first timer for 2011! What Should I drive? please help

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first timer for 2011! What Should I drive? please help

Postby luvkat » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:11 pm

Hello everyone! I'll be attending BM 2011 and I'm a first time burner! I need help deciding the best way to get out there. Hopefully it will be me and my brother, and niether of us drive a vehicle practical for such a long ride. We will be coming from Atlanta GA and thats over 2000 miles. We need something that would be cost efficient and large enough to haul our equipment.

I've looked at some rental oppertunities, and anything that charges by the mile is out of the question. I've found a few truck rentals with unlimited mileadge, but to rent them for 14 days is a little expensive.

Any suggestions on how to get us and our stuff there and back efficiently would be greatly appreciated!

If you travel from the east coast what do you drive?
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:24 pm

What are the vehicles you currently drive? Many people drive smaller cars with the addition of a roof rack or perhaps pulling a small trailer.

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Postby LeChatNoir » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:26 pm

Hi luvkat, welcome to eplaya.

I was curious about what you drive too. It might be more serviceable than you think.

Otherwise, best advice might be to just hang around the boards as well as get involved with your local burner scene. Check the Regionals page. There are ride shares that pop up later in the year, but I think you might have better luck just getting to know folks in your area. Easier to avoid a bad ride share experience that way.

Lots of good threads about pre-playa servicing of your vehicle on eplaya too.
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Postby Sic Pup » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:06 pm

I drive a VW Jetta TDI Sportswagon, it's small but I've gotten >50 MPG. Last year was my first, I drove from NYC and honestly there wasn't room for much else. I had hoped to share driving with someone else but once I got it loaded I knew that wouldn't work unless the rider was a little person and I found a really big shoehorn.

BUT, I made the mistake of taking everything I needed sans water all the way from the East Coast the most awkward item being the 10' PVC for the Monkey Hut which required me to lay the passenger seat all the way down and pull out all the headrests. The PVC just fit basically hugging the front windshield and the rear door. I also had some folding tables and chairs for camp use.

Seeing that it was my first year and needing to buy everything from a tent to bungee balls, and knowing what I now know I would have been better off buying a good deal of the stuff in Fernley. I also carried a bike on a bike rack on the back door. I didn't take anything on the roof rack because I lacked the crossbars. I'm sure the bike lowered my MPG (somewhere in the low 40's) and anything on the roof will certainly have to be taken into account, particularly with the price of gas lately (to say nothing of a trailer).

This year, I will probably just buy the 10' PVC, the bike, food and water in Fernley. This will free up the front seat. I'd like to take another passenger to share driving duties thereby saving money on hotels (I think it was a 2700 mile trip), sharing gas expenses and having someone to talk to other than myself. The thing is I don't know how much room there will be for another persons gear (seeing as we won't be camping together).

It was pretty tight, packed to the gills actually. As an aside I got a flat in Wyoming, the spare is under the back cargo area, the tires were low profile. I ended up making oodles of calls ultimately finding out at the first shop I found open that the tire could not be repaired and was in no shape for the remainder of the trip and the ride back. They didn't have that particular tire in stock. Long story short, I had to load and unload the thing seven, count 'em SEVEN times by the time I hit the playa. No fun at the time but certainly made for a memorable trip and a good story (this is an abridged version). BTW the car is a 2010 so it really couldn't have been anticipated).
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Postby luvkat » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:08 pm

[quote="motskyroonmatick"]What are the vehicles you currently drive? Many people drive smaller cars with the addition of a roof rack or perhaps pulling a small trailer.

WELCOME![/quote]

i drive a 2dr saturn, with minimal storage space, but it's a 1998 and im not so confident it will make the journey. and my brother drives a 1984 camero thats bad on gas, minimal storage space, and he really just doesnt want to drive it that far.
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Postby mdmf007 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:37 pm

My advice is to NOT drive your daily dirver - it just takes too much to detail a rig back to original condition.

