During the week I was at Burning Man, at least a half dozen total strangers came up to me and said, "You're a good person. I can tell." For a guy that sometimes gets a little depressed and self-conscious, words like that are solid gold. Why don't people say things like that to each other all the time?

Time Gone from Home: 9 days, 16 hours 
Distance Traveled: 3,540 miles 
Weight Lost During Trip: 16 lbs. 
Inches Lost on Waist: two 
New States Visited: Nevada 
Photographs Taken: 392 
Playa Dust Gets: Everywhere!  

Stuff I was glad I took: 
* V-8 Juice. The stuff is a lifesaver. 
* Sand goggles. Ditto. 
* Camelback canteen. Megaditto. 
* Extra underwear. 
* Bandanas. 
* Lots of water. 
* Lightsticks. 
* Bicycle. 
* First-aid kit. 
* Road Emergency Box: 1 gallon gasoline, 1 gallon engine coolant, 1 quart motor oil, duct tape, jumper cables (I didn't have to open it, but I was glad I had it) 
* Two cameras. I took my regular, single-lens reflex film camera and my fancy schmancy new digital camera to Burning Man. I brought 14 rolls of film for the SLR (ended up taking 10), and extra batteries for the digital. Sunday, however, the battery latch broke on the modern, state-of-the-art, wave-of-the-future digital camera, so the little door wouldn't close, breaking the electrical contacts. The camera "thought" it had no juice. As a result, I didn't get any pictures of the Temple burn. The SLR, however, performed magnificently. If a battery goes out on an SLR, it just means the light meter stops working. You can make a best guess about the light and still take pictures. In the final analyis, the digital camera just couldn't cut it.  The vast majority of pictures on these pages are from my film camera.Until digital cameras can work without a battery, regular film cameras are here to stay. 

Stuff I didn't need to take: 
* Tripod. Why the hell did I bring a tripod? 
* Backpack. This was in case the car broke down, and I could hitchhike to Burning Man. Without a tent, however, it's kinda pointless to go on without someplace to stay. If I sleep in the car again, the answer is to leave early; if the car breaks down on the way, I'll have time to get it fixed and still make it to the burn. 
* Martial arts bag. I brought my "bag of tricks" in case I wanted to show off some of my weapons, but it ended up just being in the way. 

Things I Need to Do Next Time: 
* Bring more socks. 
* Put some clothes in a Ziplock bag so that I'll have something clean to wear for the drive home. 
* Bring beer. (Some good beer, like the kind sold outside of Oklahoma.) 
* Something to make storage shelves inside my vehicle: utilize the empty space. 
* Bring a modular, sealable box for clothes instead of gym bag. 
* Decorate my bike, to make it easier to see, easier to find, and less likely to steal. 
* Find some comfortable sandals. (The ones I had hurt my feet.) 
* Take more time off from work so that I don't have to hurry. 
* Make something personal to give away, something people will use. 
* Find Ranger Sassy and tell her Dandy Don sends his love. 

Noticable Changes Since Returning Home: 
* I feel very much at peace. 
* Little things that used to bother me seem so insignificant; I have to remind myself what made me upset about them in the first place. 
* Issues are clearer, and my BS meter has been reset really low. 
* I hug more. 
* I've developed a taste for MRE's. 

Lessons I Learned at Burning Man: 
* Lip balm is your friend. 
* You can't find happiness by trying to do what everybody else is doing. 
* Never take anything for granted. 
* Sand goggles can be an attractive fashion accessory. 
* Everybody should be able to sing at least one song. 
* I can survive without cellphones, radio, TV, pagers, the Internet, and hot showers (for a while, anyway). 
* Don't be afraid to take chances. 
* Calculate all anticipated expenses beforehand. 
* You can't have too much water. 
* Be flexible. 
* Music is the heartbeat of life. 
* Whatever you're planning, always have a backup plan. 
* Be yourself. 
* If you're tired enough, you can sleep anywhere
* Wherever you go, enjoy the scenery. 
* A stranger is simply a friend who isn't in your email list yet. 
* Everyone must follow their own path. You can't follow someone else's path and expect to survive on whatever scraps of happiness they happen to throw your way. Everyone makes their own happiness. 
* If a loved one starts down a path you can't travel, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you. 
* I look pretty good in a feather boa. 

 ...Actually, that last one might be just a little too personal. Forget I mentioned it. 



"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."   --Mark Twain
Prologue --Day 1 --- Day 2 --- Day 3 --- Day 4 --- Day 5 --- Day 6 --- Day 7 --- Day 8 --- Day 9 --- Day 10 -- Epilogue
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Gerlach, Nevada
Last Updated: October, 2003
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