It’s a Dusty One, Folks

Pop quiz: what makes for a solid playa conditions? Answer: A winter season full of precipitation, which compacts and solidifies the playa surface.

Whiteout Inside a Tent, photo by Joseph Pred, taken August 13, 2012.

Well, folks, due to one of the most anemic winters the west coast has seen since 1977, this promises to be one of the dustiest years ever in Black Rock City. If 2011 was your first year, YOU WERE BLESSED BY UNBELIEVABLY GOOD WEATHER AND PLAYA CONDITIONS. It was an anomaly at best, and it won’t be like that this year, no siree. Veteran Burners will tell you that dust is always an integral part of the experience, and it’s so very true … but as much as we revel in and love its alkaline awesomeness, it’s much less fun when you’re not prepared for it.

So you’re really going to want to double down on your dust prevention efforts. Carry goggles and a dust mask (we prefer bandanas, as they’re more flexible) with you at all times, bring plastic tubs and ziplock bags to keep your stuff dust-free (until it’s not), and do your best to dust-proof your shelter (hint: a summer tent with mesh walls will quickly become a dust bucket). Bring fat-tired bikes to push through the heavy dunes, extra contact lenses, plenty of baby wipes to clean yourself off, olive oil to unstick your various zippers … you get the idea. Oh and we’ve got some advice for asthmatics on playa.

Dusty Hugs, photo by Anthony Peterson, 2008

It’s also important to be aware of how to deal and what to do in whiteout and storm conditions, which can whip up at a moment’s notice. The most important one? Don’t move in a whiteout … stop driving, stop riding your bike, find someplace safe to hunker down until it passes. More information and tips can be found in the (aptly named) Survival Guide. And never leave your camp without first battening down everything that could blow away.

Lastly, it’s looking like it might be HOT too. We’re seeing daytime temperatures in the triple digits this week. Of course, weather can change on a dime, and it gets COLD at night, so prepare for all conditions. Welcome to the radical self-reliance part of Burning Man. We’ll keep the light on for ya.

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase first attended Burning Man 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art headquarters) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004-2009, then transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009 to become Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He's the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Voices of Burning Man blog, and content manager for Burning Man’s websites. He also manages the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social networking efforts.

114 thoughts on “It’s a Dusty One, Folks

  • i’ve been to every burn since 1996, and i will second this: last year was INCREDIBLY perfect — almost impossibly so. dust storms are normally the rule, and this year is going to be VERY dusty because of the dry winter here in northern nevada. BE READY, CITIZENS.

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  • Embrace the dust!

    Just be sure to keep cameras, phones, other electronics in a ziploc bag – dust isn’t great for waterproof cases, which often cost as much as the devices they protect…

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  • 2011 was our first burn so we got dust lucky! Not going to make it back this year but will again some day. Will be anxious to hear the stories from our compadre who is returning!

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  • I was indeed lucky that 2011 was my first year. I can’t make it this year but will be back next year. The first 2 days of wind in 2011 were enough that a year later my truck still smells like playa when I turn on the air conditioning, and I swear there is still dust on my tent. But I took a gallon of vinegar and sprayed my bike several times a day (I had heavily siliconed it before I went, and it came through like a champ). It will also be back next year, because it loves Burning Man. Have fun in the dust! Don’t forget your goggles and bandanna! Burn on! Say hi to Barbie Death Camp for me.

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  • Yay! I for one am glad that it’s gonna be very dusty this year! It’s like a higher power is thumbing their nose to bmorg for wanting newbies instead of the more worthy veterans! Nanananana

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  • Okay, in seriousness I don’t hope anybody gets any kind of anything except maybe a hug from the deli.

    BUT! Do heed these rules! DO double down on rebar/stakes. I don’t want to get killed by your dome.

    Also, I think that the event is actually going to end up being *undersold* this year. There are SO many tickets available right now.

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  • “Now that the golden spike has been driven, it’s time for my annual playa dust rant. Please don’t ask people at BRC to update you on the dust. It’s dusty. In years when it isn’t as dusty, it’s dusty. In years it wasn’t so dusty you still brought goggles and masks and vinegar and sunscreen and your shower. In years it was extra dusty you brought the same stuff. The years they told you
    it was extra dusty you still went. The years they told you it wasn’t dusty you still went. Some years there were dire warnings of worst dust ever and it was lovely. Some years there were cheers that it was nice and not dusty and it was dire. And for many of those trips your good and/or bad times were not necessarily caused by the level of dustiness or non-dustiness. So let me just tell you, in advance, to STFU about dust reports, and go to the desert, and have a great time. BTW, It’s going to be dusty. It’s always dusty. Plan accordingly.”- the CTP

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  • Ah, this might turn out to be fun to watch (assuming that we can see it through the whiteouts!)

