It’s almost that time! The excitement, the drama, the sleepless preparations are mounting and our hearts all beat a little faster with each passing day. What are you excited about? The fire, the art, the art on fire? Not me. This time of year, people like me and Nathan Aaron Heller (not pictured) can only think about one thing: trash.
Nathan volunteers his time to organize EXTRA, the network of trash drop-off points stretching from Gerlach to Reno to Cedarville. As one-man shows go, EXTRA is a big job, and it makes a big difference: instead of carting your cans and rinds all the way home, you can now drop them off and help support local businesses.
Who wouldn’t be excited about that? Hot trash! Love it!
So how does it work?
Just sort your recyclables and bag your trash, and take them to one of the drop-off points. It’s probably best to find a place that’s not overcrowded — Highway 447 in particular can be a pretty amazing traffic jam — so, if the road is busy, head for one of the spots in Reno or Sparks. Many of them are even open 24 hours during the height of Exodus.
There are drop-off points for bicycles, plastics (SPI 1-5), glass, all metals, paper, cardboard, plastic bags, household batteries (rechargeable and disposable), and nonperishable food and water. Please have your recyclables as clean as playa possible, sorted and de-bagged before depositing into the appropriate containers. Please deposit your trash separately into the appropriate dumpsters.
Leave No Trace is one of the Ten Principles guiding our community. Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
Next week thousands of people will be boarding planes and squeezing into cars crowded with camping gear bound for one location: Black Rock City. This attraction to one of the most inhospitable, creative and challenging places on earth baffles some and inspires others. Why spend so much time and energy on one week in the desert?
Kayden Kleinhans invested that and more in his preparation for Burning Man. Bicycling for 49 weeks, through 15 countries, Kayden’s journey started last year at AfrikaBurn, where he collected songs, remembrances and dreams from members of that community at their Temple in a leather-bound journal. His mission: deliver this precious cargo from their Temple in Tankwa Karoo, South Africa to our Temple in Black Rock City on a humble bicycle.
Yes, he is on a bicycle (its name is Little Ms. Sunshine).
Yes, there’s an ocean separating both Burns (a plane helped springboard him over the Atlantic Ocean to Buenos Aires, Argentina).
And yes, he is alive to share his story.
As he peddled into Death Valley, California three weeks ago, he sent this update, “With less than 1000 km left to go, wild horses couldn’t stop the journal and its magical contents from making it to the playa.”
Given his dedication to cycling up the Americas solo with his gear, fighting heat, cold, injuries and loneliness to complete his mission, it’s difficult to believe that Kayden has never set foot in Black Rock City. 2013 will be Kayden’s first year at Burning Man.
The call of home, that commitment to principles of radical self-reliance to leaving no trace resonate whether or not he felt chalky playa dust between his fingers. As the Founder of the Global Wheeling Initiative, a South African-registered NGO highlighting climate change, he hopes to draw attention to these concerns through his journey, one of several he’s made bicycling across continents. His onboard computer and carbon calculator calculates the amount of CO2, which would have been emitted, if he was traveling in an average-sized America 2008 model car.
Kayden calls his journey, “a double edged project that was not only carrying the prized cargo but also drawing a comparison between the motor vehicle and the bicycle as a means of transport.”
49 weeks of cycling, 20,000 carbon free kilometers and 3 tons of CO2 saved with Little Ms. Sunshine later, he peddled into Reno a few days ago.
You have the opportunity to join him in this project. He invites Burner bicyclists to participate in the final leg of his journey to Burning Man. His invitation:
Reno to BRC by bicycle, 3 days and 2 nights “SELF SUPPORTED” bike ride covering 125 miles. Guided by Kayden Kleinhans on his final leg of the AfrikaBurns to Burning Man by Bicycle Project.
This will be an exercise in self-reliance and all required food and water for the 3 day expedition will have to be carried by the cyclist. Bring camping/survival equipment, a bike in good working order and a positive “Can Do” attitude.
Your Burn starts when we roll out of Reno on the morning of the 21st! You should have your ticket to Burning Man squared away ahead of time. Due to arrive at BRC on the afternoon of the 23rd. Arrangements for early access will have to be made prior to arrival through the necessary channels. Do not apply if you are not capable of completing the journey on your own accord.
Meeting point is the Anabella’s Zen Art Sanctuary, 12245 Spruce Lane, South Reno.
