First timer's perspective

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First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:49 pm

In a word: Wow.

Nothing could prepare me for what I experienced. I did take one piece of advice given to me on this board, to not go in with any schedule or agenda. Whoever said that, THANK YOU!!!

I flew in on Wednesday morning, and after securing my plane, I checked in with Customs, made my dust angel, rang the virgin bell, and then started to walk the mile or so into Black Rock City. I wandered around with no agenda. I got my photo taken for the BRC Yearbook, was gifted some snacks and some drinks, but the long hot walk from the airport had taken it's toll on me. As I shuffled along, a chipper gent driving a trolley came along and offered me a ride... and that set my entire experience into motion.

As we chatted it turns out his wife loves to fly but had never seen BRC from the air, I offered to gift her a ride in the plane. He drove us past his camp to meet the wife and their friends. Then I had two ladies who we going to be gifted plane rides. The next day I gifted them their rides. Afterwards I met another young lady who wanted a ride. I told her to meet me back at the airport in the morning. I rode back on the trolley and helped my new friends from Camp Brew-Haha serve up coffee to passers-by. My new friend then offered to let me drive the trolley around since I had no transportation.

So off I went on the trolley, seeing sites and gifting trolley rides. I took the trolley hither and yon across the deep playa, experienced numerous white outs, ferried others across the playa, enjoyed hot dogs and tequila out near the woman. Then camp Brewhaha hauled me back to the airport where I had a gourmet meal at the Galley.

The next day I gifted a young woman who worked at the gates a ride. She gave me all kinds of insights to the city as we flew circles above BRC. She gifted me with a BRC Swift Water Rescue Team badge. The next young lady I flew was the woman I met the day before. As we were walking out to the plane she offered me breakfast and a shower... A SHOWER! So after the flight I met her husband and we went back to their RV and she cooked us all breakfast while I enjoyed a quick shower... didn't want to waste their water. We had a great breakfast of fresh mango, longanisa, and fried rice. I washed it down with the Mexican Coke that the previous rider had gifted me. I spent the rest of the afternoon back at Camp Brew-Haha. And it was from the Brew-haha folks I got my playa name finally, Stray Dog. They fed me and I kept coming back. :) Well, the kept inviting me.

Sadly I had to return today (Saturday) due to family obligations but at least I got to see the CORE burn and the Temple burn, met some great people, and best of all, now I finally understand. Nothing can prepare you, you really do have to experience it.

Thank you everyone! Playa hugs!
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Canoe » Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:57 pm

Welcome safely back.

Going home next year?
Odd. No bears to watch in the dump. Oh well, lets go across the road & pick blueberries.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:50 pm

I will go back when I can take my wife, Caramel. She would absolutely LOVE BM! She was a little nervous about going so this was my year to check things out. I now know that she would be in her element. :)

We just have to figure out a way to get a trailer there or something because she will NOT tent camp. She's a little sparkley.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby GreyCoyote » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:32 pm

Sounds like you had a really stellar first year. Very cool.

Got a little cross-wind practice in too? How was the strip this year? Density altitude? Wish I was there!
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Canoe » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:39 pm

SandC wrote: she will NOT tent camp. She's a little sparkley.

I favor hard walls of some sort. Too many idiots not securing their camps against high winds and things get airborne that should have been secured.

Speaking of which, what did you do for tie-down anchors?
And what's your take-off run and density altitude?
Odd. No bears to watch in the dump. Oh well, lets go across the road & pick blueberries.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:53 pm

I ended up buying some fly-ties just before I left. They worked like a charm. I would estimate my playa take-off run with one light lady passenger to be about 800 feet. When I left for home this morning fully loaded with my camp stuff and moop I probably rolled about 1000 feet. Density altitude this morning was about 4000 MSL.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Canoe » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:12 pm

wow
http://flyties.com/index.html
seems really nice

I'd seen these lately, but was wondering about quality
http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page ... 82&p=66856
be a lot harder to get out of the playa...
Odd. No bears to watch in the dump. Oh well, lets go across the road & pick blueberries.
.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:26 pm

