Seattle to Burning Man drive: How is it?

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Seattle to Burning Man drive: How is it?

Postby peterakabob » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:44 pm

Well my question is fairly simple, how's the drive from Seattle to Burning Man? Can it and/or is it a hard drive to do in one swift push? (with stops to go to the bathroom, switching between drivers, etc.)

Any feedback would be appreciated! This year is going to be my friend and I's first burn and we will be making the approximately 670+/-mile drive in a 1991 Ford Explorer.
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Postby Stickygreen » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:57 pm

I've driven from Seattle to BRC in one stretch before, and I would not recommend it. Coming from Vancouver Canada, I like to get to Eugene, or further, then overnight, before making the final drive to the playa, arriving before sundown is a great idea as it allows you to set up camp in the day light, also it can be hard to navigate the small back roads, if your doing the Klamath Falls - - Alturas - Cedarville route.

may the dust be with you...
)'(
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Postby haolegolucky » Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:53 am

I've done that drive before, and its a bit long. I started in Seattle, picked up a friend in PDX a few hours later, shopped at Fred Meyers and then pushed on through. We left Seattle around 7AM and arrived near the playa around 11PM.

It makes for along day, but if you are switching up drivers and stopping frequently, its pretty decent. We took the I-5 down until just past Eugene, OR and then cut east.

DO NOT TRY THIS ON THE WAY BACK THOUGH...
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Postby Playa Foot » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:08 am

I have driven from Susanville to Tacoma many times and it is a two day drive for one person. The drive from Seattle to Black Rock City is a little farther. With two drivers it could be done but both of you would be pretty tired by the time you got to the playa. If you stop in Bend or K-Falls it would be two days of easy driving.
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Postby some seeing eye » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:53 am

I've driven Oregon-BRC many times. Some factors to consider: how tired are you after packing? Are you leisurely stoppers for food, refreshment, snapshotting, Internet updating/ or non-stop power drivers? Our last trip was three and we were definitely ADD with stopping.

A lot of people camp at Eagle's Rest or Summer Lake hot springs, they are big burner parties and great to meet other burners. Otherwise I would suggest getting a motel room in Klamath Falls. We used to leave in the mid evening, arrive K-Falls at about midnight, sleep to 11AM, get a big breakfast, then arrive about 3-4PM on the playa as it begins to cool off.

See http://gwally.com/directions/
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Postby Leo » Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:16 pm

My preference is to have two reasonable days of driving between Seattle and BRC rather than one marathon day, but YMMV. One thing to keep in mind is that once you leave I-5, it's mostly a two lane road to BRC. On the two lane road between Klamath Falls and BRC you will be traveling as fast as the slowest motorhome in front of you. At that point, you might as well enjoy the journey rather than worry about breaking any speed records. Eugene and Bend are great halfway points between BRC and Seattle, offering some great options for food and lodging, as well as an opportunities for any last-minute shopping or outfitting. See ya on the playa!
Best Regards,
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Postby aknod » Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:54 pm

For our first Burn in 2008 we did it in 2.5 days, but part of that was due to vehicle issues in the first 100 miles (Got to Centralia then had to switch vehicles). We got to Eugene the first night, hit K Falls Walmart the next afternoon, then Eagle's Nest Sunday night, slept until about 2 or 3 am, then headed out maybe an hour or so after everyone else, got to BRC about 7:30 am and were only in line 45 minutes or so.

Other than trying to avoid the vehicle problems, we'll probably do the same route/timing, but maybe get to Eagle's Nest Saturday night.
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Postby peterakabob » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:21 am

I am thinking we could probably make it in a day unless most of you really advise against it. My friend has driven from Alaska to Washington by himself, and he would have made it within 2 or 3 days had he not experienced a car breakdown. I have also made the drive from Alaska, longest distance we went in a day is maybe 650 to 700miles. I mean I know they are both totally different drives, but that is just to give you guys an idea of our road trip endurance...

I am thinking with switching drivers and lots of Red Bull and Monsters it can be done...
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Postby peterakabob » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:43 am

So if I do end up wanting to stop somewhere and rest for the night, Eagle's Rest is one of the preferred places?

Thanks again for the responses, keep 'em coming. They are very helpful!
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:14 am

Being a Seattle burner, I've done this drive lotsa times and lotsa routes.
How big and heavy your vehicle is plays a part (I go awfully heavy!).

