Monday, September 21, 2009

Day Two - Introduction to Dust Storms and Night Life

The second day started with a discovery that the RV batteries have died.  Phil and I being over prepared both had volt/ohm meters, which we used to inspect and test the batteries.  We find one of the three deep cell batteries did not have enough water in the cells.  (Note to self, add this to the pre check list.)  Since all the batteries are wired together, if you have one bad battery it can drain all the others.  We disconnected the battery, and managed to start the generator to charge the remaining batteries, problem solved.

After the RV maintenance we were all able to have a leisurely morning, finish breakfast, and use the delightful outside shower.  The we launched out for more photos.  That afternoon I was in the RV and heard a loud yell from outside ' Dust Storm....'.  I got up and looked out of the RV door and within seconds the dust was so think I could only see about 10 or 15 feet.  From that point on we experienced the infamous Burning Man dust storms on a daily basis. 

From that first dust storm we quick learned you never go anywhere without a dust mask and goggles.  The dust at Burning Man is more like talcum powder than sand, and it quickly covers everything, including your body, face and clothes.  At first you try to avoid the dust, but you quickly realise that is impossible.  The storms come and go every day, and you are simply in it.  You cannot hide in the RV because it is too hot, so the drill is every night when you get ready to sleep you get out the large packs of baby wipes thoughtfully pre purchased and wipe all the dust from your exposed body parts.  (Must be more time consuming for the naked people!)

That evening we launched out to see the night time activities and art.  Phil was absolutely right, the playa really comes alive at night and is absolutely amazing.  All the art structures are lit up.  There are hundreds of mutant vehicles moving around, lit with multiple lights and neon signs.  The vehicles, depending on their size are full of people, and typically have loud music playing.  Since all the streets are dark all the bikes have to be lit to prevent people running into each other.  Most people walking around also have some of light on themselves.  It would be unfortunate to say you were run over by a mutant vehicle disguised as a rubber duck, or a pirate ship, or any of the amazing creations.

Pyrotechnics are also a huge part of Burning Man.  A lot of the art structures and art cares have pyrotechnic features.  We saw numerous arts cars moving across the plays with flames shooting out of parts of them.  We spent hours cycling around watching everything.  There was a beautiful full moon which really helped prevent any nasty bike falls caused by cycling too fast into the many areas of soft sand.  Considering how easy it is to get distracted by some flashing, flame throwing structure or car, it was a surprise we all managed to arrive back at the RV safely.  However around 2 or 3am we decided it was time to get some rest, we still had several days ahead of us.

To be continued....
(Not sure what happened, this posted on its own.  We have more photos comming!)

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