    I can’t say I was there during the WORST of the years, but I was there in 2002 when conditions were good through the week, but on Tuesday, they had the WORST storm imaginable that roared for almost a full day and literally left dustdrifts (like snowdrifts but not white or pretty or cold LOL) piled up to several feet in various locations, and in 2003 when we had the Sunday whiteout before the temple burn that lasted most of the afternoon and kept our art car driver stuck in the deep playa for several hours, and in 2007 when we had similar conditions, and 2009 when the burn almost didn’t come off because of the Saturday whiteout, etc. As has been noted, last year was a freakin’ anomaly and all of last year’s virgin burners are probably saying “oh, right, WE were there, we know what it will be like.” Wrong, pilgrims, you couldn’t be any more wrong LOL!

    As I said, this could be a lot of fun to observe :-)

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  • Dust storms!!!!!! getting trapped at various camps with random people that you’d otherwise not get to meet? …… seems like so many probably scenerios will emerge due to worse (or better :-) )conditions that will result in some epic stories that might have been missed due to perfect weather.

    +1 for the dust.

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  • The “cold” night time temps have been in the mid-60’s.

    The average nighttime low during the days spanned by the 2012 event is 53 degrees.

    It has never been below freezing during the event (duh, it’s August and the first week of September), BUT the temps feel very low when it is 35-40 degrees cooler than it was during the daytime.

    Have fun!

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  • The lens on that camera is just dusty. I checked the surf report for Black Rock City and it said that there was zero dust and that all of the margarita machines were working properly.

    Clean your camera lens, Will, jeez.

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  • @Hex,

    2008 was your virgin year? Whoo hoo, you’re prepared for almost anything. I was working in the Cafe when the Monday storm hit. After my shift, made my way back to camp; luckily was camping in Cafe Village and it was pretty close, then hunkered in my van watching drifts of dust growing on the inside of the windowsills and putting ‘mister system’ on my list of next year’s stuff. Hot as hell too.

    Heard about people leaving on Tuesday, which was a hoot for me because the next three days were pretty nice.

    Bring it on! *Puts more painter’s tape to seal windows of van on list*

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  • Yes, I remember a couple of years where walking was the mode of trasportation, navigation was by remembering where the camps were/are, and anything of value (food, electronics, clothes) were kept in zip-locs or plastic boxes – opened only when there was no wind/dust event occuring.
    All years have there own personality. This one could be rough, which means for theme/camps people will be staying closer to home. The newbs who are camping on their own for the first time, well they should learn who their neighbors are and learn about goggles, filters and timing. Timing- like when to head out to the portapotties, when to cook, when to shower and when to walk about.
    Yep, a hard year, should be fun especially at the Arghh Bar.
    ghost

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  • As I was happy to have such beautiful weather last year, I was also sad as I feel like the dust storms are a huge part of burning man for me. I have witness so many wonderful events unfold during a dust storm, as emotions can run high during them. I used to let my fears get the best of me during a dust storm but one year someone made me realize just how beautiful they are and how fun and exciting they can be. I try to do that to people I find who are miserable during dust storms and just want them to end, I hope I have helped a few enjoy them and make the best of them. I can’t wait for a dusty year.. I simply can’t wait. :)

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  • I applaud the courage of those who say “bring it on” to the dust storms, but, I have a strong belief that those people aren’t the ones who will be up on scaffolding turning wrenches or down on the ground trying to put Black Rock City together during a white-out. They’re not the pilots, the pyrotechnicians or the fire spinners…

    A perfect burn would be a warm week with a dust storm on Thursday just to shake things up and to break in the newbies. (By the way, there are two types of virgins…those who have been getting their asses kicked all week building the city, and the newbies who arrive at the end of the week and aren’t yet farting up playa dust.)

    Forecast for thunderstorms this week, chance of rain. LOL. Too late now.

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  • So just for newbies like myself… does this mean we’re going to be walking around in a constant dust cloud 24/7? will we see blue sky at all? will it be sporadic? sorry, I’m from Australia we don’t have dust there, just kangaroos.