Yes you can do it in a day, I'd say in just an Explorer without a trailer it wouldn't be that hard. I used to do it in a Ford F250 with a camper and a trailer in a day. It's a long goddamm day.
In recent years I've found making a two-day trek is lots better for several reasons. No matter how well you pack, you're gonna want to make stops at stores on the way for stuff.
The other biggie is that if you do it all in one shot, you arrive in BRC late at night and very tired. If you're not in an RV, it sucks to have to immediately set up camp.

You'll also learn to enjoy the stops along the way because you'll usually meet other burners doing the same thing. They're easy to recognize! They'll be driving a truck with mannequins and fur and REALLY odd stuff sticking out, and bicycles tied all over it.

As for route, I've learned to favor I-5 down to Eugene, then across HWY 58, then down to Klamath Falls, then Aturas - Cedarville - PLAYA!

When you roll into Alturas, there will be a Chevron at the main intersection. Stop there. They know who you are and where you're going, as does the general store across the street, and they're glad to have you. That Chevron has an RV dump where you can get rid of any waste water on the way back, and the general store has a garden hose out back so you can fill up on all the water you want on the way in. Just down the street is a liquor store with great California prices, cheaper than Washington.

From Alturas to Cedarville is Cedar Pass, 6300 feet, be nice to your vehicle going over it! DON'T leave it in "Drive" and floor it all the way up the pass. Shift down and let up on the gas and walk it up easy so nothing (like your transmission!) overheats. It's not that far up, and it's REALLY important to NOT break down way the hell out there. Even if you are doing the one-day thing, it's better to go easy up Cedar Pass and make sure you ever get there at all.

Cedarville is the best Last Stop Before Playa. It has become a very burner-friendly town. The gas station at the corner that you'll see as you get to the bottom of the pass and hit town is open late and the owner usually has a BBQ going. There's a NAPA store so you can get whatever you need to solve any vehicle issues. There's a great restaurant in the middle of town ("town" is only a couple blocks of main street, you'll find it).

I never bother with trying to stop in Gerlach, it's tiny and overcrowded with other burners. Cedarville is much nicer and it's close enough to be a good jumping-off point.

Making a two-day trip means you'll be hitting all these places while they are open, and you'll have plenty of time to do your last-minute shopping.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:16 am

Being a Seattle burner, I've done this drive lotsa times and lotsa routes.
How big and heavy your vehicle is plays a part (I go awfully heavy!).

Yes you can do it in a day, I'd say in just an Explorer without a trailer it wouldn't be that hard. I used to do it in a Ford F250 with a camper and a trailer in a day. It's a long goddamm day.
In recent years I've found making a two-day trek is lots better for several reasons. No matter how well you pack, you're gonna want to make stops at stores on the way for stuff.
The other biggie is that if you do it all in one shot, you arrive in BRC late at night and very tired. If you're not in an RV, it sucks to have to immediately set up camp.

You'll also learn to enjoy the stops along the way because you'll usually meet other burners doing the same thing. They're easy to recognize! They'll be driving a truck with mannequins and fur and REALLY odd stuff sticking out, and bicycles tied all over it.

As for route, I've learned to favor I-5 down to Eugene, then across HWY 58, then down to Klamath Falls, then Aturas - Cedarville - PLAYA!

When you roll into Alturas, there will be a Chevron at the main intersection. Stop there. They know who you are and where you're going, as does the general store across the street, and they're glad to have you. That Chevron has an RV dump where you can get rid of any waste water on the way back, and the general store has a garden hose out back so you can fill up on all the water you want on the way in. Just down the street is a liquor store with great California prices, cheaper than Washington.

From Alturas to Cedarville is Cedar Pass, 6300 feet, be nice to your vehicle going over it! DON'T leave it in "Drive" and floor it all the way up the pass. Shift down and let up on the gas and walk it up easy so nothing (like your transmission!) overheats. It's not that far up, and it's REALLY important to NOT break down way the hell out there. Even if you are doing the one-day thing, it's better to go easy up Cedar Pass and make sure you ever get there at all.

Cedarville is the best Last Stop Before Playa. It has become a very burner-friendly town. The gas station at the corner that you'll see as you get to the bottom of the pass and hit town is open late and the owner usually has a BBQ going. There's a NAPA store so you can get whatever you need to solve any vehicle issues. There's a great restaurant in the middle of town ("town" is only a couple blocks of main street, you'll find it).

I never bother with trying to stop in Gerlach, it's tiny and overcrowded with other burners. Cedarville is much nicer and it's close enough to be a good jumping-off point.

Making a two-day trip means you'll be hitting all these places while they are open, and you'll have plenty of time to do your last-minute shopping.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."
Delle: Singularly we may be dysfunctional misfits, but together we're magic.
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