Tag Archives: Burning Man

Flashback Friday: Burning Man Q and A

Since I had so many questions about the  Flashback Friday Burning Man post, I thought I would do a Q and A. You guys asked some good questions! Here they are:

The Kidless Kronicles (who has two blogs) asked:

How many people [were at Burning Man], do you know?
It’s been growing every year. It started with 20 people in 1986. When I went in 2010, there were over 50,000.

Victoria @ Running Peanut asked:

I wonder whose idea Burning Man was!? How did you find out about it?
Burning Man started as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice by a guy and a few of his friends. You can read more about the history here.

I found out about it through our friends who went the previous year. Hubs wanted to go bad, so he bought tickets. It wasn’t really my type of thing so I was pretty apprehensive at first. Knowing we were going with friends helped though.

Brandi @ The Vitamin Bee asked:

How hot was it there?
It’s hot during the day. I think the average temperature was in the 90’s. Even though it’s hot during the day, it’s a dry heat. (Ugh, I hate when people say that.) But, take it from someone who lives in Florida – dry heat is way better than humid heat. When you’re too hot in dry heat, you can stand in the shade and cool down because the breeze is cool. In humidity, you don’t cool down in the shade because because the breeze still feels like a furnace.

For the most part, I wore shorts, a bathing suit top, boots, goggles around my neck, and a scarf (for the dust storms) during the day.

(Side note: There was no one on the other end of the line. But we had to wait for a woman that had a 10 minute conversation before us to get this picture.)

It was cool at night, somewhere in the 40’s-50’s. So we wore jackets and warmer clothes.

What were your essentials? Anything you recommend bringing?
Burning Man has a survival guide that is published every year. It’s required reading and they tell you everything you need to know about what to bring. I could give you a list of what I’d recommend bringing, but it would be long.

This was the inside of our little trailer and all our stuff packed into it. I think for never going before, we did pretty well bringing what we needed. Next time, I’d definitely bring a warmer jacket though. I had to borrow one from Morgan on a couple of colder nights.

Who plans the events?
Attendees sign up to be a participant and I think have to go through some approval process to get on the event list. A lot of the attendees go to Burning Man every year and set up the same theme camps.

For instance, the Barbie Death Camp is one of the theme camps that have been there several years in a row.

(Pic stolen from Morgan. Thanks, Morgan!)

Did they have trailers to rent when you got there? Or did you have to rent one in Reno and drive with it the whole way?
No. You have to rent (or own) a trailer before you arrive. Some people just drive in with tents or sleeping bags and some find strangers to give them a ride in. It’s really what your more comfortable doing. We rented from the place we did because they had the trailer set up on sight when we got there. We didn’t have a car so we wouldn’t have been able to get a trailer there without renting one. That would have been a lot more money when we were already spending a ton to get there in the first place. 

Our trailer rental came with bikes to use for the week. I would say that a bike is probably one of the most important things to have. I can’t imagine trying to walk the area the whole week. It would take forever.

If you rent a trailer, you need to do it far in advance. I think we rented ours 8 months in advance and still most of the places in Reno and the surrounding towns were booked. The people camping next to us rented their trailers in San Deigo and drove them up.

Don’t expect to do a lot of that. And even when you do, you don’t stay clean for long because of all the dust. We had a shower in our trailer but it didn’t have hot water. And it was uncomfortably small. I could sit at any point in the shower and be sitting on the toilet. I washed my hair twice during the week and it sucked because it was so cold.

Our friends Morgan and Don set up a water bag on a pole in the sun and stood in a kiddie pool to shower outside of their trailer.

Kate asked:

How much food/beer did you bring for a week and was there a store nearby you could go to if you ran out?
We didn’t bring beer, but we brought a huge bottle of tequila and vodka that were gone at the end of the week. Our friend, Don, brought 100 beers (for himself!) so he wouldn’t run out. He shared those with us as well. Plus, people give you alcohol all over the place at Burning Man. (Remember, it’s no commerce, giving society.)

There are no stores nearby. Burning Man is about a hour away from the first gas station and an hour and a half away from the nearest town. If you leave, you have to pay to get back in.

Was it peaceful?
We stayed on the outer circle, so it wasn’t as loud as the inner circle where most of the people camp. But, we still had camping “neighbors” on all sides of us. We also had to sleep with earplugs because there is constant bass from all the music, usually until 7am. If you’re staying closer to the inner circle, I wouldn’t imagine you’d get much sleep. However, it was really easy to bike out into the middle of nowhere (where it was quiet) and enjoy the artwork.

The more awesome pieces of artwork usually had more people around.

For the most part, you are around people the whole time.

Do you plan to go again?
Right afterwards, I said no way. But now I kinda miss it. Hubs was talking about going again next year but I really want to go to Alaska. It’s one or the other because Burning Man was the most expensive vacation we have ever taken. We had to buy the Burning Man tickets ($200-$400, depending which tier you get), buy the plane tickets to Reno, rent the trailer, and buy supplies for the week. We were really lucky to have friends to stay with in Reno, otherwise that would have been another cost for lodging before and after the festival.

I do think we will go again. It’s an experience like no other, even though that sounds lame to say. Maybe in a year or two?