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  • Sorry, not meaning to shout. This is a direct quote from the NWS, with some middle stuff taken out, which you can get from blackrockdesert.org

    AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RENO NV
    240 PM PDT MON AUG 13 2012

    .SHORT TERM…
    EXPANDED COVERAGE OF SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY
    AND RAISED POP SLIGHTLY IN THE SIERRA AND SOUTH OF RENO ON
    WEDNESDAY, OTHERWISE LITTLE CHANGE TO SHORT TERM FORECAST. THE
    FOCUS THE NEXT FEW DAYS WILL CONTINUE TO BE THUNDERSTORMS AND THE
    POTENTIAL FOR HEAVY RAINFALL. …

    …SHOWERS INTO THE
    FORECAST ACROSS FAR NORTHEAST CALIFORNIA AND NORTHWEST NEVADA
    OVERNIGHT SATURDAY. MODELS PRODUCING SOME QPF IN THESE AREAS AS
    THE OFFSHORE LOW DRAWS UP MOISTURE ACROSS THE REGION. OTHERWISE, CONTINUING THE ONGOING FORECAST WITH WIDESPREAD THUNDERSTORM CHANCES FRI/SAT, THEN CONFINING STORMS SOUTH OF HWY 50
    BY SUNDAY AS THE LOW EJECTS NORTHEAST. A COOLING TREND IS ALSO
    EXPECTED AS BOTH THE EC/GFS DIG ANOTHER TROUGH OFFSHORE OF THE WEST COAST TO START NEXT WEEK. EXPECT A RETURN TO THE ZEPHYR SAT AND SUN WITH MUCH DRIER AIR NORTH OF I-80.

    The Gerlach live cam shows what appears to be clouds over a peculiar shimmering light way out on the playa.

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  • Pixie Dust! Princess Dust! Playa Magic Moon Dust! Just thinking…why don’t we all plan to hunker down and sleep all day and then plan to Have the wonderful opportunity to Playa Play all night as the winds usually die down…Dusty glass half full during the day trades out for dusty glass have empty at night which means beer glass half empty equals not enough beer (or too damn much dust in your drink). Be prepared boy and girl scouts. It’s not like your not going to go and burn ’cause too much dust is in the forecast…just sayin’ XOXOXO

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  • @Nomadic
    A few years ago in the middle of an extremely dense white out where visibility was down to about 3 m, I put on my ski goggles and my dust mask and proceeded to go out and just get lost in it. It was fun when I would stumble across people and of course they would ask you know where we are? Fuck no. That was the whole point. Had I made it to the trash fence then I would have known I was at some point along the pentagonal perimeter.
    Thing is the very weird part of it all was I could look up and see clouds and blue sky tinted by the dust in the air. It was cool, I was just tripping on the other world sort of experience that it was. Very often the dust storms are a shallow windblown phenomena. I will add that in my 10 years, there have always been some calm days with plenty of sun and blue sky.

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  • It is not going to be windy all the time. If it blows over 10MPH it will get very dusty. Some people like it more than others. If it gets over 20MPH it will be hard to see.

    When the lakebed is soft, bike tires, cars and footsteps will kick up dust in front of you without wind.

    I have out there 8 times since 99 including some very dusty years. 2010 and 2011 were amazing years for low dust.

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  • To all my fellow burners: Veterans, Virgins, Potentials, Non-potentials: I have heard many warnings about the dust this year…Yes, it will be dusty, considering there was no rain this winter. But guess what? we are going to the DESERT! and I believe the desert is dusty…see? Yes, come prepared-of course…shouldn’t we always be prepared? I am beyond excited-this amazing gathering of INFINTE Love & BLISS, glorious play-time, gravitational silliness, mind-blowing art, and exponential joy is upon us. and No amount of fairy dust is going to stop that. BRING IT ON! This year is going to be epic-I CAN FEEL IT. I welcome all of you to join me in the desert. As this is going to be one of the best experiences of my entire life. And I simply want this for all of you :) BIG UPS to all the courageous and wonderful warriors who are already joining me on this journey. And for those of you who are still in limbo, or who have never even thought of going, i strongly encourage you to at least entertain the idea. There are many tickets still available. and if not this year, let this be the seed planted in your mind for the next years to come. :) Much Love, Light, and Laughter to all. With Upmost Sincerity, your loyal friend, advisor, and certified Bliss Junkie, Sara D. Vogel

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  • Had heard soooo much about the whiteouts that, as a burgin in ’10, I rode all the way across the playa in one, just for the thrill– YAY! Last year got caught in the Pink Love tent during the only big one I can remember. Bring it on! <3

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  • Here’s hoping that word about the dust this year will cut back next year those who are merely attending to check an item off of their bucket list. Not *all* newbies, mind you — a burner has to start *some*time — but those non-participants who go “well, that was cool,” and never attend again.

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  • Last year was my first and everyone said how lucky we were to experience that type of weather. Can’t wait to experience the real extremes of BM and get dusty. And for those wishing for newbies and others to be deterred from going again…you guys are not great examples of the BM culture.

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  • I’m not happy about this at all. I’m a photographer and I plan to take many pictures of the event. This could ruin everything!

