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'07 Burn Report

2007-09-09 13:04:39.153402+00 by meuon 1 comments

Burning Man is only part of the experience. It's also a road trip there and back which included Arches National Park, T-Joe's Bar and RV Campground, and messing with people's heads at rest stops. A suprising favorite was camping at Pyramid Lake with other 'Burners. It was a bit off road, and the first time down to the magic spot I took a wrong turn that cost me some minor damage. Still, a couple of nights there was worth the entire trip. Surreal landscape, great swimmable water (slightly salty) and friends including Pam and Clem who arrived just minutes before me from Baja Mexico.

Burning Man itself had some spectacular art, "Crude Awakening" was an oil derrick with worshippers. We watched it from far enough away from the art cars (blasting music) to experience the choreographed music and fireworks, puncuated by a huge blast from Nate Smith's fire bombs. Filled with 250lbs of JP-8 and 100lbs of propane. Each. Released in about 1 second, created a fireball and mushroom cloud whose heat was felt from afar. Awesome.

Nancy really liked the zeotrope of swinging monkeys, an apple and a snake. Yet the critical tits ride ended in deep playa, with the party shortened by a major white-out playa storm.

The recumbent bicycle with sidecar worked great, with Nancy teasing others whose sig-other was pedaling quadricycles and other contraptions by shouting: "What?!? he makes you pedal?!?"

I had damaged/replaced a wheel bearing, and destroyed the brakes on the way out via Hwy 50. One the way home, in Salt Lake City I replaced the axle, brakes and bearings with a 3500 lb straight axle, lifting the trailer a couple of inches and enhancing tow-ability and brakes. Henderson Wheel and Axle deserves a plug for being helpful, knowledgeable and cheap ($260 for all parts!). They even pointed me to a nearby mechanic that torched off my old axle for a few bucks cash. I installed the new one on the side of the street across from his shop.

Overall, a great trip. The small trailer worked well at the 'Burn, and helped keep Nancy in a happy place. The burn was large (47k people?) full of "frat boys and tourists" as well as some really kewl people and incredible art. The man burning Monday, and then Saturday was pretty interesting, but anyone who thinks Burning Man is about the man burning is a tourist. It's about the people you are forced to interact with because of conditions, and the people you chose to interact with because of choices.

The sad part comes on the trip home, when you run into "'burners" who are washing their rigs, removing their )^( signs and starting to act like "default world" people again. Nancy and I, Pam and Clem, and other friends try to live the 'burn ethos as much as possible. We hug in public, we take care of each other, we gift, we approach and talk to strangers as if we have known them forever. It hurts walking up to a fellow 'Burner in a gas station and they act like YOU are crazy and they don't know why you are talking to them.

Still, we attempt to tweak the status quo every day. Burning Man recharges those batteries to allow us to continue the fight against mundane isolated normality.

[ related topics: Photography Theater & Plays Movies Bicycling Interactive Drama Clowns Music California Culture Travel Beer Pedal Power Sexual Culture Art & Culture Burning Man Race Pyrotechnics Nature and environment Apple Computer Invention and Design ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-10 15:22:42.594538+00 by: Dan Lyke

More ramblings on this topic, please! Especially on the road trip there and back.

On keeping that spirit going, I spent 4 hours yesterday afternoon cleaning out Diana's chocolate machine and organizing the space she rented at the commercial kitchen of the local deli/general store. Her death has brought out a bunch of the neighbors, we're less insular for a bit, and I'm trying to figure out how we can keep that sense of sharing together.

It seems like we only go out of our way to connect with our neighbors in times of crisis or tragedy. Burning Man is one week long crisis, so that makes sense, but it'd be better if we had random potlucks at times other than tragedies.