Jim @ Biking My Mass Off asked:

How do they determine which man to burn each year? Is it a randomly drawn or is there some kind of ceremony?
There’s a vote. Usually they pick the dad types with 2 adopted boys. Know anyone like that?

Ok, I hope this was helpful! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments. 🙂


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Flashback Friday: Burning Man 2010

A year ago (and 2 months before I started this blog), the hubs and I flew out to Nevada to go to Burning Man. Burning Man is a 7-day, no-commerce, festival in the desert that happens every year. The festival is so huge that when it happens, it becomes the third largest city in Nevada. Here’s an aerial view of what it looks like:

It’s hard to describe Burning Man to someone who hasn’t been there, but basically it’s a festival put on by the people who attend it. There’s nothing to purchase (except ice and coffee) and you have to bring everything you need to survive (clothes, food, water, shelter) for the time you’re there.

We flew out to Reno to meet up with our friends, Don and Morgan. From Reno, we drove an hour and a half to the Burning Man site where hubs and I rented a small trailer for the week and Morgan and Don brought their “snailer.”

Each year Burning Man has a theme (ours was “Metropolis”).

And you get a booklet of all the one-time and recurring events happening around the city.

The events are anything and everything – wine tastings, dance parties, craft making, Sharpie tattoo contests, kissing booths, BBQs, drum circles, movie nights, trivia, dildo fencing, yoga. Pretty much anything you can think of.  And there was so much going on at one time, there is no way you could do it all.  There was even a Burning Man 5k. 🙂

The Man is part of a large structure that gets burned on the last night.

So basically, the entire week we spent riding our bikes around (no vehicles are allowed unless they are approved “art” vehicles) looking at amazing artwork, going to random dance parties, doing all sorts of activities, dressing up in costumes, and kicking back with good food, beer, and friends.

So here are some of the pictures from the week we were out there. 🙂

This was the coolest piece of artwork by far. It was huge and made out of all mesh (if I remember correctly) and she lit up different colors at night.

It was fun riding around on our bikes because we would find some of the coolest things. There’s no way you could ever see all of Burning Man if you tried, it’s so huge. But I think we saw a good portion of it.

We found this monochomatic cross-walk of mannequins that was pretty cool and creepy at the same time.

Their faces were speakers.

We found an Oink in the middle of nowhere. That’s hubs standing in the O.

We also found a really tall typewriter desk in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and I bought my CamelBak solely for Burning Man and now I run with that baby all the time. Best.purchase.ever.

The Pink Mammoth was one of the dance party areas. In the evening, this place was packed with people dressed in pink and dancing to techno.

We found this little mini-city. You can walk in and out of those “buildings.”

A tower you could climb up.

Here are some of my favorite vehicles riding around the city. This guy did not want to stop for a picture. But we begged.

I have an insane love for guinea pigs. The guy that created this vehicle let me sit in it and he told me about his guinea pig love too. We had a bond.

A lot of the vehicles let you get on and ride around in them, which was fun.

We found a girl making margaritas with a blender by riding a bike. That’s one way to stay thin and drunk at the same time.

We also found a hug booth! Morgan ordered the “long uncomfortable hug.” Then we all ordered the “group hug.”

Then hubs found a new friend.

We participated in the Million Bunny March. There were picketers.

Look at all the bunnies!

Pants would be so proud.

Since the theme was Metropolis, there was an attempt to break the Guinness Record for the most Supermans in one area. Of course, hubs had to get in on that action.

They broke the record. But it was broken again a couple days later. Apparently there’s a big market for mass Supermans.

We always had to have dust masks with us because of flash dust storms. Check out all the dust in the air. Dust tornados!

We saw some really pretty sunsets and then Morgan and Don posed in front of them.

At night The Man lit up.

You’re able to walk up to the top of it.


When we were riding our bikes at night, we needed glow sticks so people could see us coming and flash lights so we didn’t run people over. Also, if it was nighttime and you didn’t have a flashlight – you were screwed if you had to use the port-o-potty. That crap was dark and nasty. Hover skills perfected.

It took us a couple days, but Morgan and I found the ellusive popcorn truck we kept hearing about. (I’m wearing a bikini bottom, not underwear, pervs.) 😉

On the 6th day, there’s a huge celebration before The Man is burned. Morgan and Don do fire Poi and were part of a big group performance beforehand that was really cool. (Morgan is in the back row, second person in.)

After the fire performance, they raise The Man’s arms, have a huge fireworks display (that was better than any display I have ever seen), and then burn him.

Afterwards, everyone gathers around the burning embers and makes s’mores!

On the last day, they burn the temple. The temple is another constructed roof-less building where people write their wishes and dreams on the walls. When the temple is burned, they say that the embers are everyone’s wishes being sent above to be answered.

The temple burning is completely silent and more an introspective thing.

The day after the temple is burned, everyone packs up and leaves.

We had a lot of fun at Burning Man but after day 5, we were ready to go home. So I think if we did it again, we wouldn’t stay the full week. It was definitely an experience like no other and we were really lucky to have Don and Morgan with us. They had been there the year before, so they gave us all sorts of tips on what to bring and expect.

Ok, so there you have it. This post didn’t nearly cover it all. I could have posted for 2 weeks on all the stuff there. But I guess one Flashback Friday will have to do. 🙂


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