August 13th: Via the Playa

Morning meeting at the DepotWoke up at 6:30 (with great difficulty) and headed out to the playa for a 7:30 meeting at the DPW Depot, our first morning meeting on the playa. Everything’s different now. There are so many more people than there were two weeks ago, and they’re all scattered around the playa versus centrally located in Gerlach. Some people are living in the Ghetto, others are stationed at the Depot or their own camps. It’s only going to get bigger from here.

As Super Dave speaks to the group from the steps of a ladder, I notice the excellent shade structure under which we’re standing at the Depot. The Shade crew strikes again. I head over to the commissary for breakfast with Marian, Cory, and Doyle. Remember how nothing at all was ready yesterday? Well now we’re eating a gourmet, mainly organic buffet breakfast with all manner of coffee and juices in a huge tent with 200 of our friends. They were up til four in the morning constructing and installing. They finished just in time to start food prep. Thank you Commissary team. For the record, Marian, Cory, and Doyle make me laugh so hard I nearly pee my pants.

We drive Marian around the playa looking for a missing trailer. We don’t find it. Then I head back to Gerlach to pack up my tent trailer. I’m leaving it at Gerlach Estates while I go to Reno for 24 hours. The trailer park is nearly empty, a lot like it was the day I arrived. As I drive away, I lose radio reception and find myself missing the chatter. I’m so tired when I get to Reno that I fall asleep at 5:00 after making a few phone calls and checking in with my neighbor. I dream about people in the desert, making a city from scratch.

-Wanda Power

About the author: Marnee Benson

Marnee Benson

Marnee joined Black Rock Solar in 2009 as an environmental journalist and project manager who had recently organized a worldwide sailing expedition and global warming lecture series. While growing up in New Mexico, Marnee played tennis in the high-desert sun, ripped it up at local ski resorts, and rode bikes with her friends. She’s lived in Reno for more than ten years, after stops in Jackson Hole and southern California– where she played beach volleyball and studied math at San Diego State University. Marnee traded in her tennis racket and bikinis for carabiners and climbing shoes when she hit the Sierra Nevada, and she recently graduated from UNR with two master’s degrees in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy. She organized the Tour de Nez bike race for three years and sailed with Greenpeace International before turning her attention full-time to Black Rock Solar. In her spare time, Marnee counts her lucky stars for being able to work with the Holland Project and March Fourth Marching Band.