Driving from VA

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cmrabet
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Driving from VA

Post by cmrabet » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:39 pm

My wife and I are considering driving our VW Jetta 2013 all the way from central VA to the playa next year.

This will be our first burn. We were thinking that it would be fun the two of us crossing states and staying in motels for 3-4 days away from the kids, on our way to burning man. We would be carrying a tent and other necessities, bikes will be hanging from the trunk on a bike carrier. Once in Reno we would buy food and water.

She thinks it’s a crazy idea but I love it. She wants to fly to Reno, but the flights from VA are not cheap, and we woukd still need to rent a car, not mentioning the hassle of carrying the tent and other things in the plane.


What do you guys think? Is it feasible? Would the Jetta work in Black Rock City?

Thanks

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Popeye
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Re: Driving from VA

Post by Popeye » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:23 pm

Thanks for starting an intro thread.
I'd do it if I was driving, as a passenger I would be bored shitless, stiff and bad tempered. If I was married I'd worry about the impact of a vehicle breakdown on my family. No car, getting to work, even getting back from the Burn.
Ask yourself, or better yet ask her, why your wife doesn't want to make the long drive. Would she be bored and uncomfortable sitting in one spot for 3-4 days? Maybe she does not like to drive on freeways?
Check the cost of the drive, fuel, wear and tear, hotels, rental etc. I bet the cost is pretty close to flying coming from Virginia. Especially booking early. You will want breakdown insurance too.

Two people and stuff in a Jetta is do able but tight. I'd take the back seat out. Might not get the poles for a shade structure in. 22 gallons is about 3 cubic feet which you will need to save for the water you pick up in Reno. Don't forget to save space for food too.

"We are thinking it would be fun" and "She thinks it's crazy" are red flags. You mean YOU think it would be fun but she doesn't don't you? Not a good way to start a joint trip to Burning Man. Sounds like you want to make all the decisions.

Edit to add: You won't be driving in BRC, only to BRC.
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TT120
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Re: Driving from VA

Post by TT120 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:05 am

It's certainly doable. I love road trips myself, my wife, not so much. Maybe it would be more fun for her if you set aside a few extra days to explore the country a little more on the way. You could make little detours to see things like the worlds largest ball of string and stuff like that.

Another thing to consider is that while the drive TO Burning Man will be fun and full of energy, the drive home will be brutal. You'll both be tired, dirty, hung over, your car will a total dirty mess, and you will just want to sleep in your own bed.

If it were me, I'd already be getting stuff together and figuring out how I'm going to get all this crap in my little Jetta. :mrgreen:
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cmrabet
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Re: Driving from VA

Post by cmrabet » Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:10 pm

Thank you guys for your inputs.

I should have elaborated more my post:

1) The VW Jetta is not the only car we have in case of breakdown, but it's the most economic one (it consumes very little gas), and we use it when we drive long distances to save fuel. It also has only 50k miles, it's in pretty good shape, and it already has full coverage insurance.
2) The idea of driving is not about getting in the car in Lynchburg and not coming out of it until we get Reno.. the idea is to do sightseeing on our way to Reno, stop here and there, see this and that, continue driving, stop again there and check that, continue driving, stay the night in a motel, and do the same thing the next day until we get Reno.. pass some time together alone without the kids and the "normal life" we left back in Virginia.
3) We moved to Virginia in 2012 from Spain, and the only part we know about the US is the NE Coast states, so we both are eager to know other places, specially Colorado, Utah and Nevada.
4) I know it;s possible fly to Reno from VA, but what about our stuff? We would still need to drive from Lynchburg to Washington DC or Charlotte NC (nearest hub airports), we would still need ship our stuff to Reno somehow ($$), and once there, we would still need to rent a car ($$), and ship back our stuff once the burn is over. This is why I said, "why just don't take our car with our stuff?".
5) I don't see the driving as a nuance to get Burning Man, I see the driving as part of the journey, one that has sightseeing, Burning Man and other things, all together. I believe that the fun is in the journey not in the destination.

