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driving in the desert

{dust driving}

I had never seen dust come streaming out of car vents before. I don't think I ever want to see it again.

Derek M. Powazek

windows up, drenching sweat. windows down, blinding dust. and then the intermittent moments when nothing could be seen at all, when the screen went blank and we were face to face with the void til sudden clarity revealed another car, swerving to avoid us.

trina <caterina@organic.com>

{dust} I couldn't think of a better gateway from this world to that one than driving across the playa in the dust at night not being able to see anything in front of you not knowing what's going to happen but going ahead anyway metaphorical great beginning!

Pat Luther <pat_luther@intersolv.com>

like flying a plane low, too low into a cloudbank, not knowing when some yay-hoo in a pickup truck is going to jump wakes and come tearing out at you.

i loved driving the playa at night, though, all cool and starless. powdered fog parted by colored lights.

drue <drue@vivid.com>

Oh how the mind spaces on minute data. Oh how quickly it remembers. Franticly rolling up windows & switching the vents to avoid the dust. Driving fast enough to stay in front of your own dust, then breaking as suddenly anothers dust obscures you, able to see nothing, creep along at a snails pace until you break into relatively clear air. Check odometer, has it been far enough? The Camp, The Camp! Now where are our friends.

Nexist [DAR] <nexist@hevanet.com>

It was the dusty boogers I hated. Not the dust itself.

a <bitch@floozy.com>

Other than when we all took the leap of faith drive in... why the Helco was anyone driving around at night ANYWAY???? That's what bikes and feet are for... next year I'm taking the hint and doing what others did this year...make a huge perimeter around camp...so random cruising cars don't squish me 2 feet from my bed or in my bed like what happened at the Rave Camp. I say prohibit night driving with the huge dust clouds and bright headlights. Up with bikes and feet and non-motorized transportation!

Ariana Raedene ------ <Jivashanti@AOL.com>

What struck me about the passage though the unknown is how different it was on each end.

Going in, our excitement and anticipation cancelled out thoughts of danger. The rented RV cut through the sand ridiculously fast, the voices coming from our destination through the CB building us up until finally breaking through! to see Rocky standing in front of Jori's Citroen DS maniacally waving us to the piece of playa that would support us for the next five days.

Going out, driving slow, worrying about the vehicles moving around us, the CB and our voices silent, trying to reconcile the desire for clean sheets with the dread of returning to the silly structure that we've turned the world into.

I want to keep driving.


Vagabond Jim <jim@vagabondage.com>

Because of the high winds they sent us in batches, and while we waited, our car overheated, so we got to drive with the heater on full blast and the windows down!! Couldn't see a thing... Split from our pack when "civilization" was in sight and headed for Tinseltown but miscalculated and ended up at the piano thing, which was an INCREDIBLE first thing to come across at our very first, (and as rumor has it, probably our last) BURNING MAN!


Dust, dust everywhere... two choices: roll the windows up and bake in the car, able to breath... or roll the windows down and coat every surface of anything inside your car with alkali dust, and stay about thirty degrees cooler. And you think Tule Fog limits forward visibility - at least there you can look usually still look down and see lines in the pavement; here, the GPS really paid for itself...

Russell Van Tassell <russell@coasters.net>

The Monday morning dash off the playa created the planet's largest man-made dust cloud. I climbed South Donnelly Peak (the nearest mountain to the west) for one last look at Black Rock City and by the time I had reached the summit 3,000 feet above the desert hundreds of departing cars had created a mass of dust slowly drifting to the south-southwest. It was 200 to 1,000 feet deep, fifteen miles wide, and by the time it disappeared around the farthest visible mountain range, at least 75 miles long. It was a credit to the folks at Techno Ghetto that even on that mountain top seven miles from their speakers, I still had music to accompany the spectacle. Two hours later, driving away myself, the cloud had completely dissipated. After five days on the playa I wasn't sure I could face that much dust again even a year from now, but by the time I got home the smell of playa dust already made me nostalgic. A tool bucket dumped on the shop floor left a pile of dust from my tent stakes, and a month later I can't bring myself to sweep it up. I think I'll go rub some in my nose now....

Tom Ness <newtribe@cdsnet.net>

Dussst: grey-beige and tiny-tiny. The overhead sun pixelated in speckled chockage. Below, the race took place; and so, the stuff split my driven face.

"Gonna beat that caravan man," muffled the blond in the bleached seat of the Nipperwagen.

Meanwhile, the caravan man engaged the plan. His head span round-n'-round; the cacti clan made no detectible sound, 'cept for its festering mezcal making itself underground.

Off they sped, unled, getting the lead out.

Two metal pods, like dried, grimey sperm, undulating themselves through the Saharoid void.

Anthony Martin <2105259@mcimail.com>

We want to get back to nature so we drive right over it We want the multilane superhighway but we want to keep the grass We want to become one with the planet but it doesn't suit our society. We cry for the enviornment We shit in the rivers It's the shortcut

Brian Marranzini <happyhse@erols.com>

braindust you need a mental floss couse your head is full of shit

dool <sikko_gerkema@yr.com>

I had caravanned down with Vanessa & Janelle. We arrived on the Playa after dark on Tuesday night. We hit the entrance and stopped. There were a bunch of people following us in from Empire and we made everyone get out of their cars - we made a line in the dust and held hands as we stepped over it. "Welcome to the Playa"

About 4 miles down the 12 mile track we saw the van with the flashers on. We were the first ones to arrive on the scene of Burning Man's first fatality. We hadn't even gotten into camp. I had to lead the faithful into camp while Vanessa stayed behind to wait for the police. Cars & drugs & alcohol were not my friends that weekend. I could write volumes.

