Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

A place to discuss all things involving power and technology (including cameras). Generator tips, alternative energy, lighting your camp/bike/art/self, sound systems and more.
IQEdge
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:49 am
Burning Since: 2014

Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by IQEdge » Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:48 am

First-time burners. We plan to camp in the boondocks so would like to make a landmark to avoid getting lost going home at night. One idea is to bring a helium tank and float several balloons with embedded LED lights about 20-30 feet above camp. The balloons would be tied with rope rather than string.

1. We looked but couldn't find; is there already an eplaya thread about landmarking a camp site?
2. Do other camps landmark? If so, how?
3. Has it been dangerous to have a helium tank in the desert/RV?
4. Are balloons a terrible idea because desert winds are too strong, even when using rope?

User avatar
Captain Goddammit
Posts: 8487
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 9:34 am
Burning Since: 2000
Camp Name: First Camp
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:32 am

Yes camp markers are fairly common. Balloons might work but you need to make sure they would take the same wind as tying them to the roof of your vehicle on the freeway.
Really it's not necessary, just some lights on whatever your living quarters are will do fine. The street system is very easy in black rock city.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

User avatar
Just_Joe
Posts: 1005
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:04 pm
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: Fly Ranch Project
Location: Nevada

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by Just_Joe » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:42 am

I rented a tank one year for a friend who was having a birthday. It was a pain in the ass. Reservation, pick up, deposit-it just wasn't worth it. We had larger sized balloons which more often than not flew horizontal instead of vertical due to the wind.
You'll find a tall pole or other landmark nearby that you can use for reference.

User avatar
VultureChow
Posts: 2328
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:08 pm
Burning Since: 2012
Camp Name: Hookers & Makers @ Barbie Death Village

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by VultureChow » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:44 am

Rope wouldn't work. Too heavy for the baloons to lift, unless you're talking about something like a weather balloon. Fishing line works better.

And as the good Captain said, do some unique lights on your camp. The street grid is easy to figure out and there will be other landmarks around you.

I suppose you could also do a portable flag pole with lights instead of a flag.

Check out this thread: viewtopic.php?t=34538
Sic Semper Spectatores

dietrichdr
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:54 pm
Burning Since: 2012
Camp Name: Camp Shit Ain't Right aka CSAR

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by dietrichdr » Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:56 am

Our first year we used light poles about 20 feet high, xmas light wrapped around and run by computer for patterns. Ran off the batteries until about 4am then solar recharge during the day. This year we are building a 25 foot high tower with lighted letters on four sides that have our camp name CSAR, (Camp Shit Ain't Right) 630 and H. Stop by and say hi, have a beer :D

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by unjonharley » Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:05 am

Captain Goddammit wrote: The street system is very easy in black rock city.
So is the captain.....
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

User avatar
Lonesomebri
Posts: 2636
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:54 pm
Burning Since: 2021
Camp Name: CAMP THREAT
Location: NorCal

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by Lonesomebri » Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:18 am

My friend bought cheap balloons one year and the heat of the day, cold of the night, made them all turn brittle, deflate, and become moop, which I would clean up, and then watch as my friend filled more balloons..... He wouldn't believe that ditching the balloons was the way to go, he was sure there was a way the balloons would work..... Don't ask me.......
Camp THREAT: Dominating the porta potties 4 years running.
"If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?"
- Voltaire, Candide

maladroit
Posts: 2375
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:37 pm
Burning Since: 2012

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by maladroit » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:24 pm

I would use some ground-level lighting on your first Burn...look for other camp landmarks and use those to find your way back.

Once you're out there, you'll have a better idea what sort of conditions your structures will need to withstand. Something that would last for five years in your front yard might snap in half the minute you set it up on the playa. Even a flagpole sounds like a simple idea but requires special planning.

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by unjonharley » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:36 pm

I pay attention to the theme camp on the head of the # street I live on..

If its to stormy, find the row of lantern that go to the man and center camp..

Count the streets you are at to center camp..

On stormy/dust storm years you will not be able to see lights

All in all, I believe you will be wasting your time putting up a home beacon or yard light..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

User avatar
Lonesomebri
Posts: 2636
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:54 pm
Burning Since: 2021
Camp Name: CAMP THREAT
Location: NorCal

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by Lonesomebri » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:45 pm

You could do what many people do to landmark their camp, using sound instead, just bring a big cheap generator and leave it running day and night. Last year a buddy was set up near a generator like that, and that is how I would find his camp... until the last days, when those familiar landmarks leave...along with the street signs.

