Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:44 pm



Hey, that's my line.

One thing to note is that from Rochester, they were weird about checked luggage. Specifically they didn't like that I had totes (e.g. Rubbermaid 20-something gallon size) and insisted that only luggage could be checked. I know bikes can be checked with bike boxes, but call ahead to make sure they have the boxes and be ready to do it.

I found a big advantage was that I pared down a lot — no longer was I carrying a packed-full Honda Civic or a packed-full Buick RoadMaster Estate Wagon, but just what I could carry (including water) between the train and the hotel and a ride. If it weren't for someone parking a crane in the way of the California Zephyr, I would have been there in 2011.

This year I'm attempting the same trip (this time with the trike as I planned for 2011 originally.)

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I ate there in 2011. I'm no aficionado, but it was good. I had fried cow tongue because I never had it before. It was okay. The mixed drink was really good ... some kind of signature thing.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby LostinReno » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:34 am

jaycerochester wrote:I ate there in 2011. I'm no aficionado, but it was good. I had fried cow tongue because I never had it before. It was okay. The mixed drink was really good ... some kind of signature thing.


It was probably a Picon Punch, most basque restaraunts serve it around here. If you ever end up in Elko, The Star is the best basque food I've ever had, I liked it better than Winnemucca, just my opinion :D.
Louie's Basque Corner is pretty good and only a couple of blocks from the train station. Not as good as the Star, but still pretty good!! It's pricey, but you get a TON of food.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Savannah » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:10 am

jaycerochester wrote:


Hey, that's my line.

One thing to note is that from Rochester, they were weird about checked luggage. Specifically they didn't like that I had totes (e.g. Rubbermaid 20-something gallon size) and insisted that only luggage could be checked. I know bikes can be checked with bike boxes, but call ahead to make sure they have the boxes and be ready to do it.


This is good advice. For the train, real luggage is a must. Average Rubbermaids and totes are way too vulnerable to opening. (I use packing tape on my Rubbermaids, even just to go in a truck). Sometimes they will let you get away with a well-taped box in an emergency--my largest suitcase was once a pound or 2 over the weight limit--but of course, that's not ideal.

If I were on a tight budget and wanted luggage I'd send an email to friends and family asking to take their cosmetically compromised but still structurally sound luggage (36" x 36" x 36" or smaller, as Amtrak checked baggage requires) off their hands for $5 apiece, or bartered skills. Lots of people have new "good luggage" but haven't tossed the old luggage yet because it's still perfectly good and they keep meaning to take it to the thrift store (and really could use the extra space).

Ross & TJ Maxx are the best I've found for new cheap luggage. (Sears too, sometimes. The wheeled carryon I bought there has lasted at least a dozen years and was $20). Bonus: discount stores have the zebra-print stuff that didn't sell, which is distinctive on the baggage carousel, and it's kinda fun to have silly luggage for the Burn as long as it's strong enough. Carryons (28" x 22" x 14" or smaller, on Amtrak anyway) are the most reasonably priced at these stores, but they will also let you haggle if there's a notable flaw. I'm normally not a good haggler, but I actually managed to talk the manager of Ross into giving me 30% off of a massive, already-well-discounted suitcase. I could tell it had either been around a really long time or had been purchased, used once, and returned.

I found a big advantage was that I pared down a lot — no longer was I carrying a packed-full Honda Civic or a packed-full Buick RoadMaster Estate Wagon, but just what I could carry (including water) between the train and the hotel and a ride. If it weren't for someone parking a crane in the way of the California Zephyr, I would have been there in 2011.

This year I'm attempting the same trip (this time with the trike as I planned for 2011 originally.)


Your adventures were nuts! Still can't believe it. I think people will be waiting eagerly to hear that you make it this time.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby ultratang7 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:37 am

This seems like a perfect option for me, I'm in.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:32 am

I am leaving Friday from Iowa and getting in Sunday in reno. I would assume most would do this one as it gets in early sunday (hopefully) to reno so it leave time to go stock up on food, booze and whatever else. Word to the wize, bring food with you on amtrak. Their food sucks and costs alot. Im bringing bread, canned chicken, mayo packets, relish packets and chips and truying to find one other thing that would be easy on the train.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby FeetOfClay » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:37 pm

i am planning to drive (if i get a ticket), but rising gas prices are making me look long at hard at amtrak. however, if i take amtrak to reno, wondering if i need to rent a car so that i can get provisions and get into the desert.

how to get from reno to BRC...that's the biggest variable for me when considering anything but car.

