Did you make it out ok?

There were flags to the front and flags to the rear on the way out of Black Rock City on Monday.
There were flags to the front and flags to the rear on the way out of Black Rock City on Monday.

So we’ve tried all sorts of strategies for making a speedy exit from Black Rock — leaving right after the Burn on Saturday night, leaving early on Sunday, leaving late on Monday — but pretty much to no avail. You’re going to be sitting in traffic for awhile. The good thing, though, is that you’re going to be sitting with other Burners, so you’ll likely be better for the experience. You’ll hear about the philosophy of Be Here Now, if you so choose, and you’ll be offered refreshing beverages, maybe a bite to eat … and some VERY thoughtful person will make sure that there’s a Porta Potty brought in when the line gets real long.

That’s what happened on the way out Monday evening. It took about two and half hours to go from the city to the highway, which wasn’t too bad, considering the entertainment going on all around. How about you? When did you leave? What was it like? Share a story about your Exodus …

About the author: John Curley

John Curley (that's me) has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 I spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. I loved it, and I've been doing it ever since. I was a newspaper person in a previous life, and I spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle. At the time I left, in 2007, I was the deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since then, I've turned a passion for photography into a second career. I shoot for editorial, commercial and private clients. I've also taught a little bit, including two years at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a year at San Francisco State University. I live on the San Mateo coast, just south of San Francisco in California.

122 Comments on “Did you make it out ok?

  • SK says:

    Exodus was pretty smooth late Sunday after the Temple Burn. A definitely some stop-n-go during the merge, do *no* delays once on the pavement. Kudos !

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  • Dan Dawson says:

    I didn’t make it this year, but from all of my previous years I can say that the absolute best way to depart Burning Man is via general aviation airplane! I’ve flown in and out a few times, and it was really great just to walk over to the airport and fly home! I was able to even relay traffic information back to the people waiting in line to get out via ham radio and give them estimates of traffic, etc.

    The only trick to flying in/out is you’ve got to find someone with a truck to haul your food, supplies, bikes, etc, but I’ve met wonderful people by arranging transport for my supplies via Craigs List on my past years.

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  • Adam says:

    We got driving around 4:30AM Monday morning and the car never had to stop, we were on the highway less than 30 minutes after we started moving and it was awesome compared to my previous experiences. I’ll have to plan to try that again in the future rather than just lucking out due to being late…

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  • Dancing Mandy says:

    I usually leave Sunday after the temple burn and it is always exhausting, dark, and lonely. But this year I left Monday morning at 9:15 and hit the pavement by 11:15. Not only that, it was relatively cool, and I could see the playa and my fellow burners riding on the roofS of cars, dancing to music, and occasionally lending me a cigarette. Plus when I got to gerlach I could see COLOR for the first time in a week, truly amazing. I’m a covert for the morning exodus for sure. only downside is that it’s much more emotional when you can see the beautiful desert that you’re leaving instead of just a dark road.

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  • Kevin Sullivan says:

    We got in line at 8:45 Sunday AM. We stayed in a single line almost all the way to the gates even though there were 6 lanes. It was obvious people were trying to go with the Karma and not charge into the other lines. But people couldn’t resist so as we were hitting the gate, people started breaking into other lanes. This is needed eventually but we were right on the cusp of being able to stay in the single lane all the way out. Everyone stayed cool and kept the speed (mostly). We merged back in in fine shape and WERE OUT TO THE ROAD IN 50 MINUTES.
    I couldn’t believe it and started yelling like a maniac. Others didn’t seem quite as thrilled. Why isn’t 50 minutes awesome?
    I bet if you got in line after 9 you were there for at least 2 hours.

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  • Travis 'Prem' Jonquil says:

    I had a blast sitting in line. Sure it took two hours to get on the highway. Sure I could have let it get me down but fuck we’re still on the Playa so the old adage, ‘where ever you are is the best place for you to be,’ can still hold true. We left in a van with 9 people around sunset on monday and the first thing I did was make sure to catch the last sunset by riding atop the van. Then an art car caught my eye so I asked the driver that was towing it if I and some lovely ladies might enjoy a last ride in the rubber ducky, and just when I was thinking this was the funnest traffic jam I’d ever been in we all decided to go back to the van, gather some supplies, and go find us a bus to party on, which we did post haste. The party don’t stop unless you let it yo. Miss you BRC! DPW rock the fuck out of that place and enjoy all the shit we who love this circus donate to keep you sane(ish). See ya next year!

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  • Robert says:

    Perhaps I was smart, perhaps I was lucky, but I had a great Exodus. After some thought and deliberation, I decided not to stay for Sunday’s Temple Burn. Rather, I saw The Man Burn Saturday, then went out to enjoy myself for awhile. I returned to camp about 3 am, and started to roll out. There was almost no traffic. Plenty of vehicles, but I was always going as fast as I would have alone on the way out. I drove as far as Fernely, and stopped there to sleep. My assumption, possibly correct, was that a big group would leave right after the burn. Those that didn’t would be either having too much fun to want to leave early, or getting some sleep. Thus there would be a gap in the flow between 2am and 5 am. Hence, I was able to slip out without incident and my last memories of Burning Man 2009 are not of sitting in traffic, but instead they are of the majesty that was Burn Night.

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  • Mars says:

    This year was amazingly smooth compared to past years! We hit the road about 7:30 am Monday, after watching one last playa sunrise, and it took barely an hour to reach the pavement.

    I can easily believe there was no wait at all at 4:30 am this year, as Adam mentioned above – but I left around that time the past two years running, and hit at least 2-3 hours of traffic even that early.

    I don’t know if it’s a matter of there being fewer people in the city this year, or of the exodus team figuring out the exact optimal perfect alignment of orange cones, or what, but man, so smooth this year. Major kudos to all involved!

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  • Uncle Mark says:

    Like Adam, we dove into Exodus early Monday AM (~3:45) and the vehicle never stopped moving… less than 30 minutes from 7:00 & DNA to pavement. I was somewhat glad to start Exodus in the wee hours… I hated to leave and slipping out and leaving Home while half asleep and in the dark was less painful. See you all for Metropolis !

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  • jason dave says:

    I missed this year (first time in 10 years). In years past I left early sunday Am (as in before 7). In 08 we left around noon on Sunday (big mistake!!) it took 3 hours to get to 447. Next year we plan on leaving Tuesday early. A campmate did that last year and said it was beautiful to see only a handful of burners on the playa.

    BRC 10!!

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  • Julian says:

    Left lat saturday night, technically 3am sunday morning. No line, no wait, just straight out the gate. Next year however I’ll be staying for the temple burn.