First, really get an idea of what your address is, know the streets and cross streets. Not just the name of your camp or the name of other camps nearby. I camp out towards the outer rings so it gets darker out there than in the heart of the city, so sometimes it's hard finding the way. Next (this is the hillbilly method), I set up a large folding ladder that I use to set up shade, and tie it next to/onto my truck, and I stake the ladder. I then tie and duct tape a 8 foot piece of old plastic irrigation pipe to the top of the ladder, with it all strung out in solar powered Christmas tree lights. I set up old metal signs and junk that will rattle and make noise all night, so I can hone in on that also, and keep my neighbors awake without the need of a generator. When I leave camp, I ride my bike around the area, a complete circle around my camp, to get a good idea of the layout, surrounding landmarks, what to look for on my way back (possibly drunk). And last, before setting off in the evening, I set something on fire, and use the column of flames and smoke as a marker.
Camp THREAT: Dominating the porta potties 4 years running.
"If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?"
- Voltaire, Candide

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by unjonharley » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:53 pm

I tried hippies.. They are hard to light and the smoke smelled bad
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

User avatar
Lonesomebri
Posts: 2636
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:54 pm
Burning Since: 2021
Camp Name: CAMP THREAT
Location: NorCal

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by Lonesomebri » Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:42 pm

Hippies are far too chill to get a good flame going is the problem. A bigger mistake is getting yourself lit before staggering out into BRC without your camps street address. I give people rides on my chariot, and all thru the week there are people who have no idea where they are camped in the layout of the city, other than the name of the camp, who have no idea the numerical clock and alphabetical nature of the street grid, always explaining this to people complete with what a clock face looks like, and who have no idea where they are, so even knowing where their camp is gets them nowhere without help. And any landmark you use, will be hidden in the larger scheme of things without zeroing in using the street names. Daily circle your hood to get a layout of the land, it will change daily. Take note of nearby intersections, camps there, the theme camps that are on the Esplanade leading up your alley. You will either be too far away to see a personal landmark unless it is massive, and by time you follow the streets and familiar camps back to your hood, and you are on the right block, as said, it just takes some minimal lighting to landmark your camp from your neighbor in the jumble. Maybe using hydrogen balloons would more successfully mark your camp.
hindenburg.gif
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Camp THREAT: Dominating the porta potties 4 years running.
"If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?"
- Voltaire, Candide

maladroit
Posts: 2375
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:37 pm
Burning Since: 2012

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by maladroit » Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:53 pm

There was one night last year...was it Thursday? Friday? Who cares. We got COMPLETELY lost. Wandered out into open playa. Ended up behind the city somehow. Other burners were flagging us down asking if we knew which way we were heading, mutant vehicles drove by and you could hear people arguing which direction 3:00 was.

The reason? For a couple hours, the entire Man and Man base were completely dark. It vanished off the Playa and nothing else seemed to work as a landmark.

User avatar
VultureChow
Posts: 2328
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:08 pm
Burning Since: 2012
Camp Name: Hookers & Makers @ Barbie Death Village

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by VultureChow » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:01 pm

maladroit wrote:There was one night last year...was it Thursday? Friday? Who cares. We got COMPLETELY lost. Wandered out into open playa. Ended up behind the city somehow. Other burners were flagging us down asking if we knew which way we were heading, mutant vehicles drove by and you could hear people arguing which direction 3:00 was.

The reason? For a couple hours, the entire Man and Man base were completely dark. It vanished off the Playa and nothing else seemed to work as a landmark.
The rotating Man screwed me up a little a few times, but it's amazing how disorienting deep playa can be, especially once you are to the outside of 2 and 10.
Sic Semper Spectatores

User avatar
Mojojita
Posts: 1165
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:17 am
Location: Under your bed

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by Mojojita » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:11 pm

I've seen lighted balloons used many times with varying degrees of success. It really depends on if the weather is perfect or not. Best idea is to count on "not". Flags work better IMHO.

I think it is likely best to orient yourself well during the daylight. Write your camp address on your arm with a sharpie so that people who know where they are can guide you home (not kidding here) - it's very easy to get turned around even in the best conditions. Take some time to look at the map you get at the Greeter's Station and figure out where your camp is in relation to the Man, the nearest porto-potties, and to Center Camp.

Oh - don't just count on the street signs to know where you are. They tend to get stolen, especially late in the week. The advice about orienting yourself in relation to landmarks on nearby camps is good stuff.
Ut ballista es interdico, tantum interdico mos fui ballista.

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by unjonharley » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:17 pm

If the street sign is missing.. Look closely at the corner post.. They have street # and letters.. I will bring an ugly cardboard and replace a missing sign..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

User avatar
Mojojita
Posts: 1165
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:17 am
Location: Under your bed

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by Mojojita » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:20 pm

I've seen lighted balloons used many times with varying degrees of success. It really depends on if the weather is perfect or not. Best idea is to count on "not". Flags work better IMHO.

I think it is likely best to orient yourself well during the daylight. Write your camp address on your arm with a sharpie so that people who know where they are can guide you home (not kidding here) - it's very easy to get turned around even in the best conditions. Take some time to look at the map you get at the Greeter's Station and figure out where your camp is in relation to the Man, the nearest porto-potties, and to Center Camp.

Oh - don't just count on the street signs to know where you are. They tend to get stolen, especially late in the week. The advice about orienting yourself in relation to landmarks on nearby camps is good stuff.
Ut ballista es interdico, tantum interdico mos fui ballista.

