There’s nothing like a good pounding

continuing adventures in making a city out of the dust

Well, first of all, greetings from a high speed wifi Internet cloud in the heart of Black Rock City. The fact that I am writing to you from the back tables of our staff commissary means that a lot of things have been locked down since my last post. Buildings placed, generators distributed and fueled, towers erected, and a few dozen miracles with a sprinkling of playa magic. Everyone has been rocking and rolling, but I have to give special props to the playa geek squad for giving the city a strong technical infrastructure with increasing demands and complexity. It seems like a crazy thing to have technology in the middle of a dust bowl, but having a little thing like occasional email access and a printer on site can help to save hours of wasted time that would otherwise be spent trekking back and forth to Gerlach or tying up communication channels. I remember when I would come out to the desert for a month to unplug.. but this is good too and as a bonus, it has given a few of us a chance to blog for folks like you. We are working hard and eager to see you all.

intersection signs before installation
intersection signs before installation

Geeky things aside, the city is really starting to take shape. To me it really seems like a city once the street signs are up, and we have addresses and roads and a bearing on where we are in the middle of nowhere. Until then, we’re mostly just swimming in a sea of survey flags.

More friends are arriving daily and breakfast each morning is like a family reunion. In addition to the DPW, the community services and art groups are starting to arrive, settling their own camps and preparing for the influx of citizens.
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Moving Day

Last work weekend and progress as we move to the playa.

It’s been a heckuva weekend. The last DPW “work weekend” dedicated to building the fence around the city and kick starting construction on our beloved city. In addition to the work weekend, more folks, like myself, have arrived to live on the playa for the next month.

I arrived in Gerlach late Friday night, after a standard Burning Man departure scene. You get out of town a few hours later than you wanted to, after having stayed up too late the night before trying to find that _one_ box of blinky light toys, and having a few too many last minute errands to run. Nothing like Friday rush hour traffic to give a girl some quality time with her tunes and thoughts, and a chance to “car-eoke” all the way to Nevada.

The day before my departure, the new Burning Man Wall Calendars arrived back from the printer! Very exciting for me because I’ve been working to produce it for the last six months. Hopefully exciting for others because it is full of beautiful photos, artifacts and illustrations, and has a timeline of the past 20 years-plus of Burn History. Not necessarily part of building the actual Black Rock City, but the calendar allows you visit BRC all year long.

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Memorial Day Work Weekend

Pix and tales from the 2005 Memorial Day Work Weekend

Pretty much every work weekend this spring was almost cancelled due to the unprecedented rain and extreme weather that plagued Gerlach and surrounding areas. While the weather made it difficult to get outdoor work done and caused some damage to the area (poor Doobie Lane), one benefit was that the landscape along Route 447 during those months was absolutely lush.. everything was a color of green that I didn’t know you could see in Nevada.

It was the same story for the Memorial Day Work Weekend. Would we have it? Would we not have it? Would the playa be covered in yet another lake that prevented us from our important task of MOOPing the playa in time for spring inspection by the BLM? What if we couldn’t camp on the playa? And the eternal question…In case of emergency and we all get stuck, do we have enough beer?

Blue skies over the lake on the playa
Blue skies over the lake on the playa

One question was answered as we approached the 12-mile exit and got our first glimpse of the central playa. There was indeed a huge lake out there…. again. It was cool actually, looked like something out of a Dali painting, except instead of a lake draped over an old clock, the silvery mass was roving freely around the flat surface of the playa.

A small group of us who had arrived early were tipped off that there was a great vantage point from one of the ridge crests nearby, sort of like one of those highway scenic view spots, but only for those with 4-wheel drive. It doesn’t take much more than that to rally two truckloads of folks for a quick adventure, and soon we were off.

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