Playa Practical

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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Sham
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Sham » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:57 am

Figjam, I also noticed that the previously used spikes that have some corrosion on them tend to hold in the playa much better then the shiny new ones. The "seasoned" stakes always require much more effort to pull out than the fresh from the package ones. It seems to make sense to pound some extra ones in the ground for the week, in order to have back-ups in the future.

Then there's the rebar. I buy 18" pieces from that big home improvement store. I grind all the sharp burrs from the ends, then make a more pointed end for the side going in the ground. I use a torch to heat the top end to easily bend the candy cane. Finally, I paint the candy cane a fluorescent orange for safety. Each year I bring 6 of them and try to give them to someone who will be returning next year. My rebar stakes are all over our camp and I don't have to drag them all there every year. :D

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Royal Turkey » Tue Oct 22, 2013 6:41 am

unjonharley wrote:I carry my keys on a lanyard around my neck.. Get in the van set down, seat belt, unsnap the key, foot on break & clutch, start engine and release hand brake. Same backwards every time.. Tuck the keys inside my shirt when working..
This will be my first Burn but a long time veteran of many very large music festivals, I do a similar thing but I don't like a lanyard around my neck so I tie off a long loop of cord with the keyring on it, then pull it through a larks head knot around my belt loop or belt, keep the keys and the slack of the cord in my pocket. If I happen to jump around or lay on my back the keys are still tied to me.

The cord I use is bright orange reflective guy line, highly-visible in day or night.

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by FossaFerox » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:50 am

The thing is you probably won't want to carry your keys with you 99% of the time at Burning Man since you're there for a week and can't drive your car aside from entry/exodus.
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:58 am

That's true, but we use them for storage, so we're in and out of them all the time. 8)
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by FossaFerox » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:39 am

True, but that's why you want them stowed somewhere near the cars where they won't get lost. Carrying them with you at all times is silly.

A combination lock box like the ones real estate agents use are extremely hard to break into and work wonderfully for this sort of thing. Why carry the keys with you when you can lock them up securely next to the cars, somewhere they won't get lost?
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:29 pm

Well, I've already got the key for the trunk on my trike, and the key to the lock for the chain, and the playapod, so my spare truck keys are on the same tether with my spare ID and can opener. 8)
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theCryptofishist
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:17 pm

FossaFerox wrote:True, but that's why you want them stowed somewhere near the cars where they won't get lost. Carrying them with you at all times is silly.
I think that depends on who you are. I carry mine, because stuffs can disappear so easily. and I have the privilege of driving. But, like a lot of playa practice, varies from person to person
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Savannah
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Savannah » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:49 pm

Yeah, it really does depend on:

* frequency of use
* extras / back-up plans
* your strategy for keeping your keys / hiding your keys (whichever you choose, it'd better be good)
* your nature. are you more likely to drop your keys . . . or forget where your hiding spot is? :lol:

I don't feel comfortable leaving camp with keys, or even my primary ID. I lose things occasionally. Or I just worry about losing them, which is unpleasant in and of itself. So I just don't.

I occasionally wear them on a carabiner when I'm doing stuff, but I don't carry them out of camp.
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Sham
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Sham » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:50 pm

I always try to play the "what if" scenario in my head. It's good to make multiple contingencies. Like the year I got a magnetic key holder and stuck it to a camp trailer. The trailer left and took my key with it. It was just a spare, so I was ok!

I have gone so far as to make key copies (2 or 3) that won't start the car, but will open the doors. Then I can lock the fancy electronic fob IN THE CAR! 8)

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by AntiM » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:35 am

Larry has to open someone's car almost every year, and some cars are very resistant to the slim jim. One year he could see the fob on the seat and simply wormed a hanger wire in and poked the unlock button.

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by fernley1 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:22 am

Just in our little camp area on the playa this year, there was 2 cars that needed to opened because of keys locked in side.
Spare keys should be on everyone's list.

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by unjonharley » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:19 am

Elliot and I removed the rear seat of a car trying to find the keys in the trunk..

The keys were not there.. There was a full blown lock smith van sent out from Playa Info.. He looked under the tail light for the key code.. Another happy camper..