What I liked about the flyties is that they have hexagonol heads and they come with a wrench that allows you to turn the stakes and pull simultaneously. Twist and pull and they slide right out! Worth the money in my opinion, now that I've used them.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Canoe » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:48 pm

those other ones look like cheap copies, hard to get out and not robust

only improvement for use on hard ground for the fly-ties might be to use lag bolts - I'm speculating
eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=65657&p=962255#p962255
but then you need to carry a ratchet, or gear-wrench or cordless tool
Odd. No bears to watch in the dump. Oh well, lets go across the road & pick blueberries.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:01 pm

Dunno, maybe.

So here's a question for those that have been there. What's the best way to neutralize the alkali dust from the playa that is now all over my airplane? Something safe for aluminum and steel?
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby gyre » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:19 pm

First remove all you can without water.

After that, I'd ask other plane owners.

On a vehicle, I wash thoroughly.
Less aluminum to deal with though.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Canoe » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:31 pm

With aircraft, there can be specific issues due to vibration packing of dust. Vibration can pack that into 'cement'. Liquid can do that faster. Do not blow the dust further in to where it will be more difficult to remove. You need experienced expert advice on playa dust and aircraft.
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Odd. No bears to watch in the dump. Oh well, lets go across the road & pick blueberries.
.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Elderberry » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:03 am

Fun read.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:19 am

Well luckily the plane is mostly Dacron and is pretty drafty. Most of the airframe dust blew away on the 3 hour flight home. It's those nooks and crannies that I need to worry about. I'll ask the guys on the airplane list.

Thanks for enjoying the read! After all these years, I finally "get" what the big deal is. Now my wife really wants to go. Time to start planning!


Okay, so here's a burn related question. How are the regional burns? Has anyone ever been to one? What are you impressions if so? I'm kind of wondering if I should just save it all up for THE Burning Man.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Elderberry » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:48 am

My feeling is that they are but a poor attemp to recreate the real thing. I went to one in Los Angeles before going to the playa and it was OK, but the second one I attended after having been to the real deal was not at all impressive. I'll not attend another one. (Though my partner and many others feel differently.)
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:39 pm

I have a feeling I would feel the same way having experienced the real thing. Thanks for your perspective!
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Rice » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:27 pm

SandC wrote:Well luckily the plane is mostly Dacron and is pretty drafty. Most of the airframe dust blew away on the 3 hour flight home. It's those nooks and crannies that I need to worry about. I'll ask the guys on the airplane list.

Thanks for enjoying the read! After all these years, I finally "get" what the big deal is. Now my wife really wants to go. Time to start planning!


Okay, so here's a burn related question. How are the regional burns? Has anyone ever been to one? What are you impressions if so? I'm kind of wondering if I should just save it all up for THE Burning Man.

Regional burns might very from region to region. I have attended my neighbouring provincial regional "Freezer Burn" in Alberta Canada 3 times. It cannot be the same as Burning Man, does not try to be. In some ways it is better, it is a small community of 450+ people - Some who have been to BRC, some who might go, many who will never make the trip. It has its own environmental challenges, risks, etc. The principles of Burning Man are certainly presented, embraced. My family, my community, my friends.

My GF, who is from the Bay area - loved it. (which says a lot if you knew her)

I do know that any burn experience, regardless of the location, is as good as I make it.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:36 pm

Interesting take, thanks Rice! I have to say I met so many Canadians at BRC and they were great! One couple from Alberta really "got" my sense of humor. They were a joy.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby BBadger » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:02 pm

I like my regional burn (Element 11), and it has a lot of qualities that I don't get at the big event:

