Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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Sham
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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by Sham » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:23 am

I see Millicent (the bus) peeking around the corner.

Advice I would give to any and every first timer is to prepare the best you can, but don't try to bite off too much to do. Come to the desert and keep an open mind and be willing to help anyone who needs it. Too often I see first timers wanting to volunteer for many shifts with different groups as well as bring art and organize events. Worry about yourself and your well being first, and then leave a little for sharing with the community. The following year will be a whole different story. You will have a better feel for what works.

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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by s_ting » Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:54 am

Sham wrote:I see Millicent (the bus) peeking around the corner.

Advice I would give to any and every first timer is to prepare the best you can, but don't try to bite off too much to do. Come to the desert and keep an open mind and be willing to help anyone who needs it. Too often I see first timers wanting to volunteer for many shifts with different groups as well as bring art and organize events. Worry about yourself and your well being first, and then leave a little for sharing with the community. The following year will be a whole different story. You will have a better feel for what works.
Yeah, I'm a little worried if we try and go all out our first year it'll be too much to handle. When my friend and I talked about a potential theme to our little group I realized "oh fuck, this means we should probably get a generator... and this... and that..." which all escalated very quickly. Maybe we'll start simple and have a banner for our little group ;) Or at least something equally as easy to pull together.

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some seeing eye
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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by some seeing eye » Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:44 pm

Maybe for the first year get matching "Eskimo" coats. Hook up with an existing snow cone camp, help them serve, and learn their secrets! 6 of you together could be noteworthy. And you could even comment on climate issues as you like.

If you search the 2015 burningman.org camps, you might find a village you can contribute your small camp to. Every camp started with a handful of friends!
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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by AntiM » Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:57 am

I'd love to see six matching Eskimos volunteering at Arctica!

We have a hand crank shave ice machine, most years it stays home because it is heavy (and increasingly valuable). It makes snow, not crushed ice, and is fun for snowball fights. The appeal of snowcones on the playa can be quite high; although people get fussy about the syrups. No hippie options.

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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by s_ting » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:45 am

some seeing eye wrote:Maybe for the first year get matching "Eskimo" coats. Hook up with an existing snow cone camp, help them serve, and learn their secrets! 6 of you together could be noteworthy. And you could even comment on climate issues as you like.

If you search the 2015 burningman.org camps, you might find a village you can contribute your small camp to. Every camp started with a handful of friends!
Great idea, I'll search through the camps. I had tried to look up camps on the 2015 unofficial Google map but didn't see anything relevant--the actual camp listings will probably be more helpful. My boyfriend is currently whining about if we can be eskimos by night and something else by day :lol:
AntiM wrote:I'd love to see six matching Eskimos volunteering at Arctica!

We have a hand crank shave ice machine, most years it stays home because it is heavy (and increasingly valuable). It makes snow, not crushed ice, and is fun for snowball fights. The appeal of snowcones on the playa can be quite high; although people get fussy about the syrups. No hippie options.
Volunteering at Arctica would be a lot of fun! I think matching outfits would be a good start for us. Gives us more of a reason to be all fuzzy and warm at night too (: Might be time for me to look into some organic cane sugar syrup options...

I'll talk to the group and try and look into both existing camps and volunteering at Arctica. If they feel like it's too overwhelming, we'll stick with something simpler (which probably just boils down to survival and being self reliant) and save the more extravagant planning for another year as Sham suggested.

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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by DavyRay » Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:52 pm

I was a solo virgin this year. I camped in HOVerlandia, which is the camp reserved for Burner Express riders. I loved it.

I obsessed with my pack lists, and weighed everything. I shipped one package to Black Rock Bicycles, where I had reserved a rental bike. It took about 10 days to get there via UPS ground. I checked one bag on the way to Reno from North Carolina, and had the usual carry-on bag. I arrived a day early, and did my local shopping at Save Mart on Keystone. I also stopped at the Walmart near the airport. Waste of time. The camping aisles were stripped bare.
The 12 gallons of water added 100 lbs to the luggage I lugged across the airport from the car rental area out to the Burner Express bus.
My flight schedule did not work out to arrive the same day I took the bus. Too much chance of a delay really screwing things up. I could not arrive with enough time to spare to get to the bus with the shopping stop.