and driving there is no small feat; i am travelling solo from NY
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:56 pm

If you arrive on Friday, stay at the Sands (use the Barbie Death Camp Hotel Deal naturally) there will be ride shares to TTITD on Saturday for sure (11 a.m. for those with early arrival passes) and certainly Sunday and Monday as well. The Sands is 5 short blocks from the Amtrak station. We've sort of done this thing before.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:22 pm

Hizah! Did not know this is where my playa family is at. I will also be coming over to the Sands on Sunday to take a shower and hang with some friends from another camp then heading out the the playa later in the day. So sounds like a good idea! I hope you consider Amtrak no idea where you are at but I know of two other people getting on along the way.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:13 am

FeetOfClay wrote:and driving there is no small feat; i am travelling solo from NY


I've also driven solo. I rather enjoyed it.

In 2010 I had a 1992 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon that averaged 21 mpg for the 5,500 mile trip, using 265 gallons of gas. I paid around $725 with gas prices averaging $2.739. Today I'm seeing prices hover around $3.999, so that's more like $1,000. In the grand scheme of things, while the gas is expensive, the increase wouldn't stop me.

Nonetheless, I'm interested in making Burning Man more difficult than it already is, so I'm combining the train with pedal power to get there. More insanity than frugality.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Simon of the Playa » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:43 am

feet of clay, having gone from western New York to BRC MANY times and by EVERY means possible i can honestly say the cheapest and easiest is to fly into SFO and rent a cheap car...

seriously..

AMTRAK is a crap shoot, and i refuse to board one of those rolling claptraps unless i have a sleeper ROOM not just the little sleeperette bullshit.


yeah, i do have standards..

anyway, do yourself a favor and make it easy and CHEAPEST by taking my advice.....for once i am not kidding.

you do NOT want to drive the 80 by yourself.

3 days on amtrak coach is worse than hell.

do not even get me started on greyhound.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:52 am

Simon of the Playa wrote:feet of clay, having gone from western New York to BRC MANY times and by EVERY means possible i can honestly say the cheapest and easiest is to fly into SFO and rent a cheap car...


SFO? Why SFO and not RNO?

I'm sticking with my theory that for out of towners flying in, the fly in to RNO and renting a box truck to live/camp in is about the most cost effective and functional solution. For around $250 more than a rental car you get a complete wind proof 16' x 8' mobile bedroom that you can haul all the water, bike, clothes, food, champagne, midgets, bowling pins and a wheelbarrow of ketamine in with. I can pack everything I need in one check on suitcase and one roller carry on. Done.

Amtrak is NOT the cheapest nor by far and wide the most dependable/fastest. You crazy.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Simon of the Playa » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:09 am

flying into SFO is WAY cheaper....enough for rental car and gas...NYC to SFO book early, dirt cheap.

6 hours from sfo to Gerlach.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Savannah » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:25 am

The reason I personally consider Amtrak + car rental is because 1) I like to minimize my driving 2) they allow so much baggage, and because 3) from my hometown to a town just 5 hours from the playa is a 12 hour train ride. No sleeper car necessary. Reno is actually not on my route, coming from the NW.

Train + sleep + shop + short drive.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Lassen Forge » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:57 am

Plus... the personal invasion of ones self on Amtrak is nowhere even close to that on an airplane - I have yet to take my shoes off to board a train, tho I will usually take them off once I'm on board. ;) Plus - people on the Train are a lot more personable than the surly self-absorbed on a plane.

While the food is a little pricey, it's pretty doggoned good compared to airline hogslop (IF you even GET airline Hogslop). And if you smuggle your own booze on board, you drink for mixers or free. (Inside hint - they sell Sierra Nevada on Amtrak, but is like $4.50 a bottle - is cheaper to bring your own on board!).

The baggage thing goes without saying. And I can't remember the last time they did a strip search of my carry on or purse.

If you get a superliner roomette (or better), you have access to the shower in the car. Usually if you're in coach and talk to the conductor they'll say OK. ;) When was the last time you got to clean up on a plane?

Speaking of... What's your legroom on an airplane? Coach seating on a train, My knees are 14" from the seat in front of me, and even the Capitol Corridors I commute on, it's 8". Beat THAT, United - you don't even do that good in first class!

I'll take a chance of being delayed an hour or 2... because it's not even in the same class as an airplane.