  • A more intimate atmosphere with people outside your core groups. Sure, the people of Burning Man are quite welcoming, but it's still quite "foreign" in terms of who you really get to know. You can get to know a lot of people there despite the event being smaller.
  • A 24/7 perfect-temperature salt-water swimming pool ("the Abyss") with free showers and even some shampoo. You'll never find that at Burning Man.
  • Far-reduced police presence. Never seen a bust, or for that matter any police. No fear of narcs, and people just feel more relaxed. This does not result in a big drug fest or stuff like that though.
  • I can attend with a lot of the friends and people I wouldn't be able to attend the regular burn with because of cost, logistics and time off.
  • Close proximity, making it easier to bring projects and get involved with stuff. You see a lot more camp personalization. Also makes it easier to enter/leave as needed.
  • Easier to pack in and keep good food without having to buy ice, etc. May have more to do with the duration of the event, and also that it is cooler during the day.
  • Good prep for Burning Man. You'll often see some of the art cars and other stuff that'll also make its way to the playa. Easier to get on art cars too; though there are few places to really ride around.
  • Lots of individual camp art. You'll see lots of nice art and creations because people can bring it without hauling it a few hundred miles.
  • Warm at night. The humidity and general atmosphere made the night nice and warm, and so we could go swimming in the middle of the night or strut around without jackets.
  • No alkaline desert to ruin your skin.
  • If you need to, you can piss at the borders of the camp area, as it isn't a playa where the puddles and other problems could affect the environment. Decent toilets for everything else.

Things that aren't as good:

  • Weather is often worse than at Burning Man. Yes, worse. Center camp got utterly destroyed by a large storm in 2012. Lots of rain and mud for a few hours this past E11. I also am not a fan of humidity, and it is generally more humid at E11 than BM.
  • Art isn't as big and professional. Burns aren't as big (but just as hot!). Still, that's expected and the effort is still pretty high-end as the regionals are often staging grounds for the big event.
  • Shorter duration than Burning Man. It may be a good thing too, as it can get somewhat boring during the day. Not unexpected given it's a regional.
  • As a regional, you'll generally only meet people in your region, not foreigners, or people from other states. Might avoid some Eurotrash though. ;)

Overall, I'd encourage you to go and see how it is for yourself. Sometimes I actually prefer the atmosphere of the regionals over the big event. Burning Man is HUGE. It's jaw dropping. However, with all that grandeur comes less intimacy and less access. I think the regionals complement Burning Man if you have the time for them, and it's a great way to bring friends who wouldn't be able to attend BM with you.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby moonrise » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:17 am

I was told by a reliable source (a Ranger) the first African regional burn was jaw dropping, he was blown away.

As far as other regional burns I don't have a clue, yet....that'll probably be determined in the future because I may be moving from the shadow of the Black Rock in the near-ish future :( (I don't wanna think about THAT!) but I'm sure I'll survive and meet some great new people! :mrgreen:
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Jax Dee » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:23 am

Transformus, a regional burn in July, is a lot of fun. Held on private property outside Ashville, North Carolina, up in the mountains, almost rain forest. Gorgeous, great people, very fun. Small tho and can be hard to get tickets. I enjoyed it just as much as I do the big burn. I love camping in general tho. I think it really depends on the events. Some are put together better than others.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby gyre » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:06 am

Transformus was WAY, WAY, WAY too fucking loud.
Best burn though, for that part.
Better than burning man.

Too many people that have never been, and never will go to burning man.
Met someone that went and found burning man too long???!!!
It's too close to burning man, because it really isn't for burners.

Lot of travel for only two days.
Really enjoyed it when everyone left and the insanely loud camps were off.
Beautiful place.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Jax Dee » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:10 am

gyre wrote:Transformus was WAY, WAY, WAY too fucking loud.
Best burn though, for that part.
Better than burning man.

Too many people that have never been, and never will go to burning man.
Met someone that went and found burning man too long???!!!
It's too close to burning man, because it really isn't for burners.

Lot of travel for only two days.
Really enjoyed it when everyone left and the insanely loud camps were off.
Beautiful place.


