Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

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Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Hille » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:27 pm

Hi all,

This may sound like a stupid virgin question, but it's been on my mind for a couple of days.

I live in Europe and I am doing a road trip of the south-west USA during the 3 weeks before Burning Man.
I'll be renting a car for the trip and plan to end my journey in San Francisco, from where I'll be driving to BRC.

I'd like to book my plane tickets and the car in January. Now my question is: should I rent the car until after BM or do I take the risk of dropping off the car in SF and get a ride share with someone from ePlaya?

To me, ride share sounds like the best idea, because it would be a lot cheaper and I wouldn't have to worry about the condition of the car on the playa.

What are your experiences with this? How are the odds of getting a ride share?


Thanks in advance!
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Dr. Pyro » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:57 pm

My hunch is you'll probably be OK getting a ride out of San Francisco. Just make sure that the other people in the vehicle are on the same page as you. You don't want to be stuck maybe having to wait around until Tuesday (unless of course you want to) while they pack up, or make a "side trip" to Tahoe, or decide (as happened to one of our campmates in 2011) that "...meeting up with that cute burner chick in Austin is a better idea than heading back home..." I know for certain, if your dates are say Saturday-Sunday before the event and you're willing (and ready) to leave after the Man burns on Sunday afternoon, getting a ride should be no problem. We always have lots of room and take a handful (we even had two Belgians this past year who also were virgins), but our schedule is set in stone: Pick you up at 11:10 a.m. at the Sands in Reno (or you can leave with us from Newcastle/Auburn at 8:30) and we will drop you back off there sometime Sunday afternoon (before the Temple burn). But again, the main thing is to firm up your plans well in advance and it wouldn't hurt to have a Plan B, just in case.
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby some seeing eye » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:02 pm

I have not shared rides out of SF, but I have offered rides and have been the passenger from elsewhere.

Your best opportunity would be in coordination with your camp. Bay Area people can tell you what other websites or FB groups have ride share message boards specific to SF. There is an official BM ride share board and Craigslist is popular. Your share of the gas will be more economical than a week's rental.

You are a valued camper and as a rider as an international visitor, you will be traveling light, always an advantage too.

*Second Dr Pyro's Plan B, I had one ride decide to leave the burn early with no communication. No one is going to leave you stranded on the playa, and I connected with a great ride back.
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Elliot » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:29 pm

:D
I’m thinking it depends largely on your personality. Me, being a control freak, would use the rental car and take it to a professional car wash for a full “detailing” before returning it to the rental office.

I have picked up burners at the un-official ride-share spot in Reno, and that worked out fine.

But I read here on ePlaya that in the last couple of years the authorities have been very active with inspecting arriving burners for contraband such a marijuana. And since marijuana is in such widespread use throughout society, I would now be concerned that any given person could be carrying such. And this could lead to your transport suddenly ending near the Gate – a potential case of “so close, yet so far”.
This is a “worst case scenario”, but as a control freak….

(Hopefully the cannabis prohibition will be repealed nationwide soon.)

Dr. Pyro makes several excellent points about scheduling. You may want to study the American expression “cat herding”.

You should also be aware that the USA is a far more automobile-centered society than any European country. San Francisco has better public transit than most areas here, but the automobile is still the primary mode of transportation generally.

You may want to pursue friendships with Bay Area burners here on ePlaya and otherwise. Perhaps in a few months you will know someone well enough to minimize any risk of snafus. But I would hate to see you get stranded on the way there.
:D
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby JayBobBoy » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:44 am

I like your chances of securing a ride share, too. I'm planning on offering a seat this year from near there. So there's at least one seat available!

However, IMHO, self reliance begins at your doorstep! Burning Man is such a personal experience, I would not want to have to worry about such things or limit your possibilities. If it is within your budget, take the rental car and be in control of your own destiny.
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Hille » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:39 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys! I will definitely do some more research and list the pro's and cons of both options.

I'm not usually a big control freak, but for this kind of event I'd like to be prepared and have a car available. On the other hand, taking a month off (unpaid, might I add) will do some serious damage to my bank account, so perhaps a ride share is the best option...

It's like Sophie's choice!

Anyway, thanks for the help, it is appreciated :)
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:53 pm

It's a pretty crappy vacation if you're sending off one of your kids to the gas chamber...
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Hille » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:49 am

At least they'd get a good high for a couple of seconds...
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby BBadger » Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:05 am

theCryptofishist wrote:It's a pretty crappy vacation if you're sending off one of your kids to the gas chamber...