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:31 am

Putting on my ex-AAA-guy hat...

Most modern cars are quite resistant if not impervious to the ancient slim jim.
Little known secret: there are companies that make all sorts of cool lockout tool sets, with detailed instructions how to harmlessly open most cars - and anyone can buy them.
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by unjonharley » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:35 am

I saw a cop open a hot car with a dog in it.. He had a rubber wedge to push to side window in .. Enough to reach in with a slime jim type tool..

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by fernley1 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:36 am

Wow, thats cool there is a lockout van at burning man.
I saw the lock out van a couple of times in our part of town, but didn't know what it was for.
Nice info to know in the future.
Thanks

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by voiceinthedarkness » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:01 am

Keyed-alike locks for bikes in the camp. Neck lanyard with (shared) bike lock key and a small LED flashligt. One for everybody in the camp (Small camp, though, 4 people).

Home Depot collapsible plastic 4-shelf unit for galley area - storage in the back of a box truck during transit or collapsible for small hauler. Holds bins with cookware, dinnerware, cases of beverage. Can be set up outside, or inside a larger tent.

Water in 3 750mL bottles in backpack - can hand one off to a citizen in distress while touring the city.

Insulated water cooler kept full of icewater. Can't stress enough how wonderful a jolt of icewater is at 4:00 in the afternoon.

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Elliot » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:19 am

unjonharley wrote:Elliot and I removed the rear seat of a car trying to find the keys in the trunk..

The keys were not there.. There was a full blown lock smith van sent out from Playa Info.. He looked under the tail light for the key code.. Another happy camper..
And now the rest of the story.... The hard part was not unbolting and extracting the seat (I once worked on such things at a Ford dealership), but digging thru all the luggage in the trunk. Some of it had to be torn apart to get it out thru the restricted opening between the trunk and the back seat. Finally I cleared a line-of-sight to the backside of the latch and poked it open with a stick.

New cars are required to have a marked release inside the trunk, in case someone gets locked in there. But many older trunks can also be unlocked from inside if you know where and how to poke.

The amusing part, of course, was that the key was not found in there -- and I never did hear if he found it so he could drive the car! Well, the car was gone when I left.

Bottom line.... Well, I believe it has already been mentioned once or twice. :lol:

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:49 am

fernley1 wrote:Wow, thats cool there is a lockout van at burning man.
I saw the lock out van a couple of times in our part of town, but didn't know what it was for.
Nice info to know in the future.
Thanks
It remains one of the few approved forms of commerce on the playa.

I'm sort of torn about this next item, but in prep for this year I found a little light that clips on to your glasses. I couldn't find it, so I didn't bring it, but I did wear it last night on my walk, and it was useful. The damn thing is so small, and I'm such a bull in a china shop that I cannot recommend it without reservation, but it might be just the thing for someone.
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"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Patsh » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:38 am

My little car (Nissan Versa hatchback) has been to three burns, and will not lock if the key fob is inside the car. I made extra keys for anyone who wanted to stash stuff in the car... these keys will open the doors, but not start the car. I found one 3"X3" space at the very back of the 'trunk' area where the fob can sit and still allow the doors to lock, the farthest away spot from the driver's area. So, that's where the fob lives for the week, and I don't have to carry it around. Also, if something were to make me unable to drive :shock: , the others know where the fob is.
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Meat Hunter » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:12 pm

Regarding losing auto keys: My wife and I keep a spare car key taped on the back of our auto license plates.

Regarding pad locks and losing keys: On my farm, I use only Master combination locks with 4 number wheels on the bottom and Master braided steel cables.

On my adult tricycle: I use a bike-specific braided steel cable that has an internal LED light and a 4 wheel combination lock.
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:52 pm

Meat Hunter wrote:Regarding pad locks and losing keys: On my farm, I use only Master combination locks with 4 number wheels on the bottom and Master braided steel cables.
I love these locks, and they are what I use on just about everything. The only problem I have with them is they don't seem to like dust in the long-term. About once a year I get one that just won't play. But an overnight soak in a pan of diesel, followed by a few squirts of WD40 brings them back to life every time.