User avatar
Ratty
Posts: 6289
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:43 pm
Burning Since: 2008
Camp Name: Tiger Man

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by Ratty » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:46 pm

Unjohn, This year Sojourn and I are 'Street Sign Replacement Camp'. I have a huge pile of thin plywood signs. They are painted a light color and I plan to put up signs as needed throughout the week. I can fabricate one on the spot with a broad sharpie and screw it into place. VIOLA! I'm still searching for the perfect collapsible step stool to carry on my bike. Everything else is covered. We are Greeters and Census takers but this year we'll be a theme camp too.
Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah

Pictures or it didn't happen Greycoyote

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer

User avatar
oly14
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:16 am
Burning Since: 2013
Camp Name: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by oly14 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:51 pm

Mojojita wrote:Flags work better IMHO.
We tried a flag on a 20' pole last year and it worked OK if you were close. As a first timer last year, we failed to grasp the enormity of the city. We thought 20' would be easy to find but it was dwarfed by everything around it. Even a few blocks away we struggled to find the flag when we knew where our camp was. Best to learn what's in your neighborhood so you can stumbled back even when you're completely turned inside out.

User avatar
lucky420
Posts: 9275
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:47 am
Burning Since: 2021
Camp Name: Dye with Dignity
Location: Reno, NV

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by lucky420 » Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:55 pm

if the street signs are stolen, have no fear because all the streets have an additional address on the pvc sleeve thing posted at every street. It's not up high (like a street sign) but lower on the pole. Kind of like a new subdivision before the street signs are actually installed :mrgreen:
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

User avatar
robbidobbs
Posts: 2825
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2003 1:07 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Pottie Central
Location: LOS of the Pottie doors

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by robbidobbs » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:32 pm

i LOVE what you're going to do Ratty! Here's some suggestions for replacement signs:
Alimentary
Bathroom
Crap
Doo-doo
Effluvium
Flatulence
Gastronomic
Hygienic
Indigestion
John
Kaopectate
Lavatory (or Loo)

edited cause I spelled it wrong

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by unjonharley » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:35 pm

robbidobbs wrote:i LOVE what you're going to do Ratty! Here's some suggestions for replacement signs:
Affluvium
Bathroom
Crap
Doo-doo
Effluvium
Flatulence
Gastronomic
Hygienic
Indigestion
John
Kaopectate
Lavatory (or Loo)
Changing the names would only confuse the herd more..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

maladroit
Posts: 2375
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:37 pm
Burning Since: 2012

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by maladroit » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:40 pm

I think the replacement signs need to be as boring as possible or they'll get stolen even faster. Who wouldn't want a dusty sign on their wall proclaiming Flatulence to all?

User avatar
robbidobbs
Posts: 2825
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2003 1:07 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Pottie Central
Location: LOS of the Pottie doors

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by robbidobbs » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:50 pm

I'm good with that. Then when Ratty schwings back past the stolen sign she can make it FART STREET!

Just for the record, I consider it an honor when someone steals my signs.

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by unjonharley » Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:59 pm

How many true blonds are going to get lost??

Ah, there is only the letter F.. The rest of the word is missing.. Now I'm really lost.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

User avatar
AntiM
Moderator
Posts: 20227
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2004 5:23 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Anti M's Home for Wayward Art
Location: Wild, Wild West
Contact:

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by AntiM » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:17 am

We've had flags which snapped the flagpole, a campmate brought a nifty handmade kite which snapped a different type of flagpole. We now have a couple pieces of wood which stick a few feet above the front of the trailer and there are fish banners and solar lights on those. You still cannot see them easily from more than a block away, day or night. The streets curve, and there are a LOT of the same type of markers. Whatever you think up, so will someone else, and playadipity will place them near your camp. Lots of visual noise. If you have something bright enough, you will be annoying your neighbors.

User avatar
ygmir
Posts: 29574
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:36 pm
Burning Since: 2017
Camp Name: qqqq
Location: nevada county

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by ygmir » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:46 am

just drop one every few steps and follow them back.......


Image
YGMIR

Unabashed Nordic
Pagan

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by unjonharley » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:46 am

And eat each one.. leaving no trace
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

User avatar
trilobyte
Site Admin
Posts: 16909
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 10:54 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Brainy Bar
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by trilobyte » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:29 am

Helium balloons can work, but you'd probably need some skills with handling and lighting them (the balloon chain guys come to mind, they've been working at it for years). You'll also need a decent budget for helium.

The thing to remember about a landmark that's highly visible at night from a distance is that it gets both expensive and time consuming relatively quickly. It's also a moving target, since it depends on what else is on the nightline.

It would be far, far easier to make use of the city's infrastructure. When you get to your camp site, on that very first night, you'll see a number of highly visible beacons. Use that! It'll get you into your neighborhood and more familiar territory, and then from there you should be able to find your camp easily enough.

Do plan on making a sign for your camp's frontage. Light it if you can, otherwise use reflective/easily visible colors so people passing can easily identify your camp in the beam of headlights/bike lights/headlamps, etc.

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Landmark for Camp Site - Balloons

Post by unjonharley » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:47 am

You just gave me a great idea.. Bought some over spray stuff for our house, #.. It looks clear going on.. Its reflective in the headlights.. So the idea is to spray my little MV with this reflective paint.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

Post Reply

Return to “Power & Electronics”