JRS VOLUME #12; ISSUE #23
Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 12, Issue #23: THE TRANSPORTATION EDITION
August 8, 2008
In the most recent JRS, the Health and Safety edition, it was incorrectly stated that bars (like, serving drinks) on playa require a permit from the Nevada Health Department. Alas, not true, UNLESS they're serving fresh squeezed juices. To which we say: yum. And: oops.
Onward...to the JRS Transportation Edition.
Get in, get around, get out. No, it's not porn, you pervs ... it's the Jack Rabbit's ultra-special Transportation Edition. Everything you need to know about getting TO the event safely, getting AROUND on the playa, and getting HOME safely and with your wits about you. (Well, mostly.)
Two things we'd like to highlight real quick. First, do what you can to travel in as eco-friendly a way as possible ... like ridesharing or jumping a biofueled shuttle bus (info on both below). Second, if you're driving, please please be careful out there, and do not pass other cars on the 2-lane rural roads between the highway and the event ... it's *very* dangerous. We have a very special guest contributor, offering sage advice in that regard ... and she knows whereof she speaks.
That said? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY ON THE WAY TO and FROM BRC. Also: OMG. 22 days.
-PQ (Associate Rabbit)
+ OOOH OOOH OOOH! I WANT TO DRIVE ON THE PLAYA!
+ GO-PED STYLE VEHICLES AND BLACK ROCK CITY
+ WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO GET AROUND BLACK ROCK CITY?
+ THE BRC <--> GERLACH / EMPIRE SHUTTLE BUS
BURNING MAN RIDESHARE BOARD
Gas prices, in a word, suck. Save yourself some money, and save your planet some carbon emissions by ridesharing. The Burning Man Rideshare board is the place to connect with other riders, or other cars to ride in. We've added some spamproofing measures, so the board should stay nice and clean, with only legit posts.
Oh, and some quick reminders when car sharing:
1. Pitching in gas money is cool. Way cool. In fact, it's the default setting for a rideshare, so don't fail to discuss this ahead of time.
2. Tickets are NOT being sold at the gate this year. Yes, really. Make sure everybody in the car has their ticket, or you will end up stuck at the gate. Yes, really.
3. When you post to the board, be honest about who you are, what you're bringing, how much (and whether) you can share driving responsibilities, your temperment, expectations, and any special needs. When it comes to ridesharing, surprises suck. If you are a gal who just really *has* to listen to German death metal when you go on a road trip, just say so in your post -- then you won't end up with a driver who just really *has* to listen to Enya when he goes on a road trip. ¬°Simpatico!
4. Make sure you're comfortable with the person with whom you're driving. If you have any chance to meet in person before hand.
5. Have fun ...it's an opportunity to make a friend.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO BLACK ROCK CITY
Men, close your eyes ... you don't want to see this. Women, print this stuff out and quietly bring it with you in the car. If you're traveling with a male companion, DO NOT TELL THEM YOU HAVE IT. Just let him *think* he knows where he's going. Trust us on this.
OK, here are driving directions to Black Rock City, coming from all points of the compass, on Burningman.com:
BLACK ROCK CITY AIRPORT
Want to fly your own private plane into Burning Man? You're really *that* cool? OK, we got you covered. In fact, we built an airport on the playa just. for. you. All the info about flying into, camping at, and departing from the Black Rock City Regional Airport can be found on our airport web pages at Burningman.com:
Oh, and the Rabbit wants a spin in your plane. Yes, really. And a pony.
FLYING INTO RENO
If you fly into Reno, you have a variety of options for getting to Black Rock City. First off, there's a number of rideshare pickup locations to choose from throughout Reno. See the previous Reno edition of the JRS for details and locations.
You also have the opportunity to take one of a number of shuttle buses, including the Biobus. Deets (scroll down, you'll see it):http://tinyurl.com/5qqlyb
People have actually been crazy enough to hire a cab for the 4 hour (round trip) ride to the playa. If you really want to spend that kind of money, and you can find a cab driver willing to take you (good luck), more power to ya.
