Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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Dr. Pyro
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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby Dr. Pyro » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:12 pm

For all you ladies out there, make sure to check out the back of Doc Pyro's trailer. It's been a playa institution for 16 years now.

Dustyrusty
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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby Dustyrusty » Fri Aug 19, 2016 1:49 pm

Just sent this out to the n00bs in my camp......

I’m not your mama, I’m a Burning consultant. And although you Birgins (Burner Virgins) have probably gotten plenty of advice I’m gonna hit you with the MOST important stuff:

tl:dr: chill the fuck out and be a little prepared.

1. HWY 80 HAS LANE CLOSURES THE NEXT 2 WEEKENDS IN SAC. This will slow your shit down. Even if you have early entry, the construction on 80 near Sacramento has made things a mess. Expect to take extra time. Expect it to be slow. Expect it to be confusing. Does Caltran not know we gotta Burn? Caltran don’t care! Be careful in this area. (Check CHP info before you leave for any updates.)

2. IGNORE THE GOOGLE. The Google will tell you how long it will take you to get from here to Reno. From Reno to Gerlach. From Gerlach to 7:30 & J. DO NOT BELIEVE THEM! You and 70,000 of your closest friends you have not yet met will be clogging the little one lane road that leads to Black Rock City. It will be slow. DO NOT PASS SLOW VEHICLES! The road is fucking dangerous! People die on this road EVERY YEAR (or at least have their life really fucked up.) Suck it up and follow slowly behind the ginormous RV pulling a ginormous art car/trailer/stack-of-stuff-on-wheels. Passing will not save you any appreciable time.

3. DO NOT SPEED between the freeway and BRC. Burning Man is a major supporter of the towns and tribal lands that they pass through not only by the money they spend in the stores and at the Indian Taco stands, but by the fines for speeding that they pay. Trust me, there is a cop waiting for you in every tiny town and they make you slow down to 25 mph in most of them…sometimes slowing down downhill so that they double their chance of catching you over the limit. Don’t think they’ll give you a 3-5 mph break. If it says 25 and you go 27, they will nail your ass.

4. FILL UP WITH GAS WHEN YOU GET OFF THE FREEWAY HEADED DOWN THE TINY ROAD. You want as much gas as you can when you start your drive through this section. There are only 2 gas stations past the offramp station and SOMETIMES THEY ARE CLOSED OR OUT OF GAS. Yeah, the line is long. Suck it up and meet some people waiting in line. Meet your fellow burners who are smart enough to know to fill up. Use the portapotties. Buy a slim jim. Whatever, but check your gas gauge at this point and make sure it’s on “F”.

5. PACK 2 MEALS, WATER AND SNACKS IN AN ACCESSABLE SPOT IN YOUR CAR. Yeah, it’s just a couple hours drive from Reno to BRC (Black Rock City). Yeah, according to the Google who I told you to ignore. When you get to the turnoff past Gerlach (called Gate Road, but not labeled as such) you think you’re there. You could have a 2-6 hour wait to get into the gate. If it rains and you are on Gate Road, you could be stuck for longer. Anytime I get from the turnoff to the Gate (where your vehicle gets searched and they check your tickets) in less than 2 hours is considered pretty great. The delay is a function of the number of vehicles that arrive at the same time, the number of Gate personnel (they staff up for the first 72 hours, but there’s more of us than them), the weather (you can’t drive on the playa or gate road when it rains because you will get stuck in the mucky dust so they close the gate UNTIL ITS DRY.) Oh, and whiteout dust storms happen . If you can’t see, you can’t drive and the Gate will close temporarily waiting for it to clear coz they don’t want you running over their dusty asses coz you can’t see. While you sit in line, if it’s daytime, it will be hot. You will not want to overheat your engine by running the AC. You will probably turn off your engine for periods of time while you wait for the traffic to surge forward. DURING THIS TIME YOU WILL WANT FOOD AND DRINK. Do not drink alcohol if you are the driver and don’t have it within arms reach of the driver….you will get ticketed and the cops are circulating through the parked cars. Of course, bring pre-cooked food or sandwich makings cause you’re not gonna be able to break out the propane stove that you might not have brought since we’re sharing a kitchen. Grab a pre-cooked chicken from any Reno grocery store and drop it in your cooler. Cold chicken is great. And since you’ll be tired from the drive and heat, if you get to camp at a meal time, you don’t have to unpack the entire vehicle to get some food.

