Best Time to Arrive

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
Jgladdy
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Best Time to Arrive

Post by Jgladdy » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:32 pm

This will be my 5th year on the Playa. The last two years I've had early entry passes to help my camp set up. It's likely I won't be able to do that this year for various reasons, and I was planning on coming up early in the week - either Sunday night, Monday day, or Tuesday Morn.

My question is a practical one, because the previous few years population has grown quite a bit. Are there any times during the initial rush that should really be avoided? Although I do want to get up early in the week, I'd really rather not wait in like 12+ hours to get in as I heard some of my campmates did last year.

Let me know your experiences last year. It'd be greatly appreciated.

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FIGJAM
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:44 pm

I think 8PM Sunday to 8AM Monday is the toughest.
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Morrell
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Morrell » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:23 pm

We usually show up Tuesday around noon and it is a breeze!

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tatonka
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by tatonka » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:36 pm

last year was my 1st , and we arrived at Monday at 12:00 noon we finally were at our camp site at 4:30 pm , and on leaving we were packed up sunday night
and stayed for the temple burn. We then woke early at 2:00 am monday and left , 6 hours later we hit the pavement.
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Eric
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Eric » Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:02 pm

One other thing to think about: there will probably be a wait-time whenever you arrive (before Thursday), so would you rather put up with extra waiting but get more on-playa time, or wait in a line less but sacrifice 2 or 3 days on-playa for a 6-8 hour savings in waiting in a line?

Personally, I'd rather put up with the 12 hour wait and still get in really early Monday morning than not arrive until Tues night (or later). I only get a week-ish out there a year, I want every minute of it I can squeeze out.
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danibel
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by danibel » Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:58 pm

I agree with Eric. If I could, I would get there Sunday at gate opening and just deal with the line. As it is, I won't arrive until Wednesday, hopefully around noon. I do get to stay until Tuesday on the exit, so there is that, but I would so much rather get there early and stay late.
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Token
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Token » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:20 pm

Once you get your first Indian Taco on the way in, time stops.

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Jovankat
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Jovankat » Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:53 pm

Eric wrote:One other thing to think about: there will probably be a wait-time whenever you arrive (before Thursday)
I came back in on Thursday night last year and had a several hour wait because BML had shut the gate down to trickle. I'd be surprised if there was ever a *good* time to be trying to get in :|

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FIGJAM
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:11 pm

I forgot about that.

They said we were at capacity so they weren't letting anyone in unless some left!!! :roll:
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Jovankat
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Jovankat » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:15 pm

Yeah but no one was actually leaving, they just slowed it down to a crawl. Honestly it seemed like they were just doing it to punish people who wanted to get in. I ended up in a conversation with the Gate and Will Call supervisors and they were pretty unhappy about the situation. The BML were also shining their torches in cars and looking for stuff which the person I was with was convinced they shouldn't be doing.

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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by trilobyte » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:15 pm

I'm giving this a nudge over to the transportation board, since that's a better fit.

The worst time to try and arrive is just prior to the gates opening. That lot, who I guess are using the 'rock concert queue' mentality, are making a mistake in that their vehicles will end up being routed over to D-lot, and won't actually make it through until several hours later.

Assuming that the gates will open at 6pm Sunday, then anytime after 6pm Sunday is great. I'd avoid middle-of-day for heat reasons (1 hour in a hot car is worse than 4 in one that isn't), other than that there are thousands of different factors. I do believe Monday is the heaviest day, but we had campmates arrive on Monday last year who had only a 6 hour wait (I expected they'd wait 8 hours).

If you're able to, take the Burner Express bus. Have your camp/campmates haul any big infrastructure pieces, and then go via mass transit through SF or Reno. They bypass the big line going in and out.

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trilobyte
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by trilobyte » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:20 pm

That's not actually the case, Figgy. The BLM was concerned about city capacity, so they tightened up the gates while infrastructure was added. There were a bunch of factors - one side of the city was far more densely populated and had some serious traffic and sanitation issues, and they didn't want to let more people into the city until the expansion streets had been sorted, additional porta-potty banks had been set up, and road signage been set up to direct incoming traffic to less densely populated areas.

