Burning Man 2006 – Part 1

Posted in Burning Man, Personal News at 11:22 pm by divinity

Alright, so I’m going to tackle documenting my Burning Man experience in parts and hopefully I’ll make it further than I did with the San Francisco trip documentation. 🙂 If you don’t know what Burning Man is, I’m afraid there’s not much I can do to explain it. It truly is one of those things you have to experience to truly understand it. My attempt at a short description: It is a celebration of art, life, music, expression, community, interaction, and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert (i.e. middle of nowhere) for a week. This year there were an estimated 39,000+ citizens in this temporary city, named Black Rock City. I was one of them for the first time.

1997 – A spark…

I first heard about Burning Man some 9 years ago when I was “out west” in Utah. For those that know me this was during one of the major life changes I’ve experienced. I read an article and it struck me as something I might be interested in. So I ripped out the photo and taped it into my journal at the time so that I would remember to look into it more. Nine years later my journey to Burning Man began…

Friday, August 25th, 2006 – The Pilgrimage Begins!
After spending $1000+ on a ticket, a plane flight, and various other items needed, I finally started my pilgrimage to Black Rock City. First was a car ride to the airport with my two large bags and my trusty messenger bag carry-on. A quick check-in of the bags and only one got the menacing “HEAVY” tag, but no fees for it luckily. I boarded the plane and we took off.

There was a powerful moment on the plane somewhere between Chicago and Phoenix. I was listening to my mp3 player, and one of my favorite songs came on, Halcyon & On & On. There’s something about the simplistic beauty of this song that always gets me in a reflective mood. I realized what was happening and I started to tear up with joy. Here I was, on a plane, headed to Burning Man. I was following my dreams, my bliss, doing what I truly wanted to do. And on top of it all it was me that was making it happen. I was responsible for it. I later realized that this was a similar feeling that was had by people seeing their art on the playa. For me, my journey was my accomplishment, my expression of self-reliance. What started as a consideration months before was actually becoming a reality. Just the act of making the trip out to Burning Man sparked something in me before I even got there. But more on that later.

The rest of the plane flight was uneventful and before I knew it I was standing outside Oakland Airport, wondering why in the world Chu kept saying “Hegenberger!” I soon found out that was a street he had taken to the airport that he liked the sound of. The bags were tossed in the Falcon, and we headed back over the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.

We made a stop down in Twin Peaks to see Chris and La and to pick up the stuff for the Portrait Studio. I had my ID done so Chris could show us how to run everything. Thanks to the generosity of Chris and La, we acquired several of the items on our shopping list that they already had. With a packed van, we headed back to the city and Chateua Chu.

Saturday, August 26th, 2006 – Shopping Day
After being woken up by Ava mounting me in the morning, followed by introductions, Chu and I spent most of the day running around shopping for the last bits and pieces that we needed for Burning Man. We stocked up on 30 gallons of water, a metric crapload of baby wipes (aka showers), various food items, random necessities, and scored some kick-ass bikes at Target.

For only $35 I had transportation in Black Rock City for over a week! Ava was nice enough to decorate our bikes with some of her FaCuffs as well. And I repacked all the things I would need, and prepared the Camelbak so I’d be ready the minute we hit the playa.

Sunday, August 27th, 2006 – On the Road…

We were supposed to leave at the ass-crack of dawn on sunday to make sure we got to Black Rock City by sundown. That didn’t happen, but it didn’t matter. We took our time getting ready and finally headed out around 1pm I think. The drive was great, and the Falcon held up incredibly well. The drive through Nevada was gorgeous as we twisted and turned around mountains.

We stopped off in Reno at the Albertsons to stock up on some last minute things. I was a bit worried about having enough food (we didn’t) and water (we had plenty) so we did one last shopping trip. We also found a pile of Sparks on sale for $1 a can so we stocked up. (It was only appropriate that were we just minutes away from Sparks, NV)

It was obvious that the parking lot was filled with Burners on their way to Black Rock City. Albertson’s knew exactly what people needed as well, so it was easy to find everything we wanted. An excellent example of the impact this event has on the surrounding economy.

After a long lonely drive from Reno to Gerlach, dotted with the occasional Indian Taco stand, we finally pulled into a gas station after sundown to fill up our tank. We then headed out into the darkness towards the line of cars waiting to get onto the Playa. As soon as we pulled off the road it hit me. I was here. Nine years had passed since I had first heard of Burning Man. I still have the journal where I cut out a small blurb on it and taped it to a page to remember to look into it further. Every year since something has held me back from going, whether it be school, money, people, etc. I had finally done it. Months of preparation and determination and we were finally kicking up dust on the playa. It was a great feeling

Our greeting was kind of a mess and we didn’t get any of the typical virgin greeting stuff. since we were the first people in our theme camp, it was our responsibility to claim camp. They radioed our placer and told us to head to our camp location and he would meet us there. We slowly drove through the dust, and found Anxious and 9:00 on the North side of the playa. We waited and soon our placer, Jake, came to confirm that we had indeed figured out correctly that the blue flags marked off our land. We thanked him, parked the van in the middle of our plot, unloaded the bikes, and went exploring before we even set up the tents. It was a wide-eyed bike ride with huge smiles across the playa to meet up with Rubin and Nicole who were camping with Dance Dance Immolation. After some socializing and playa exploration, we headed back to our lonely camp, set up tents and fell asleep for the first time on the playa.

Leave a Comment