    Carpe Diem et Noctem

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  • Stevador says:

    We left 3:oo @ E at 8am Tuesday and did not stop all the way to the pavement at 8:45. Only about 20 cars passed us clear to Nixon. We did not hurry. See you next year.

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  • Doug says:

    We left the morning after the burn of the Man (Sunday) at 6:00am. There was little traffic and we got out fairly quickly. We saw a truck that had rolled in the ditch and a tow track which was the only delay as we had to go around it. There was emergency vehicles that raced past us on the way out shortly after that, so not sure if it was for that or another accident…..slow down folks!

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  • Matt (Gladiator) says:

    I got out better than Ok. This was my first year and I came out a different person. My first year and I earned the playa name Gladiator. It was a life changing experience. As far as exodus goes, I left Sunday morning and got out just fine. It took about an hour and a half to reach the pavement. Once on the pavement, I was home in a little over an hour (I live in Reno).

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  • Buzz says:

    Left on Monday at about 3:30PM. The exit line was pretty short, 1.5 hours to the pavement, and smooth after that. Hit Reno around 8, Bay Area around 2AM.

    The worst thing was seeing all the trash that had come off of people’s vehicles. I didn’t think it was safe to stop and clean it up otherwise I would have tried.

    On the way back, saw a lot of vehicles swerving a bit. Please people, get a good amount of rest before driving, and stop when you’re tired.

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  • John Kearns says:

    Drove out early Sunday morning. THIRTY(30) minute wait AT THE MOST. Quickest I’ve ever made it out, however, of course I missed the temple burn and had to get up early! Got back to Healdsburg, Sonoma mid afternoon. LOTS of CHP out on 80 west.

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  • David says:

    Left about 5:45am on sunday and had smooth sailing all the way down to LA. I think I just missed an accident though, there were a bunch of emergency vehicles zooming by the opposite direction.

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  • Steve says:

    ISIS is Missing

    … and I’m unable to stop worrying. She’s Brazilian, very tall, thin, mid-20’s, the name pronounced “EE sis.” Her husband and she had a major blowout and he left her on the Playa, nobody has heard from her since that time. If you have information, saw or heard anything, or know where she is, please send to me, steve dot enzer at gmail dot com. We have filed a missing persons report and quite a few people are worried, so this is important, thank you.

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  • Brittany C says:

    Exodus was as smooth as could be this year. in the past leaving between 7-8 am on sunday it has taken from 2-5 hours to get out. This year leaving at 7am, within 25 minutes we were out of Black Rock and on the highway, there was no line or wait, it was perfect. Good job Burning Man!

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  • Mog says:

    This year was about the same for me as last year. Left camp at 7:15am and hit pavement about an hour later. The plan was to leave earlier, but our car-caravan buddy didn’t function well when we woke up from the cold at 5:30am. :) I hope to continue my tradition of packing on Sunday afternoon, attending the temple burn, and departing Monday morning.

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  • ~Ian~ says:

    We left at 8am Monday and were on the highway in no more than an hour, it was amazingly smooth sailing that I never expected…

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  • Sean S. says:

    We left a day early so no problems getting out, hardly any traffic, missed the temple burn but will stay for that next year!!

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  • Mack says:

    We left on Sunday around 6pm and it took us 3 hours to reach the highway.

    I think they should keep it at 2 lanes from the streets the entire way, NO MERGING.

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  • Jelly says:

    My first Burn, my first Exodus. The major traffic stream beginning right after the man burned had me a bit worried. Alas, with a cozy spot to be for Sunday, I took my time packing & the temple burn was swell. At 5 or so am Monday, the inspiration urged my departure. The initial crawl was ok, like easing my being out of this alternate universe. The hardest part was the sleepy waves that began seizing my being. By the time I got to the far side of Reno it demanded a pull over and nap. BUT even there, I met up with some friendly burners. Another happy accident was that the Cali-produce-police just noted my dust and told me to keep moving. Such a relief considering all of the rotting produce stashed in various coolers hidden beneath layers of playafied pilings. It was a wonderfully un-eventful return. YES!!! Awesome times.

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  • Kristin says:

    We headed to the car as the temple was burning, about 20 minutes in. It took us about an hour to get to Gerlach, where we stopped for overpriced snacks, and then we drove for about an hour and a half and arrived in Reno where we stayed the night. Pretty easy.

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  • Anna says:

    I slept through the temple burn, left the playa around 3am Monday morning and hit NO traffic at all. I drove home all the way to the Bay Area, and I was faster then on my way to BM!

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  • char says:

    We left camp at 3:45 and A at around 6:45pm Sunday night. I know, sad to miss the temple burn (again)…and it was about 2 hours to hit the pavement. Four hours total to get to 80. That’s was a big improvement over last year, when I left camp around 3:30pm and hit the pavement as the temple started to burn.

    For the most part people were friendly about letting caravans of cars merge together… except for the guy in the small rental RV that not only ignored frantic waving from cars trying to stay together, but also erratically passed other cars to leap one or two spaces ahead in the line (sometimes dangerously with oncoming traffic). While the person I caravaned with was also in pass-the-slow trucks mode, he was in a passenger car, and not an RV. I can’t emphasize enough the danger created by big vehicles passing long lines of cars.

    BMIR was soothing, and the signal stayed with me farther down the road this year than last.

    I did not see any law enforcement, except for one group on the roadside near Empire. They did have a couple of K9 units that were out in traffic, but seemed to stick to that area.

    Whatever your opinion of cell service at BRC, the fact that I could text with the other people in my caravan during exodus was priceless. Personal responsibility, with everything, is the key to cell use on playa. There are people who couldn’t make it to playa this year who got to feel a bit of the passion and spirit and love through technology. Whether streaming video of the events, or random texts and calls from peeps on playa, it meant a lot to them that some of us used our devices to share and update our loved ones back in the real world.

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  • FireHorse says:

    It seems most folks equate “exodus OK” with not having to waiting in line; while others focus on the extreme OK-ness of drawing BM out while waiting in line. For me, exodus was wrenching and very not OK – and there was no line.
    My travel companions decided without me to leave @4:30am on Monday and almost literally pulled me out of a space I truly did not want to leave at that moment. With 10min to grab my stuff and get in the van, I left BRC angry and in tears. The van never stopped when leaving the playa – even to give our left over food to the DPW folks on the way out (the driver lied and said we “left it all behind”) – and the driver still bitched about how long it was taking and how slow everyone was. During the 14+ hour drive, I was suffering from psychic and emotional “bends” from being pulled out too fast and exposed to angry outbursts from both my travel companions.
    There are definitely healthy ways and harmful ways to leave BRC – and it has everything to do with HOW you ARE when doing it and very little to do with how long it takes.

