on Oct 11, 2014
We had to get up early Sunday morning for strike, which is something that they take very seriously at Pink Heart. We put on our grubby work clothes and jumped right in to dis-assembling the Pink Lounge with a bunch of people. I spent a bunch of time pulling down and un-knotting pink fabric that had been draped in various places around the shade structure, and then I helped Terri clean out the freezer that had held the ice cream while we gave it away. That was a disgusting and difficult cleaning job considering that it was covered in melted ice cream that had combined with dust and dried, and we couldn’t just hose it out. After that I mooped (picked up any and all bits and pieces of things that didn’t belong on the playa) and wiped and schlepped and generally tried to make myself useful wherever it was needed, until finally most everything was gone and it was time for Josh and I to turn our attention to breaking down our own stuff and mooping our own camp.
It had been our intention to do all the breakdown and then just leave our yurt and bed up so that we could stay to watch the Temple burn that night, and get a few hours of sleep before leaving BRC early Monday morning. But as we neared completion on our own teardown and packing, we both realized that we were kind of done and decided to just pack everything and leave during the burn. We didn’t want to repeat the experience we had had the previous year where we had to wait for 8 hours to get out of the city, and when we checked the radio it was saying that there was hardly any wait, so it seemed like a good time to go, even though it was getting kind of late. We said farewell to our friends that were still there, and got in the car and headed out around 9pm.
We had pretty smooth sailing out of the city, only stopping for about an hour at the end of the gate line. When we finally hit pavement we were hungry and had to pee, so we stopped off in one of the small towns along the way at a roadside stand to have Indian tacos (which are really more like thick frybread with lettuce, tomato and meat on top). The food was hot and tasty and we chatted with a few other burners who had also stopped, so overall it turned out to be a good transitional experience that I would do again next time (I don’t know why we never tried it before, eagerness to get in and out I guess). We stopped again at Love’s for gas and texted our friends and family that we’d gotten out safely, and then pretty much had a straight shot home in the dark without any incidents of note. By the time we got close to home Josh was super tired and we were a little worried about falling asleep at the wheel but we pushed on through and made it home around 5am. Everyone was still asleep at our house so we had a quick shower (oh bliss!) and crawled into our quiet, soft bed (oh super bliss!) for a few hours.
on Oct 10, 2014
Josh and I woke up early on Saturday, and stumbled out around sunrise to go to the porta-potties. On our way back we decided to go look for the camp near ours that supposedly served coffee, which we eventually found. They were just brewing a new batch so we lounged around in their camp lounge for awhile and had a fun time talking to a few other caffeine-craving early morning burners, most of whom were just rolling back to camp after a long night rather than early risers like us (but we were all equally tired and punchy). I met a nice older man who gifted me with a carved wooden spoon/fork combo that he’d made and we had an especially fun time bantering and telling bad jokes with John the Irishman and Gaby from Sebastopol, who were camping down the street at Campoline (a camp with a bunch of giant trampolines out front). We said we’d come see them later if we could, and then they took off and we slowly made our way back to Pink Heart.
Josh went back to the yurt but I sat outside in the Pink Lounge for a while, doodling in my journal and talking to people who came by to get water. I worked the water bar for a little while too.
Josh and I were thinking about heading out for one last exploration adventure, with Center Camp as our loose destination, but as we were getting ourselves together I wound up talking to Anjanette about whether or not she’d gotten back over to the roller rink we’d seen farther down the Esplanade, like she’d wanted to. She said she hadn’t, and I felt bad that she hadn’t gotten to do something she had really wanted to do (plus I realized at that point that she and I hadn’t really had much time for playa adventuring together this burn) so I said “come on, let’s go right now!” and when she said ok, I asked Josh if he’d wait to go on the Center Camp adventure until Anjanette and I went over to the Black Rock Roller Disco. He was fine with that, so Anjanette and I hopped on our bikes and off we went.
on Oct 09, 2014
Early Friday morning, Josh and I managed to get ourselves up and out again right before sunrise to go see Embrace burn. (They put this burn at sunrise when it would be less windy because they were concerned about the cinders and ashes being a danger to other art.) The sky was pinkening and the weather was perfect, if a little cool, as we biked across the playa to join the gathering crowd of people who wanted to see this beauty burn. We found a temporary bike parking area and left our bikes and then walked as close as we could get to find a viewing spot. There were a lot of people there so we really didn’t get too close. We wound up behind/next to a ring of art cars, which provided a big enough hole in the crowd so that we could get an unimpeded (albeit fairly far away) view. We waited and waited and amused ourselves looking around at the colorful crowd while the day grew lighter and started in earnest, and the dust and wind picked up enough so that we had to use our dust masks. And then finally, just as we were fearing that we wouldn’t be able to see or it would be so windy that they would call off the burn, the dust settled and the flames showed up and we all cheered and settled down to watch something huge catch on fire.
The burn was incredibly beautiful, and the first daylight burn I had ever seen. It was a whole different kind of dramatic than a night burn, but equally as gorgeous against a blue sky background. First the skin around the two figures caught flame and shot out the top of each head, creating twisting tornadoes of smoke and cinders that billowed out of the back of each figure’s head and lit up their eyes with flame. Eventually the skin all burned off and what was left standing was the sturdy towers that formed the frame inside each figure that had allowed all those people to climb up to view the playa from inside each head. Those towers burned and burned and eventually they drove a big crane up to one of the towers and poked at it, trying to bring it down (probably to reduce fire danger). That tower finally buckled and slumped into the other tower, and burned down until only one tower was left standing. Then after some deliberation with firefighters and whomever else was responsible for these decisions, the crane drove over to poke at that single remaining tower. It took several pokes from several different angles before finally that tower began to topple, and it toppled right towards the crane. The crane was hauling ass in reverse away from the toppling, flaming tower, and it just barely made it away safely as the whole thing came crashing down in a huge whoosh of flame and sparks. It was very dramatic and everyone who was left watching hooted and hollered and cheered with relief (because that really could have gone so horribly wrong).
After that dramatic moment, we decided to go. It was getting really stormy and dusty, the worst it had been up until that point. By the time we got back, we were covered in dust and exhausted, but happy. We cleaned up and had some food and hung out in our camp for a bit until it was time for a camp meeting, where we talked about strike and other end-of-week issues and then went out front to take our camp photo for the BRC yearbook.