BTW - There's restaurants and coffee places a short walk from the train station in Sacto. Not to mention the pubs and whatnot in Old Sacramento... my "train delayed" pub in old Sac is a quick 5 minute walk - Pint of PBR and a shot of JD for $4.50? Hoolyah!
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:04 am

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:Speaking of... What's your legroom on an airplane? Coach seating on a train, My knees are 14" from the seat in front of me, and even the Capitol Corridors I commute on, it's 8". Beat THAT, United - you don't even do that good in first class!

Yeah, yeah, it's all about legs for you people...

I actually resent taking the train now. When you can't get to the observation car...
And those two coots having the most horrendous conversation last time I rode the train...
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby FeetOfClay » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:19 am

flying into SFO is WAY cheaper....enough for rental car and gas...NYC to SFO book early, dirt cheap.



thanks simon! i may just heed this advice! kinda a crap-shoot for me right now tho: i have yet to receive a STEP ticket (I am a 12:16-er), so I can't book my flight yet. well, maybe I could...but then if I don't get a BMan ticket, guess i just have to hand out in CA for a week--not bad!

thanks again!

PS: why do u say "you don't want to drive I-80 by yourself"? is it boring? dangerous? what did u dislike about the drive? (besides the fact that it will take a week!)
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Drawingablank » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:32 am

We drove it last year. It is pretty boring. Going wasn't too bad as you have the anticipation, but after a week on the playa the 5 day drive home was unbearable.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:54 am

I once went to a talk by an amphibian expert who tracked frog mutations on a meridian across the country by driving on I-80 and stopping at various places to make observations. It was actually probably mistakes in development, because I think that he pegged it to an environmental factor.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby tattoogoddess » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:06 pm

I love amtrak/trains. They are the cheapest way to travel, they even beat grayhound and are quicker. You do get far more leg room too! Im 5'8 so flying for me sucks and you guys are right many people who fly don't want to talk so it get dull. I have done Virginia Beach to Omaha and LA to Omaha. It's not that bad for 2 days on a train. Yeah you feel a bit grimy but if you do a wet wipe bath it will surfice.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Lassen Forge » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:24 pm

Food to take on a train?

Pretty much anythng you can think of. I usually do some cold KFC, a BLT or 2 (Make that a BLBTB!). Water. A few sodas. Few bottles of beer, and of course, Vodka (must keeppriorities str8!). Munchies. Fresh Fruit. Hummus & Pita Bread. Hunk of Cheese & Crackers. Coffee on Amtrak is better than 2 years ago, but bring your own cup. I do their breakfast burritos out of the snack bar, or use the 30 minute fuel layovers to grab something local, but I have also taken some Mountainhouse Granola (just add water). I do bring some coin of the realm in case I want to do the dining car (and food there is also improved over 2 years ago!)...
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:47 pm

I've been entertaining the idea of taking Amtrak from San Fran to Reno. Getting the bike from San Diego to SF on Amtrak is a pain though, only certain trains have bike hooks and on the others you have to box it...
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:42 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Yeah, yeah, it's all about legs for you people...


And shoes.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:54 pm

FeetOfClay wrote:PS: why do u say "you don't want to drive I-80 by yourself"? is it boring? dangerous? what did u dislike about the drive? (besides the fact that it will take a week!)


I've done it 5 times now, 4 alone, and I really quite like it. Burning Man trips were the first times I ever tried driving longer than 4 or 5 hours at one time. I didn't know how it would go, but it works for me. I just drive until I start to get tired then I find a place to stop and sleep a while ... sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes 5 hours. It's a few hundred extra miles, but my brother used to live in Denver so I still drive through there via I-70; on the way out, it's I-70 to I-15 to I-80 in Utah.

I got much better at knowing when I was ready to sleep. I got sleep-deprivation on the first trip ... hallucinated things and all just as I was getting off the highway (the bushes on the side of the road turned into those cupcake cars.) Driving like that taught me that I need sleep so bad I sometimes think I'm narcoleptic. I was dating a woman and we drove together in 2007. She could drive literally all night, so the car never stopped for longer than gas, bathrooms, and food.

The drive out is definitely easier than the drive back. But at least on the way back the states get smaller so you each one is closer than the last.

