Burning Man 1998: Monday: Leaving Burning Man

    Burning Man 1998: Monday: Leaving Burning Man

    SF-bound

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    Burning Man 1998: Monday: Leaving Burning Man

    After the Sunday afternoon patrols – the photos of which you’ve seen on previous pages – I slept for an hour. Then I struck the parachute.

    volunteered to dismantle the rest of camp and stow it in our truck so that we could make a getaway after my Rangering duties for the evening’s burn. (Tim had plans other than Rangering; he was going to go Playa Diving.) On the roof you can see the portable strobe light that we used to mark Camp Vermeer, in addition to the tree lights.

    Perhaps next year I’ll take my camera with me to the burn. It always seems too busy to stop and snap pictures, but we’ll see.

    At 1500 the Rangers hold a mandatory pre-burn meeting, during which we discuss the strategems for keeping hundreds of altered, sleepy particpants from being crushed under the Man as he falls. We organize into teams; I’ll be Ranger Boggman’s radio person. That done, we’re dismissed, told to relax and regroup mentally before the evening. Most of us file out of the meeting area and walk directly to the commisary for a dinner of sausages and white bread. Filling and tasty. Mmmmmmm.

    Then we fill up on water, test radio and light batteries, and pick up attention-getting flares for directing medical teams to hurt particpants.

    I also walk by the dispatch center and obtain a helicopter-style headset for radio, which is the only way to hear anything over the radio during the burn. I head out to the Man with Ranger Tipi Dan, where we assemble Boggman’s team, estabish a perimeter and have the participants help by sitting down in a circle. We are given glow tubes to identify the medical teams; I put all of the ones I’m given around my neck, making me easy to see.

    Just before the burn the Entity circles the Man; the crowd following the Entity crashes into the crowd sitting around the Man. We recover. Finally, the Man burns. No matter how many times I see it, it’s just amazing, and the crowds make it better and better for me. I love it!

    Some folks love it too much. Our teams deals with a 5150 (“danger to self or others”) in the fire’s glow, who is taken away by ambulance. (He’s fine, once rehydrated.) We stay at the Man until there’s nothing left but embers, and most of the crowds have wandered on to enjoy other things being burned. Our team returns to HQ to fill up on water and get new assignments from Ranger Hail Mary.

    I take a solo patrol of Pi Circle, see a fire (under control, as it turns out) and talk some very friendly Bureau of Land Manangement (BLM) officers. I return the radio to dispatch, and on the way back to the car I’m stopped by a very nice group of people, one of which gives me a kind greeting and a stick of Nag Champa incense (which makes our car smell very nice on the ride). It’s 0003 on Monday morning as we drive away from the playa. We arrive at Reno two hours later, where we check in to the Nugget and enjoy a huge Cobb salad before crashing. We sleep until 1030. Then we stroll outside for Reno’s Hot Summer Days festival of country music, bar-b-que food, and cheap beer. Worlds apart from Burning Man. We stay for a buffet breakfast in the hotel, meeting other Burning Man alumni.

    Then it’s back in the car, stopping only for a quick fresh-fruit milkshake lunch at Murder Burger in Davis (take the Richards Avenue exit). It’s such a pleasure being back in

    again, the cool breezes after a week of baking desert sun. But Ranger Lefty and I are already planning our adventures of .

    PLAYA DUST WEB RING

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