Nice guide! Thanks for sharing. In that spirit, I’d like to offer a few more helpful RV hints.
If you are renting, buy an extra day on the front end to learn how everything works and to have some time if/when something doesn’t. My experience with rentals is there’s always something wrong and they don’t (or can’t) tell you what it is. Take the extra day to check everything... Look for worn belts, old tires, cracking hoses, generators that won’t run reliably, fridges that don’t get cold, and especially leaky tanks.
Have the rental provider give you a complete run-through of all the systems. Ask questions and take notes. Where’s the electrical breaker box? (If it uses fuses instead of breakers, ask for some spares or go buy a few!) How do you get the generator to run and how long will it run on a tank of gas? (Most won’t let you run the tank dry. They cut off at around 1/4 tank so you don’t get stranded. But find out for sure!) How do you shut off the propane? (A leak can be deadly!) How do you light the pilot for the heater? (Not something you want to try to figure out when you crawl home freezing at 5am...) And regardless of how well they teach you, make sure that you get a copy of the owner’s manual. Trust me, you will have to look at it more than once.
Pack carefully. Heavy stuff should go as low as possible. Balance the weight side to side and front to back. Overloading one axle (or one tire) can be very dangerous. Check the manual for GVW (gross vehicle waight) and make sure you don’t overload.
If you have your own RV, start checking everything it now. Carry spare parts: belts, hoses, fuses, bulbs, oil, trans fluid, anti-freeze, etc..
ALWAYS hide an extra key on the exterior somewhere safe. If you are renting, make sure you get 2 sets, or if they refuse, have a spare set made. It will cost you $2. If you lock yourself out, or lose your key, its going to cost hundreds to get a locksmith out there...
If you own, take a quick overnight trip in the next few weeks to make extra certain that everything works. Give yourself enough time to get it fixed without spending on "rush" jobs. If something is questionable, or intermittent, get it fixed now. Breaking down on the road can ruin your whole week. Getting something fixed in Reno from mid-week before the event on is almost impossible. The shops are over-booked and parts run out. You can easily lose 3-4 days getting something fixed up there.
If you plan to run your generator, I suggest changing the oil and filter before you head up. Then run it for an hour or so to check for leaks and steady voltage. Clean out the air filter from time to time as well. Carry extra oil. A spare regulator/control board can be a good investment.
Check for leaks... If your rig leaks from anywhere, and you can’t get it fixed before you go, then bring a leak pan that you can secure to the ground. Or you can put a tarp under your rig.
Anyone with their own RV should get some towing coverage. AAA RV coverage is the bare minimum, but I’d recommend something with more range (e.g. Good Sam). I speak from experience on this one... I broke down between the Playa and Gerlach coming home and had to have my rig flat-bedded to the nearest repair place that could fix it... which just happened to be more than 100 miles away. That would have cost thousands but for Good Sam.
Travel light! Don’t carry all your food and water going up. Buy it in Reno. 50ish gallons of house water plus drinking water for 2 can weigh more than 500lbs. Why lug it all up hill?
Similarly, dump your tanks once off the Playa. There is a dump station in the rest stop one exit down the 80 heading west. It gets full on from time to time. The next stops are in Reno.
If its hot out - and it always is - keep a close eye on your water and oil temperature, especially going up the Auburn grade. High altitude and hot temps are very tough on your rig. If things start getting hot, use the truck lane, drop a gear, slow down, turn off your AC (ouch) and go slow. Better to get there an hour later than blow a motor.
You can do everything you want to try to keep your rig dust free... but you will fail. We use painters plastic on the floors and seating areas, covered with plastic runners on the floor and old blankets on the seats. Make sure all your windows and vents are closed before you drive onto the Playa. Turn off the AC. Having a ground cover (carpet, or even just a heavy tarp) makes a huge difference. Shoes off in the rig helps too...
I am not a big fan of using RV awnings on the Playa. Winds can go from 0 - 60 in just a few seconds. But one thing is for certain; if you are going to use your awning, never EVER leave camp without rolling it back up first. If your awning is out and a big storm hits, you can kiss it (and possibly the side of your RV) goodbye.
My rig isn’t huge and doesn’t have a lot of storage space. So I like to carry a small tent that I use for storage on the Playa. Once I’m parked, I off-load as much as possible. Extra drinking water, costume bins, gas cans, anything that I don’t need access to all the time. Really make things more pleasant.
Make certain you are legal! Make sure your registration, tags, and insurance cards are all current. Check to make sure and all your lights and signals work. Same goes for your trailer. No need to get pulled over and searched because you had a burned out tail light...
Finally, the one thing that will get absolutely covered in dust is your air filter. I highly recommend you - at a minimum - stop as soon as practical once you are off the Playa and get as much dust our of yours as you can. Bang it on the ground and blow it our with some compressed air. You gas milage and power will be vastly improved.