I'm curious how they would work on the playa after getting kicked around, dropped and well-dusted. Might be a good experiment for next year! :mrgreen:
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Elliot » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:06 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:... But an overnight soak in a pan of diesel, followed by a few squirts of WD40 brings them back to life every time. ...
FYI: Diesel and WD-40 are practically the same "beverage". A couple years ago, right here on ePlaya, somebody found the safety data for WD-40, and I remember it as 85% a-solvent-similar-to-kerosene, and 15% light lubricating oil. And diesel is kerosene with a dash of lubricating oil to minimize wear in the engine. So there is money to be saved. :D
(And jet fuel is very clean kerosene.)

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:57 pm

Elliot wrote:
GreyCoyote wrote:... But an overnight soak in a pan of diesel, followed by a few squirts of WD40 brings them back to life every time. ...
FYI: Diesel and WD-40 are practically the same "beverage". A couple years ago, right here on ePlaya, somebody found the safety data for WD-40, and I remember it as 85% a-solvent-similar-to-kerosene, and 15% light lubricating oil. And diesel is kerosene with a dash of lubricating oil to minimize wear in the engine. So there is money to be saved. :D
(And jet fuel is very clean kerosene.)
'
'
Sounds about right, Elliot. All I know is it works great for degunking the injector pump and internals on my 8/1 Listeroid. Empty the fuel tank, dump-in a cup of WD40, and away she goes. Takes about 20 minutes of funny-smelling smoke, but after that the piston is de-coked, the ring stack is limber, and the entire fuel system is much happier. Another cup in the crankcase while it's running and all that crap under the piston crown falls-off into the crankcase.

It's magical stuff.
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:24 pm

It's a bit of drift, but I have a story about those locks, the brass ones with four number tumblers on the bottom.
I found one on the ground when I was a kid, in Mobile, Alabama, about 1974 or so. Every now and then, I pick it up and start going through the numbers, advancing one number at a time, trying to open it. I've had it for almost 40 years... it sits untouched for years at a time, but I still have it and I've never gotten it open.
Skip ahead to modern times: I was at work, late on a Friday. I needed to get into a jobsite with a crane truck and do something that really needed to get done, but everyone had gone home and it was gated up and locked, with one of those exact same padlocks. Out of pure "what the hell" I grabbed it and spun the dials and squeezed the lock - and the fucking thing opened!!

I'd been trying to open the same lock for 40 years...
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Meat Hunter » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:17 pm

Besides the "brass" painted steel body, Master still makes the solid brass body combination locks.

The same combination-changing key works on both models.

If one has a Yeti ice chest, Master also makes these locks with a longer shank. I carry the small Yeti ice chest in the back wire rack of my adult tricycle and I use a braided wire Master cable to run though both the lock shank on the cooler, the rear tires, and the frame of my tricycle.

Once a year, I spray Liquid Wrench inside all my locks.
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Ratty » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:16 pm

Capt. Some of those locks built onto a cable I can open in less than 5 minutes. Some I can't. Before everybody starts speculating as to why...I volunteer once a week at a loading dock for a big company that picks up your unwanted items for charity. When the bikes are donated with a lock I remove them. And when bikes are abandoned at my work I remove the lock and store the bike in another building for a few months. I'm pretty good with regular combos too. See. I learned a lot at school.
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:42 pm

Damn, I don't know if I was taught anything that useful.
I did learn how to tie my shoes, but that's useless.
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Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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Re: Playa Practical

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:14 am

And to think I spent all that time sweating calc, diffie-Q, and spherical trig!

Fishie: I'm still working on getting two even loops on my sneakers without using someone elses finger as an assist. Pathetic, I know... :mrgreen: but we all have our weirdness. :mrgreen:
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:54 am

Ratty: well now that's a dilemma... I don't know now if I want to bring that lock to the playa next year or not; I'm not sure now if I want anyone else to open it for me, it'd be like I wasted all that time.
I've thought about when that thing ever opens... then what...
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Re: Playa Practical

Post by peyote2004 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:10 pm

It's Murphy's Law .... If you bring it to the playa next year, the first person who tries will be able to open it right away.
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