I drive an older SUV I keep just for that reason.
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:44 am

Since it's your first time I doubt you have enough stuff to fill up a big truck. The gas mileage would be pretty bad too I imagine, but you can use them to camp in once you get there. Maybe a SUV or van would be a good choice. I drive an xterra and have to fill it pretty much to the roof. I have an empty passenger seat but no space for anyone elses gear. :)
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Postby Turnip » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:37 am

Preferably a vehicle with round wheels, as those square wheels can be quite pesky.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:19 am

Sic Pup wrote:This year, I will probably just buy the 10' PVC, the bike, food and water in Fernley...


A side note to those who have not been before, don't forget that you'll need a plan to make sure you can haul the (potentially bulky) stuff you buy out there back with you when you go. You might limp it into the playa loaded down on your roof, but getting it back across the country might be a different story.

Plan ahead.

ETA:

Sic Pup, my wife's jetta (gas engine) pulls a small trailer just fine. It's been to the playa from across the country twice and it and the car both did fine. Might help you gain some valuable space and I suspect your TDI will do even better pulling it.
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Postby Savannah » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:26 am

My 2009 campmate & I found that a cargo van was simply brilliant (two seats up front, nothing but empty space behind us). There was plenty of room for the PVC for our monkey hut shade structure laid diagonally on the floor, two bicycles (bungee'd to the inside walls) and all our gear. It was probably $600 for the rental and several hundred more for gas. We kept half our stuff in it and kept it locked up during the week and had an extra key. It made a partial windbreak for the monkey hut once we set it up (the wind generally comes from the direction of Center Camp towards the 'Man).

A small moving truck is also a nice option because you can stand up in it (unlike the van) and it would sleep two people.

Hell, you could sleep two to a van, though I wouldn't want to.
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Postby Sic Pup » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:31 am

Good point, thanks. My plan was to consume the food/water and donate any leftover intact goods to DPW, donate the bike to Kiwanis and trash the PVC at the recycle station. I kicked myself for hauling it all the way back last time, the 10' sections needed cost like $20-30 max. The connectors and smaller pieces are no issue and I'd rather haul them than to have to re-measure and cut them again. At this juncture I'm reluctant to go the trailer route given gas prices but a lot could change between now and then.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:42 am

Fuel is a big factor, for sure. We usually drive the truck (Cummins diesel) and pull a 16' enclosed trailer. Yikes! I seem to recall that i her car, she gets about 27 mpg without a trailer and around 23mpg with. Not a big difference, but the hitch was a little pricey.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:05 am

:D
It seems incumbent on me to mention school buses. (Since I use one myself.)

You would want to buy one that is freshly decommissioned from the school district (or its bus contractor, like First Student). Diesel engine and good tires. (They sometimes put their junk tires on buses before they sell them -- simple economics.) Have the automatic transmission inspected by a pro.

Poor fuel mileage, but you could use it the rest of your life.

Be sure you paint, it, though.

There is a long post about school buses in the Q&A section here.
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Postby MyDearFriend » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:35 am

mudpuppy000 wrote:Since it's your first time I doubt you have enough stuff to fill up a big truck. The gas mileage would be pretty bad too I imagine, but you can use them to camp in once you get there. Maybe a SUV or van would be a good choice. I drive an xterra and have to fill it pretty much to the roof. I have an empty passenger seat but no space for anyone elses gear. :)


Hey this caught my eye since I was thinking of renting a middle-sized "Xterra or similar" SUV in Vegas. I am bringing a Monkey Hut (with legs cut to 5-ft sections), a tent, not too much food or clothing :shock: and maybe a bike. But most of my water should be on Doc Pyro's truck.

Do you think I'll have room for a ride-share type of person & gear in a vehicle the size of yours? I have had no luck finding anyone to share rental on a bigger vehicle and I'm thinking that's a long drive to do by myself.
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:58 pm

MyDearFriend wrote:
mudpuppy000 wrote:Since it's your first time I doubt you have enough stuff to fill up a big truck. The gas mileage would be pretty bad too I imagine, but you can use them to camp in once you get there. Maybe a SUV or van would be a good choice. I drive an xterra and have to fill it pretty much to the roof. I have an empty passenger seat but no space for anyone elses gear. :)


Hey this caught my eye since I was thinking of renting a middle-sized "Xterra or similar" SUV in Vegas. I am bringing a Monkey Hut (with legs cut to 5-ft sections), a tent, not too much food or clothing :shock: and maybe a bike. But most of my water should be on Doc Pyro's truck.