Finally, you can learn all about these and more at the Air Playa Info table, manned by volunteer Burners, helping you out with your orientation and transportation questions.
SHUTTLE BUSES SERVICES FROM SF TO BRC AND BACK
Join other intrepid travelers on the Green Tortoise bus from SF to Black Rock City. Their buses run on biofuel. Rad. Info on the Green Tortoise site: http://tinyurl.com/2ojwu8
Or hit up the Biobus, also running on biofuel. Check out their site:
OOOH OOOH OOOH! I WANT TO DRIVE ON THE PLAYA!
A public service announcement about driving on the playa from the Intercept Crew of the Black Rock Rangers: As you may know, the Special Recreation Permit that allows Burning Man to take place contains a number of stipulations specifically related to motor vehicle use. Addressing vehicle safety concerns within Black Rock City is the responsibility of the Black Rock Rangers. The Rangers' Intercept Program was created in 2004 to address concerns that internal vehicle safety issues would otherwise be dealt with by law enforcement agencies. This is the most important point in understanding the rationale behind Intercept--If we don't address these issues ourselves, someone else will. As a Citizen of Black Rock City, what do I need to know about driving on the playa? First and foremost, if you are not authorized to drive on the playa, DON'T DRIVE during Burning Man. The ONLY people who ARE authorized to drive on the playa are registered mutant vehicles with visible licensure from the Department of Mutant Vehicles, artists placing art on the Playa with permits from the Artery, registered disabled persons displaying licensure and a placard, and limited staff vehicles. ALWAYS operate an APPROVED vehicle in a safe manner. Remember that Black Rock City is primarily a BIKE AND PEDESTRIAN CITY. Take that in to account when operating a mutant vehicle. Our established community standard is for vehicles to operate at 5 MPH or less. The unique characteristics of many mutated vehicles require drivers to exercise particular care when faced with limited peripheral vision and/or loading and unloading passengers. Please take this into consideration. All of the laws and restrictions that apply to driving in the default world also apply on the playa. Additionally, playa conditions require that all vehicles STOP during white-out conditions, that you not drive on wet roads, and that you operate at speeds of even less than 5MPH if your vehicle is creating a dust plume in its wake. What do Intercept Rangers do while interacting with vehicles operating on the playa?
First and foremost, we are Black Rock Rangers, volunteering our time to assist the community. We are available as a resource for vehicle safety, ensuring that citizens, drivers and mutant vehicles are operating in a responsible manner when it comes to driving/riding on the playa in our primarily pedestrian city. We are prone to stopping people to just chat about their kick-ass vehicles ... please chat with us if you can.
If you are placing art on the playa and your driving permit is a temporary slip of paper that we can't see from afar, please be patient with us if we stop you more than once; it's what we have to do. We track interactions based on the VEHICLE, not just the driver. One person on your crew driving unsafely can ruin things for everyone. Remember, in Black Rock City, driving is a privilege. More information about driving protocols can be found on Burningman.com:
GO-PED STYLE VEHICLES AND BLACK ROCK CITY
You may be thinking about bringing a go-ped type vehicle to get around at Burning Man ... but you may want to think more on that. There are lot of thoughts and strong feelings on this topic, so we thought we would address the issue.
Black Rock City is built primarily for pedestrians and bicycles. It is densely crowed and motorized vehicles can cause safety hazards and difficulties for those traversing our terrain. By necessity, we limit the number of motorized vehicles moving around. This is for reasons of safety as well as to encourage interaction and immediacy within our civic-minded community.
We have, thus far, allowed small, stand-up (with NO seat attached, nor designed for a seat), two-wheeled, low-powered, single passenger, go-ped type "scooters" under the driving rules of Black Rock City, even though they are motorized and unlicensed by DMV. If your "scooter" doesn't meet every one of these criteria, please leave it at home!
GoPeds are generally frowned upon by the organization as well as the masses. They are one of the least creative or aesthetically pleasing methods of transportation available at Burning Man. They have historically been allowed mostly because their small size and mass generally doesn't pose a physical hazard much beyond that of a bicycle. However, they do create a number of other issues.