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  • Chris Romp says:

    Hit the road right after temple burn. It took just under an hour to hit pavement, then mostly smooth sailing all the way back to SF. Definitely not bad compared to what I was prepared for. :)

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  • L Frog says:

    We left Sunday around 5:45 and it took 2 hours to get through the merge. It only took us 20 minutes to catch up with traffic. IT wasn’t that bad, and everyone was on top of it! There was NO traffic stops along the highway once we were on the pavement.

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  • Foxwalker says:

    Left my camp at 9:45 pm Sunday, got to the road in 45 mins, so not bad at all. No delays on the highway other than the usual slow-moving RV’s.

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  • Dori says:

    We left at 7:30 or so on Sunday night. It took us about 4 hours to get to Sparks (about 2 hours for our tires to hit pavement). Our friend who left that night about 2:30 am said it only took him 20-30 minutes to get off the playa. Either way, I felt the whole process was really smooth and I completely agree with the karma comment above. While all lanes were being used, cars merged like a deck of cards as it narrowed.

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  • We left immediately after the temple burn on Sunday night. There was cars as far as the eye can see within exodus and we were pretty much ready for a 3 hour exit. There was multiple people bartering for cigarettes through there windows via cardboard signs and people urinating on the side lanes. Can we say “porta potties?” This was the first year I have left with so many people at the same time and was curious as to how 6 lanes of traffic would dump onto a two lane road. I was thinking traffic control at the mouth of the road, Then it hit me… literally! HARK! A cone knocked out of place in front of a merge sign. AH-HAAA!!! They are merging into one lane! Weird. Should of seen that one coming. Drugs are bad…MM k.

    Anyways, all in all it took 2 hours to hit the county road to Gerlach, not too bad considering the amount of cars exiting. I have to say though, that many cars to I-80 created a lot of unsafe passing in the night. I hope everyone is careful when doing 90 in the oncoming lane to pass 10 cars only to have 100 more in front of you. Be safe burners…. see you next year!

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  • Dzu says:

    I drove away from Center Camp around 10:45am and it took a little over an hour to reach pavement – but that wait was super nice with folks walking around with candies, cookies, tobacco, wipes, etc and dancing around. I told my friend that it would be fun to jump out and drive different cars for a bit and keep switching – until we got closer.

    From the pavement to the highway wasn’t too bad either – though I think some sort of car/bus or van division would make it faster to get folks who can drive faster out of there. A 70 MPH road that is clear for large patches I think would allow for something like this (if we had people conducting traffic for a bit).

    All in all it wasn’t so bad getting back to SF (just about 9 hours) – but much slower than coming in on Monday night (6 hours).

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  • Steve says:

    We got in line at noon on Monday and hit the road by 2. Exodus was extremely well organized this year compared to years past. Each lane moved steadily so there was no illusion that another line was moving faster, which kept everyone in their place.

    Cool neighbors were passing around beverages, food, playing frisbee, bocce, dancing, and keeping it going. God I love that place.

    Cement to highway took a while but it wasn’t stressful. When we’d come to a stop everyone would get out of their cars and interact. The longest delay was waiting for the cook in Empire to finish our Indian Tacos.

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  • Bart says:

    After taking four hours to reach the gate the previous two years, we decided to leave at 4:00 am Monday morning…. _painless_. We reached pavement in 20 minutes, and had smooth sailing home (Menlo Park) despite Bay Bridge closure.

    Much better than the previous years; the whole burn had a much mellower feel to me. About the only problem we ran into was a stolen bicycle (sigh); otherwise we had great friendly neighbors and really enjoyed ourselves. This was my fifth burn and my wife’s first, so I was quite happy that we had such a positive experience.

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  • Christi says:

    We left at 5:30pm on Sunday & got to the gate 2 hours later. There were police & other official-looking vehicles driving like maniacs to our left (in the open playa) who were covering us (and eventually parts of the city) with dust clouds.

    Otherwise, it was a smooth ride. We were offered watermelon by a lovely lady & the porta pots were strategically placed. Not too bad for our first Exodus.

    We planned to leave after the Temple Burn, but once the truck was backed, we were exhausted & ready to hit the road. Next year. . .

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  • sam says:

    Left ~10am Monday. Took a good while to get out. I pulled out of line to charge somebody’s battery for 30 min. with my jumper cables, they had a bad alternator :( several of us told them to drive around the line and get to the road ASAP, sorry if that upset anybody. Once i hit the road it was smooth except for a bad vehicle accident before Empire. It looked like nobody was hurt.

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  • Wendy says:

    I think this was the easiest exodus in the last 8 years I’ve been coming to the event. We left Sunday after the Temple burn and had budgeted about 3 or 4 hours and it took us less than 1. I think you guys did a great job with the clean merging lanes. Job well done to everyone involved. :D

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  • Billy V says:

    Left at 6:30 Sunday morning….straight out without stopping! 1st time ever!

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  • TomKat- 5:40 +G says:

    left at 8am on monday! smooth, not nearly as bad as i heard it would be. just made me wish i could flip a bitch and go back to the playa. : )'( :

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  • melissa says:

    this was the best exodus yet! we left around 10:30am on sunday (pre-temple burn, after much thoughtful consideration) and hit the freeway in just 2 hours. we saw some irritated people, but i just figured that they were first-timers who didn’t know that things were going super quickly compared to years past. two years ago it took us almost 6 hours to hit the pavement. 6 hours. it was really actually totally awful. which i hate to say. but it really was. (that was after leaving around 4 pm on sunday). we should have stayed for the temple burn after all that year. but this year was a breeze! thanks to DPW for helping make this burn my best one yet, exodus included :)

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  • Shreebaby says:

    Exodus was fabulous as I left Tuesday @ Noon. Practically no traffic on the way back to the bay – the weather was gorgeous – never mind the slight tears as I left the playa.