There are many reasons I will recommend Hoverlandia, even if you are not solo. There is a shade structure and a burn barrel. I made lots of friends from all over the planet. We ended got to know each other almost instantly, and help was shared for setting up everything. Everyone brought more booze and food than was needed. There is a closed Facebook group, which you will be welcome to join. The complete lack of social structure was a great advantage. No one brought a full length mirror, though.

Send me a PM, and I will connect you to the 2015 Hoverlandia group.

DavyRay

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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by s_ting » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:59 pm

Now that I've had time to recover from our first burn, I figured I'd post up our final results in hopes of it being helpful to others in the future. This is also a response to my other thread about our shade structure.

Pictures of final playa set up below:

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Initial Challenge--Flying Coast to Coast
As mentioned a year ago (a year! I planned for a year!), my boyfriend and I were stubbornly all for being "radically self-reliant" and didn't want to use the Boston shipping container for our first trip from Boston to BRC. So we flew everything. It really wouldn't have been that bad if it weren't for our desire to have a shade structure that could also serve as a hangout area.

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We had four checked bags totalling to 200 lbs of gear (no overweight charges!) and probably at least another 30 lbs of stuff with us in our carry-on items, which definitely was painful to transport. And we had to move our bags a lot--from our apartment, down to the Uber, to airport check-in, airport baggage claim to the hotel, hotel back to BxB check in, to the actual bus, then from the BxB depot to our camp location (we did choose to camp at Hoverlandia because of convenience--sorry DavyRay, didn't get to meet you!). We brought a Magna Cart Hand Truck with us to wheel our bags across the playa, which was a lifesaver.
  • Duffel Bag #1: This held the canvas portion of our 9'x8' Kodiak tent, our ground tarp, our two fluffy sleeping bags, our self inflating sleeping pads, and self inflating pillows. We threw our 2.5 lb mallet in there too. Weight was 49.5 lbs on our way out, and 50.5 lbs on our way back (it was likely a pound of playa dust that made it back with us...)
  • Duffel Bag #2: This held our shade cloth, all 350 ft of trucker's rope that we needed for our shade structure, our hand truck, a stool for elevating our cooler, clothes, and miscellaneous stuff like zip ties, tools like our Makita 18v cordless impact driver, etc. Another 50 lbs.
  • Speaker Bag: The speaker bag is 65" vs. the allowed 62" but we had no issues anywhere it, as the airports seem more concerned about weight. We loaded it up to 50 lbs with the tent poles for the Kodiak and the tent stakes that came with it, 20 military tent stakes, seven lag screws for our shade structure, and a total of 30 ft of PVC pipe for our shade structure.
  • Coleman Xtreme 5 Day Cooler: This thing definitely didn't hold ice solid for 5 days, but it kept our Gatorades, oranges, and water cold. We packed it up with mostly clothes (and our 480 baby wipes...), some other random stuff, and somehow got it to hold 50 lbs
  • Carry-on 40L Backpack x2: Both my boyfriend and I got these 40L backpacking backpacks for other stuff. Mine was filled with all our food (we opted for the pricey but convenient and delicious Mountain House backpacking meals, along with jerky, 2 lbs of dried mangos, packs of Shin ramen, and packs of Tasty Bite rice, which we did not eat). His was filled with all of our batteries (we brought 36 AAA and 48 AA batteries... definitely overkill...), extra batteries for our Makita impact driver (we used just the 4.0Ah, didn't need to use the 2.0Ah that we brought along at all), lanterns, EL wire, etc. etc. etc.
  • Personal Item x2: I had a crossbody military bag that held my Instax camera and extra film, my Nalgene, personal items, notebook, etc. Boyfriend used a small 20L green backpack stuffed with whatever else we had.
We flew into Reno late Tuesday night, and had a 12:30PM BxB with Shopping bus on Wednesday. Tuesday night we shifted the clothes in the cooler into Duffel #2 so we could have room to put food from our shopping trip, along with the 15 gallons of water we planned on picking up from the BxB Depot, into the cooler. We did not buy much at the shopping stop. In fact, I don't think we needed it in the end. The only thing we didn't transport with us was propane, but we had a friend driving in from SF bring that for us. At Save Mart we bought dinner for Wednesday night, some oranges, apples, and vinegar.