Up for the challenge? Write to Kayden and meet him in Reno with your bicycle.
[Editor’s Note: Cycling on Route 447 is very difficult and dangerous, and this undertaking should not be taken lightly. There is a 20 mile stretch of 447 where the shoulders were washed away by flash floods this year, and NDOT is doing work to repair them … in some cases, the shoulders are soft or non-existent, and the road is reduced to a single lane. Please be careful out there!]
Only one week remains until he cycles down Gate Road, finally completes his journey and enters Black Rock City to deliver the journal to the Temple.
Thousands of Burners will follow his bicycle tracks in vehicles of all sizes from all over the world. Where are you traveling from? Tell us how you’re coming home.
Once upon a time, some 340 days ago, a Reno grocery store employee received a very special Burning Man gift. It was a cooler full of poop. Some thoughtful Burner had left this doo-doo cooler at a trash drop-off point.
“Wow!” said the grocery store employee (I am assuming this is what he or she may have said).
“Wow! This is the most memorable gift a Burner could possibly leave for me. I will remember this gift, and it will help me to understand Burning Man culture so that I can pass this lesson on to my friends.”
Hey! Are you hitchhiking to Black Rock City this year, then sleeping in a tent with no cookstove?
If you’re bringing any type of liquid to the playa this year (even cooler water, but especially motor oil), you need to be aware of how spills affect the desert. Matter Out of Place isn’t limited to wood chips and cigarette butts. It encompasses anything that doesn’t occur naturally on the playa surface. Spills and drips are everyone’s responsibility:
Your car, RV, mutant vehicle or motorcycle can leak oil and fluids.
Your kitchen and shower can leak cooking fuel and gray water.
Your black water tank (ew) can (ew) all over the (ew).
If you spill or drip, you must clean it up! Here’s why, and how.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the Burning Man regional event. By working with authorities to override a long-term population cap, Burning Flipside organizers have successfully rewritten the rules!
In order to increase the event’s capacity, State regulations required Flipside organizers to provide potable water, daily trash service, trash receptacles, cups, napkins, lighting and other services. But Flipside is a Leave No Trace event based on personal accountability; participants are expected to bring in everything they need and pack it out when they leave (sound familiar?).
The vast majority of large-scale events and festivals do provide trash cans, based on the assumption that attendees are not interested in picking up after themselves. Leave No Trace events like Burning Man and Burning Flipside have a different ethos. The latter trust that community members are not only perfectly capable of cleaning up after their own wild rumpuses, but that they feel satisfied and self-reliant as a result of doing so.
We come together, build something amazing, burn it to the ground and then pick up every last cinder. It’s an achievement we’re proud of, and it’s part of what defines us as a community rather than merely an event. We do it because we respect the land and the right of others to enjoy the land once we depart.
Incorporating trash services would change the very nature of what Flipside is about and Austin Artistic Reconstruction (AAR), the organization running Flipside, wasn’t willing to subvert the community’s values just to sell more tickets.
Faced with a choice of either going against our community’s values by providing trash cans, or limiting the population, AAR did what they had to do:
Hello out there all you MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! It’s been a couple of weeks since Burning Man passed its BLM site inspection, and I’ll be honest: I’ve missed you! Almost as much as I miss my Playa Restoration family, now scattered to all corners of the earth to return next August.
You and I also have some loose ends to tie up. While I tried real hard to respond to every comment during MOOP Map Live 2012, I eventually ran out of time. Now I’m back to answer your questions!
First, A Note.
Going forward, let’s agree to be good to each other. The Restoration team understands that people are giving huge gifts of time, money, art and entertainment! We also understand how disappointing it can be when you don’t score as well as you’d like on the MOOP Map. Please, remember that the MOOP Map is a collaborative effort. The Restoration team’s job is to report the facts of what they find, and they do that as accurately as humanly possible.
When I post results here, do I call people names or insult what they did? Of course I don’t. Please offer me and my teammates the same respect, and extend that respect to every single one of your fellow Black Rock Citizens.
Now. These are some of the most common questions I’ve been asked this year. Don’t see your answer? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best!
Hip-hip-HURRAH! Three cheers for YOU, Black Rock City. You did it again. You threw a humdinger of a whizbang, and left without a trace. That’s straight from the mouth of the Bureau of Land Management, who just completed their site inspection. They’re still tabulating the precise results, but at a glance they can tell us that YES, we passed, and Burning Man can happen again next year.