Do you think I'll have room for a ride-share type of person & gear in a vehicle the size of yours? I have had no luck finding anyone to share rental on a bigger vehicle and I'm thinking that's a long drive to do by myself.


That should be pretty doable I think. I have quite a bit of crap and I keep my bike inside as well. If you can get a external bike rack that will free up a lot of space. If you do get an xterra you can sleep in the back of it without much problem. (just need a cargo bin to put behind the front seat if you're tall, maybe not if you're short. :) The 24 gallon action packers fit perfectly.)
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Postby MyDearFriend » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:22 pm

mudpuppy000 wrote: That should be pretty doable I think. I have quite a bit of crap and I keep my bike inside as well. If you can get a external bike rack that will free up a lot of space. If you do get an xterra you can sleep in the back of it without much problem. (just need a cargo bin to put behind the front seat if you're tall, maybe not if you're short. :) The 24 gallon action packers fit perfectly.)


Thank you so much! Good to have a lead on a sturdy bin that should fit but, I don't get what you mean about needing a cargo bin behind the front seat if you're tall. Does it fit between the front seat & the folded-down rear seat? That would be very handy! I do need a thing like that, even though I am short :oops: actually because I am short I need something to stand on when I build my hut. :roll:
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Postby VeganChoirGirl » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:22 pm

Ok, I agree with the cargo van, but a small truck might work well for you guys as well.

http://www.kayak.com/cars/Atlanta,GA-c11123/2011-08-24/2011-09-08

I kayak'd the prices there for you. I would say you are looking at $450 for the rental, add $80 for the damage waiver (you HAVE to get it, the other insurance is really over kill), $600 for gas (that's at about $4) depending on a price per gallon at the time of the burn, $100 for road snacks, $100 incidentals, $50 for camp ground fees etc. to and from. Grand total you are looking at: $1400 or about $700 a person. That ain't too bad for a cross country treck!
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Postby LeChatNoir » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:55 pm

$600 would be about 33 mpg from Atlanta at 5000 miles round trip. I'd guess the cargo van would get high teens, maybe 20 mpg, putting the gas at more like $1000.

Can anyone confirm the mpg on such a van?

Edit to change start from Washington to Atlanta and add that, even with the fuel, the van does still seem like a really good option.
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Postby VeganChoirGirl » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:59 pm

Yup, should have doubled the gas!! :) I only calculated one way.
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Postby shroom » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:18 pm

Welcome! I am from the NW corner of Georgia and I drove last year. I did take my truck that I use everyday, yes it needed to be detailed when I got back but I planned for that. I washed it at as do it yourself car wash on the way home. I also changed my oil and air filter before I left. I changed my air filter after I got away from the playa and changed the oil again when I got home.

I drove out the northern route and drove home the southern route because I had never been across the country before. The drive was fantastic and I wish I had given myself extra time to enjoy it more.

I only had myself and one other person in my truck so we packed carefully and used a bed cover on the back. Plan for your gas, hotels to and from the event. We stopped at a wal-mart on the last leg of the trip and bought all of our water then to save weight on the truck.

If I had the time and funds this year I would do it again! Planning for next year.
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Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:06 pm

MyDearFriend wrote:
mudpuppy000 wrote: That should be pretty doable I think. I have quite a bit of crap and I keep my bike inside as well. If you can get a external bike rack that will free up a lot of space. If you do get an xterra you can sleep in the back of it without much problem. (just need a cargo bin to put behind the front seat if you're tall, maybe not if you're short. :) The 24 gallon action packers fit perfectly.)