Shade Structure and Camp Set Up on the Playa

Our shade structure was something my boyfriend spent a long time designing. We were very concerned about the integrity of it and whether or not it'd hold up in the winds, but were pleased with how it held up. We modeled it after the tensegrity structures, but we couldn't bring wood beams with us on the plane and opted to use PVC pipes. We cut 1.5" PVC pipe into six 4' sections (two sections used for the three legs in our shade structure) and cut 2" PVC pipe into three 2' sections to telescope over the two 4' sections. We then used screws and a washer to secure the pipes together for 8' long pipes.

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We arrived at BRC around 5:30PM on Wednesday. It took us 3 hours to set up camp. We were feeling really rushed to beat the sunset, especially because we arrived in the middle of a whiteout. Bring our burgin selves, we had no idea it was a bad dust storm (we seriously just thought it was always like that), so we proceeded to set up. It was painfully difficult, but we managed.

We used 1/2" 18" lag screws and three-link chains for the six staking points for our shade structure. Our shade cloth was long so we staked them down to the ground behind our tent towards the sunrise using the provided Kodiak tent stakes and made sure it was taut. The Kodiak tent we staked down with the 12" military tent stakes. Used 550 lb. paracord to guy down portions of the shade cloth that seemed flappy, and also used zip ties at the top and about 20 clamp clips to secure the shade cloth tightly to the top ropes, to fold the cloth over itself where we needed, and clamped the cloth to our Kodiak tent to prevent any rubbing. We then put up solar powered LED lights around the perimeter of our camp and up some of the less obvious ropes so that people wouldn't trip over the bazillion ropes we had going around at night.

I hear the weather this year was mild compared to last year, but our structure held up extremely well during our time on the playa. The PVC pipes didn't budge and the tarp didn't catch much wind. We didn't have any RVs behind us to shield us from the wind either. The screws sticking out of the PVC pipes actually turned out to be very useful hooks... my boyfriend and I threw our bags on them very frequently.

Our campmate drove from SF and transported his own Kodiak tent (the one not fully in the shade structure), and provided us with a full length mirror and the camp chairs. Definitely happy we had all those luxuries, though he left early Sunday and my boyfriend and I survived without the chairs and mirror for a day.

Even though 6:15 & J was a bit of a trek, we really didn't mind the location. We rented out bike from Elliott and that went really well.

Reflections and Random Thoughts for Next Year and Beyond
  • Transporting so much gear via BxB was definitely painful. I would love to live on the West Coast and drive everything in instead. Or rent a car next year. Our shade structure took a lot of time to set up (pretty much 2.5 hours of the 3 hours we spent setting up camp) because of all the complicated knots and the need to make sure there was enough tension at all points. I would love for us to be able to do something else for shade next year.
  • Our group turned to a group of four from a group of six. I am thinking seriously about starting a theme camp, as many had suggested earlier in this thread. We would want to serve something though, which would require us to have a kitchen setup. So still thinking through the logistics of all that!
  • My boyfriend was adamant against buying clear goggles since he didn't think they looked good. Turns out, he needed them for nighttime. He also did not think he would need a headlamp. Two crucial errors on his part, as he had to tape a flashlight to his backpack strap for light and went without goggles. I was happily trucking along with both.
  • We had way too much water. We bought 15 gallons, which was a bit of overkill since we didn't wash anything or shower (yum), but better safe than sorry.
  • I brought too many daytime costumes that I didn't wear, and not enough warm clothes. That being said, I only felt cold the night of the Temple burn, but I could've used some more long sleeved shirts... And more than one pair of leggings.
  • Dailies were a lifesaver. I tried using my two week contacts and couldn't get past a day with them.
  • We forgot a crowbar. Our 12" military stakes were a bitch to pull out. Our vise grip pliers weren't strong enough. We ended up using a lag screw as leverage to pry out the military stakes. Wasn't awful, but a crowbar would've helped. We did help some other people pull out their rebar with the vise grip pliers easily though.
  • Need more camp chairs... And more oranges. Those tasted amazing out there...
  • Somehow we forgot all alcohol. But I guess we survived.
  • Supergluing the nail cuticles was a huge lifesaver.
  • Wow, playa dust sure fucks up zippers and locks...
HUGE thanks to everyone in this thread and my other shade structure thread, for all the help, insights, and reassurance. I couldn't have been happier with our first burn and can't wait to be back next year with something bigger (themeeeee campppp) (:

