We all have our tales of woe about getting to Burning Man, but this one is of another order of magnitude.
The getting ready is always a challenge. You have to remember everything you need to make it for a week in the unforgiving desert. And you want to do more than just make it: you want to live with some style.
But doesn’t it always seem that the unexpected rises up and bites you in the behind just when you’re about to leave? It sure did for Epona, Witchcraft, and 10-9.
They had originally planned to leave from Oakland last Thursday, but that’s the day Epona discovered that the water pump on her truck had stopped working. But her regular mechanic (and boyfriend), Alipato, was already on the playa. The repairs would have been really expensive, so they decided to use 10-9′s car instead, and they pushed back their departure until Friday.
On Friday, 10-9 found out that a friend had died a few weeks earlier. That’s a different story for a different day. But 10-9 could no longer leave on Friday, so they pushed back their departure again, to Saturday.
Witchcraft called Epona on Saturday to see where she was. “Oh, I’m in the emergency room,” she said. While she was packing, a knife fell from a top shelf and pierced through the back of her hand. And not just any knife — this one had been a gift from her ex-boyfriend. “Oh, going to join your lover in the fabulous desert?” the past seemed to be saying. “Oh no you’re not!”
So she got patched up, and the new plan would be to leave on Sunday. Finally. Three days late, but they’d get here.
But no. Not yet.
On Sunday, 10-9′s car went dead. Bad battery, bad alternator. Beany, a DPW friend in Oakland who’ll be coming up later, came to their rescue. She installed the new battery and generator and got everything squared away. Beany then gave the engine a final going over, and in the process, one of the distributor wires snapped. (It was going to happen anyway, and better that it happened in Oakland rather than on Rte. 447 in the middle of nowhere.)
Anyway, Beany found an auto parts store still open at 6 pm on a Sunday, got the parts she needed, and finished installing them in in the dark, with help from car headlights.
So the trio finally left the next day, and they made it up here late Monday night. Their cars had failed them. A friend had died. Another friend had come to their rescue, and finally they were able to make it to the place they love.
Many many wonderful things happen here. But they often come at a price. And that only makes the experience that much more precious.
(PS: Feel free to share your own trials and tribulations of making it to the playa.)