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Refried reflects on the day we’d all been working for.

Good morning from Black Rock City, resident population ~200!

Sunday was “the day.” The time had come to make the move from Gerlach Estates to the playa. After breakfast (and one last hot shower) I loaded up my gear and Iconoclast and I caravaned our VW buses to the 8-mile playa entrance. Pearl was there to greet us at the entrance to Gate Road, a spot he’ll be very familiar with for the next three weeks or so. Be sure to say “hi” to him on your way in.

All alone at 8:30 & Bipolar
All alone at 8:30 & Bipolar

It’s tough to describe what it feels like out here. The roads have been driven in (though street signs won’t be up for a few days), a ribbon of bright-orange perimeter fence encircles us like the walls of medieval city, huge trucks and and cranes and forklifts and wooden structures under construction loom on the horizon, and neat little rows of porta-potties line up like soldiers going to war. She may still be bare-bones at this point, but the undeniable fact is that Black Rock City has risen from the dust once again. There are pockets of frenetic energy scattered about – the Man base, Center Camp, and transport crews are all hard at work — but it’s also incredibly serene and peaceful and, yes, even quiet.

Johnny is on the spot
Johnny is on the spot

Speaking of porta-potties. Today I did something incredible – I stepped into one of the bright blue plastic boxes for my morning constitutional and not only did I breathe freely, I inhaled deeply. Why? Because I could. Try that in three weeks.

Clouds gather over the Rodeo
Clouds gather over the Rodeo

Most of the DPW has settled in on the outskirts of the city – christening a swath of the block between 7:00 and 7:30 and between Gestalt and Hysteria the “DPW Rodeo.” Despite the fact that we’ve all been living and playing together in close quarters for the past few weeks, there was palpable excitement and a renewed energy in the dry, dusty air. One by one, new and old friends alike were welcomed to camp, with shouts of “INCOMING!” announcing the arrival of each new car. We’ll be here until they make us leave in September. Y’all come by and pay us a visit ya hear? (Bring beer. Lots of beer. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.)

Mr. Fixit, Vermont Eli & Lucky at the Rodeo
Mr. Fixit, Vermont Eli & Lucky at the Rodeo

Another thing that struck me today was that, suddenly, us DPDubyers are not alone. There are now all sorts of other folks setting about their business in Black Rock. Placers ride around on their chopper tricycles busily marking theme camp spaces, the commissary team is preparing to keep us fed and happy, several crews from large-scale art projects are making magic, the tech tem is here opening the lines of communication, and while federal and local law enforcement are set up at the “cop shop” on the south side of the city near the gate, our very own Black Rock Rangers and medics have set up their outpost on the 9:00 plaza.

Homage to 2004
Homage to 2004

On a personal note, I took a few minutes yesterday to ride my bike to the very spot where I camped last year. 2004 was my first Burn so that spot will always be hallowed ground to me. Thanks to all of you who made it special. And here’s to all the beautiful, crazy souls on their way here. Hurry home. Black Rock City is waiting.

About the author: MattyD

Matt Roth is Deputy Editor of Streetsblog San Francisco, and a rabid bicycle enthusiast working towards the realization of a world full of bike-friendly cities.

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