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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by lucky420 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:41 pm

Congratulations on your first burn ^^^ :D looks like you did an amazing job transporting and hauling all that stuff yourself. Yes us west coasters (Reno in da house) definetly have a much easier time of it. But ya done good, real good
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by dustyfux » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:36 pm

wait....forgot all alcohol?

Sorry, gold star has been disallowed.

Seriously, awesome job. Ingenuity and resourcefulness at its finest

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shrock
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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by shrock » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:05 pm

I know all of this is from last year, but it's still really helpful to this first time Burner. :)

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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by Leap » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:08 pm

Great job!

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s_ting
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Re: Preparing for 2016--Burner Express/Logistic Questions

Post by s_ting » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:41 pm

Glad this thread could still be helpful! Now that we've finally washed the dust off most of our belongings, I figured I'd provide an update for 2017 here instead of creating a new thread.

My boyfriend and I expanded a bit upon our original PVC tensegrity shade structure this year (much to my initial displeasure...) and added in a fourth pole. We still flew our essential camp belongings such as our 9'x8' Kodiak tent and our shade structure as checked bags on Southwest like we did last year, but also used 10 cu ft of our local shipping container for our luxury items (air mattress, carpet for our campsite, etc.).

BxB didn't take that long to get us to the playa on Sunday. we took the 10AM BxB with a shopping trip and were on our way to find open camping space by 2PM. We originally had wanted to drag all 200 lbs of our gear on handtrucks to somewhere around 7 & H for open camping, but gave up in the heat and stopped at 6:45 & J. Shout out to the random guy who dumped cooler water on us; you saved two lives that afternoon! Not camping at HOVerlandia made transporting goods to a different camping location more difficult.

The weather was brutally hot, but definitely more in our favor this year compared to last, and we didn't feel rushed to beat sundown. Took us about three casual hours to set up the shell of the structure (one pole blocked by our tent in the below picture):

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And then finished with all our luxuries--notably our carpet and hammock!

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We drilled additional holes at the top of our PVC pipes and tied the hammock to the PVC pipes with extra trucker's rope that we had. The pipes didn't bend substantially under my weight (~110 lbs) or my boyfriend's weight (~145 lbs), but we weren't comfortable enough to both sit in the hammock together in fear of stressing the structure too much.

Honestly the hammock wasn't something we were confident would work, but it turned out better than expected. The structure held well throughout the week and survived the storms on Tuesday / Wednesday, though we did adjust the one pole that was taking the brunt of the wind on occasion to make sure it wasn't getting pushed too horizontally. Our friend was supposed to bring a second shade cloth to cover his tent under our shade structure, but forgot, so we have that one sad tent left out in the sun. We used the pop-up tent as a storage tent and that was coincidentally placed in a spot that blocked the sunrise from the sad Kodiak tent though, so it worked out okay.

Our tent still got pretty hot at around 9AM - 9:30AM though. I don't think we had enough separation between the shade cloth and our Kodiak tent, which is something we want to play with for next year. And additional hammocks would be nice too, though I'm not sure we could add another with our current set up...

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