6. ON THE WAY HOME PACK FOOD, WATER & SNACKS IN AN ACCESSABLE SPOT IN YOUR CAR. What? You thought getting out of BRC would be easier and faster. No. No, it isn’t. I can’t count the number of people I have saved with snacks and water who were waiting in the lines to get out of BRC. The do this surge thing where they move groups of cars forward every 15 to 20 minutes. Again, lotsa people & cars trying to get on a small road, so they have to take 8 lanes of traffic down to 1 and that takes time. By the time you get to the pavement it could be several hours. Consider that carefully if you decide to leave immediately after one of the last 2 burns. You might not make it to Reno until 3 or 4 in the morning and tired driving is dangerous and even if you’re good, the folks around you may not be. We did this once. It was not a good idea. Arrived at 3am in Reno and our hotel room had been given away. We took a nap twice on the way home. That was with 2 drivers trading off. Do not underestimate how tired you will be especially after sitting in lines to get out of BRC

7. SHADE IS GOOD. And if you are stuck in your car, on the way in or out, in the sun, it gets hot. Bring something to shade the side of the vehicle that is getting the most sun. Use a blanket, a sheet, a couple of those silver windshield shades, an umbrella that you can hang out the window when you’re not moving. If an pinch, steal the shirt from the biggest person in the car and use that, I don’t care, but you will.

8. DRINK LOTS OF WATER STARTING NOW AND CONTINUING UNTIL YOU LEAVE BRC. It’s dry. You will underestimate it. I’ve rescued a disoriented person NOT ON DRUGS almost every year who just needed shade and water. Some of y’all are doctors. What am I telling you for? Cause you think you know. You do. You just need reminding.

9. PREPARE FOR DUST BEFORE YOU GET TO CAMP. If you’re concerned, keep your goggles and dust mask near you in the car. We’ve been to 6 Burns. Most of them have not been very dust-stormy. The first year had us stuck in camp in white-out conditions for 6 hours on two days. The next 4 years were much better. Year 5 & 6 it rained. You never know. Prepare for everything.

10. CONSIDER THE TRIP IN & OUT PART OF THE EXPERIENCE. Try not to be frustrated by the time it takes to get to/from camp. Use the time to listen to radio station BMIR ( a good source of weather conditions, gate waits, warnings about stuff, and some decent music and info about events.) And when you lose your friends on the playa, or they don’t show up when they said they would, or they flake on plans, go do your thing. It’s hard to keep a schedule at Burning Man. You will miss most of the things you plan to go to. You will see pictures a week after Burning Man and think, “where the hell was THAT piece of art because I never saw that?” Your Burn will be most successful if you can JUST CHILL THE FUCK OUT. It’s hard for some of us. Not Foster…he’s chill AF all the time. (Trust me, he’s not reading this….too chill to worry about it.)

Anyway, to anyone who made it this far…if you are freaking out, don’t worry we got your back….or at least some extra bacon.

And to those suffering with playa hand/foot: take a spray bottle with a small amount of vinegar and a large amount of water and clean your hands and feet with it. It counteracts the alkaline dust. Follow up with moisturizer, if you're so inclined.

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Eric
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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby Eric » Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:05 pm

Dustyrusty wrote:tl:dr: chill the fuck out and be a little prepared.

This sentence is the best advice I've ever read for a virgin (and everyone else as well).
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Dustyrusty
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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby Dustyrusty » Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:09 pm

:oops: Thanks, Eric!

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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby SGMBeyerl » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:59 pm

It's probably a good time to dust off this thread and put it back up toward the top as all of us Burgins are beginning to plan early (hopefully) for life on the Playa.

While I am a Burgin, I'm an obsessive one and have been reading everything I get get in front of me on how to prepare for BRC. For those starting the journey, I'd like to recommend two Youtube subscriptions that have really helped me out a lot:

Halcyon (of course) and Hug Nation at https://www.youtube.com/user/halcyonstyn and specifically the Burning Man Tips & Philosophy series at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... EACD00EE20.

The second one is new and pretty undiscovered - Teagan (aka Project Pterodactyl) at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxu8jQ ... _mECT5Qq8w. She's doing a video a day on preparing for BM. They're both fun and informative.

Just my 2 cents. I hope you check them out and enjoy.

See you on the Playa
Mark

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Savannah
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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby Savannah » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:06 pm

Chowski wrote:Go out during the day.

I know some Burners who sleep all day in their RVs, only to emerge for nighttime. Personally, yet another thwomp-thwomp EDM dance party is an experience you can get at Music Festivals. If chasing famous djs is what you're into, you can do that much cheaper in a place that is much more comfortable than Burning Man.

At least one day, get up, get dressed and go see the city while the sun is shining. Many theme camps only offer their interactivity during daylight hours, and that's when I feel like I really get to meet people.


