Here’s the first installment of my Burning Man story, covering Monday – Wednesday. Stay tuned for the second which will cover the man and temple burn. UPDATE: Read the second half here, or download the PDF.

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We arrived at Black Rock City on Monday around midnight. Waiting in line was actually an enjoyable experience, in contrast with waiting in the mid day sun as I had on the previous trip. It had just rained, so the playa was packed down and the air was cool. The moon was a huge yellow orb just above the horizon, and I heard someone ask if it was an art installation. “Yes!” came the reply from a passing biker. “God’s the artist!”

When we got into the city, the people I rode with drove to their camp at 3:30 & D and parked. They went off to find adventure, while I biked down to Playa Info. I found my friend Elijah’s address posted there, as he promised. 6:15 & H. I made several trips back and forth to get my gear unloaded, then set up my tent, had a bite to eat, and crashed for the night. It was cold, and I wished I had brought more warm clothing, but my sleeping bag and a borrowed long sleeve shirt kept me warm enough.

When I woke up to a beautiful Tuesday morning and decided to give Elijah’s solar cell setup a try at warming my oatmeal. Finding the right switch on the inverter, I flipped it, then turned the knob on the electric burner. A loud buzzing sound notified me that something was wrong, and after tinkering with it for a bit I began to lose hope for warm oatmeal. Fortunately for me, the neighbors were kind enough to let me use their gas burner. Lesson learned – bring low tech backup next time.

Elijah and his girlfriend Nicki eventually stumbled bleary eyed out of his red volvo station wagon. They had spent the night huddled there with the heater on to stay warm, and were contemplating heading back home if their outlooks didn’t improve. I tried to convince them to stick around and try to get some help from fellow burners. Apparently things worked out, because they stuck around for the whole burn.
Burning Man 2010 – Part 1 – continue reading