Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

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Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby Mr Tumbles » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:48 pm

Hey guys, first time poster here. Woo!

My name is Mr Tumbles, I'm an Aussie and I've been dreaming of attending burning man for nearly TEN YEARS now. This year the stars have aligned and I have managed to score a ticket to this monumental event! I'm pretty pumped about it but as you can imagine right now I'm looking to get some advice on how to organise myself for such an epic adventure. My main concerns is not being properly prepared for such an epic event, especially since I will be travelling and attending the event alone. I've lurked the forums for a few days but I still have so many questions...Experience has taught me that it's better to get advice from those who know best and, if things don't turn out the way you want, to cancel a project before it begins than it is to begin a project that is doomed from the start. Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance as my old man would say :P

My current plan is to fly to Reno a week before the event, buy all the equipment I need, get a share ride to the event, stay the full week at BRC, then spend a week decompressing in Reno before flying back home. I have a budget of about $3k (not including air fare, that's already taken care of), but if I really need to dig deep I can cough up another few grand.

1) Will this be an adequate budget for one person?
2) Can I get everything I need in Reno within that one week? What with luggage limites and all that jazz the only luggage I can imagine bringing with me would be my clothes, some costumes and a lot of el wire. Will this be enough or is there anything I'm missing?
3) How hard is it to find a share ride to and from Reno to BRC? I wouldn't mind renting an RV, but they're so expensive! It's an option I'd rather avoid if I can. If share rides accept payment in booze and cigarettes that'd be a bonus. :P
4) I wear contacts and I'm guessing the playa dust would wreak havoc with my eyes. Any burner tips for looking after contacts in the dusty environment?

I have heaps more questions but those are my most immediate concerns. I'd be real grateful if you could all help me! I'm sure these are the sorts of questions that other foreign nationals would have attending the event, so if they've already been answered before feel free to point me in the right direction. Love ya lots, thanks in advance. :mrgreen:
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby International Incident » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:21 pm

Hi Mr Tumbles,
I'm also from Australia - I'll mesage you my contact deets so you can call me if you wish.

The below might help - just my view though

My current plan is to fly to Reno a week before the event, buy all the equipment I need, get a share ride to the event, stay the full week at BRC, then spend a week decompressing in Reno before flying back home. I have a budget of about $3k (not including air fare, that's already taken care of), but if I really need to dig deep I can cough up another few grand.


Man, that's way too long in Reno - you'll kill yourself if you stay that long (sorry reno peeps). You need 24hrs - tops. You could, instead, have afew days in SanFran, or fly into Reno and hire a car and drive around North Cal for a week.They are just thoughts.

There are ride shares working in Reno - you will be able to organise a lift out to the playa. Your biggest hassle will be finding someone with enough room to carry the water you need.

Hotel in Reno - I used the Sands Regency - cheap - they don't mind dirty dusty burners.

Will this be an adequate budget for one person?

You have more than enough.

2) Can I get everything I need in Reno within that one week? What with luggage limites and all that jazz the only luggage I can imagine bringing with me would be my clothes, some costumes and a lot of el wire. Will this be enough or is there anything I'm missing?

Coming from Australia you can take 2 bags 23k each - included in international airfare. Bring your tent from Aust - the ones sold here (Aust) are better than the cheap ones at Walmart. Happily provide advice on said tent later.
3) How hard is it to find a share ride to and from Reno to BRC? I wouldn't mind renting an RV, but they're so expensive! It's an option I'd rather avoid if I can. If share rides accept payment in booze and cigarettes that'd be a bonus. :P

There's a ride share system - it won't be up and running for a while tho. Most people just want you to kick in for gas money.

4) I wear contacts and I'm guessing the playa dust would wreak havoc with my eyes. Any burner tips for looking after contacts in the dusty environment?

Really good googles, eye flush drops, and spare glasses in case it all goes wrong!

Hope that's helpful

Drop me a line if you need anything

Mel
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby CaffeineGirl » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:39 pm

Mr Tumbles,
Congratulations on getting a ticket!


(1-2) Your budget should be do-able with selective shopping. Reno has a wide selection of everything from big box to thrift stores, as well as military surplus. However, unless you get hooked up with folks in Reno, I would seriously consider shortening your stay there, and putting the savings from fewer hotel nights/restaurant meals toward a rental vehicle -small van or SUV if possible, or even a small rental truck. Whatever is affordable and available. Reno is not a large city, but it is big enough that shopping and transporting all your items will be a challenge without a vehicle. You should not need a full week for shopping. Cutting short your week after will save some $ as well.