The first is speed. Because these are actually motorized vehicles, they need to obey the 5MPH speed limit and all other driving rules that apply to motorized vehicles. Be mindful of your speed and make sure you're not creating a hazard to others or being a nuisance to the population as a whole. In many cases, playa conditions are such that it is hard to remain upright on go-peds at low speeds. But that doesn't mean you can go faster than 5MPH--it means you need to walk beside your mechanical steed. You should also be aware that no vehicle may operate at the event after dark without a headlight and taillight.
The second big issue is noise. Many of these little petroleum powered laziness machines are basically two-stroke, non-muffled, "weed-eaters with wheels." They are loud and annoying to many when they buzz by, and more than one BRC citizen has shaken our fist at a noisy gas-powered scooter when it goes by. For this reason, the electric, battery-powered versions are preferred over the gas; if you do have a gas version, please be sure to get one with a muffler or add a muffler to the one you have. Also, please do your best to decorate your ride or mutate it to the point that you are actually adding to the quality of visual experience out there instead of detracting from it.
In a tightly packed community of tens of thousands of people, we all need to be individually responsible in how we behave, as it does impact the whole, especially when hundreds or thousands are engaging in behavior that can negatively affect the whole community.
The Gate crew will be helping to identify any vehicle differing from the description above, or that appears to be more dangerous than the kind listed above. If you have such a vehicle, you must either be take it off site or leave it at the gate outside Black Rock City until after the event. Vehicles left outside the gate are left at their owner's risk, so you may just want to leave it at home. Once inside the city, the Rangers keep a close eye on the movement of vehicles, and will work to protect all of us by removing any that violate either the written, implied, or common sense rules of operation.
Please take these thoughts into consideration when planning your trip to Black Rock City. We hope your freedom to use motorized personal transport will be balanced with consideration for your fellow citizens and your sense of civic responsibility. We're confident that you can be more creative than just "buying a scooter" to get around anyway.
WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO GET AROUND BLACK ROCK CITY?
4 out of 5 Burners say their favorite method(s) for getting around the playa are, in order of preference:
3: Hop a mutant vehicle (just don't care where you go)
4: Fat-wheel skateboarding
5: Rollerblading (good luck)
6: Being dragged around the playa by my toenails
THE BRC <--> GERLACH / EMPIRE SHUTTLE BUS
Burning Man runs a shuttle bus that takes passengers from Black Rock City to Gerlach and Empire and back. It costs $10 for the trip, and it departs from Wheel Road and 6:00 (on the outer edge of the Center Camp circle). Full details, schedule, etc. can be found on Burningman.com:
Oh, and passengers are required to be sober and fully clothed to ride the bus.
EXODUS: DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOUR ASS ON YOUR WAY OUT
As important as figuring how you are getting to Burning Man is how you are planning to leave, and when. Exodus gets more interesting every year as the population of Black Rock City grows. It's important that you know what to expect and plan accordingly. To state it simply, the highway that leads away from BRC is at capacity for most of the time that Exodus is running.
Short of building a bigger highway between BRC and Reno, there is not much we can do to get more cars off the playa any faster. What we can do though is make the process as run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, but for that we need your cooperation and participation.
Plan on a 3 - 4 hour wait, on average, from the line out of BRC to the paved highway, Highway 34. Plan for another 3 hours or more from the time you hit the highway to Reno. Either of these times could increase to as high as 6 hours or more if there are accidents or other traffic issues, including too many people trying to leave BRC all at once.
If you are making flight reservations or need to get somewhere at a certain time, take this into account. You should NOT plan on leaving the city and catching a flight the same day! Give yourself some safety margin. Also be aware that if you leave in the evening, you may be driving until early in the morning. Be prepared. Be safe.
So you are asking, "What can we do? When is it best to leave?" Any night from 2am to dawn, Monday night after dark, or yes, Saturday before the Man burns traditionally have less congestion and are the best times to leave. However this does not mean that there will not be any line, you should plan on the same wait times mentioned above.