    Why can’t they just water down the surface? This is not acceptable.

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  • dust storms or not – if u end up at a party, it’s gonna look like mad max – goggles & REAL dust mask (painters respirators) are essential. Bman is no joke – ive been reminding my virgins to prepare for the apocalypse – this can be the best training for the rest of your life. I hope we can always keep bman – preparing for this year has been an awesome experience – thanks to all the people who make this happen every year & please KEEP IT GOING
    ——>

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  • I’m super put off by all the nasty comments about newbies. I get that a lot of people are pissed about the way the lottery went this year, but can you blame us for wanting to be part of something so amazing? Dust or not, I’m glad this is my virgin year.

    Pop my dust cherry, Playa! Let’s be good friends you and I. :-)

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  • I have to say all the animosity towards the virgins is completely hypocritical to the vibe and mindset burners should have. Yes it’s my first year and yes I am excited beyon belief to go to this dreamland and never want to come back! I know I will encounter people who are bitter that I’m a newbie but I know I deserve to go, and more so than people who are spreading anything but love. I can’t wait to get that first layer of dust on me!! .. And the many many layers after.. See all you lovely people very soon!

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  • To all of you virgin burners, i can’t wait to meet you and dance with you in the dust!

    Come by RockStar Orphans at 7:15 & B for refreshment and shelter from the elements..

    We were all virgins once, let’s chill out and welcome all 25000 of them!

    Burning Man is never as incredible and amazing as it was the first time, and i think the veterans are just jealous! :o)

    Let virgin smiles lift up our spirits!

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  • I may be a repeat burner, but we were all virgins sometime! I did quite a lot of research my first year (2007) to try to make sure I was prepared to be radically self-reliant, but nothing will tell you how to prepare quite like experience. I just plan to help the virgins as best I can! They’re part of our community, too, so let’s make them feel welcome.

    Also, one of the best experiences I had in my first year was when I got caught in a whiteout. It was at the Critical Tits after party. We were a huge group of women all out in a circle of art cars in the open playa. We couldn’t get back to shelter, so there was nothing for it but to stay and enjoy ourselves in conditions that stopped us from being able to see anything more than a few dancers away from us. We all got dusty and speckled with rain. Drinks got filled with dust. It was amazing! On my way back to the city after the air had cleared, my bike got caught in a drift of dust, and only because I had to get off and walk it out of the drift did I notice the vivid double rainbow arching over the temple right behind me. It was awe-inspiring, and I would never have seen it if I hadn’t gotten caught in the dust.

    Love the storms! Love the dust! It’s all part of the experience!

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  • It isn’t bitterness towards newbies in general, but a general desire to weed out the ‘fair-weather burners’ (if there is such a thing), from those that really want to burn, dust or alpha or rainstorm, or 2011 weather. The comment from Tanna says it all- oh pout, I want good photographs! I have no idea what I’m getting into, have done no real research, and why won’t they follow my totally clueless suggestion?

    Apocolyptic years separate the wheat from the chaff, and the conditions this year, like 2008, will weed out plenty of people who just can’t handle it. The burn is held in a remote, inhospitable location. On a good weather year, the biggest logistic hurdle is just getting there with basic supplies. On an apocolyptic year, the reason the back of the ticket says “you may suffer injury or death” becomes apparent, and those that aren’t truly prepared for that are gonna be fucked. Years like this keep the population down-people leave early and instead of going home and telling friends about the magic, sparkly event they attended (which it is-but in a different way), they tell about the hell they endured until they fled.

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  • Pink, on that note – what would you suggest are the major things that people need to bring to go above and beyond on preparation? I’m bringing an industrial grade dust mask, a rescue inhaler, and a tent that has no mesh vents other than one under the rain fly to keep out playa dust.

    Other things we newbies who want to be truly self-sufficient and prepared should think about?

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  • This is my fourth year and I still consider myself a damn virgin!!!
    I have started preparing for the dust by filling my tub with a mixture of lime and sand. I then roll around in the tub turn on a table fan and presto.
    The other thing is my house now looks like my tent does at the playa….I am sooooo ready!

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  • Tae Phoenix, I know that comment wasn’t directed at me, but I’ll put forward a couple of things I didn’t bring or do in my first year that kept me from being as self-sufficient as I wanted to be.

    Rebar! I used extra-large tent stakes at first, and they just pulled right up out of the ground. My tent kept trying to escape, and only my luggage inside it kept it from blowing away.

    Money hut over my tent. My first year, I threw a reflective tarp over my tent and called it good. It started baking by mid-morning, and I would take refuge in center camp to nap during the day. Not the best plan. Having a structure that allows airflow between the shade and the tent is much nicer. It’d be hard to get together last-minute, though.

