I woke at 3 AM to the pattering sound of raindrops on my tent. Outside, the dry ground sucked up every drop as soon as it hit. I grabbed my boots, which I’d left outside, and went back to sleep. I woke just before dawn Sunday, August 26th. The Waambulance arrived in the night. I ate a hard boiled egg for breakfast.
The ground was spackled from where the rain came down. Playa was streaked all across Satori. I changed into long pants and went for a walk. There was still a breeze out, but it was much calmer. All was quiet, except for a passing water truck and a generator far off to the east. I picked up some moop. 
The sunrise was amazing, and even more so when I realized the lights on the Man were still on. I grabbed my camera and hurried out onto the inner playa to get some pictures. Halfway out, I realized it would have been quicker taking my bike, but hey. I looked at some of the other CORE effigies, including Chicago’s big train. The Houston bull was unfinished; were they the guys looking for flour? I even saw a big black bird flying around. Back in camp, Billy D. arrived on his bike. “I’ve never seen the Sun that blood red before!” Billy said. It was still pretty cloudy.
People kept arriving, like Michael, who spent a day and a night in Sacramento. Bad Dog got his scooter working. It had broken down in the night. I saw Deelee and met James; they spent four hours at the Gate coming in. Mark arrived about 4 AM and was asleep in the back of the rental truck. At the potties, I ran into Ranger Judas, who said things were very quiet that morning.

I walked around Center Camp, but it wasn’t open yet. I figured since I was on-playa, I might as well get my Sandman training out of the way. The shade structure at Outpost Berlin was pretty crowded that morning. I met Africa, and talked to Ranger Hermione, who was finally rescued from Tonopah. She said the frustrating part was seeing people she knew drive through town without stopping, because they didn’t know about her predicament. One guy had a truck that could’ve held all her stuff, and she waved and yelled but he just kept going. Hermione was a charming, intelligent woman, and I was glad I got to meet her. Kimistry was at Berlin, and I spoke to Halston. After training started, we broke off into special sessions, one of which was Sandman training. I saw Avatar, Red Raven and worked with Batman. Legba and Roadrash went through the basics. Training went well. Wild Childe later became one of the first female Sandmen. I was so proud of her.

I stopped at HQ and looked at the new Hatrack. It looked comfortable, but there didn’t seem to be much space to hang stuff up. I rode past the pirate ship again. At Hair of the Dog, most of the big shade structure was together; some of the grommets needed fixing. Mark was still asleep in the truck, but someone woke him up when we raised the shade units, on the belief he’d be mad if we did it without him. It was very bright and hot out. Michael’s pocket device said it was 96 degrees in the shade. Everyone pulled together to get the big shade structures up, and then we started assembling the bar. Hammering in rebar to secure the structures was tough work, and it occurred to me that if hammering in rebar was a real exercise, there would be a machine at gyms to simulate it.

Once the bar was set up, we started pulling out booze to stock the shelves. The wind was relentless. Dust filled my tent, even after I took everything out and shook it off. In no time, the bar was open! People started showing up right away. Wristy arrived up from Silicon Village, and I gave him the Party Snail picture I took. I met Bouncy, a pretty brunette from San Francisco. “You can’t spell awesome without me!” she said.

Off towards Center Camp, there was a bunch of smoke. I rode my bike over to see what was going on, and just beyond Center Camp a trailer had caught on fire! Fire crews were already on hand and had everything under control. The fire got so hot, it melted part of the trailer next door! Mark pulled out the old MASH tent that would be the camp kitchen. He laid it out right where it would provide shade for me first thing in the morning. Sometimes, the playa provides.

Darkness fell. The bartender gave me a huge vodka tonic to relax with. I met Andrew from Pimp yr Bike camp, right across the street, and he gave away a bunch of stickers. When the wind died down a little, I boiled up a pot of ramen noodles for supper. I met Gigi, a cute blonde girl from Portland, Oregon. All week, I kept meeting people from Portland, and when I said I met a girl named Gigi, they'd go, "Oh, Gigi." I'd say, "You know her?" and they'd say "...No."

I met Erin, a lovely girl who was a burn virgin, but the Greeters just waved her through without going through any ceremony. They said it was too dusty for people to be getting out of their cars. I also met Virginie, a charming, beautiful French girl. When the Gate officially opened at 6 PM, there was a steady flow of vehicles on the inner roads. It was very windy when I crashed about 10:30. I’d anchored the tent poles to the van, but it didn’t help much. There were strange noises in the night…

Prologue  Aug. 22  Aug. 23  Aug. 24  Aug. 25 
Sunday  Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday  Monday 
Sept. 4  Sept. 5  Sept. 6  Sept. 7 & Epilogue
Original material (c)opyright 2012 by Tim Frayser
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LINKS: Houston CORE Project 
Last updated: September, 2012