Beware rain in the desert

Driving the Black Rock Desert
Driving the Black Rock Desert

Burning Man is coming up.  Time for Northern Californians and Nevadans to enjoy the spectacle of dust covered vehicles traipsing down the highways.  Of course, that’s after the festival.

Before then, Burning Man attendees are not necessarily noticeable, unless they have a 10-ft tall, red Gumby strapped to the back of their truck (I kid you not, I wish I had taken a picture).

What is Burning Man, you ask?  Well, step closer, dear friend, let me whisper in your ear…

Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind.

That’s from their website.  I believe it.  As I have never been to the event myself, I can’t really explain it to you.  Though having lived at the periphery of it, I can tell you it is a lot about strange, transient art, releasing your demons, and having a good time.  Basically, as I understand it, you go out there with your art, participate in fun wacky events and parades, then burn your art in one big massive fire orgy.  All of this done in a really dry place: The Black Rock Desert.

Black Rock Desert Sign
Black Rock Desert

And dusty.  Very dusty.

The Black Rock Desert playa, the venue for Burning Man, the current land speed record, and rocket launchings, consists primarily of sand.  Specifically, fine-textured lacustrine silt and clay sediments.  Think, the consistency of talcum powder.  The stuff gets EVERYWHERE.  I swear you just have to walk next to a Black Rock Desert dust-encrusted vehicle to get covered in the stuff.

We have had many friends who have attended come back early because they couldn’t take the dust, never mind the heat – the dust!  But, I suppose, if you are high or drunk enough that doesn’t really matter.

Every year, the Burning Man event seems to get bigger and bigger.  Last year they had somewhere around 35,000 people camped out in the middle of the desert.  Thirty.  Five. Thousand.

Burning Man 'Town'
Burning Man 'Town'

That’s a lot of people.

Now, keep in mind that the event is held late summer/early fall around here.  Usually the week before, on, or around Labor Day weekend (I think it starts September 2nd this year).  This time of year is normally very dry, not a cloud in the sky and no threat of rain.  Wind storms?  Yes.  Intense heat?  Maybe.  Cold nights?  Definitely.  But rain?  Not likely.

Except this year.

It’s been an awfully wet year.  And Reno has been inundated this summer with some doozy thunderstorms.  Nothing as awesome as what they get in the Sonoran Desert, but just as devastating.  Imagine 35,000 people in some pretty funky, tricked out vehicles all trying to get out of the silty clay-turned-sticky mud playa?

Stuck in the Mud
Stuck in the Mud

Not a pretty sight.

What on earth does this have to do with my writing efforts?  Nothing, really.  I was just discussing the fact that there might be 35,000 stuck-in-the-mud party animals this year with my hydrogeologist friend who works out in the middle of Nevada.  Yeah, we were talking smack, but it would be interesting if they all got stuck out there, wouldn’t it?  Possibly the source of a funny story in the near future maybe?

Or…just go burn something. 😉

EDIT: My husband just corrected me, no they do not burn their art.  Just The Man.

Burning Man
Burning Man
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