So every year just before Burning Man, I always think “this is the last time.” And then every year, when I come back, I’m so thrilled, can’t wait to get back next year… Then when it approaches, I’m tired of it again.
This year, I really think it may be the last time. At least for a while. I don’t know for sure that the event and the art were less than in the past. I do know that my involvement, inspiration, and motivation have dwindled, and my interaction was so minimal that I’m not sure I could justify another trip next year.
Which isn’t to say I didn’t have a good time. I had a REALLY good time.
Left Wednesday after work, tossed a little bag onto the bike, met the boy (yes, there’s a BOY), and we headed up to beautiful downtown Oroville for the night, at a five-star Days Inn, or something like it. Intention was to get a few hours north for the night, and save the daylight and rushing so we could enjoy the scenic ride out and still get in to BRC in time to gather our crap and set up in the daylight.
Watched Martha Stewart brainwashing freaky little kids on the TV and learned how to make a Barbie cake. Conked out and got up late (hello? Days Inn alarm clocks are not to be trusted) Packed up and then tore everything apart looking for my bike key. (I brought a spare, but still) Gave up and then found it under my back tire. Is this a bad sign?
Breakfast was iffy, but we quickly found our way up to highway 70 Feather River Canyon, which is one of the purtiest roads I’ve ever ridden. After finally losing the cop, we enjoyed tiny spurts of fun in between trucks and unresponsive traffic switches for the bridge work. Seriously, I LOVE this road. I’d love to come back to the area for a camping weekend or somesuch. Maybe rent an Airstream at “Jackass Flats?”
Into Susanville for lunch and then went looking for our dirt road. Which was, uhhh, completely unmarked, so we passed it. Doubled back and guessed on which turn-off it was, and with some luck, I was right. Smoke Creek Desert road, or whatever it’s called, is a dirt/gravel road across the desert from 395 to about 10 miles north of Gerlach. Very little traffic, really pretty and un-developed. Gravel and some rocky bits tossed my bike around a little, but I definitely was doing better than I did last year on the same road. The XR behind me was handicapped by street tires, so I got to have the delusion that I was doing well, comparatively. Noticed a cave on the left side of the road, and meant to come back to it on the return trip for exploration.
Got to Gerlach and it was still NOT hot. At all. At the gas station, one of the Perimeter workers asked if we were going in to BRC now. “It’s really bad in there,” he told us. Um? Really bad, like what? Like it’s wall to wall hippies? There’s no running water? It’s hot? It’s cold? You fucking dumbass, it’s a goddam desert! “Bad what?” “It’s a total whiteout,” he says. I stopped myself from saying “OH, shit, I guess I’ll just go home then.” “It’s OK, I’m on a dirtbike,” has become my answer to any of this brand of stupidity (It’s raining/dusty/hot/cold/muddy/there’s traffic/there’s no parking/what-the-fuck-ever). “Well, you have to go in through the gate!” he gets all exciteable. No shit, dumbass, but now that you mention it, I COULD go in through the side if they’re all as dumb as you.
Into the city, to the airport, found my sister and parked our crap at Thunderdome. Started trekking around to get our shit to camp. (why must my sister camp on the other side of the world?) I was drinking by the end of my second trip to schlep stuff, and the tent was up before sundown. Happy happy.
And then a bunch of stuff in between. I think every time at Burning Man, at least for me, it’s a little different. Some years I’ve spent a lot of time working at thunderdome. Some times it’s all about the art and the city, some years it’s been about the people I meet and get to know. This year my focus was very narrow and very nearby. I was downright reclusive with this incredible boy, and carry a bit of guilt and a lot of joy from that. We traipsed around suffering through intense blisters and had a damn fine time. Drank a bit, gave bad advice and ate my sister’s food. There was some really cool art, and a lot that didn’t capture me at all. It was a good time, but I’m not sure it was a patently “Burning Man” experience.
I’m writing this so I’ll remember: Fuck the Temple Burn. In the past few years this has been one of the high points for me. I’ve never gone out to watch the Man burn, preferring to stay at camp away from the crowds of yahoos and tweakers. The temple has always been a more quiet, reflective burn. This year it was so very different, I nearly followed Kevy’s lead and walked out. I stayed, but the bitterness won’t go away. The crowd of people gathered was just an extension of the yahoos; there was yelling and bitching, complaining, selfish fuckups and some dumbass with laser pointers. I never heard such angry hippies! “fuck you,” “fat bitch,” and an assortment of other insults and pathetic empty threats were tossed around the group while we sat. They yelled over the singing and complained about every goddam thing around them. I won’t return for that. I’m so sorry for David Best and his team. Every time I see his/their work, I’m in awe, but the crowds that have gathered are not worthy. The burn itself was beautiful, as was the temple in its finished state, but the rest of the experience was really disgusting.
Monday morning plan was to leave ASAP to get our asses onto that dirt road for the long trip home. Note to self: do NOT use angle iron to stake a tent. Left much later than we wished, and only after fucking with my bike when it wouldn’t start. So we took 80 instead, and in order to avoid my falling asleep while riding, we rode like jackasses most of the way. Weeeeeeee! Got home in good time, tired, dirty, and, at least for me, a little euphoric.
glad u like the boi
sorry BM was just that, a BM
heehee BM.Posted by John Foley on Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 11:07 AM