    Fabric over the vent holes in my goggles. As-is, the dust got in the holes. Lack of holes fogs them up.

    Parasols. I like them much better than sun hats, since my head stays cooler.

    More bike repair and maintenance supplies than you think you’ll ever need.

    Also, remember to keep eating and drinking even if you don’t feel the need to. I got all shaky a couple of times my first year because I didn’t have any appetite, so I didn’t eat. Bad news!

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  • People will spend hundreds of bucks on costumes, blinkies, elwire, whatever, and use a piece of rag for dust? Or a Dollar Sore dust mask? Spend $150 and get a 3M dual canister paint spray mask: full face covered and almost normal breathing because of the two canisters. Also, they have disposable outer particulate filters. Being in one of these, with earplugs in your ears to keep out playa flying at 30+mph make one feel like they are in a bubble. It is a trip and a half to walk around in the worst conditions in the bubble and very amusing to see life during white outs.

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  • Best way to spend a day in the dust, with friends new and old, dunes building outside cant see past your face, bottle of tequila in one hand, bag of rebar in the other helping less fortunate people resecure there shelter. Think i’ll patrol like this if its bad this year. Always love walking around and helping, this year EVERYONE (seasoned and virgin burners alike) can use help, and more then happy to lend a hand.

    Also, notably, i hold NO animosity towards the virgins, my first year 2009 it rained on day one, collapsed my tent and soaked my gear. My neighbors made sure i was warm and safe that night, without them i wouldnt have had a good year, but because EVERYONE HELPS EVERYONE, EVERYONE will have a great burn.

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  • Just a quick note on zipper maintenance, DO NOT USE OLIVE OIL!! Oil will attract dust and hold it to the zipper. Get a simple BAR OF SOAP IS BEST!, ivory is great, what every you like and ‘soap your zippers’ before leaving the playa as well as bring one with you to ‘soap’ as needed.

    Also note on CAR MAINTENANCE that goes un-written about:
    1. Check all your belts before you leave, if they are over 2 years old, replace them and bring the old belts with you in case.
    2. Change your air filters before you leave and bring a new one with you.
    change it when you are off the playa.
    3. Tape all vents if possible.
    4. Run the fan only on recirculating no fresh air.

    Remember air gets pulled up and into your engine compartment along with it DUST! Dust is not your cars friend!

    The best piece of advice I can give is BECOME a “AAA” member!! Getting towed off the playa sucks, paying $9/mile sucks ever more!

    How do I know this? Well my most beloved 89 Toy Land Cruiser sadly died on the playa. Her alternator went out. I was lucky to hitch outside the city, get a tow truck, get towed to the freeway (about 100 miles) camped at truck stop in my car, then the next day I was towed to Reno Break & Clutch, they were amazing and did not gouge me on fixing my car (keep in mind here I am a girl and still completely covered in dust! lol). My experience was that they were honest and did a great job.

    Suggest you do your homework on places to get your car fixed before there is a need.

    NOTE: you will have to get 2 tows to get off the playa to not have to pay per mile. You are allowed one 100 mile tow/day with AAA unless your a platinum member. Anyhow, the AAA tow drivers were great and most helpful. As a female I was safe and secure, one even checked up on me in the morning of the next day to make sure I was safe and getting the next tow.

    Also do not hose off your engine! Get an air compressor and blow it out first then you can explore using a water pressure machine to clean your engine. Above all let a professional do it so you do not get water in your engine.

    Best of luck to you all and explore the adventures the dust will present to you, it can be a rewarding time and experience with your fellow playa goers.

    Blessings
    The Big Bunny Tutu

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  • After 14 burns I’ve found the all paper cloth respirators with two rubber straps and bendable metals tab over nose to be the best for me …..rubber against your face gets hot sweaty muddy……the ones with a plastic exit valve on them are good only if you add glue around the valve cloth connection, otherwise the valve breaks out, with glue they are better, less hot….the dust doesn’t feel that bad…kinda like baby powder….. a rinse with a pressure garden sprayer is cleaning refreshing and only leaves a cup of grey water……

    The single rubber band strap ones just aren’t heavy duty enough, the big industrial ones too hot heavy…….I bring 4-5 of the other ….

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  • Just one year I forgot to put the ventilation system on my car to “inside / recirculate”
    Ever since that year, every time I start the Air Conditioning, the dank musty smell of playa hits me in the face. I smile every time.