It prolly helps that I camped with one of the bigger camps there and helped with infrastructure. So I am there for 5 days, not just weekend. I think you are right that it would be too much work for only 2 days of burn for most people. I also go with other burners that do BM regularly and am so busy with my camp that I don't notice the tourists. And I hike way back into the woods to pitch my tent so it is really quiet for me. I like that I can get a lot more privacy there if I want it. That is one thing that is harder at BM for me. I am also a habitual user of earplugs. I live in Baltimore and sleep almost every night at home with earplugs so it is quite normal for me to be wearing them at burns too. I agree that it is overall noisier than BM. I'd like to check out some of the regionals closer to home but almost never have anyone to go with. With my disabilities I need a traveling companion/driver. The burner population is pretty low for the DC area for some reason. Some reason involving too many people with sticks up their ass I suspect ;)
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Fire_Moose » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:59 pm

BRC Swift Water Rescue Team badge


jealous


Sounds like you had a good time! The trick is to install a shower in your plane and then get maybe Woodhouse to fly the plane, He's good.


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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Tangent » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:19 am

that is awesome. thanks for sharing. remind me to bring a plane and a pilot's license next time. that sounds helpful!
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:21 am

Tangent wrote:that is awesome. thanks for sharing. remind me to bring a plane and a pilot's license next time. that sounds helpful!


I take "radical preparedness" very seriously. :mrgreen:
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:22 am

Jax Dee wrote:Transformus, a regional burn in July, is a lot of fun. Held on private property outside Ashville, North Carolina, up in the mountains, almost rain forest. Gorgeous, great people, very fun. Small tho and can be hard to get tickets. I enjoyed it just as much as I do the big burn. I love camping in general tho. I think it really depends on the events. Some are put together better than others.


Just saw this. I have a friend that goes to that Burn. She says it's pretty cool. You guys have a lake to swim in and everything. We have dirty hippies, you have clean hippies. Right on.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby Stray Dog » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:25 pm

Thank you Trilo for changing my username to my playa name! Stray Dog has wandered in!
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby AntiM » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:47 am

Regionals augment the Big Burn, not replace it. Good place to connect with other burners, and see what B-Man looks like in other incarnations.

BBadger wrote:I like my regional burn (Element 11), and it has a lot of qualities that I don't get at the big event:

.


Why do I never see you out there, hehe? You'll need to come by and smack me upside the head. I'm doing an Art Cafe, and Genius and Rowr want to do a Hug Deli. Should be tons of fun.

It is a good burn, but yes, it is not THE burn. However, I'd not like to miss either one. Four days, just long enough to get set up and then break down.

We moved the event to July for better weather, and that didn't happen.

I've had to forgo the Abyss for two years now, hoping next year I can get into the water.

True, the art is less spectacular, but the people are terrific, and the burns are intimate. Everyone gets a good view of the fire conclave. I've seen cops out there, being shown around by our volunteer rangers. They're more curious than looking for a bust, and the rangers keep things cool. The local firefighters love working the burns, they get to see something other than a family home going up in flames. The mayor and a few other officials get a tour each year, nice folks. Having the locals on our "side" sure makes for easier permitting. The rancher next door isn't thrilled with the music, his cattle get upset. Can't win 'em all.
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Re: First timer's perspective

Postby lucky420 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:59 am

Stray Dog wrote:Well luckily the plane is mostly Dacron and is pretty drafty. Most of the airframe dust blew away on the 3 hour flight home. It's those nooks and crannies that I need to worry about. I'll ask the guys on the airplane list.

Thanks for enjoying the read! After all these years, I finally "get" what the big deal is. Now my wife really wants to go. Time to start planning!


Okay, so here's a burn related question. How are the regional burns? Has anyone ever been to one? What are you impressions if so? I'm kind of wondering if I should just save it all up for THE Burning Man.



My regional? It's amazing, absolutely mind blowing. 60,000 or so people of all walks attend. :mrgreen: :coffee:
Oh my god, it's HUGE!
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