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  • For a rookie to BM you need to clarify some things about what they can expect. Such as, clarifying where they can and can not camp, because when my girlfriend and I arrived about midnight Monday we were totally lost and did not know what to do, where to park and could not see very much because of darkness. We were yelled at by BM security to get out of the road that we could not stop there. We were trying to find someone in their camp who could tell us where to go and park, but got no help at all. I am disabled, can not walk more than 200′ at a time without a wheel chair, and did not get a disabled pass from BM in time so that made it even harder on me. I own a hotel on Ft Lauderdale Beach and deal with the public daily and have to be organized and meet State laws for the disabled. We printed all your guide lines from your web site prior to leaving and read them on the plane, but they are not very clear as to what you do and where to go once you arrive. Also, Rookies need to know to expect 5 lanes of traffic getting in and a long line wait to get through your gates, I believe it would speed traffic up, and help, the traffic tie up if BM were to designate two lanes to only RV’s since you personally go inside and inspect them. This seemed to tie up the entrance for cars for a long time. Cars went through the gates a lot faster than RV’s. While on the topic of RV’s, BM should make it illegal to run the generators after 1-am. The RV behind us ran their Generator all day, with no one inside, and all night. The people next to us in a huge tent got very upset about the night time generator and after 4 days said something to them but it did not work. I then went to them and ask that they shut it off for a while because the carbon Monoxide was making me sick breathing it. Our tent was 10′ from their exhaust pipe and the fumes were really bad at times since our tent was sandwiched in between an RV and much larger tent with this RV behind us. We camped at 6:00 & F, close to the toilets. I also was totally unaware that you could not have an open beer at BM getting in through the gates. This should be posted on your site as well. After a 6.5 hour flight to Reno, renting a car, and going to buy food and driving to BM I needed that cold beer by the time we turned off the Hwy at BM. lol In addition, we missed the turn off after I-80 to the left because it was not marked very well in darkness. Never again would I attend BM without an RV! Sleeping in a tent is just too dusty and I developed allergies to the dust so the last few days were miserable for me so we cut our trip short by two days because of that and my limited ability to walk very far. I plan to return next year but will have an RV, hopefully a BM handicap pass and will be courteous and not run the generator all night and day. In my opinion it is cool enough at night you really don’t need a generator for A/C. It’s truly amazing how organized the event itself is. The toilets were well serviced and the street layout is fantastic. Great job! Thank you BM for a great overall experience! Please accept these comments as only suggestions because I would like to help fellow rookie burners not have to go through some of the tuff times in the beginning that we experienced. I know that BM wants everyone happy and comfortable from the moment they arrive.

    One other thing occurred that you need to know about. Apparently a man served a girl under 18 a drink and the Police busted him and gave him a $1,000 dollar fine. Everyone believes that it was a set up so many people were collecting money to pay the fine. BM may want to scream about this because they do not sell alcohol and since it is a private affair, how can they do this? Many families give their children a sip of wine or allow then to drink at home and as long as it is not sold to a minor I do not understand how this man could be fined for giving away a drink to someone under 18. The girl was only 17 yrs old but people say she looked 21-22 years old. I was not involved in this , I just heard about it and was ask for a donation to help with the $1,000 fine. I did not know either party. What if someone had given her a wood carved dildo as a gift? I am quite sure BM would not want this sort of thing to happen regularly is the only reason I am bringing it to your attention, because I see where it could cause great harm to the event and your burners attendance. What I loved about BM is the freedom to have fun, be free, express one’s self without a bunch of rules and laws, of course as long as your behavior is responsible and you cause no trouble to anyone else.

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  • Andia says:

    We left Hushville at 9am Monday and got to the cement about 10:30am. Not too bad. Last year we left at 7am and it only took 20 minutes to hit the highway. It was a mellow exodus, I fell asleep at 10am and woke up in Cedarville :)

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  • Calamity June says:

    Left camp out on 2o’clock at 11:30am Monday. It took about 4 hours to get onto 447. Many thanks to the kind folks from New Orleans who started a funk-dance party in the lane next to us. It was good to get out and shake it. Also, thanks to the nude sun-bathers on the roof of various RVs. Good stuff.
    There were a few traffic jams on 447, no one hurt that I could tell, just vehicles breaking down, tow trucks stopping traffic while trying to get them out.

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  • Jennifer C says:

    This was my first burn and I was a guest. It is at this time that not only we were running out of gas, others spotting the gas cans on the back of our RV mistakenly thought we might have gas and we got several requests. Using the gas for the generator and idling in lanes to leave can leave you a bit low.

    Then we actually did run out of gas. After getting more gas the stater died. We got a tow to Fresno at 2AM and my boyfreind replace the starter in the Walmart parking lot on Labor day. Thank you for being open Pep Boys.

    We did make it and hope everyone else did too!

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  • seven says:

    Made it out ok, but DPW’s ATTITUDE SUCKS! They always change the entire vibe of the city. I understand that they all ban together and feel a different kind of community because they are the DPW but their elitist attitude really ruins exodus. They ALWAYS treat everyone else in the city like crap as soon they take over. I’m willing to just accept that they are too lame to appreciate the rest of the citizens as the sole reason why they get to have a community of their own at all, but what really urked me is that then they have the gall to ask for donations from the very people that they talk shit about every year. I for one will NOT drop off remaining goods that they can use unless their spirit collectively changes. I encourage every playazin to do the same.

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  • Lisa Quinn says:

    It took just over two hours to get from my camp site to the road on Sunday morning – I left around 10:30 and got to Gerlach at about 12:45…

    Most definitely NOT as bad as I had feared but still a bit longer than I had appreciation for…

    All in all – a PERFECT 1st Burn Experience!!

    P E A C E !!

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  • Smiley says:

    2007 – 3 hours – Left Sunday around noon
    2008 – 4 hours – Left Sunday around 10:30 AM (I think)
    2009 – 1 hour! – Left Sunday around 9:20 AM

    Wow! I was fully expecting a long ass wait and was pleasantly surprised with less than one hour from camp to pavement. Maybe we timed it right or maybe it was just all around smooth getting out. Good job to those who make it happen. Greatly appreciated. This made my exodus bright and cheery.

    However, as Universe likes to balance itself out, we did have a 3 or so hour wait to get IN this year, whereas we normally spend 1 hour or so. So I guess it all evens out. (inxodus?)

    Had a great time this year.

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  • Carol says:

    Our Exodus went very well. The weather was mild and the dust was down. It seemed to take the same amount of time to reach the hwy as when we have left on Sunday. We left the city around 9 – 9:30 a.m. and reached the pavement around 11. It didn’t seem like it took that long. We occupied our time talking about the week, watching the surounding activities and talking about “wait till next year”.

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  • Leo Landau says:

    Got in line at 11am on monday, by 12:30 we were on the pavement. But about a half an hour later, south of Gerlach, there was an accident. A SUV towing a travel trailer fishtailed and flipped on it’s side. I got through ok, but the people behind had to wait for a while. I sure hope those people in the accident survived.