I like this advice a lot (and live by it). I leave camp every day, during the day, because that's where most of my best adventures begin.

Every day seems different. The nights are more similar. :)

cranberries wrote:If you do get wounded, even if it's something minor like a bad blister, go see the medical people, during the day preferably because it's probably not as busy. They're nice, happy to help, and have access to supplies you might not have thought to bring (moleskin, those cool wet sticky gel pad things, stronger antibiotic cream). If it's slow there it's another opportunity to chat with people who have a different perspective on the Burn.


Blisters are second only to lacerations in what get treated at ESD! So yeah, pack a thoughtful first aid kit--so you don't have to walk a few blocks for a simple bandaid, Neosporin, or Advil--but if you need any kind of assistance, go on in--don't be shy.

(It won't matter what time of day; the wait will not be particularly long. The nights are actually less busy, until Burn weekend.)
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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby BBadger » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:18 pm

I'll second that about the daytime stuff. Last year I did more daytime and city stuff than I ever had and it was great. Night is awesome too, but daytime stuff is just a hell of a lot of fun, especially in the first half of the week.

Don't get sucked into staying in camp. It's a home base, and maybe a place for a couple camp events, but otherwise you should be out and enjoying the place you came to visit.
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Savannah
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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby Savannah » Fri May 05, 2017 10:14 am

* Bring a backpack! I didn't have one my first year. Pretty amusing, carrying random crap around in a plastic shopping bag . . . :lol: These days I have a day bag and a night bag (smaller), pre-packed before I hit the playa. A good bag thread is here:

viewtopic.php?t=76246

* Fine tip sharpies are good for quick journaling or scribbling notes. (Ball point pens will die on ya.)

* Speaking of which: Consider journaling for 5 or 10 minutes a day during your down-time, if you've a mind to. Names, camp names, memorable meals, songs you had a Moment to, stuff you forgot and want to bring next time, funny quips, addresses and dates of events you want to go to--anything. You'll be happy you did when you're trying to remember where a new friend's wedding is, or where to find the late-night grilled cheese your neighbor told you about, and these notes can also help you flesh out your stories later.
*** 2017 Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle

andyr
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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby andyr » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:43 am

Savannah wrote:* Bring a backpack! I didn't have one my first year. Pretty amusing, carrying random crap around in a plastic shopping bag . . . :lol: These days I have a day bag and a night bag (smaller), pre-packed before I hit the playa. A good bag thread is here:

viewtopic.php?t=76246

* Fine tip sharpies are good for quick journaling or scribbling notes. (Ball point pens will die on ya.)

* Speaking of which: Consider journaling for 5 or 10 minutes a day during your down-time, if you've a mind to. Names, camp names, memorable meals, songs you had a Moment to, stuff you forgot and want to bring next time, funny quips, addresses and dates of events you want to go to--anything. You'll be happy you did when you're trying to remember where a new friend's wedding is, or where to find the late-night grilled cheese your neighbor told you about, and these notes can also help you flesh out your stories later.


Journaling is a great idea ... I pretty much forgot the details of everyone I bumped into, which is kind of a drag as I head into next year and am trying to see if so-and-so plans to go again. Oh well, the playa provides perhaps ...

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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby tahiti_treat » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:08 am

Journaling is awesome. I start mine when we start our drive to BRC and finish it when we get back home. I like to include little drawings and cartoons as well along with any stickers that I am gifted. I write down my experience day to day and note things I want to remember for next time. Choose a nice one, one that will be a pleasure to carry around. Write your camp address in the front as well as your default world address. It becomes more precious as the week goes on and you fill it with memories. My leather bound burn journal from 2014 is one of my most prized possessions and reading it sends me right back to the playa, way more than looking at my photos.

I actually do this for every significant vacation I take, not just burning man.

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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby swampdog » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:50 pm

These: (NOTE - brand and website not endorsed or commented on, Concept is awesome.)
http://www.mycoolingstore.com/chill-its ... towel.html

It's a microfiber absorbent "cloth" that you soak in water and drape around your neck to keep cool. Every 15 minutes or so, take it off and wave it around a little. Water evaporates, it gets cool again, put it back on your neck. It can make you feel a few critical degrees cooler. You can go hours before it dries back out. I like the sheet kind more than the tube kind because it exposes more water to evaporation = more cooler.

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FlyingMonkey
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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby FlyingMonkey » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:25 am

Go to the bathroom before putting on your Shiny Metallic Unitard.
In your wildest dreams you can not imagine the marvelous SURPRISES that await YOU.

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Re: Good Advice for Virgin Burners

Postby 1durphul » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:31 am

Good advice: Necromancing an advice thread is probably better than starting a new one.


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