(4)I have worn gas-perm contacts on the playa thru 9 burns. (disposable are probably easier to deal with, but I can't wear them). I highlly recommend a set of back up glasses. Also, keep your eyes covered at all times. I use wrap around dark glasses in camp when there is little wind, dark goggles in the day when windy, and goggles with yellow lenses at night. The dry air is also a challenge, so take lots of good quality eye drops, like artificial tears. Assuming you are tent camping, another challenge is keeping your hands clean enough to handle your lenses. Be sure to set up a way to thorougly clean your hands any time to need to handle your lenses.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby Savannah » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:05 am

Hi Mr. Tumbles!

You need this thread:

Costs & Logistics of Flying to Reno
viewtopic.php?f=286&t=52826&start=0

Get your goggles back in Oz so you can choose ones you love, and fit you.

Melaniejane is right--a week in Reno might drive you totally nuts. They're great, & ready for Burners shopping, but it's a small town. It's nothing like San Francisco, where you could easily spend a week. If you like to relax, dither, and take it easy, give yourself 2-3 days in Reno at most (I shop slower than most, & an overnight plus shopping is what I would do, adding a day if I had the option). After the event, a night between you and your flight is nice. Getting from the playa to Reno might take 6-8 hours from camp to blacktop and 2 hours to drive, plus lots of spare hours for wiggle room and mishaps, then if you want to sleep and shower before your flight . . . yeah. :)

Schedule your rideshare if you can . . . (don't know if this is really open yet; it won't get busy 'til June or July) . . .
http://rideshare.burningman.com/ridesha ... -man-2012/

but if worse comes to worse, go back to the airport and get matched up at the volunteer rideshare desk near the baggage carousel, first floor.

To find info about contact lenses on ePlaya, I literally goggled contact lenses eplaya. Here's a good one:
viewtopic.php?t=39256

(To find more, you can click "More results from eplaya.burningman.com" from google results).
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby Mr Tumbles » Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:21 am

Thanks for the words of wisdom about the contacts caffeinegirl, and especially to Savannah! As a mod, I'm sure you've probably answered these questions a zillion times over the years (better make that a zillion and one), so I really do appreciate the hand-tailored response. I'll be sure to talk to my optometrist about getting some prescription goggles, I think they might be just the thing I need. And to melaniejane, some advice from a fellow aussie would be great. I need some time to rearrange my thoughts and plans right now but I'll be definitely getting in touch with you soon.
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby Canoe » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:28 am

RV from Reno for BRC can be the normal rate of around $3,000 a week, but more normally around $6,000 for that week. The $10,000 ones they'll stock with food & booze of your choice (extra fee) and have it waiting on-playa for your arrival.

Multiple Rideshare locations in Reno.
Worst case, a piece of cardboard and thick black marker saying something along the lines of "going home, BRC" should get you a ride quick. At the rideshare lines for those without a previously arranged ride, providing everyone is comfortable with who they're sharing with and have room for what's required, there's a "rule"/convention (not always followed) of trying to give rides to those who got there first.

Tons of threads here on things you need, describing between what's needed and what's nice. It can be done expensive; it can be done cheap yet comfortable. You can spend a lot of money on the wrong stuff and be uncomfortable or in for a lot of avoidable work. A few surprises, like a cream for your feet to protect from the alkali playa dust, and some vinegar to mix with water for washing if you have trouble. Use ePlaya's search. All is revealed, explained, or will be if you post a question.

If you can get your tent in shade, you'll be a lot more comfortable. Bringing a shade structure for rideshare will almost certainly be a problem. Asking an RV or truck if you can sleep in their shade is quite possible. I like camping alone, and then make friends with neighbours. You may prefer to find a theme camp where for a minimal fee you can camp in their shade and have some shower use, kitchen, etc.. Usually, all variations are possible. Some arrange a theme camp in advance, others when they get on playa. Others make friends and share...

A simple cloth bandana, large, is amazing effective for blocking the dust in a storm. Like the stagecoach robbers pull up over their face in the cowboy movies.

Water. Worst case, if you really have to, you take a single water jug with you and a few single-serving sized water bottles. Then on a quiet morning, before you run out of water, you pay the around $20 and take the shuttle bus to Gerlach and get more water (assuming jugs still available there). Be prepared to explain your plan at the gate if they question how little water you have. Better off to wait for a rideshare where you can take enough water. Except for the airport, I believe each rideshare location has a retail source of water.