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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Jovankat » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:23 pm

Wow that makes so much more sense. Of course it would have been really nice to tell that to the people waiting in line rather than let us assume they were just being dicks for the sake of it because of last year's legal action, both in terms of making it less annoying to be waiting and for their own PR. :roll:

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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by TT120 » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:29 pm

A few hours in D lot wouldn't be that bad compared to the 12 hours in line on 447......If I had last year to do over, I would have tried for the D lot.
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FIGJAM
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:02 pm

Ahhhhh rumors. :lol:
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:12 pm

Spend a night in Reno (depending on route, of course) then arrive on playa as soon after as you can manage. Falling asleep in that line is a complication you don't need. Bring a cooler full of snacks and water. No alcohol until you're parked at your campsite--this has become the equivalent of a speed trap; I couldn't believe the police stops I went by on my way in... Just accept that you will wait. And Eric's right, there's a trade off on the time thing.

Besides the basics of what happens (a really long wait) if you arrive within 12 hours of the gate opening, you can't reliably game the system. Too many variables.
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Token
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Token » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:13 pm

Just fly in.

No lines at the airport.

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trilobyte
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by trilobyte » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:34 pm

My understanding is the blog post I linked to went up within an hour of the BLM making that call, and the comms went out to twitter and likely also FB as well. My understanding is that info was known at the gate, but I imagine most people just preferred to jump to their own conclusions or didn't bother to check a source when someone offered up something silly like 1 in, 1 out (though the idea of treating an entire city like a crowded downtown nightclub is kind of funny).

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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Jovankat » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:57 pm

We were told by gate staff when we were directed to park that it was one out one in because the city had reached its capacity. I spoke to a ranger and after the Ticket Supervisor got done introducing me to the Gate supervisor to say, "let her back in, she's been to Reno and come back but doesn't have her ticket, I've checked it out an she's all good" they went on to talk amongst themselves about the situation while I stood there awkwardly not sure what to say and there was no mention of infrastructure problems and they didn't seem like they'd been told this was the reason. It kinda seems like they should have been. But I've also since been told I should have been given paperwork when I ws taken off playa so yeah... :roll:

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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by BBadger » Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:15 am

Well technically it did reach its capacity limits, as there needs to be enough infrastructure to support that capacity. Cones of shame peeping out of the portapotty can be a big issue. Regardless, knowing the actual reason wouldn't have improved anything.
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Jovankat » Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:09 am

Knowing what's going on makes a huge difference. There is science to back that up too. People are happier waiting 7 minutes for a train if they know when the train is coming than waiting 4 minutes when they don't know when the train will arrive. If they'd said "there are not enough empty portaloos for us to let more people in right now" there would have been a lot more "oh fair enough" going on. Especially in the car I was in where the other main topic of conversation was to do with there being no handicap toilets anywhere in the vicinity of gate or the waiting lot.

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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:02 pm

Jovankat wrote:Especially in the car I was in where the other main topic of conversation was to do with there being no handicap toilets anywhere in the vicinity of gate or the waiting lot.
Now you know why I don't leave on Monday.
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Jovankat
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Jovankat » Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:32 pm

That's not really ok though. They should be available, it's not hard.

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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Bless » Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:27 am

The best time to arrive at the gate is 6 pm on Sunday!
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by dragonpilot » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:43 pm

Whatever the Gate opening time, that's when I plan my arrival. Personally, I do not mind the wait in line coming in...3-4 hours or even more. It's a party! It is so exhilarating to finally get there amongst the excited folks just arriving, sharing stories, meeting people...it's an event in itself. Don't get too carried away, though...open alcohol containers in a vehicle are a no-no and you'll get an expensive citation if you're noticed by LEOs.
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by maladroit » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:07 pm

The line (both in and out) should be avoided if you only have one driver in the vehicle. You're probably exhausted and the line is a great place to grab a few hours of shuteye if you can trade off driving. If you only have two people, it's a good idea for whoever's on driving shift to make friends with the neighbors while stuff isn't moving (because they'll get bored and fall asleep too).

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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Lonesomebri » Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:23 pm

2003
Camp THREAT: Dominating the porta potties 4 years running.
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Train Wreck
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Train Wreck » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:08 pm

EA is the way to go.

Last year I didn't have the pleasure of early arrival, though the wait was only a couple hours for us, and we arrived some time in the early evening on Sunday. Not too shabby.

Trilobye is right about 1 hour in a hot car being worse than 4 in a cool one. Throw in a whiteout during the day while stuck in line and you've got some SERIOUS fun. Make sure you're well rested, arrive on Sunday night after the gates are opened and expect a horrendous wait. At least it won't be hot.

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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:14 pm

Last year the line was pretty long even with EA.
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Re: Best Time to Arrive

Post by maladroit » Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:04 pm

Yeah...I was in the EA line on Friday for about 4 hours.

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