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  • I will never forget in 2008 on Monday when the biggest and most fantastic dust storm hit! 8+ hours of dusty blastiness! We had to hunker down behind a car on our way to find the Tuna Camp and couldn’t even stand up because of the wind! It was delicious! Last year on Tuesday I was SO excited during the storm! It’s the best part of being on the playa, strap on a dust mask, grab a friend and a bottle of whiskey, and dance for joy!! I’m so ready for dust storms! Bring em on!!!
    Come on playa! Let’s get a big blaster!!!!!! See you out there :) )”(

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  • The dust And biking in it is not a big deal if you have any guts, have travelled in a poor country or have ever tent camped. We were all virgins once so get over your judgements. Anyone who takes an Rv, no matter how many burns they’ve had, is more of a sparklepony then a tent dweller.

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  • Tae Phoenix, you’ll want to cover ALL of the mesh with some kind of fabric; old sheet or something similar, or the dust will still get in. Bring another sheet to cover everything during the day, so you’ll have a (somewhat) clean bed at night.

    Go over to eplaya and read the ‘Preparation’ threads. There is more info on there on more stuff than you can imagine.

    And don’t forget to light yourself at night. And really, really be prepared when you go out; if an Alpha (or even less than Alpha) hits when you’re out, especially in deep playa, you’ll want water, a bit of food, etc. since you might be hunkered down somewhere for a long time. Don’t try to walk out. If you’re in the city make friends and take refuge in the nearest camp.

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  • You have the right Pink!
    Unless you have a sealable dwelling, spreading over everything with a dropcloth is a very good idea and the last line of defense.
    A few years ago I had a windstorm rips my cheap brand X tent to shreds. There were dunes on top of all my stuff in the tent.
    However, I had spread a plastic drop cloth that you buy at hardware stores to cover floors when you paint a room. It covered the entire floor area of my tent. All of my things escaped the literal dunes covering everything within the tent. I gathered up the four corners of the sheet and pushed all of the dust to the middle of the drop cloth and carried it off like a sack of potatoes. The ball of dust in the plastic weighed about 5 pounds and was about a foot and a half in diameter.

    On another note, I delight at the thought of virgin law enforcement people out there wallowing in the dust storms and thinking “this sucks! what the fuck am I doing here in this god-awful situation? These people I am here to serve protect and harass must be fucking nuts!”

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  • From someone in BRC right now to Trilobyte (the ePlaya admin):

    “Over a 100 degrees everyday by 3pm. At 7-8pm for the last 3 nights we have had 60+ mph winds with dust whiteout. The playa is getting scrubbed by these high winds. We lost 2 roof so far from the Temple camp kitchen/camp area. We are running out of 40×50′ tarps !!!!! Be prepared – all the town locals & old burners say this is one of the highest wind years. We expect continued storms for the next 2 nights. We had a 20′ tall 50×50′ structure demolised last night & it was just substructure of 2×8″ wood – ripped off the foundation. Not enough cross bracing yet – uugh. ”

    http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=53926&start=360#p870617

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  • just remember this one magic rule and all will be fine.

    the dust IS the great equalizer.

    it doesnt matter who you are, how much money you have, what status you hold. EVRYONE will become a crusty, dusty, burner in the end.

    our beloved playa beats us up, leaves us haggard, and can grind our city to a near halt, through this process we learn to let go of so many minor concerns, and live more presently in the moment.

    and if i can make a monor reccommendation to all of our new burner frends; as soon as the wind picks up, hop on your bike and head to open playa, and let the wind propel you along in a peach colored sea of sensory depravation (a glorious juxtaposition of the constant barrage of over stimulation that is burning man)

    many blessings and stay crusty

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  • Does anyone know who has information on the containers that are being delivered to the Playa? We don’t have a pre-signed camp and the Borg isn’t telling us where we get the container dropped.

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  • @James Coulson
    1. Got electricity?
    2. Try ‘em and find out.
    3. Ever considering straightening your pubes? Might go over well on the Playa.
    4. Welcome up over and here’s hoping you have the time of your life.

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  • @mudmasker my sentiments exactly!! my favorite memories are out at the fence, dancing all covered up nobody knew who was whom…

    I’m not coming home this year due to ticket debacle & my damn stubborn strike for none of us getting tix. I am so sad I’m not going but I’m also such a bastard that I’m reveling in knowing the newbies or scalper-buying whoever-they-ares will be covered in sweat-soaked dust, unable to pedal. HAHA! good on ya Mother Nature!!!

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  • Hey, with ten thousand miracle making MINDS.. let everyone who reads this take ONE MINUTE right NOW and IMAGINE with high intensity… gentle moisture miraculously landing
    on the playa for 20 minutes a day, maybe early morning.. especially during the build.. not
    enough to suspend traffic or create big deep ruts in our soon to be streets.. but hummm. wouldn’t it be interesting if it did rain once or twice between now and then… I like to say… what would happen IF…. that being said… set your intention and you’ll get what you get…. laugh, love, play, gift, share… Its’ Burning Man 2012 !!!

