Driving To Black Rock City

Photo by Timmmii, 2007; Empire, NV
When driving to Black Rock City, it’s important to remember a few things:

  • Take Your Time – We know you’re excited to get to BRC. It is exciting, after all. But don’t try to rush things. You’ll get there. This means don’t try to pass slower vehicles on Hwy 447. This is a very dangerous single lane road to attempt to pass. This stretch of road is long, windy and hilly. You’ll be at the gate before you know it. Slow up.
  • Construction – If you’re coming from the west on I-80, be aware that there is some construction zones not too far from the Nevada border and traffic is winnowed down to one lane for several miles.
  • Slow It Down Through Small Towns – Once you get off I-80, you’ll be traveling through a number of small towns like Wadsworth, Nixon and Empire. Be very aware of your speed as you enter the city limits. We’re talking 25 mph. Seriously. Local police are sitting there just waiting for someone to zip through at 40 mph and will pull you over lickity split. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. (more…)

In Dust We Trust

Photo by Thessy, 2002


One word: dust.

Lots and lots and lots of playa dust, with frequent and numerous whiteouts.

While I can’t corroborate if these are the worst dust storms we’ve experienced in several years (though that’s what I’m hearing from veterans), believe it when you hear the rumors that this year is a dusty one.

Admittedly, I’ve only been OTP (On The Playa) since Thursday morning and both Thursday and Friday were relatively whiteout-free but I’m told it was pretty dusty earlier this week. And today, Saturday before the event, has been a doozy, with high winds, near-relentless dust and frequent whiteouts.

I can attest that despite my best intentions, my tent was saturated with playa dust earlier this afternoon when i left it. I shudder to think what i’ll be returning to.

So, my advice is to prepare yourself for the worst — get yourself plenty of bandanas, respirators or face masks to protect your mouth and nose, wraparound sunglasses and/or goggles to protect your eyes, and shore up your protective barriers around your campsite, especially if you’re camping in a tent — and hope for the best.

I know I can speak for most people already OTP that I really hope all your dust prep would be for naught and today is the last day of the whiteout conditions. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m wrong.

Playa dust – you can’t stop it, you can only hope and pray to contain it.

Why Go Home?

Photo by Andrew Penn, 2002, http://www.fogfilm.com I was just thinking recently, very few people have ever asked me WHY i go to Burning Man?

Living in the Bay Area, one becomes accustomed to people having some sort of opinion on Burning Man, and most people are at least aware of it here.

But for people in my life who don’t get it, say, like most of my family, they ask the typical uninformed questions like “What do people do there?,” “Isn’t it hot?” or “Aren’t there a lot of naked people?”


And it’s funny, I’ve switched my attitude completely in how i react to people who criticize and/or make snide comments about Burning Man.

When I was a relative newbie (i.e. the first three years I went to Burning Man … and yes, sometimes it can take THAT long to be fully acclimated), I used to be very defensive about Burning Man and would often argue that ‘no, it isn’t just a bunch of tweaked-out, naked cyber-hippies rolling around in the mud celebrating free love and all that’ — and no offense to those of you who consider yourself tweaked-out naked cyber-hippies who roll around in the mud.

But these days, I have come to realize that there’s no point in defending Burning Man to those who do not know.


So What’s The Deal On Arrival?

Arrival - Photo by Heather Gallagher (CameraGirl), 2005, http://www.bohemianmasquerade.com/Photography.htm

This is my big bad meanie post to help you remember shite you’re supposed to, like, obey.

Pardon me while i temporarily step out of character and get all macho on you. I mean, at least I’m not saying “I was young, I needed the work.”

For the vast majority of you reading this, there is no such thing as arriving early. It’s a fanciful fantasy, a vicious pre-playa rumor concocted by rumor mongrels that roam the low seas of the the outer playa, just because they can.

Burning Man begins at 12:01 a.m., Monday, August 27. No ifs, ands, buts — or even whens. Yessir and Yes’m, that’s when it starts. That one whole minute after the midnight hour on that one Monday.

So please don’t even bother the gate crew. They have enough crap to deal with. They’re extra-severely-outta-control busy.

I’m sure you can relate. In fact, I’m betting you’re freaking out a bit right now trying to figure out how the hell you’re going to fit all that stuff into your Yugo, the Ishtar of cars. And when you leaving? Righto, that busy!

If you arrive early, you’ll be turned away at the gate and promptly be sent back to Reno. Do you really want to head back on down the road to Reno?

Do you really, honestly, and like, for real, want to feel dejected too?


These Are The Dates

[CORRECTION] In the postcard Timmmii’s Tips For 2007 recently sent to new and returning Burning Man ticket buyers, the dates listed for Burning Man on the front of the card are INCORRECT.
The correct dates of the event are Aug. 27-Sept. 3, 2007

Burning Man does NOT start Aug. 25. If you arrive Aug. 25, you will be turned away at the gate.
We regret the error, have sobbed about it for days, and promise to self-immolate ourselves just as soon as we find the time.

Love and kisses,


Cooking at Burning Man

Cooking at Burning Man isn’t always the easiest thing to do amidst the dry, dusty environment, lack of refrigeration, and inability to run to the corner store for a key ingredient you may have forgotten.

In the video below, two culinary enthusiasts who have attended Burning Man give a 37-minute presentation of useful tips for cooking on the playa. Although it’s not exactly the most exciting video you’ll ever see, it’s a decent primer for those of you who have limited experience cooking in Black Rock City.

For those of you planning to build a kitchen for your camp, Organizing a Communal Kitchen also contains many good facts about what you’ll need to cook on the playa for a small or large group of people.

Random Items Your Future Self Will Be Glad You Brought With You (Part 2 of 2)

Every year, I have at least a few moments of crisis or annoyance that I failed to bring an item I really should have remembered to bring.
Yesterday, we discussed important things like lip balm, baby wipes, ear plugs, sun shower and wide-brimmed hats.

Today, we’ve got 5 more random items your future self at Burning Man will be happy your current self remembers to bring.

Batteries – Get more batteries than you think you’ll need. Trust me on this one. I’ve had discussions with my friends about this and we’ve concluded that, for some unknown reason, batteries tend to wear out faster on the playa. Maybe it’s due to overuse? Maybe the heat or dust affects them in some way. Who knows? The point is to bring along at least 2-3 spare sets of batteries for every item than requires batteries. Most importantly, we’re talking about blinky lights, a bike light, boom box, flashlight, megaphone, vibrator or anything else you absolutely must have with you on the playa. Don’t forget to dispose of your batteries properly post-playa!


Random Items Your Future Self Will Be Glad You Brought With You (Part 1 of 2)

Every year, I have at least a few moments of crisis or annoyance when I realize I failed to bring an item I really should have remembered to bring. So here are 5 random items my future self at Burning Man will be happy my current self remembers to bring. Tomorrow we’ll list 5 more items!

Sun Shower – These little babies will save your crusty, dried-out skin and they’re pretty cheap. Just fill it up with water, leave it out in the sun all day and around dusk, hang it up a bit of distance from your camp and get to washing that stinky body of yours. Don’t forget, you need to have some sort of system that will capture that grey water you’re creating. Don’t let that crap seep into the playa. For more on that, check this. (more…)