For whom? :wink:
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Ratty » Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:08 am

I vote for ride share over rental.
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Hille » Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:48 pm

Maybe I should just take a poll and take it from there :D
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Ratty » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:27 pm

Hille, I bought a new van. Brand new. I had the dealership remove the bulky floor apparatus that obstructed my empty space to sleep at Burningman. It is STILL full of dust. No amount of cleaning will make it 'new' looking again. Every time it rains the playa comes seeping out of the side mirrors and door jams. I anticipated that. I love it. The rental agencies don't love it. Catch a ride share. Save money and a big cleaning bill. My passenger gives me $20 bucks for gas. Weigh that against your rental cost.
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby MacGlenver » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:32 pm

Friends of mine camped outside the grocery store in Reno playing a mini guitar, while holding a "Need a ride" sign. After 3 or 4 hours they got a ride on a articulated bus. SF may be tougher since the burners are less densely packed. I recommend ride-share -- good way to meet fun people.
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby 48_love » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:49 pm

I'm not qualified to give an actual answer, so I'll just share an adage that may or may not apply:

The odds are good, but the goods are odd.
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Ratty » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:55 pm

The breakdown I heard last year was...40% of the participants came from the bay area. Arranging a ride in advance should be a breeze. Maybe even two different rides for there and back.
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Milayna » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:09 pm

I can only relay my own experience, but I had great success with getting a rideshare from Los Angeles last year. I was in a car accident a few days before I needed to leave for the burn, so I was faced with your same issue: rental car or rideshare. I was also worried about bringing a rental out there so I posted my story very honestly on the rideshare board and got many responses. I'd say 90% of the people that got back to me seemed to be very nice and reliable. There were a couple people who seemed a bit weird, but that's why I made sure to have a phone conversation with anyone I was considering riding with (not just email) so I could make sure we were on the same page. I ended up riding with a super nice guy who was going to his 6th burn and it was a great experience, much more fun than riding in alone. We camped separately so at the beginning of the week we coordinated the time he would pick me up to leave and it all went smoothly, we ended up being good friends.

So, in summary, I'd say go for it, just be sure to have a real conversation with anyone you plan to ride with, and don't be shy about clarifying what you're comfortable with (ie how much you will pay for gas, are you okay/not okay with illegal substances being carried in the car, do you want to drive straight there or make a few stops, etc).
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby 9ah » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:14 am

I'm switching over to ridesharing instead of a rental this year. After the burn the last thing you want to think about is making sure the brakes no longer squeak and the air vents have all the dust out of them. :coffee:
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby Hille » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:03 am

Thanks for all the feedback, guys! I suppose I'll go for the ride share as well. I would rather invest in useful materials for the burn than to waste my money on a rental car that I won't be using during that week anyway.
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby TomServo » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:23 am

I vote rideshare. Get in touch with the person or group offering the ride well in advance!! While SF denizens are more often than not, wonderful people...there is a nasty "Flake" tendency amongst them. I've given rides, throughout the years...and have often had to go out of my way to do so. But, I would do it all over again. That's how much I believe in this cult. I'm also from the East Bay.
If they don't return your emails regularly, be wary.
If they constantly talk about money, be wary.
If they go out of their way to accommodate you, be wary but sounds promising!

Best of luck!
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby 9ah » Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:02 pm

TomServo wrote: If they don't return your emails regularly, be wary.
If they constantly talk about money, be wary.
If they go out of their way to accommodate you, be wary but sounds promising!

Best of luck!

Very sound advice. I flew in from NYC, but contacted and coordinated with the people in my rideshare prior. I spoke to the two from CA on the phone and I met the guy from NYC for coffee before we each left. I did ask for $25 deposit to ensure that they wouldn't flake on me. One of the ladies in the share let two of us crash at her place and we were off at 6am to pick up the NYC guy from his friends. We made it to the playa in good time with no issues (other than a little too much luggage).
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Re: Are the odds of getting a ride share good?

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:31 pm

Two things that can help you get a rideshare, especially a last-minute rideshare at the Keystone Save Mart:

- Be only one person. I only had one seat/seatbelt unoccupied, so I gave a ride to the fellow who arrived just two minutes ago instead of the couple that had been waiting over an hour. The couple said many singletons had come and been picked up in that time; they were holding out to ride in together.

- Pack less. Can't overemphasize this. If you can arrange for somebody else in your camp to bring in your water, all the better.
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