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  • Steffi Elle says:

    We left just after the Temple collapsed… it was hard to leave as the ceremony was still going on, but it was worth it: it only took us half an hour to get to the pavement and then smooth sailing! … Until I realized that I was heading south on 447 instead of north. Waaahhh!!! We ended up adding 2 hours to our 9 hour travel time back to Portland. Tragic enough… but all’s well cuz I had an amazing and inspiring time, and I’m still reeling from it.

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  • JV says:

    We left at 1pm on Sunday and got to the highway at 3:10. Two hours ain’t bad, compared to the 4 hour nightmare in 2007. However, traffic to Gerlach was really bad, it took another hour or so just to make it into town. After that it was smooth sailing.

    There must be a better way of getting people on and off the playa. Festivals with a larger attendance and shorter duration seem to be able to do it. There is the 3-mile entrance, perhaps that could be used. Still, not a bad experience this year at all; as usual, people don’t stop the love until we hit the pavement.

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  • jennifercrimson says:

    We made it out on Sunday morning and it took about an hour to reach the road. We did however come across a very bad accident and our thoughts go out to the burners involved. Our hope is that they made it out okay as it has plagued our minds since seeing the devastation on the road. Much love and well wishes to all involved and all our burner family members. This burn was magical.

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  • ZapWestin says:

    I had the best exodus of my life.
    It was a longer line than I’d expected for a Monday afternoon departure, but I just got out and hung out in the line and soaked up those last precious hours of burning man…people gave me snacks and drinks and I brought them amusement…it was a delight! Plus it gave me a great chance to escape the grumpy campers in my car!

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  • Fixit says:

    We got out just fine. We left just before the temple burn. All we could think about was getting a hamburger and a drink. We were not so surprised but elated to find a nice crew of people posted on the right side of the playa road handing out, u guessed it, burgers and drinks. We pulled over and it was amazing. I even got to go give some to some burners in their cars on the way out. Thank you so much! It was the perfect gift at the end of a draining week. Anybody else see how giraffes are killing 30 species a day? Laughed my butt off.


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  • Buttercup says:

    Best exodus in years! Left early on Monday and was back to Reno in 3 hrs! Great work to everyone out there. Don’t know if you hear it enough, but you all really rock and should be gifted with many kisses and hugs from all for all your hard work. I also noted that the people leaving early Monday seemed calm and more relaxed. Not sure if that was to do with the cool air or the peace that comes over you after the temple burn, but it was a nice feeling as I left my playa home and headed back to the concrete.
    Dusty Hugs to all!

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  • cook says:

    we left tuesday morning to no traffic. few people. lots of cops along the way but we caravaned with with a total of 3 big vehicles and we stayed at 55 the whole way back to the bay area. no problems, no worries.
    watching the mass exodus from afar was very entertaining as we’ve all been there done that. got in a great day of frisbee instead. =-)

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  • StephenJr says:

    well after 10 mins of leaving, which i figure was about a 30 minute wait from beginning to end, i fell asleep but for the most part very smooth ona monday morning about 12:15 am so i guess its not all bad lol

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  • GUruonthePLaya says:

    After 7 years, I finally had enough sense to stop in Reno “out of the way” from going home. Although this added time to my overall commute to Eugene, it was the BEST EXODUS EVER.
    The drastic environmental differences between the hotel spa and the BRC playa made it feel like I had died and went to heaven. We spent about 36 hours in luxury before hitting the road well rested (and surprisingly richer!)
    Interestingly- we spent most of the drive brainstorming fundraising for our camp before finally realizing that we have evolved to a brand new paradigm for that is much more intimate. Cant wait for next year- I love all of you burners!

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  • Tman says:

    Made it out of the Playa after about an hour and a half in line early Monday afternoon. Got to the Hiway and was pretty smooth until hitting a 1 mile backup. Somebody rolled their truck and trailer onto the left side of the road to Gerlach. I hope nobody was seriously injured but even so that has to be a crappy way of ending the week.

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  • Janet says:

    This was my first burn. I cried as we drove across the playa, leaving the city, leaving home. I will be back next year.

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  • georgette says:

    we had the best exodus. we left 5:30am on Sunday morning, there were a few cars, but never a line. not a lot of dust kicked up, and smooth sailing all the way through.
    another marvelous year :)

    However on our departure, getting closer to the highway, there was a string of fire trucks, ambulances and such storming back in the direction to the playa. we hope whoever was involved in that accident is doing well, and knows that there are lots of family members sending love and energy and thoughts to them. :)

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  • Jooooolia says:

    Exodus wasn’t completely horrible this year. Most people didn’t realize that the signs saying “Use All Lanes” was telling the truth. There was a lot of back-up mid-way to the gate, but once people started to see people in the other lanes it went smoothly. We left Sunday night after the Temple burn. Our difficulties happened on the highway when our timing belt broke. But otherwise, great Exodus.

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  • danibel says:

    Woke up at 6:15am on Monday. My sister and I took about an hour and half to take down the shade tent and pack the van (drank coffee too!). We left our campsite after a final MOOP sweep about 8am. Hit the pavement at 8:50am. I thought 50 minutes to get off the playa was nice. Smooth sailin’ into Gerlach, cept for when the idiot ahead of us with NO BRAKE lights on his trailer and decided to flip a U right in the middle of nowhere. Thank goodness the rental van had great brakes! 2 hours to Reno… and a very strange surreal experience of eating at the Circus Circus Cafe while waiting for a room.
    This was my first year and I am happy to not be a virgin anymore. I had a GREAT burn! I met awesome people and I can’t wait to go home next year.

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  • AG says:

    we left Sat afternoon. very easy cruise all the way to 80. I miss the playa! def will stay till monday/tuesday next year and help clean up.

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  • Anniehum says:

    This year I stayed for the Temple Burn. I left VWBusCamp 3-H around 11 pm the line was really long so I pulled over and slept till 12:45. Made it to the highway in about 30 minutes. Drove to the top of the first hill towards Eagleville and slept till 7 am… Great Exodus this year. Usually takes me 3 hours on Sunday noonish… Glad i stayed for the Temple this year.
    I am Playafied and Satisfied…

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  • Vanilla Slice says:

    Curious to know what my odds are of finding someone who managed to steal my breath away just moments before leaving the playa on sunday afternoon. Our exodus went pretty well, was really entertaiining and not quite as long as i expected. Met lots of amazing burners! Was offrered lots of refreshments and even the odd snack. One burner i met stuck out like no other! She was in a sliverish ford explorer from washington and we waved at each other and then blew kisses at each other and then moments later she was at my drivers window and gave me the lightest sweetest kiss i’ve ever had and walked back to her vehicle. I was so stunned and breathless i couldnt even speak and before i had the chance i lost her. Someone please help me identify this amazing woman! We were in the VW jetta covered in graffiti!