I'm considering getting a small haul trailer and tow it with the Jetta in order to gain more room for storage. I would need to add a towing package. I might also rent it in Reno instead, and fill it with water, food, etc.. that way the Jetta will carry only the tent and other things from VA. I also might just get the bikes in Reno too.

Thanks again!

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Re: Driving from VA

Post by mgb327 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:39 pm

I have driven it from Charlottesville 7 times. I drive a Suburban that gets 17 MPG, and tow a small pop-up camper. Running solo I do it in 3 days, with the GF, 4. We hit a nice hotel/motel for nights, see a lot of sights going out, but do a beeline home. I still think it is a nice drive, the West starts when you pass Denver. Route 70 out, Route 80 back. Can't imagine flying to Reno and trying to get all the stuff together in a day or two before going up to BRC, but people do just that. I bring way too much shit to simply "stock up" in a day. I would tow a small/low box trailer for the bikes and tents, and buy water and heavy stuff in Reno. If you drive, take the Route 50 through the middle of Nevada going West, you need to do that once in your life.
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Re: Driving from VA

Post by AntiM » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:42 pm

Do the drive. A cross-country drive does not come around often unless you're a trucker or in the military, so go for it. The changing landscape is fascinating.

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171/348
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Re: Driving from VA

Post by 171/348 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:40 am

I've driven to the burn twice and flown 3 times from Philadelphia. Both have their advantages, but I would recommend the drive in your situation. I have done this the opposite of what has been previously mentioned, I make a beeline when I drive to the burn (basically doing it in 4 days in an RV from Philly) and then take my time seeing the sights on the way home (took me 2 months to get back the first year and 5 months the second), it's a great way to decompress.

Were I to make any recommendations for the drive, I would say give yourself more time. Even if you only take an extra day or two, what you can see out there makes it well worth it. Seeing the country through a windshield is impressive, but getting out and walking around some of the amazingness you'll be driving past can be as indescribably moving as Burning Man. Pick a National Park or three to visit. Or state parks. Take advantage of the fact that they have campgrounds and you have camping gear with you. If you can only make one stop, I would say go to Moab, Utah. If you can fit in a stretch anywhere along Route 50, it's about as interesting as your windshield view can get. A lot of it is like driving through history. Both of those things were Emphatically recommended to me by travelers and they were so right! You don't even have to spend a lot of time in the parks to get a taste of how beautiful they are. Pull in late to the park hotel (or campground), then wake up and have coffee overlooking the Grand Canyon before hitting the road again.

Because you mentioned pulling a trailer with your Jetta...
Even at their most benign crossing on Route 80, the Rockies are over 8,600'. The first time I drove out, my new to me 20 year old RV had a little trouble crossing the Poconos but then I forgot about the struggles while I drove across The Boring (On Route 80, the part between the Rockies and the WV mountains you will leave behind are what I call, "The Boring"). But then the Rockies came and I spent 2 days in Wyoming trying to get from Cheyenne to Laramie. That climb is like nothing we have here on the East Coast. I had no trouble with the crossing the second year after some stupidly expensive and ultimately unnecessary repairs. Even the 11,300' crossing on Route 50 wasn't a problem when my bus was running right, but you should be aware of what you'll be asking your car to do.

If you decide to fly, look into your regional network, there might be a fairly inexpensive way to ship your gear out to the playa. This past year I had so much packed in totes and shipped out (including food and beverages), I was able to fly to Reno and take the Burner Express. I certainly didn't miss cleaning the rental car!

Enjoy the journey!

