From the Rhino's Heart

The Burningman odyssey 2013- Part III- Conclusion

   Wed, December 18, 2013 - 7:11 AM
Finally. I got lost getting in to L.A. and I got lost twice getting out this last year. But I made it out. Thank goodness. To me, there are all too many people there. 20% of the nation’s population lives in California. WHY? Me? I think Nevada or Wyoming are calling. But I digress.
No sooner had I arrived and parked in front of Rocky’s garage than a man came up to me asking for a cigarette. The guy looked to be Hispanic, was heavily tattooed with Gothic lettering on his chest, but what drew my attention were the teardrops tattooed next to one eye. Those are symbols of gang activity and subsequent incarceration. Ex con. Am I safe? Fuck it. I’m not threatening. No fear.
Rocky came out minutes later, after I had given this guy a couple of cigarettes from a pack I had bought for Rocky. The Latino gentleman, it turned out, was Hector (I knew that much after we had shaken hands) . Hewas the self-appointed neighborhood guardian, keeping track of people who go in and out of the ‘hood. I was glad I treated him with respect. Rocky was proud of me, having handled it with minimal fuss. Stereotypical attitude on my part, but I fought it. You CANNOT judge a book by its cover.
We departed L.A. getting out of the city a little past 2 a.m.
I can’t remember much about the drive up US Highway 295. We were worried. Off to the west we had seen the fires start on the eastern slopes of the Sierras the previous night. We went right past the Tioga pass entrance to Yosemite (we entered it on the way back) in an effort to get up the highway and into Nevada before the road was closed due to smoke. Difficult driving to say the least, when your eyes are burning like hell from exposure to smoke. We went over the state line and into Tonopah about 8 p.m. (same day, stopping once for an afternoon snooze at a motel in NW Cali near the border). I was TIRED, but we MADE IT into that shining beacon place on the playa a little after dusk. Black Rock City. Burningman!
Within minutes of parking, I was getting hugged by all of the people I know there- Ali Baba (who went and got married without telling me….shame, shame), her husband Sir Francis Bacon, Felicity, and there were some new faces, too. Ona, with whom I wrote two articles for the Beacon on-playa, is a Mennonite. Inside I was smiling because I come from Mennonite stock….Lancaster County, PA on my father’s side of the family. Ona and I also cooked the Monday night Beacon Cajun feast…..she did chicken jambalaya while I whipped up a pot of my famous Dutch overn Cajun chicken-and-andouille sausage gumbo (with okra, corn, green pepper, tomatoes, squash and spices!)

Marilyn was another welcome addition. She took quite a liking to Rocky and I, as we were ‘honorable’ men to her. “Honorable” and Burningman attendance. Who would have thought? Then, a familiar face from my Midwest cohorts showed up at the camp – Ranger Tapestry. My eyes lit up and my mind’s humor started spinning like the apples, oranges, cherries, and lemons in a slot machine. Yes! Time to abuse hippies, if at least for a few minutes. (How many hippies does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. They screw in dirty sleeping bags…
Later that evening I got to see other playa friends….Dave Decibel (the dj of the infamous 2010 playa mash-up that includes the Doors, the Bay City Rollers, and Jimi Hendrix….hee, hee….), and Bobzilla, station manager of BMIR
Wednesday evening found me at the eplaya meet-and-greet over at the Barbie Death Village. Dr. Pyro puts this on, and I had a great time with all the fellow like-minded individuals. Rocky and Marilyn came with me. I met: triken, delle, ygmir, trilo, and many others who are such wonderful like-minded souls. And FINALLY I met Anti M. Oh very yes. Nice lady. She operates the Black Rock City Home for Wayward Art, which places art for those who no longer desire it.
Saturday – burn night. Pshaw. Stayed in that night.
Sunday - Temple Burn. Exodus began after midnight. Knowing it would be a bitch, I stuck around until Tuesday for the drive to L.A. and then home.
Tuesday- headed out of BRC to Los Angeles. Rocky and I arrived Wednesday after we made a brief trip to the back side of Yosemite. The road over the pass was closed due to the fire (STILL going on).
And then the drive home alone began. First out to the Mojave Desert. There are literally dozens of little volcanic cinder cones out there…all basaltic. I tried to sample some of the basalt, but it’s just too hard. I stayed overnight in Arizona, and then, the next day…..took a little trip south of the Interstate to Meteor Crater. About time for this impact scientist. No geologists there at the time, but I self-edumakated. Screw them. Weaubleau is bigger, and I’ve drilled Weaubleau. The one photo I took of myself there shows me red-faced attempting it with my cel phone.
On to Winslow, Arizona, where I got a Case XX knife that the Navajo had encrusted with lapis lazuli and turqoise. A keeper for sure that I won’t let go. It stays at home. And I stood on a corner there. No girl in a flat-bed Ford comin’ down to take a look at me. I guess I don’t have to take it easy. Great.
I finally arrived home on Satuday, two days short of three weeks gone.Goodness it was nice to be home. Next year (there’s always next year) I bring a journal book., take more pictures, and do it like Tapestry does. That man is an inspiration!

Overall this year was one for all time. It FELT right. I still don’t believe the change in me that’s occurred. The confidence of old has returned. Again. I picked up more of the secrets of life. It still all revolves around the central theme that begain in 2008. I HAVE to give a damn about others. Fellow human beings is what it’s all about in life.
Setting the stage. I had two days to prepare to depart.
Preparation, attitude, and willingness to go the extra mile was the key.

I heard the year's song on the long drive home. ZZ Top, of course:

I got shot through a space not long ago,
I thought I knew the place so well.
It wasn’t the same, now it goes to show,
Sometime you never can tell.

Im lookin’ high and low, dont know where to go,
I got to double back, my friend.
The only way to find, what I left behind
I got to double back again, double back again.

You know I’m movin on in this fine machine,
Rollin on through the night.
Seein things like I’ve never seen
And its taking me outta sight.

Lookin high and low, dont know where to go,
I got to double back, my friend.
The only way to find, what I left behind
I got to double back again, double back again.

It’s got me up and down,
I been lost and found,
Down in a deep dark hole.
Looks like my luck has changed,
I been rearranged
And I’m coming out on a roll.

Lookin high and low, dont know where to go,
I got to double back, my friend.
The only way to find, what I left behind
I got to double back again, double back again

So true. I’ll be doubling up, doubling back and shooting across this country next year so fast that the National Reconnissance Office will be able to track me next year….they’ll see the BBQ sauce trail on the ground. And, next year, it’s back to the northern route. I-80 across Nebraska and Wyoming and Utah. I’ll slow it down when I get to Nevada. To me, there’s just so much to see. Geologically speaking, that is.

And the burn will be just fine.


add a comment
Wed, December 18, 2013 - 8:42 PM
So glad you made a grand adventure.. so many familiar names.. thanks for sharing.
Wed, December 18, 2013 - 9:06 PM
Shame?!?! Aww hellz naw~!!!
I imagine we would've been saying "fiance" in 2009 and 2010. We married late 2011, so 2012 was our "BRC honeymoon". ;)
In fact, if you read back on my tribe blog, I announced the engagement. [But I know we weren't 'tribe friends' back then.]
Thu, December 19, 2013 - 12:13 AM
But we never did get to see you this year, Rhino darling!
Thu, December 19, 2013 - 10:12 AM
Epic! Have a happy new year!