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  • I started packing up Sunday at sunrise. Got going at about 8-ish. It took less time to get out than it did to get in. Practicalyl just drove straight out without stopping.
    The early bird gets the worm. Didn’t have problems until i got to Yosemite due to the fire.

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  • Dr. Playa says:

    Sorry to let my egoic mind chime in but…. it was awesome to see the same guy who decided to create his own lane when only two were open and then passing people on the highway getting a big FAT ticket on the side of the road. Karma will always get cha.

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  • HowlerBat aka Tina says:

    Getting out on Sunday evening was not bad at all. We got a hamburger given to us before we even made it to the traffic line. That was delicious! Then once in line we got Otter pops and a nice chap poured me a glass of red, even giving me the wine glass. I met more cool people while inching along in our lane. A lovely lady was dancing in the dusty road during the traffic stops. There was a porta-potty just when I needed one. We got to see the sunset and listen to Playa radio. Everyone seemed to be happy and chill. As virgin burners … who basically stumbled into the BM scene a week earlier in the middle of the night … we are feeling high and energized and very alive. I wouldn’t have liked to speed out of there. It was nice getting to slowly stretch away from the greatest show on Earth. Why hurry? We miss it … except for the dust. My face burned all evening after getting my pores packed with it from taking down camp. Oooohhh weee, the shower later that night ranks with best experiences ever. Thanks you wunnerful wild woolly people! I’m stoked for next year!

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  • Matt Falconer says:

    We drove out before the Temple burn. I miss seeing it. Leaving has usually caused some sadness. Not this time. It took 1 1/2 hours. Even still I considered riding my motorcycle next year so I could go through the traffic. Is that cheating?

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  • Stray Dog says:

    When my friend was leaving he tried to squeeze behind his bro’s truck, but the dude driving the bus was not having that. The dude just hit the gas, smashed right into my bro’s car lifting the corner off the playa and dragging his car several feet. Thousands of $ of damage all over nothing. I guess when it’s time to go some people leave the Burning Man spirit far behind. Too bad. We had a great burn!

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  • I had such a negative experience with the 2006 exodus that I swore I’d never do it again.

    I must have been in a crowd of non-burners, it was like the 101 freeway at rush hour. Just awful, with my mine already in a fragile state I retreated back to the playa and stayed the night. Next day it was a much easier drive home.

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  • Eric the Fledgling Sparrow says:

    It’s great to hear how the process of Exodus has improved over the last number of years. My group just avoided the whole thing. We stay until Tuesday. No lines, nio waiting, and then just a short drive to Alturas, where we spent the night. It’s an easy transition to the default world and also gives us extra MOOP time.

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  • RaineFX says:

    SOMEONE DIDN’T MAKE IT OUT OKAY! A whilte pickup was Upside down Sunday Morning and Care Flight Took them away just as we where pulling up…bout 1/2 mile from the Playa! And lots of White Vans passing people causing some to drift off the road..almost causing more head on accidents…otherwise we made it out just fine..besides having to get a jump..but this delayed us which was better cause I enjoyed the Sunrise on the Playa!

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  • Glow says:

    We woke up early on Sunday and finally got the car going at 10:30am. It took us 90 minutes to get from our campsite at 4:30 & Genome to the paved road, but it wasn’t stressful at all and everyone was cool about taking turns merging and not speeding too badly.

    Except for one car, which jumped outside of the flagged path and sped along the right side of the dirt road, passing everyone who was waiting in line. That was a frustrating thing to see, as we all wanted to hit the road as soon as possible, but here we were waiting patiently. I had hoped to see this guy (or gal) stopped at the gate or forced to go to the back of the line, but by the time we got to the highway he was long gone. Alas. ;)

    There didn’t seem to be any heavy traffic heading north on 447 as we set off for Seattle. This was our first burn, and after reading about and preparing ourselves for the dreaded Exodus, we were quite pleased with only a 90 minute wait and then traveling at speed once on the road. Good times =)

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  • Patricia says:

    I had an interesting walk up and down the cars Monday night. Unfortunately I lost my cell phone. Anyone find one? Pink slide phone, with headphones attached.

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  • Awesome says:

    I left around 4AM on Monday morning, well after the temple had fallen.

    The only stopping that I did was to pick up a fellow burner at the gate who wanted a ride to Reno.

    The only challenge was maintaining my focus after seven days on the play. I was exhausted, but I made it all the way to Reno in record time. No hangups in traffic on the way back. Not a one.

    Stopped for a chai outside of Gerlach.


    Love you all my friends, see you next year!

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  • moesy says:

    We left on Monday morning, around 7 a.m. – it was a little less than an hour from the “greeter gates” to the road. While the ride was smooth, it was disappointing to encounter some drivers that felt they were in more of a hurry than the rest of us.

    After some unpleasant jockeying with an angry man in rv with trailer attached, we made it to the road and our Exodus was complete!

    Thank you everyone for your dedicated, hard work, we will be home again next year. And I can’t wait!


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  • Dave needs a Playa name says:

    I had a great Exodus. To be fair, this was my first Burn… and I didn’t want to leave!

    My buddies left Monday in the early afternoon after we were all packed and ready to go. I knew I would stay somewhere in Reno Monday night, so I was in no hurry and stuck around. I took a last bike ride, did some MOOPing, then took a nap in my car until 6:30pm. I got to enjoy one last sundown while waiting in line: about 2.5 hours to pavement. It could have been longer… I was happy to have a little more time on the Playa with everyone else. And what an amazing thing to see all the dirty cars with funky bikes traveling down 395 (back to LA, for me) on Tuesday. That helped with the transition. Oh, and my friends that left hours before me? The got to pavement at the same time I awoke from my nap!

    BTW, as amazing as the shower felt that night, I got a little emotional and didn’t want to wash off my Playa dust. Is it Next Year yet?

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  • Explissa says:

    This was, by the far, the smoothest Exodus ever of all the BMs I’ve attended (fifth one). It took us only 90 minutes to hit pavement according to my friend driving (I was passed out for about 80 minutes of that :) I agree with other posters – folks really should be cognizant of their physical state before driving…my friend and I had a convo the night before to determine who was driving and if there would be any shared duties to ensure we were safe on the road.

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  • kirstenflower says:

    i left monday morning around 6am. it took me 20 minutes to hit the pavement and was off and running to reno in less than 2 hours!!!! timing is everything. see you guys next year.

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  • Michelle says:

    Left at the worst time possible (noon on Sunday) and had my shortest Exodus ever: 2 hours! Better every year :)

    Psssssst, by the way…porta potties strategically placed along the waiting zone would be helpful.