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  • The cavalier-sounding veterans and sophomoric newbies cheering on the dust storms aren’t the ones out their trying to build Black Rock City, or cleaning up all the MOOP afterward.

    All kinds of people are out there pounding stakes, building structures, pumping shitters, greeting arrivals, trying to perform. If their misery enhances your rave, be sure to let ‘em know.

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  • This will be my 17th year in a row and I can say nothing beats being prepared. I can remember some particularly intense windstorms when some people were desparetly holding down their camps while we were just covering our drinks to keep the dust out. Weathering out a storm can be a good time to catch up on sleep. Just remember”Water is power, Shade rules and Dust is everywhere.”

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  • people are still clinging to something that once was worth it but has sadly become a sham

    enjoy another year of pointless activity on the playa
    next year, grow up and get a life

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  • Ghost wrote above that some years, walking was the mode of transportation. I am a disabled newbee and cannot walk more than a block. Have there been years when the dust was so deep that bikes could not be used? I bought a motorized bike cause I cannot pedal far either. Its gearing may not be low enough for deep dust. Will the dust be too deep for bikes this year?

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  • “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
    ― Dr. Seuss

    newbies, dust and veterans, see you there !!

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  • This is hilarious! I wonder if the author even noticed the hypocrisy.

    “The dust And biking in it is not a big deal if you have any guts, have travelled in a poor country or have ever tent camped. We were all virgins once so get over your judgements. Anyone who takes an Rv, no matter how many burns they’ve had, is more of a sparklepony then a tent dweller.”

    Yeah. I better get over MY judgements alright.

    Oh, and Dear Noobs: You’re going to love it, dust or no dust! Almost there..

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  • Dust Is Good! Dust storms help build community. On of my fondest memories is stumbling into a small, but raging party in the middle of a dust storm. I’ve only been 3 times, first in ’08, which was a windy, dusty year. We had several white-outs, even one really bad one in the middle of the night after the Temple Burn.

    In response to the injured person above, with the motorized bike. I think that even at the worst you could still get around. Some places get scoured clean while it deposits in others. You could go get one of those little aluminum avalanche shovels to carry on your machine, so you, or one of your friendly community members can dig through some drifts if necessary.

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  • JQ, I don’t think you really want to see that kind of rain regularly at this point. The rain was needed 6 months ago before the winds started and the pack became a sea of potential dust. At this point (as anyone who’s experienced rain on a very dusty playa knows) rain is a recipe for massive gunk… playa mud which will stick to everything and just make the conditions worse… I for one can deal with the dust, but having the playa turn into a shallow mud bath is highly problematical! :-)

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  • Whats more cliche`: Worrying about the weather or saying Bring on the weather? the balance makes for the most Efficient burns. Last year was too nice….this year might be too rough….happy mediums fare the best IMO.
    Starting to feel like its just too many people, we bring the extra dust ourselves. It is really special dust but I do have sympathy for the workers right now.
    Pure concentrated awesome absurdity continues…..cant wait.

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  • Tanna said: “I’m not happy about this at all. I’m a photographer and I plan to take many pictures of the event. This could ruin everything! Why can’t they just water down the surface? This is not acceptable.”

    LOL! LOL!! Poor baby! As though that would work! Even if we had access to a couple of ORDERS of MAGNITUDE more water and hundreds more trucks, no one in the city would be able to get anywhere in the muck, and dust would still blow in. Probably the best we could hope for to be saved from the dust would be to get heavily rained on, and that’s its own variety of hell.

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  • Playa MaMa sounds like a real expert. I guess there’s no sand in the black rock desert? Weird. That’s news to me. I guess not all burners are worthless hippies after all! Hooray!

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  • I’m sure that the “Rush Fire”, currently burning 232,000 acres of land, directly west of the blackrock desert in Lassen National Forest in Cali, is not helping conditions either. You know those mountains that you see on the skyline just west of burning man??? it’s those mountains that are on fire. Have fun people. I’m too cool for burning man.

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  • can’t wait to party with both vets and virgins….went in 2009 and last year, both great weather years…..bring on the dust, as long as I can see my way to the Robot Heart at Sunrise I’ll be happy!

