I'm a second-time burner and super excited for this year. I'm also looking for a ride from San Francisco in time for setup (need to get there by 8/18 and have early arrival as early as 8/16).
My first year was incredible! The key for me was volunteering. A friend and I made the trip from Madison, WI by car (two very long days of driving). We setup a monkey hut, dropped our tents underneath and started taking part. For me, that was volunteering about 35 hours at the center camp cafe. I'm a red-head, so it was perfect for keeping me out of the peak sun. But it also left me with feeling like I hadn't experienced enough when the event was over. Major event drop! I stayed for four more days and helped deconstruct center camp. This was really therapeutic and gave me a great sense of closure... plus it was massively fun. I highly recommend it to everyone!!
This year, I'm working setup and cleanup but not working during the event itself. I'll find lots of ways to participate... I'm a member of Seven Deadly Gins, a fabulous bar that gifts the playa with Gin and Tonics, perfect for the heat! I'm excited to watch the city appear out of dust and return to dust. Regardless of the hokey religious dogma associated with a statement like that, Burning Man for me is a study in ephermility. All of the things in the normal world that people take for granted are temporary. Burning Man is no less temporary, it just points it out in big-bold-letters! What will you do with your limited time?!
For me, I plan spending my limited time at as many burns as I can.
So, how about it? Any of you setup people coming from San Francisco (or perhaps I could find my way to Reno) that could take me in? One person plus tent, food, about 10 gallons of water (most is provided at my camp), and hopefully a bicycle. If space is limited, I could figure out how not to bring a bike. I'm definitely willing to kick in to help with gas and so on.