Tuesday, September 25, 2007


The Blissful Burn

September has been .. busy. Good busy, socializing and dating busy along with work busy, but man.. I'm looking forward to October (not that it is really promising to be any quieter, but there's a FAINT chance...).. so, without further delay, the tale of my trip to Burning Man 2007.

I was gifted with a free trip in an RV bought by Ali and Brian, a couple that I had met through hooping (Ali and her friend Gracie did a private lesson with me, and then they've all come out to some of our hooping parties). The weekend before we left, I borrowed Wolf's truck and hauled most of my gear and my bike out to AnB's place in Abbotsford, so they could start loading the trailer, and we could decorate our bikes. I got to meet most of their friends who would be camping with us, and it was a lovely afternoon.

THIS.. is travelling in style.

Saturday the 25th, I haul the remainder of my gear and my LED hoop (was performing with it in North Van the night before) onto Skytrain, and head out to Surrey to be picked up by Ali and taken back to the carefully controlled chaos of last-minute loading. We didn't manage to get too far on Saturday, despite planning to be on the road by noon: RV parts still getting fixed, another Vancouverite needing to go back into the city to get her passport, and a challenging case of the trailer brakes engaging when the headlights were turned on, all resulted in us not even getting as far as Seattle by the wee hours, so we slept in the RV (floor, couches, chairs, beds) at a WalMart.

(if you haven't heard this.. apparently there's some history with a WalMart exec's close relative getting in an accident due to falling asleep at the wheel, so all WalMarts welcome overnight stays in their parkinglot, no questions asked)

This was the first of THREE WalMarts we'd hit on the way down, with close to two hours being spent in each buying food, clothing, gear, whatever... odd, but I wasn't the trip planner :) Riding in the RV was pretty luxurious, with leather couches and beds, a giant TV screen for watching movies on the road, and good company - these were some of the most mellow, easy-going people I've travelled with.

Scary part: I woke up on Sunday feeling really hot... then got the 'hmm.. I wonder if...' feeling.. and then managed to climb over everyone and get to the bathroom before I started throwing up. Spent most of that day feeling shaky and rotten, slept a lot on the back bed during the drive, thought I was over it and would be okay, then got sick again.. and on Monday morning while we were again in a WalMart lot, and Brian was working on the RV, I was on my knees in the WalMart bathroom for about an hour, being sick and waiting to be sick and wanting to not be sick and wondering if I should get them to drop me off in Reno so I could fly home and just skip Burning Man this year.... the 'what should I do?!?!' part was more distressing than anything else, just 'cause I was heading into a challenging environment without a whole lot to offer in the way of medical services..... but, luckily, I got through it and was feeling at least 80% normal by the time we were heading through the small towns on the way to Black Rock City, aka Burning Man.

We had been aiming for midnightish Sunday/Monday, and with all the delays it was around 6pm Monday by the time we joined the lineup, and close to 8pm as we were getting to the gates. Gate pirate came on board to collect tickets, check for stowaways, etc... and he confiscated a bundle of sage that one of the women had collected along the side of the road.. though he missed the giant bag of more sage she had in the back! Even though this year's theme was 'The Green Man', no vegitation would be allowed on the playa, too MOOPy (Matter Out Of Place). Onwards to the Greeters Station, where the BM virgins in our crew would get to ring the bell... and I got a surprise smooching session with the Greeters' shift Lead! Monday at Burning Man is labelled 'MakeOut Monday' - and I guess this guy was living up to that :) Nice start to the event, anyway...

Got through the gate, found our pre-planned location already staked out by the folks who got there earlier.. we camped at 5:30 and E - a great location that I will be aiming for next year. The city is laid out like a clock, with 2:00-10:00 divided into city streets and 10:00-2:00 open playa for art installations... and then the streets are labelled alphabetically as they move farther away from the center circle road, always called "Esplanade". This year, the farthest circle road was Jungle.. so being at Estuary and 5:30 put us pretty smack-dab mid-city, half way from everything! Another perk: we were right beside the porta potties, so instead of challenging the RV potty all week, it was a quick stroll across the street. I also adopted the potty bank: RobbiDobbs is the Queen of Potties, and she was part of the group I camped with last year.. on Tuesday, I ran into her twice while she was restocking the potties with paper, and offered to help.. and by the end of the second restock, I had agreed to take on the potty bank myself, and we'd arranged a drop-zone where she could leave a few bags full of paper rolls for me to restock whenever I was in camp. Easy enough job, and the people waiting in line or using the potties were always willing to help and let me know that they appreciated what I was doing :)

Tuesday morning involved setting up our camp shade structure.. Monday night we'd hauled all the bikes and gear out of the trailer, and loaded in mattresses and sleeping bags and personal gear for the four of us travelling with Ali and Bryan and their son, Dylan.. the RV would be their home, and we had a luxurious, mostly dust-free trailer (Brian had thought ahead and had filters to tape over the air vents for us..) Shade structure was a HUUUUGE piece of desert camoflage net, which we strung onto a giant 'U' shape build of electrical conduit, covered with some foam noodles, and then hauled up onto the top of the trailer, our RV, and the RV of another couple travelling with us... three sides secured on vehicles, the fourth side got some more conduits to prop it up, plus rope to secure it all in the windstorm.. and voila! Huge shade structure with room for our bikes, bike rack for the bikes without kickstands, the BBQ, a hammock, 20ish camp chairs and lounges.. and it was lovely. I learned that the heat of the sun shining on the trailer would wake me up at 8ish, but I could crawl outside, set myself up in a lounge chair, and doze for another couple hours.. and this was also a good way to spend 4-6pm in the afternoon, dozing or reading and being mildly antisocial (with the other woman who was happily also being antisocial and reading) and just keeping myself recharged for the rest of the night....

And now, I'll leave you with this teaser pic:

To be continued.. the story of Goldilocks and How I Got My Playa Name.

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