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  • I don’t really think that veteran burners are upset about the virgins. I am a 13 year veteran Burner and still some of my favorite moments are when you bring a newbie to the playa and they see the center of the playa for the first time at night. That look is priceless. Everyone has a first time.
    What I suspect that people are angry about is the proliferation of new people that come to the burn just as spectators. They pay people to produce an experience for them. I have been seeing more and more services over the years being offered to wealthy people where they will set up your camp, bring food, bicycles even costumes for you. All you have to do is show up. These people fly in on Thursday, take it all in from a distance and leave without barely even speaking to others outside their camp. I know this because a camp I was part of years ago became one of these VIP camps. It’s just another stop on the jet set party train for some which is contrary to the Burning Man philosophy. The beauty of Burning Man is getting your hands dirty. Of immersing yourself in the culture, the people and the music and finding a way to participate. If you are new then find a way to give back. If you are fortunate enough to be wealthy, then donate to an art project. Give back.

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  • I am a newbie to BM and can’t get the whole time off work since I only just started the job a a few weeks ago. I was lucky enough to get Wednesday to the following Monday off, during this whole time I will be at BM. I am traveling through North America at the moment and do not have a lot of money or things I can bring, but I do want to contribute and give something back. I can bring things to contribute to bars like lemons and limes, make little trinkets, hand out lip balms, help out people who need a hand with their camp, things like that. Is there anything else I could do? Would love to be able to get there earlier, but not all of us have such flexibility.

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  • So why do I keep reading people picking on the newbies, when there are entire legions of veteran sparkle ponies whose battered remains we can look forward to peeling off the trash fence if the weather shows us some “condition alpha” love?

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  • On Monday of 2008, my wife and I were starting lunch in our just completed shelter as the dust storm started up big time. Just after toasting each other on how well prepared we were, we heard “Look out!” and “Here is comes!”. The walls of our structure lifted, ripping out our 3 foot rebar. My wife was blown sideways, along with her chair. I was in a papasan that was lifted off the playa and thrown over my shoulder with me still in it. Witnesses say I was 6 feet up and traveled 10 feet laterally before being face-planted on the playa. Jaw open. The wind took our shelter, now a large land sail, and dragged us 10 yards, wrapping the aluminum poles around us, until our neighbors stopped our slide. Jaw still open.

    I was lifted off the ground by a dustdevil 25 feet wide. I bulldozed. Our shelter was ruined.

    We went on to have a glorious time, made lifelong friends with the people who ran to our rescue, and now use steel poles for our structure. It made us appreciate all that can go right in a dustdevil. Might’ve been the best thing to ever happen to us at the Burn. See y’all there!

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  • maybe our toxin saturated bodies crave this alkaline environment… and those feelings of bliss and wonder could be a chemical reaction to the sand, both the PH and electromagnetic. just a thought, nothing to back it up. can’t wait to feel it myself… for the first time.

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  • I love the dust. I embrace the dust. I love to stand with my arms out as the devils overtake me and spin around. I love the way it filters through the roof at center camp. I have tried sealing all the cracks.. in my domicile with tape and caulking the hell out of the trailer.

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  • whoops. and it still comes in in glorious sheets and whirls. I love seeing people embellished by dust. Then there are the dusty titties. I really missed the dust in 2010. I love opening a drawer in May and finding a pile of dust that escaped the usual 10 cleaNINGS AFTER THE MAN. Damn dusty playa I’m comin home to see ya on Sunday!

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  • Olive oil for zippers?!?!? Please….you sound like the guys at the bachelor party that thought olive oil would be good for the strippers. I am going to go ahead and suggest a product that does not go rancid in the heat and sun……….perhaps the all-knowing and super-product called white vinegar. In a spray bottle it is your best friend during and after Playa. It’s the new Windex! Olive oil. Ha! Maybe some 30W Motor oil too. Super lube-ey! Please Wil, at least have someone proof-read “your” articles for content.

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  • Bringing virgins to what sounds to be an epic fuck fest of dust in it on it inside it.
    I dont feel bad about it………..not one bit…
    Let not one sparkle pony be lost.
    Give them food and shelter and drink.
    And Love.

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  • ……:::::: a tribute to D U S T ::::::…..

    Let the dust transform you! Every experience you have out there is an opportunity for growth if you allow it to be. You will be bludgeoned to death by the beauty of humanity & all that is sacred in that surreal desert, every single day you are there covered in dust. Embrace it, love it, cherish it! 

    Cultivate the power that is in you to grow as a human being. Be the beautiful burners we all know we are. My love will be whispering in the wind to let go of all that you are. Open your mind to what you were always meant to be. Let your souls be free to dream & float away with the dust! My heart is with you in every single possible aspect & spirit my beloved dusty brothers & sisters! Miss you & love you tremendously BRC. 

    P.S. Have a roll in the goddamn dust for me! Will ya! 

    Much Love Always~
    Disco Soldier

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