and spent the night in our car at a campground.
We started driving toward Elko early this morning and arrived at South Fork State Park just outside the town in the early afternoon. I didn’t have any reactions on the trip but as soon as we pulled into the campsite I burst into hives all over my arms and legs. We could not believe it! It was such a nice campsite with shelter and bathrooms and it was completely empty! It would have been so perfect!
We drove away and stopped on the side of the road to decontaminate. I rinsed my hair with water, wiped down exposed areas with a wet paper towel and changed my shirt. The itching stopped and the hives immediately started fading.
We decided we would try the campground on the other side of South Fork State Park even though there was a chance it wouldn’t work either. As we drove past the same area my hives started to pop out again but we kept going, just in case the other side of the park would end up being okay for me.
Sadly, my symptoms continued to progress. My eye sockets began to hurt terribly, my eyelids started to feel really heavy, I got a headache, my back began to hurt, and I started to feel nauseous. It was clear that we couldn’t stay. We turned around and when we got far enough away, I got out of the car to decontaminate again. Almost immediately, I started to feel better.
We decided to drive to the Ruby Mountains next and check out the campsites there. The air felt wonderful in that area, just as good as my favorite spot in Death Valley. Sadly, it was pretty cold, there was snow on the roads, and all the campsites were closed. Then it started raining. How disappointing!
We didn’t know what to do at this point so we drove back into cell reception and called my family to ask for prayer. We saw a big sign for a Hilton Garden Inn, a hotel chain other Biotoxin Illness sufferers have had success with. We decided to try it even though my mold doctor, Dr. Patel, doesn’t want me going into buildings that haven’t been ERMI tested. We figured that my instantaneous reactions are probably even more accurate than testing by now.
We were both nervous as we walked into the building trying not to get our hopes up. It was hard not to start dreaming about a warm shower, a real toilet, a soft inviting bed and all the productive work we would be able to get done with internet access. As soon as we stepped into the elevator I started getting itchy. Maybe it was just the elevator, I told myself.
We unlocked the door to our room, full of anticipation, and walked in. It only took a few seconds before hives started popping up. We turned around and got out of there fast, but it was clear from our serious disappointment that we hadn’t done a very good job of not getting our hopes up. What would we do now?
I dunked miserably cold water on my head again, changed my shirt and waited in the car while Brett talked to Sara Mattson.
We knew we could sleep in the car again but it was too cold and rainy in Elko. We decided to drive towards Wendover, Utah where it would be warmer and look for a place to sleep there. Sara had mentioned the Bonneville Salt Flats to us so we set our GPS to take us there.
We drove for a couple hours in the dark when all of the sudden the lines on the road disappeared and all we could see was this dark stuff on the road ahead. What was that? We were going 50mph and Brett slammed on the brakes. We stopped, just a few feet away from a massive body of water stretching farther than we could see. The road turns into lake?! What?! And there was no sign to warn us?!
Our hearts were pounding as adrenaline rushed through our veins and yet the GPS told us to keep going right into the middle of the lake. We slowly backed away from the water and turned around.
It turns out that the Bonneville Salt Flats are covered with shallow water during this time of year. We spotted a sheet of printer paper inside a plastic page protector that was taped to a sign. It informed us that cars are not allowed on the salt flats when they are wet. Crazy!
The road transitioned seamlessly into salt which transitioned seamlessly into water, after only a few feet. If we hadn’t been paying close attention we would have ended up in the water!
Eventually we found a little dirt road nearby and settled into our seats to try to catch a wink of sleep. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I started reacting to something again. We were still quite close to the city of Wendover so it could have been anything. I couldn’t believe I had to decontaminate again! Pouring cold water on my head at 11:00pm when it was 55 degrees outside and windy was terrible!
We joked that we were now on plan Z and continued our search for a place to sleep. We finally ended up on the side of the road in a little nook just outside of Wendover. I didn’t react so we got as comfortable as we could and fell asleep. What a day!
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