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  • xhoosier says:

    we made it out but it was a bit scary. First the temp gauge went to the top, the check engine light went on and my dash lights went out. About 3 hours later after driving about 60 miles on 80 it wall seemed to fix itsewlf. That dust is something else.

    This was my first year and must say that I found it amazing. I made new friends and did things that I would never do in the outside world. I look forward to 2010!!

    Thanks everyone for a wonderful time and especially to all of the workers who brought it together and will be taking it apart after we left!!!!

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  • Shyamala says:

    We were blown away by the hoard of dancing spirits leaving the Temple as it burned. We slept in our cardboard castle (hexayurt) (most comfortable housing on the playa!) and then packed up Monday morning. We made it down to Center Camp for lastdaycoffee (Thank you!Thank you! coffee volunteers!). I was happy to be able to offer Tarot readings to the Monday stragglers in Center Camp. We were among the last out of Center Camp when it shut down at 3 pm Monday. We were already packed up so we went directly to the departing line-up, donating our remaining baby coconuts to our awesome BlackRock Ranger camp (and thus creating footroom for Kiiya!)on the way. Sitting in the 2 1/2 hour line to the gate, we were most grateful to the man who drove up with two portapotties on a trailer and joined the pilgrimage to that most-appreciated element of playa life, the sanitary station!
    As we sat in our normally-blue but currently playa-colored SUV with the hexayurt folded on top, Kiiya asked me to do a tarot reading for her, something that I had not had time to do during the festival, as I was so busy reading for others. It felt important to both of us to do it while still on the actual playa, where there is some kind of incredible energy vortex. She drew the cards one by one and I stacked them to read as there was no place to spread them out in the vehicle. All of a sudden I switched from wanting to get through the line to hoping we would slow down enough to complete the reading while still on the playa, which just barely happened! It ended up being the most amazing spread of the week and is leading to a whole new career/artisitic direction for her. I was blown away by it and I have been reading cards since 1996. The playa is amazing, Burning Man is amazing, and we can’t wait to come home again in 2010.
    In Gerlach we were delighted to find VEGAN Thai and Indian food at the roadside! We bought gas in Wadsworth and suddenly were exhausted and barely made it to Sparks to get a room for the night. We took showers morning and night! In Reno next day we invested in a storage locker for our hexayurt so it will be already for 2010, and discovered Terrible’s car wash which for $19 did a fine job of vacuuming the inside and washing the outside.
    Now back in LA, feeling homesick………

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  • Philipp says:

    Five of us had a blast, first time burners, totally loved it even with nasty sand storms. We got the RV rollin’ toward the exit by about Sunday 10:00 AM and it took us about 1 hour and 15 min or so to get to the pavement.

    Not like heading in on Monday , we left Reno Sunday on the midnight hour and we finally set camp at 9:00 AM. It was caterpillar movement from Reno to BRC, every 10 miles, engine shut down, wait (sleep) 20 to 30 min, then drive another 10 miles, shut down engine again, power nap again….some didn’t wake up so we had to drive around their vehicles.
    It’s all good in da hood!

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  • Rakel says:

    Two hours is nothing when you’re with the right people, and how could you not be when you’re in BRC!?
    Myself and two friends were planning to leave Monday 4am..but once sobering up and resting enough to drive, we we’re out around noon :)
    Once hitting pavement, I was sad to see the amount of garbage that was flying off of peoples vehicles,
    it seemed almost impossible that there would be no trace..but thankyou DPW for sweeping the streets afterwards.
    Before hitting Gerlach, there was heavy congestion on the road.. so I decided to get out and have a cigarette..
    my friend Sparkle got out too, for a quick stretch. We thought we could walk beside the truck as it crept fourth, but soon realized the traffic was clearing past us.
    We lost the truck. We walked.
    I was barefoot, Sparkle had just been released from med-tent.
    We walked.
    Some people said hello, others said we’re crazy.
    We walked.
    Finally our driver noticed how damn far back we were, she pulled over.
    Our caravanning team joined her.
    They waited, as we walked.
    An RV slowed, offered me a pair of sandals and a bottle of water.
    They drove us to our patient friends, thanks for the ride!
    With no explaination for our stupidity, we hopped back in the truck and we all drove on.
    Sparkle, I can’t believe we walked!!
    xox BM

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  • I ended up getting left (accidentally!) by two planned rides. Thankfully, I had a feeling this would happen, I wasn’t too worried about it though because I knew so many people from my state (CO) there, both from before and at BM. I ended up hooking up with the WONDERFUL people at The Seed, who are mostly from Denver. They said If I helped tear down camp I could ride, so I stayed until Tues. afternoon tearing down and MOOPing. That was the easy part. We got the heavily overloaded Fudget Truck and RV to REno alright. After that… bikes became dislodged from the roof of the RV, the tranny broke, we completely lost power… we ended up being towed by the Fudget most of the way on one cheap rachet strap with pretty much no brakes and no hazards. We met so many angels who stopped to help us, and of course they had to ask what all of us still playafied gypsies were doing with so many decorated bikes and a furred RV… we of course explained as best we could and showed off the Burning Book.

    Safe to say there will be a few more angels at BRC next year.

    Oh yeah, and we almost died an hour out of Denver. HOLY MUTHAF**KING S**T that was terrifying! We didn’t get back until afternoon Thursday.

    But… even though I wasn’t originally part of The Seed, I am now. We became such strong family on that harrowing EXODUS!

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  • Driana says:

    Well,….ermm….ahem….it was my first year and I gave one of the Tuna Guys a ride. I was so tired after staying up all night after Temple burn and then helping break down camp and MOOPing more than all of the other virgins in my camp combined that I was in no shape to drive away. Boy, was that a good thing as the Tuna Guys hosted a FEAST for the stragglers and a lot of DPW folks were there raging it as well. Since I was in the mindset of being a Ranger in the future I felt a sense of ownership and responsibility to help out as many people as I could and pick up as much MOOP as I could haul out of there in my already packed vehicle (i.e. any excuse not to leave).

    I was absolutely appalled seeing peoples whole camps deserted….not just a trash bag or two, but WHOLE>>>>FRIGGIN>>>>>CAMPS!!!! Tents set up, bikes next to the tents, trash inside and outside of the tents….messes! I don’t want to not be able to return to the playa because of these weekend warriors who don’t respect the land and don’t care about the leave no trace policy. I was told that the BLM standards for a plot the size of ours (which was Happy Camp merged with 2-3 other small camps….4-420&C) is that all of the MOOP should fit on a space no larger than a postcard! Just to give you an idea, we had a full sized school bus, like 5 or 6 big trucks, maybe 10-15 cars and a friggin semi on our plot…not including shade structures, tents etc…A POSTCARD!!!!! People need to step up and get some MOOP patrols going. Maybe some sort of accountability/registration to make sure people don’t leave Extreme MOOP messes…my brain is working on some ideas…..I digress.