A bike is a really nice to have on the playa if you like to explore (but not an essential - BRC Yellow Bike Program). Problem will be getting it there (rideshare). You want a beater, not something nice. Playa bikes can be bought at the Kiwanis bike program in Reno (online reservations), a few of their bikes at the Keystone grocery store (also a rideshare point), and frequently at the side of the road in Gerlach , right before the Black Rock Desert (rideshare only has to take it a short distance and at a slow speed, so it might sit up top on something). Discuss this with a potential rideshare. A cheap bike you don't want to take home can be left at center camp cafe and may end up in the Kiwanis or Yellow Bike programs. If you get a bike, get a lock. Use it. Always. You can leave the lock&key on the bike when you leave. Again, search ePlaya.

Good luck.
Last edited by Canoe on Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:45 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby ygmir » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:29 am

don't forget, they check luggage, so don't try sneaking in any cane toads or rabbits.

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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby Dr. Pyro » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:35 am

Oh great, now where am I supposed to get my cane toads from?
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby Canoe » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:39 am

I forgot.
Before you go much further, use the links in my signature and go read. Once you've read those, the posts on ePlaya will make more sense and provide more value. You won't nail this is a week, but will reform and refine your requirements over time.
Read, research and ask before you spend money on equipment or supplies.
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby some seeing eye » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:57 am

Mr Tumbles, welcome! It's likely you may be able to connect with and join a camp through these boards or through other Ausies. Likely you have valuable skills to add to a camp, which you could announce here. Then you can coordinate transport with your new camp. You will have a great experience.
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby indienial » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:27 am

We're Aussies too... there will apparently be an Aussie & NZ camp if you're feeling homesick.
We will fly into LA, and will probably get ready there. We're making a campervan to sleep in.
We may be able to rideshare from LA if needed?
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby worla » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:20 am

We are hiring a mini van in San Fran so perhaps you could get a ride with us? we are going to get most of our stuff in San Fran or Reno. We are planing to sleep in our mini van and get some sort of shade device going on.

where about's in Australia are you?
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby delle » Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:12 am

Prescription goggles are a nice little option if you can afford them, but I wouldn't suggest making them your only alternative to contacts -- nor your only goggles. Remember that you'll have to take your contacts OUT every time you don the prescription goggles. Then - god forbid - put them back IN when the goggles come off -- somewhere out there, on the fly.

I can't imagine wearing goggles all day if I didn't have to.

How about using the same money (or less) getting lenses made for a really outrageous pair of frames? (thrift store or ebay)


I'd also considered inserting some pinhole (stenopeic) lenses inside a pair of goggles. In fact, just having a pocket full of these things doesn't seem a bad idea. (unfortunately for me, the pocketful I'd ordered to bring last year never showed up!!). They seem to fix most visual problems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinhole_glasses

To see if they do for you -- look at something you can't focus on properly. Make a little diamond with your two forefingers and thumbs. Look thru the diamond, adjusting it until you can see properly.
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby Ratty » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:28 am

Welcome Mr Tumbles and all Aussies. We've partied in Bali so I know you will have fun and be an asset to the event. I can help with bringing the water and beer. In bali I would bring the wine because Americans get a much higher luggage allowance.
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby organizedchaos » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:07 pm

Hey Mr. Tumbles!

Last year there was a big playa decompression pool party with some sort of stay and drink all you want deal which burners stayed at for a few days after. It was an awesome experience from what I've heard but totally forgot the name of the hotel. You might want to try searching for that if you truly want to stay that long in Reno after.
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby pink » Mon May 07, 2012 6:55 pm

That was probably at the Sands - check out with Barbie Death Camp's Burner special there. I disagree that you'd only need a day on each end; after my first burn, I was seriously disoriented. I finally figured out I had sensory deprivation! Being in a casino helped. :) And if you are there a week early, getting a car for a few days and heading up to Truckee or Lake Tahoe would be nice, especially if it's hot in Reno. The Sierra are beautiful, and getting a car NOT for burning man wouldn't put much of a dent in your budget. And you could test out your camping gear at one of the numerous national forest campgrounds.

That said, you can get all you need in Reno. I live in Sacramento and have learned not to drive 'up the hill' loaded down. Reno has an REI where you can get a better quality tent than at Walmart. I've heard Walmart does provide a checklist at the door for what you will need and what aisle it's on. Many stores cater to Burners quite well. My personal fave is the Keystone Save-Mart.

Also look at some of the threads where people are looking for shares: there seem to be quite a few where people rented RVs and are looking to share. That could be an option, especially just to get the amount of stuff you need to the playa.
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Re: Aussie first timer looking for trip advice!

Postby Canoe » Tue May 08, 2012 8:21 pm

pink wrote:...My personal fave is the Keystone Save-Mart...

+100
Yet some of the quieter Save-Marts have lower prices on Burner desired items...
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