Black Rock City 2010

Prep . . . - Plans to have a side-by-side bicycle surrey for Playa use took some work. Bus wasn't ready 'til two weeks to go so time was short.

Beginning of bike "stretch"

pedal parts

this is the "fragile" point, as it turns out

widening of the vehicle

rear view


Fri 8/27 – Wow! The day we leave is finally here. A noon departure was planned but Noel couldn’t finish the bus work and get packed by then but Diana came home from work at noon anyway and pitched in a very welcome hand. Off by 4p was OK . . .

The first “surprise” came as we about 10miles up I25 when the overheat claxon sounded. We needed to eat so got a quick bite as the engine cools and then off again to Cheyenne’s Flying J for diesel. Because, as we learn, the day was nearly 100*F the bus could only go about 50mph on the flats and we ended up staggering over the highest point on I80 (Lincoln Head Rest Area between Cheyenne and Laramie) at a robust 15mph.

We’d hoped to go to Evanston, WY that night, and almost made it, but it was 1230a before we turned in. Cool night driving allows the bus to roll at its max speed of 62mph on all but the steepest grades. Rained that evening . . . a neat sound on the steel exterior of the bus.


Sat 8/28 – Up at 5a so to cross the Wasatch Mountains when still cool, we made good progress and stopped at Lake Point (the southern point of the Great Salt Lake) Flying J (no gas, though, this baby has a 100gal tank) for a 3hr nap. Fixed lunch in the bus and headed across the salt flats in another 100*F day. Though flat, we could only make 45mph regularly. Gotta do something about the cooling.  Arrived at a rest area outside Winnemucca about 930p. Very respectable.


Sun 8/29 – We get into Winnemucca’s Flying J about 10a, fuel up diesel and gasoline for the generator and head to Fernley’s Walmart for final supplies. Not much; pineapple, apples, some bolts for later, ice. Just the basics . . .

On to our favorite oasis in the desert, the Desert Rose RV Park for a shower and good nights rest. Lots of burners here getting ready for the next day trip to BRC.

bus interior packed

Fueling in Cheyenne (100gal tank so no fuel 'til return!)


Mon 8/30 – 5a again, shower for Noel, bagels in the bus and then the 2h drive to BRC. Entry was backed up onto the pavement a bit. We start our wait about 830a. Two hours late we make it to Will Call and stand in line for about an hour. (No more Will Call). We finally get into the city, find a nice location at Hanoi and 5 o’clock and have lunch. This is the coolest, literally, day imaginable for BRC. High of 80*F but near 60*F soon as a light rain hits. Very windy, cool and wet. The high point is a great, bright, double rainbow that appears when the rain stops. Super! Early to bed, ready for a fun day tomorrow.

from the front door, looking back

Diana's view

looking down the road near BRC

Noel's view of the playa

dust of "the city"

entry road to BRC

in the entry line


cool bike in line

almost greeter station

looking back on the greeters

Diana with camp setup behind

double rainbow after Monday's rain

Diana and Noel with rainbow behind

another rainbow view

. . . and another

can't get enough of a double rainbow

Diana at edge our shade structure with rainbow

Diana and Noel and rainbow

camp after the rain

. . . from another angle

. . . and another


Tue 8/31 – The best laid plans of mice and men . . . The surrey isn’t rideable L The steel extension buckled and won’t hold our weight. In trying to fix Noel broke several other parts. It does, however, convert to a trailer fine so we set it up to display Diana’s beautiful gifts and the burner’s are eating ‘em up! Given out several dozen and haven’t left camp with it yet . . . We’ve meet folks from France, Japan, Netherlands, China and both coasts of Canada. From New England, Pacific NW, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Michigan, and all over California.

Unbelievable weather for BRC. 80*F Clear and calm . . . WOW!

Note to self: Need DC lighting for inside and out. Also, solar powered path lights.

as seen across the way

camp with trailer outfront

along the way . . .

mutant vehicle

Diana by the "Steampunk" vehicle

another Steampunk vehicle

Diana in the MV

Diana admiring the MV



cool geodesic wooden "tent"

Kids camp

a raised camp

how 'bout you? We didn't need one

a bus into art

Diana looking across an art project

another camp

Diana setting up gift giving

Diana hanging necklaces

making a sign

bike and trailer ready to go

Diana with admirers

More folks picking out the right gift

Sunset looking down our street

a camp along the way

a cool dance floor cover



Diana and map of Black Rock City - arrow show where we are camped

SwagMart camp - folks making stuff

Diana working a clay project (that was fired but she never got :(



Wed 9/1 – The burners LOVE Diana’s art (and why not? J We got the bike set up as a trailer and headed for center camp and took about a third of her work to give out along the way. More than 150 pieces. They were all gone by half way there! Passers-by would yell, “You have a gift for me Santa?” and we’d stop and show the display and tell about how “Mrs. Claus” works all winter on these gifts and how and what they are made of. As more people gather, more people gather. Diana and I talk and hook more and more pieces up for display as fast as they leave to a new home. It holds about 50 pieces at one time so the restocking is a continuous job.