Thank you so much! Good to have a lead on a sturdy bin that should fit but, I don't get what you mean about needing a cargo bin behind the front seat if you're tall. Does it fit between the front seat & the folded-down rear seat? That would be very handy! I do need a thing like that, even though I am short :oops: actually because I am short I need something to stand on when I build my hut. :roll:


Yes, that's correct, it fits in the space where the rear seat passengers feet go to add extra room to lay on. I'm kinda tall (6'2") so I need the extra space, but it's possible to fit in there without it if you're smaller or want to curl up :) Those containers are really handy, good for standing on or as extra chairs/tables. :)
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Postby CornStar » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:38 pm

Gas is going to kill you no matter what. It will for sure be the most expensive factor. You should really consider reaching out in your community to either find people already going to BRC or convince a friend or 2 to come with. I've always felt 4 is the perfect number for a long road trip. Nonetheless a buddy of mine had a similar problem a few years back, in that renting a van or a truck for a 2000 mile drive is just not cost effective for 2 people. But considering a 4 way split is much more reasonable. Its also a great way to meet people prior to the burn and get involved in the local burning community.
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Postby luvkat » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:28 am

thanks guys! all these are really helpfull! i think im going to be looking into splitting it with more people or just doing the ride share thing! keep the good ideas coming though! i can use all the help i can get!
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Postby addison4 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:25 pm

Fly into Reno and rent the smallest car that will fit all your junk. Yes, its that simple!
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Postby Minxy » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:37 pm

I'm a really big fan of my soccer mom mini van. :D It's kinda beat and I got it cheaply but I could give a rats butt how it looks. It's got plenty of space for one person, gas mileage is ok and I can sleep in it or use the inside to sit out of wind or w/e if I need once it's unloaded.

I've made the drive from OR (obviously not as far as you're coming) twice alone and all my stuff fit great.

I do make sure to get it pre-playa serviced prior to the trip and check my tires/spare, etc.

I even made enough space for a small nest in the back when I packed so if I wanted to stop for a nap I had a place to crash without a hotel on the way.

It rocked for me!
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Postby B the B » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:39 pm

Addison said it best. Airplanes work good in terms of saving you from hemmroids, cops, and fatigue. I came from Boston last year and getting there was HELLISH. Almost fell asleep behind the wheel a few times, got stopped in Nebraska doing 75 in a 65, that was scary. Flying next time. Just make sure you have your essentials, i.e. shade, glowy lights, sunscreen, anything that may be hard to find/sold out when you get to Reno. P.S. I got a sweet Huffy cruiser with fat tires at Walmart last year for $75!! Perfect BM bike.
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Postby phil » Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:01 pm

Louise and I have an extended cargo van, and it gets 15MPH (2005). It absolutely sleeps two on a queen-size air mattress. We've done it many times.

However, it seats only two. I don't think any cargo vans have seats for more than two, and you won't have much space left in the back after you pack your gear.

Before you buy airplane tickets to Reno, check on vehicle rentals for the playa - I've heard that many companies are either fully booked or don't rent to Burners.

I've seen people recommend buying an appropriate truck on Craig's List, using it for the Burn, then selling it when you get back. I've never done it, so I can't say how well that works. Maybe others who have can comment?

I suggest making your decision as soon as you can, then buying/renting/using your vehicle for a loooong weekend trip to see how you and it stand up to a day in the unit, unpacking after a hard day, then repacking after a sleepless period of time.

Good luck and have fun.
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Postby Packoderm » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:06 pm

Maybe buy a used Toyota Motorhome?
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Postby daned420 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:05 am

were from Miami, so we fly into reno, have a hotel room w/ full kitchen to cook and prep foods for playa.
we rent a small suv (this year maybe a truck)
-we UPS'd all of our big camping gear and herbs directly to the hotel
pick up rental bikes from black rock bikes
- do all water, grocery shopping
- go back to hotel and I make soups and salads and then vaccum seal everything. same w/ bacon and steaks. they keep fresh alot longer, less packaging and trash to haul off the playa
-come back from BM and head to black rock bikes, head to lake tahoe for decompression, mail out all big camping gear
-go get car detailed so in the morning we can head to the airport and return a rental car w/ no playa dust

our flights were going to be ~450 each, rental suv about 500 for the week monday - monday, and then ~ 150 for ups shipping

just my .02
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Postby kubikub » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:14 pm

I fit a friend, a monkeyhut, two fold-up cots, a 6 person tent, and enough food/water/supplies/costumes for 2 people to last the entire week in a 2000 Mustang last year with some creative packing. If there's a will, there's a way :P
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