As far as what you can do, start listening to BMIR radio when you are getting ready to leave, and hang around your packed vehicles in camp. When you hear a positive status report, jump in line. If you hear things are backed up, stay in camp and enjoy a little more of our fair city ... does your camp need another MOOP sweep? Once in line follow the signals from the Exodus personnel on gate road and Flaggers on the highway. When lining up use all the lanes we have laid out for you. There are eight lanes that lead from the city and the process runs much better if all the lanes are used; don't just fill up two of the lanes if they are all marked as open.
Be sure to read your Survival Guide or check the Burning Man web site for more detailed information on Exodus: http://tinyurl.com/55vwr2
Above all, keep that playa vibe with you! No sense getting road rage, cutting in front of your fellow community members, or trying to dangerously pass cars on the highway in order to save a few minutes. Take your time, have fun, and remember, Leave no Trace and the community spirit do not stop once you leave Black Rock City.
Want to do more? We need your help! This year Exodus will need more people than ever. We run shifts from Saturday night all the way through Monday, as well as set up earlier in the week and tear down after our operations end. To volunteer for Exodus fill out the questionnaire at:
Your Exodus Team
DO NOT PASS ... DO NOT GET KILLED
We were going say this ourselves, but Leslie, who wrote in asking us to remind participants about this important issue, is pretty spot on, and she has particular cred in this department, as she notes:
"I was struck head-on by a person passing and my car was left three feet shorter. I suffered unbelieveable pain, spent time in a wheelchair and in physical rehabilitation as the result of his one bad choice to pass. Much of what was good in my life has been taken from me as a result."
So ... please take a moment to read and consider her invaluable advice ... since we prefer our Burners alive, thank you. She also said:
"Please, while driving to and from the event do not pass at all between the freeway and the event. Passing simply isn't safe and can lead to fatal head-on collisions. Full-size 18 wheelers regularly use these roads and go the opposite directions from the main traffic at high speeds; they are not watching out for you at all.
You simply cannot count on other drivers in a long line of cars bumper to bumper leaving Burning Man to hang back and let you back into the line when an oncoming vehicle is coming at you head-on at 55-85 mph. The delay for just not passing and patiently following the car in front of you may be only a few additional minutes. The cost of passing may be your life.
Besides, when everyone is in a line to leave Burning Man it is just selfish and pointless to pass an entire line of cars as if they didn't want to go faster. We all have to put up with slowly leaving the playa.
One year while leaving Burning Man I saw a catastrophic accident as the result of someone passing. I've also seen numerous near misses that would have resulted in severe head-on collisions, some with full size 18 wheelers going over 40 mph, that would have killed everyone in the car.
Many people who go to Burning Man just do not understand or appreciate the risk."
YOUR MOM DOESN'T LIVE HERE: WHERE TO TAKE YOUR TRASH AND RECYCLING
First off, please make sure and fully secure your load so that you don't have any random bits and bobs falling off as you drive on the highways. Second, and this really should go without saying, never ever ever dump your trash on the side of the road. Leave No Trace does NOT end at the edge of Black Rock City ... no sir, it doesn't.
Where can you get rid of your trash and recycling that you've carefully packed and secured to your vehicle? Answers here, along with some helpful hints from the Nevada Highway Patrol on Burningman.com about getting to and from the playa safely:
Email us or questions (at) burningman (dot) com any time with questions. Email jackrabbitspeaks (at) burningman (dot) com by 11:59 PM PST on Sunday for post requests. (We don't post all requests, however.) Please type "POST REQUEST" in your subject line to make it past the SPAM.
questions (at) burningman (dot) com
On and off this ride:
bman-announce-subscribe (at) burningman (dot) com
bman-announce-unsubscribe (at) burningman (dot) com
If you are having trouble, troubleshoot at http://tinyurl.com/2rwqzx
Soundtrack for this JRS: Matmos, Mates of State, Brian Eno & David Byrne, Daedalus, Kraddy.