Nonetheless, driving out west is still a novelty to me. I could drive I-80 for 10 hours but I get bored to tears by the New York State Thruway ... I assume it's because I got used to the Thruway.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby FeetOfClay » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:00 am

thanks Jay--

i am thinking that i would like the drive too! i like long introspective time (loved driving from NY to NC solo...it's only 10 hrs, but i really enjoy it).
i think i may have the tempermant for it: plus, i feel like it gives me more control (no Amtrak cancellations [as u understand all too well], no airport security, no renting a car, trying to source water in reno, or catching a ride into BRC with anyone sketchy,etc)

being that it is my first burn, i'd like to drive for several reasons:

-i like a challenge (radical self reliance)
-adds to the pilgrimmage nature of the journey
-allows me to haul lots of food and water (i am a vegan, and plan to bring tons of my own specialty foods)
-i'd like to see some sights along the way
-i have lots of hoops, clothes, and a bike to bring
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Drawingablank » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:35 am

FeetOfClay wrote:thanks Jay--

i am thinking that i would like the drive too! i like long introspective time (loved driving from NY to NC solo...it's only 10 hrs, but i really enjoy it).
i think i may have the tempermant for it: plus, i feel like it gives me more control (no Amtrak cancellations [as u understand all too well], no airport security, no renting a car, trying to source water in reno, or catching a ride into BRC with anyone sketchy,etc)

being that it is my first burn, i'd like to drive for several reasons:

-i like a challenge (radical self reliance)
-adds to the pilgrimmage nature of the journey
-allows me to haul lots of food and water (i am a vegan, and plan to bring tons of my own specialty foods)
-i'd like to see some sights along the way
-i have lots of hoops, clothes, and a bike to bring


I just want to point out that you will get better mileage if you don't haul your water all the way from new York. Water is pretty heavy and will add over 100 pounds to your load.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby FeetOfClay » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:01 am

just want to point out that you will get better mileage if you don't haul your water all the way from new York. Water is pretty heavy and will add over 100 pounds to your load.


No, i know, you're totally right! I won't stock up on water in NY...but at least I won't have to wait until Reno: i could grab water and provisions along my route, saving water until the last couple days. but as far as dry food, i will be carting most of that from NY.

though i have heard that RENO has many provisions and such, based on my route from NY, chances are i may not go down to reno, may just pass through winnemucca.

what i like about the car is that i won't be limited by what they have in reno or winnemucca, as in "oh crap, they don't have soy milk" or "shit, no more bicycles to rent", that kinda thing :)
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Drawingablank » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:22 am

Coming from the east, Fernley is the last stop for supplies and the Wally mart parking lot there is like a pre burn party. Burners coming in and out all day, setting up shade, socializing, hooping, spinning, etc... It's a good warm up and a nice place to stretch your legs before the long entry line in addition to a burner friendly place to stock up on last minute items and top off the gas tank.

There is also a Lowes and I think a Home Depot in town as well.

This was taken there a few hours before the gate opens on Sunday:
Image

Departing NY on Wednesday got us there for Sunday. Although we had 3 drivers and could have done it in less time, we stopped to visit some friends in Chicago and Omaha along the way.
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Simon of the Playa » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:24 am

Private Jet to the BRC airport, limousine to your PnP camp...


duh...
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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby catinthefunnyhat » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:35 am

Simon of the Playa wrote:limousine to your PnP camp...


Pshaw. Limousines are so 2%.

I prefer to travel in style.

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Re: Amtrak to Burning Man? (reno)

Postby Zhust » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:05 pm

Drawingablank wrote:Coming from the east, Fernley is the last stop for supplies and the Wally mart parking lot there is like a pre burn party.


There's a Smiths that's open 24 hours in Elko, NV ... basic all-purpose grocery store (and, since it's in NV, including beer, wine, and liquor.) With far fewer people coming from the east, there are fewer chances for shortages. Winnemucca, Lovelock, then Fernley are the only closer places to get anything, although they're all smaller than Elko (has a Home Depot; Fernley has a Lowes.)

As for hauling water, it usually doesn't make a noticeable difference in gas mileage. Although all the water for a person is pretty heavy, it's still less weight than one more passenger, and that doesn't tend to affect mileage either.

Added weight means it takes more energy to accelerate, climb hills, and causes higher rolling resistance, but it also changes the suspension load and can improve the aerodynamics (by riding lower in the rear, or just lower overall). In addition, the rate of gas use in a car does not necessarily increase with increasing load — sometimes adding a few hundred pounds of weight decreases fuel use because the engine is operating in a more efficient way (efficient in the sense of power out ÷ fuel used, which in this case, also applies to miles-per-gallon). In the end, a few hundred pounds does not make a detectable change, although adding a 2,000 pound trailer will.

So if you feel like taking water from home, don't worry about it. Unless I'm staying at a hotel, I find it a little harrowing to arrive somewhere during the 24-hour day and try to find a place that will let me take 15 gallons of clean drinking water.
May your deeds return to you tenfold,
---Zhust, Curiosityist
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