Finally, all within eye-shot are satisfied. We see the old theme camp we camped in years ago and stop in to visit with old friends. However it takes about a half an hour before we can go in as the giftless hoards arrive and another wonderful time of visiting and gifting takes place. We do have it set up to be self serve but the fun, for us, is in the conversation and accolades. 

We find Wildchild, and then Scotto and are able to spend a pleasant few minutes with them. Good to see ‘em.

Back to the bus we lunch and nap. The A/C and gas generator gives us over 3hrs of naptime at around 77*F (outside temp in mid-90’s). Ready for the night, we release the trailer from the bike and ride to the deep playa. Nighttime reveals a whole new world. We explore the “3 o’clock” side of the Man this night . . .




under the edge of center camp looking to the Man




Metropolis camp




art in center camp

slam poet in center camp

coop art in center camp

spray art in center camp

stilt walker at an entry to center camp

dancer in center camp

another angle

bike along the road



sunset over BRC




MV crossing in front of the Man

art - Human Ant Farm


the Temple

inside the Temple

more inside


closer view

Yup - phone booth. call another 100yd away


Bliss Dancer

hat on her toe . . .

and another

Diana and Noel with Bliss Dancer behind

block at base of the Man

looking up at the Man

gargole and the Man

looking from the Man down 6 o'clock Promenade

up to the Man

Ein Hammer

Ein Hammer winding up

base of Ein Hammer

Ein Hammer under full fire





people hanging over Thunderdome




camp along Esplanade

Xmas tree camp


Thu 9/2 – We kicked around camp in the morning. Another beautiful day though it promises to be hotter than the past few. Having the mini-weatherstation is fun. We know the inside and outside temp and humidly and the highs and lows for the day. Also is shown is moon phase and weather prediction based on pressure change. Cool! Anyway, at 10a it is 80*F.

After a rejuvenating morning of cleanup, fixup, eatup and napping we rode to the open playa again in search of Dragon Smelter. We believe every art piece should include it’s name and address so we could find other pieces in reference to them or, at least, know when we’ve found what is described on the map or in the “Who, What, When” guide. Alas, no . . . We did find it eventually, not quite as mapped. Along the way we saw many wonders and talked with many very nice people, some for an extended time.

Dragon Smelter melts discarded aluminum cans and casts large “coins” from them. Also presses smaller coins into flattened ingots of aluminum. Pretty fun.

Back for dinner and lots of visitors for fixing of jewelry and bringing of friends by to see and receive more of Diana’s gifts. We explore again, via bikes and trailer, after sunset but never find the piece we were looking for. However, as always, we find lots of other wild and amazing things. One not pictured below was what had to be an RC airplane with red lights atop and blue below flying all about the openness. A very difficult but entertaining thing . . .

Really. Soft serve. Choc/Van twist or Strawberry Yogurt. Waffle cones too on day one.




near the Man




Dragon Smelter

casting dies

casted aluminum


along the comb

Diana resting

looking through the comb to another art project



readying large smelter

aluminum pouring

filling mold

slag from melted aluminum cans

ribbon behind skyjumper

Harveywood sign and the Man

pressed aluminum "coin"

MalMart camp





art - Art Car Wash

another exposure

fire spinner performance

two spinners

another spinner

another . . .


another camp


Fri 9/3 - Santa and Mrs. Claus take to the streets a final time to pass along the last of Diana's wonderful gifts. Wow what a reception as Noel stands in line for ice and Diana talks and presents her art to the waiting throng. After a nap and dinner we head a mile out into deep playa to watch the implosion of "Megatropolis". Then the sand storm begins . . .

portOjohn row near our camp

Back to SwagMart to try to pick up Diana's project

line for ice

Yearbook camp


looking in center camp


cool shoes



Segway pulling wagon of ice



Diana with new friends

we like the bike

"feeding" frozen blueberries down a tube

2yr old across from our camp with an Otter Pop (Santa gift)

camp next to ours

camp across from ours

marching band practice

bunch of skydivers

skyjumpers over BRC


Sunset over art project


art near the Temple

glasses of girl waiting for Megalopolis to implode

MV like the DeathStar

changes colors

shooting "death ray"

fire spinner as we wait for Megalopolis burn

others waiting (we are in the front row :)

The show starts . . .


building one explodes

completely engulfed

extreme heat from 100yds

falling . . .

collapse continues

almost all down

. . . further

further . . .

all down

flames wane


Sat - Mon 9/4-9/6 - Storm continues into Saturday . . . Planned camp tear-down goes well but slowly. We decide to head home mid-afternoon as the burn looks to be as bad as last nights ugliness. We travel mostly at night (cooler) and sleep daytime. Shower and dump the surrey and carpet at Fernley's Loves. Home by Monday AM. Great week!


Finally . . . a gallery of pics NOT taken by us but notable.

Satelite of Black Rock City

Peace sign around the Man planned and taken at 11:14a Tuesday

sign on the playa

setting up of Bliss Dancer

dust storm on midnight promenade

balloon ride

pre-burn entertainment

fireworks as the burn begins