Angel <satori@sirius.com>

Going in: an exercise in faith, cruising slowly in darkness and peering at a compass, watching odometer as vast emptiness loomed around us... rolled up to Lost Vegas as the sun rose. Leaving: a test of nerves, driving with little/no visibility in the thickest dust cloud imaginable, lights on, watching the compass, watching for other cars, fingers crossed, glad we had water & food left and a CB *just in case*. In camp? Never. You'd have been insane to drive there...

Pat <pathardy@well.com>

There were some serious holes in my car, so windows up or down, it was still fully dusty. When I got home I diligently cleaned all the dust out of the car. It took hours.

The weather had cooled off in Reno for a week or two after we got back. One day the temperature went back up again. My friend flicked on the air conditioner, and clouds of playa dust poured forth. We shrieked and hugged, grateful for the opportunity to relive life on the playa.

fiona <fiona@unr.edu>

One of the few downers of the week was when I came across a stranded 12 passenger van on the way out. After offering to drive one of the crew from it out, I realized that nobody (including the people driving LARGE TOW CAPABLE TRUCKS) was going to stop. As a result, I wound up towing the megavan out of the playa with my dinky little Jetta (already towing a U-haul). It really saddened me that the spirit of helpfulness seemed to leave with the man.

Dog Boy NW <none@right.now>

First, Sean put the truck in cruise control, and sat on the doorframe. Then he got on the roof, then Rich got on the roof, Then Joel got on the roof. Nobody was driving, evrybody was surfing.

Mikey <mkbrooks@popmail.leapnet.com>

went the last three years, this year left Thurs. morning from bay area. good move, no cops, no traffic. stay out of dust from cars ahead, use compass for correct bearings to camp. If you have to follow someone, set your vent controls to recirculate and close the windows.

last year, my friend pointed the pickup towards black mountain, but a tool box on the gas, jumped in the back, had a party for forty minutes before he had to reach in and steer us back. what a sight,driverless truck with a load of revelers!

Rockey <Rockey@hooked.net>


-getting all of our last-minute survival provisions together,

-driving all night in three cars from San Francisco,

-stopping several times along the way to argue whether we would spend the night in Reno or push on,

-having to wait an interminable 10 minutes while one of the cars in our caravan got searched by Nevada troopers,

-going on nothing but fumes from Reno to Gerlach,

landing on the playa and taking the 1,000-lane freeway to Black Rock City was nothing short of the most exhilarating experience of my life.

jeremy <lando@nicom.com>

i was supposed to go and find myself in the desert with a cocktail of hallucinogenic assistance. but a few days before i was supposed to leave, i realized that i hadn't done any of the preparaations, and that a project due labor day wasn't half done. these were serious problems. i cancelled my plane tickets and spent the 4 day weekend in an abandoned san fransisco, blasting my music and pretending that i owned the company.

i loved my work, then. i didn't sleep. i didn't see any of you again for months.

- sascha

sascha <sab@cs.brown.edu>

Driving in the desert was a beautiful experience for me. The setting sun's rays turned the cliffs on the side of the highway into an explosion of color -- red and orange mostly, so vivid. And the sky was such a startling blue. I thought it was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen, so I moved there a few years later.

Spiney <spiney@gowest.com>

We ( The LEGO crew and the BLACKSMITH shop ) drove in on Monday. While speeding over the playa, we noticed a little car paralleling our truck and dragging two bicycles behind it. We watched the bicycles bounce themselves to death while we desperately tried to get the drivers attention. he was too focused.

I walked out to rave camp at midnight one night, and my flashlight gave out. Zillions of cars zipped pass and I knew I would die that night hidden in the dark and the dust.

Richard Wright <rwright@pcsedu.com>

Driving at night while shrooming in a new mini-van with its digital dashboard made me and my passengers feel as if we were taking off into space. The total vastness of the domed sky above dotted with stars only helped to solidify our perceptions of traveling to a parallel universe. The rave camp's green neon lasers shot through the darkness and provided us with a lighthouse to the unknown. My individual mind blew its lid off and became one with the OVERMIND.

I believe that understanding the powers at play during the Burning Man is the key to the ARCHIAC REVIVAL!

Old Man <jclemens@eden.rutgers.edu>

Departed Monday 8:00am. 9:30am trouble ensues, blown radiator hose. We nurse the car into Reno with duct tape, patience and a lot of water. Thankfully Kragen has the hose we need. I in my infinite wisdom decide to put in a tube of stop leak, being worried that the water pump may seize from having run dry to many times that day. All the stop leak does for us, we are soon to realize, is clog 75% of my radiator. What took us six and a half hours to drive to ends up taking us twenty four hours to return from. All this because I started a new position at work the following day and couldn't afford not to be there. I sat in my new seat at 8:00am, dazed and waiting to tackle my new responsiblities.

Scott <vanaspati@aol>

{burning the man}