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Before You Leave for Burning Man: Top 10 To Dos, How To Get There & Where to Find What You Forgot

August 21, 2009

Silicon Village sent this Top 10 List of Very Important To Dos out to their camp and someone kindly forwarded it onto the Kidsville list. (Yes, Burning Man depends on the interweb for us all to be connected and communicate; there are no boundaries!) I’ve taken the Silicon Village list, and edited, adapted, revised, and commented on it, plus I added two bonus to dos.

Top 10 To Dos BEFORE You Leave for Burning Man

10) Change the message on your home and cell phone to say:  “I’m out of the service area from August 31 until September 8. Please leave a message and I will return your call when I get back.”

9) Set up an auto reply on your email letting folks know that you are “out of the office” and not returning emails until Sept. 8.

8) Arrange mail pick up or better yet, suspend delivery. Here’s how https://holdmail. duns/HoldMail. jsp It only takes about 2 minutes.

7) Give your plants a deep watering, arrange for someone to harvest the vegetables from your garden, and to pick up and enjoy your CSA.

6) Empty all your garbage cans.

5) Arrange newspaper clean up or better yet, suspend delivery

4) Turn down the thermostat on your hot water heater. No need to heat water for a week when you’re not there. Leave a message to remind yourself to turn it back up as soon as you get home.

3) Pay all your bills (as if you had any money left after all the Burning Man stuff you’ve bought in the last couple months!)

2) Pack your Playa Survival kit and have it ready for the minute you get there. What the hell, pack two of them! (I don’t know what’s in the Silicon Village’s kit, but here’s what goes in mine: bandana, dust masks, sunscreen, chapstick, filled metal water bottle, headlamp, goggles, TP, gifts, bars/food, condoms, kazoo, towlettes/hand sanitizer, What Where When Guide, whatever small essentials you think you might need so that you can don your party clothes, grab your bag and get to it! Make sure your bag has some ID for you in it as well as your playa address just in case…)

And the number 1 thing to do before you leave for the playa:


In 2001, my VW westfalia campervan’s engine went out near Mojave Wednesday night on my way out to Burning Man. I spent Thursday towing it back home and getting set with another rig, trading my Geo Tracker for a friend’s Suzuki Samarai with a tow hitch to which we attached a rented trailer. On the way to the mechanic’s, I’d thrown everything out of my van into my driveway. That night, getting everything reorganized and ready to go, I found I had everything I needed–except my ticket which was locked in the mechanic’s garage. Fortunately, a friend of mine couldn’t leave until later so he gave me his ticket, and I was good to go at the crack of dawn.

It turned out there were a few things I needed–for example when the sun came out I realized my sunglasses seemed to have been lost in the shenanigans involved with vehicle towing so at 10am I ordered new ones from Lenscrafters in Reno. You can find just about anything you might imagine you could need in Reno and then some; here’s a guide to Reno for Burners. If you’re one of the 15,000 people flying in, here’s Air Playa info. Here’s info on where to get a bike.

The next year, I was joking about leaving my ticket behind and –you guessed it–realized that I had left it behind! I was about four hours from the Black Rock Desert, and couldn’t think of anyone who could bring me my ticket so I hoped for salvation at the gate. It came in the form of buying a new ticket and then sending in my unused ticket from home; they sent me a check reimbursing me for the one I bought at the gate.

So–put the ticket in the vehicle you will be taking to the playa NOW if at all possible.

11) Print out the Where What When Guide so you can peruse it on the drive and make some plans! If you have access to a copier, reduce it down and make a couple so you can share them with Burners you meet along the way!

12) Check out a map and figure out the route you want to use to get there.

Now, how do you get from Reno to Burning Man? Directions are here.

For help getting to Black Rock City, veteran burners have outlined road routes from Canada, Los Angeles, parts of Nevada, New York City, and the Pacific Northwest. and the biggest little nearby city, Reno.

If you’re coming FROM THE NORTHWEST on Route 299, CEDARVILLE is a great stop

If you’re coming FROM THE EAST on I 80, LOVELOCK is the last major pit stop on I-80 heading west before you veer north to the playa:

If you’re coming FROM THE EAST,  FERNLEY, the 447 exit off of I 80, is a two-exit city:

Note: The Los Angeles directions offer three routes; there’s many more. I’ve used two of the three he describes but typically take another route going off toward Nevada in Bridgeport. I plan to do a post about this route in the next few days.

I’m also working on a post about food and wine for the Playa…and yes, we’re going to do a wine tasting  for Wine Wednesday, and for Halloween in Kidsville on Thursday, some wine tasting treats for the adults, and I’m thinking there’ll be wine with the First Friday ArtRide, and hey, bet we’ll be doing some tasting during Saturday soccer also! As always, bring your own glass!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sylvia permalink
    August 29, 2009 4:35 pm

    How the heck do you print out the What/Where/When? I can’t find it anywhere… Bah! What a great idea, I never can think anything through out there, and keep losing the guide, etc…

  2. Marialyce permalink
    July 30, 2013 9:21 am

    What’s a newspaper? I think we could delete that item from top-ten to-do list for most modern burners!

  3. July 30, 2013 9:24 am

    well, I’d consider myself a modern Burner and I love reading the newspaper–in print–and having it arrive at my doorstep Th-Sun mornings! But I don’t want to return to have them all piled up at my door!


  1. Burning Man 2009: Hydrate NOW & rest! « art predator

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