Today I relieved Scott, who had been camped out at the locked gate to the YFZ ranch. It was pretty quiet, just a few journos here (three, to be exact), killing time.
But there’s always something to write home about, right? Here’s what has happened in the past few hours on the lonely road:
1. An older gentleman in a pink shirt with a Big Ten baseball cap drove out to Texas, hoping to convert FLDS members to what he sees as legitimate Christianity. So far, in the first couple of hours he’s told me twice how much better his laptop is than mine. I agreed, and told him to call my boss so that they’ll buy me a new one.
2. Sightseers. A truck pulls up and two guys stare through binoculars at the distant temple and then leaves a minute later. A Forest Service truck (Forest Service) does the same. A photographer quips that the two are using taxpayer gas to drive out and stare at the ranch. A couple pulls up in a luxury SUV and ask, “Any breaking news?” When we tell them there’s nothing going on, they offer beers to the few of us sitting here. A couple guys indulge, clanking their bottles together: “Cheers!”
3. A white or silver truck (above) is parked at the top of a large rock pile out on the ranch, with a good view of the entire area. I’m guessing the people in the truck are watching us. Another black truck occasionally drives up the rock pile to stop and chat, then leaves.
4. A man in pink shorts and his son from Seattle stop by, a minor detour in a roadtrip back home. They eat sandwiches and take a few snaps of themselves at the gate with a point and shoot camera.
5. A fast-moving single-prop plane buzzes over the ranch, and as it goes over us, “USAF” is clearly visible on its blue belly. Some kind of WW2-era fighter. It flies off.
6. A young FLDS man in a truck with a trailer attached drives up to the gate. He unlocks it and drives off. I wave. He waves back.
7. The older guy from item #1 comes back to my car just now carrying his “slick as a whistle” 17-inch laptop to show me just how bright the LED screen is. He leans into my rental car, encouraging me to take my boss to the Apple store and show them the comparison to my “old” screen and his new one, which you can read in direct sunlight. I assure him that any such comparison would probably do little for me getting a new computer. I’d have better luck just dunking my laptop into the bathtub at my hotel room.
What will happen next here on County Road 300? I’ll be sure to let you know.