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cmrabet
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Re: Driving from VA

Post by cmrabet » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:05 pm

mgb327 wrote:I have driven it from Charlottesville 7 times. I drive a Suburban that gets 17 MPG, and tow a small pop-up camper. Running solo I do it in 3 days, with the GF, 4. We hit a nice hotel/motel for nights, see a lot of sights going out, but do a beeline home. I still think it is a nice drive, the West starts when you pass Denver. Route 70 out, Route 80 back. Can't imagine flying to Reno and trying to get all the stuff together in a day or two before going up to BRC, but people do just that. I bring way too much shit to simply "stock up" in a day. I would tow a small/low box trailer for the bikes and tents, and buy water and heavy stuff in Reno. If you drive, take the Route 50 through the middle of Nevada going West, you need to do that once in your life.
Thanks!!

How much do you usually spend in gas round trip?

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cmrabet
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Re: Driving from VA

Post by cmrabet » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:10 pm

171/348 wrote:I've driven to the burn twice and flown 3 times from Philadelphia. Both have their advantages, but I would recommend the drive in your situation. I have done this the opposite of what has been previously mentioned, I make a beeline when I drive to the burn (basically doing it in 4 days in an RV from Philly) and then take my time seeing the sights on the way home (took me 2 months to get back the first year and 5 months the second), it's a great way to decompress.

Were I to make any recommendations for the drive, I would say give yourself more time. Even if you only take an extra day or two, what you can see out there makes it well worth it. Seeing the country through a windshield is impressive, but getting out and walking around some of the amazingness you'll be driving past can be as indescribably moving as Burning Man. Pick a National Park or three to visit. Or state parks. Take advantage of the fact that they have campgrounds and you have camping gear with you. If you can only make one stop, I would say go to Moab, Utah. If you can fit in a stretch anywhere along Route 50, it's about as interesting as your windshield view can get. A lot of it is like driving through history. Both of those things were Emphatically recommended to me by travelers and they were so right! You don't even have to spend a lot of time in the parks to get a taste of how beautiful they are. Pull in late to the park hotel (or campground), then wake up and have coffee overlooking the Grand Canyon before hitting the road again.

Because you mentioned pulling a trailer with your Jetta...
Even at their most benign crossing on Route 80, the Rockies are over 8,600'. The first time I drove out, my new to me 20 year old RV had a little trouble crossing the Poconos but then I forgot about the struggles while I drove across The Boring (On Route 80, the part between the Rockies and the WV mountains you will leave behind are what I call, "The Boring"). But then the Rockies came and I spent 2 days in Wyoming trying to get from Cheyenne to Laramie. That climb is like nothing we have here on the East Coast. I had no trouble with the crossing the second year after some stupidly expensive and ultimately unnecessary repairs. Even the 11,300' crossing on Route 50 wasn't a problem when my bus was running right, but you should be aware of what you'll be asking your car to do.

If you decide to fly, look into your regional network, there might be a fairly inexpensive way to ship your gear out to the playa. This past year I had so much packed in totes and shipped out (including food and beverages), I was able to fly to Reno and take the Burner Express. I certainly didn't miss cleaning the rental car!

Enjoy the journey!

After thinking a lot I changed my mind, and instead of the Jetta, I will be taking a Toyota Sienna 2006 AW (3500) that we have with 100k miles but still in good shape. I will remove all the back seats, which will give me plenty of room to carry all what I need and even sleep in it with the proper bedding, so no more trailer. However the Sienna consumes a lot more than the Jetta for sure.

I'm thinking once in camp, use the Sienna as bedroom, the tent as the kitchen and where all the supplies go, everything under a monkey hut, with a plastic tarp as flooring.

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Ratty
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Re: Driving from VA

Post by Ratty » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:33 pm

When you say tent as a kitchen are you planning to cook in there?
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cmrabet
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Re: Driving from VA

Post by cmrabet » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:09 am

Ratty wrote:When you say tent as a kitchen are you planning to cook in there?
I we can avoid it, we don't want to cook.

I'm planning to take canned/dried food, but I was thinking that it would be better to have it in a separate place from where we sleep, along with all the other supplies (water, drinks, etc..).

I wonder what would be the best layout/strategy for a camp of 2 with a minivan. I'll open another thread for this.

Thanks!

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