    Anyways, so on Tues I woke up at 9am ready to leave, but first I wanted to look for my wallet (which I never found) and go back to Tuna Camp and get some coffee. Well, a few cups o’ Joe and pancakes, fruit, and bacon later I met a very nice young lady and we didn’t want each other to leave. After lunch……..hehehe

    Me and my Tuna Guy pal left about 4pm on Tues after his repeated offers to leave me with her and take my car home for me if I could figure out how to get to home on my own. We went to Gerlach and stopped for a bite to eat and then headed back to Portland. I got a wee bit teary with Disintegration playing as we drove off playa…..wishing I was already a Ranger, a part of DPW, or perhaps able to detour to Sacramento where my new friend was from.

    oh! I also wanted to stop along the roads to pick up the MOOP onthe sides of the highways…..and PLEASE someone tell me that the abandoned trailer packed full of gear and bikes that I saw along the road was returned for……did someone seriously just abandon a whole friggin trailer of crap on the side of the road……REALLY?


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  • Willie Whippet says:

    I had the great joy of leaving on tues morning early with my great friends who were fighting a bad case of stomach flu. We left with the sun rising behind us and a grateful smile on our face having had one o f the best years after a few years off. I look forward to coming home again in 2010 and bringing a few virgins with me to sacrifice to the playa. See you next year.

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  • The problem with Exodus is that so many people drop out of playa character once they are back in their cars.

    Burning Man is now over for them, and it’s right back into the default world of somehow not understanding that a line of cars is just that – a line.

    For somebody who just lived a great week, being forced to suffer jerks can be an emotionally crushing blow, it is not the way to finish Burning Man. You wonder why those people even came.

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  • Mr Moose says:

    Left Monday this year. At the buttcrack of dawn. And everything went alright. Got out smoothly.
    Except for the emotional part.
    This was my third year and exodus is getting harder and harder. This year I started getting all watery eyes and near panic attacks at the thought of one year of default world ahead of me. BMIR made it a little easier but still… How is this gonna be next year?

    Mr Moose

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  • Mistress Lumina says:

    I was amazed that on Monday it took about 2.5 hours to get out from 3:15 and Hominid! I was happy that it was so smooth. However, what totally FREAKED me out was the inconsiderate, driving too fast and passing on the way from Gerlach to Wadsworth! I was scared to death! I got 25 miles out of Gerlach and there was a nasty roll-over. Then, right outside of Wadsworth, someone went through the guard rail and down the embankment.
    I have been going to BM since 1996 and I am so upset with the way people drive after such an amazing week. Don’t you want to LIVE to come back again??

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  • piko! says:

    we left monday morning around 6am, picking up two girls at the gate. they were left behind by their campmates, and seeking rides.
    with space for two, they hopped in, and we headed out. drying their tears, they quickly fell asleep.
    it took a quick 20 minutes to slowly glide off the playa to the blacktop.

    we made the drive without incident, or delay.
    dropped the girls off in roseburg, oregon.
    next stop, portland. techno blasting, eyes on the road, heart soaring. memories to keep and friendships to keep.

    waiting a few days to wash my van, trailer, & bike, the playa is now again part of my driveway. the playa never really washes off.

    feet now fully recovered. hands still need time, since trailer’s interior has yet to be cleaned. in due time.

    peace to all,


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    Our convoy of 10 departed at 0745 Monday after enjoying a temple ash sunrise and

    some of us even managed to squeeze in a final cup of chai as we made our way home

    for exodus.

    Suprisingly and thankfully it was the best Exodus Ever!

    We were on the paved road in about 45 – 50 minutes!

    845 in Gerlach / Empire
    1000am in Reno!!!


    A mellow, safe and Blessed Exodus.

    Thank you DPW Orange Cone Crew and all involved!

    I have had six hour exodus’ to Empire before and learned my lesson to git out around sunrise and not sleep in and pack out in the hot post noon sun.

    So thankful we got our last sunrise and chai in before departure!!!


    Lesson Learned for next year 2010!!!

    VJ Medican
    Camp Americalien
    9:45 / Adapt

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  • Hotsprings Tim says:

    Since I have an inordinate fear of traffic jams I skipped the Man Burn this year and left at 7:30 Sat. morning. Only slowed at the gate to say bye and give a friendly hitchhiker a ride to Reno. Absolutely no traffic on 447, which is really a lovely drive early morning or late afternoon. in 2007 I drove it in the dark for the land rush Sun. midnite and it was a terrifying and dangerous ordeal. A solid line of weaving overloaded vehicles with sleep deprived drivers from Fernley to the gate. Never again. This year was the most stress free ever.
    My last tip– stay off I-80 altogether. I went around Pyramid Lake, up 395, over to Sierra Hotsprings, and then down 49 thru the Gold Country, 20 to Marysville, then down the levee roads to the Bay Area. Minimal traffic, beautiful scenery, a great soak and swim, altogether an enjoyable journey rather than a stressful ordeal. Make Burning Man a part of your well-balanced vacation.

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  • Adam McGuckin says:

    Exodus was very smooth this year. This was the first time since my cherry popping that I stayed on Sunday. We had a great day party at 4 and A, but stopped when the temple burned. We left early around 430 am and made it out without traffic, and then slept about 30 mile from the playa, this worked out the best I recommend this strategy for exodus. Watch the temple burn then leave early its easy I promise. And you can still gift to DPW they are still out asking for beer. Only down fall is the Indian Tacos are not open at that early hour. Till we come home next year.

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  • jason dave says:

    One more thing guys…

    PLEASE sober up before you leave. Lots of drugs still are in your system, even after the effects have worn off. i usually leave Sunday AM, and dont “partake” after Friday night/Saturday AM.

    I have been burning since 2000 (and in 96), and have always seen fellow burners in bad accidents on 447. Every year. It really smacks the reality back in you after an amazing week.

    So give yourself at least 24 hours of sobriety before the default world calls you away…

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  • judi bailey says:

    This was my 5th year and the exodus was smooth..left at 7p.m. Sunday and hit the highway at 8:45. My very best kept secret is that I drive over to Sutcliff on Pyramid Lake and spend a heavenly night at the RV park. In the morning I have access to showers and Crosby’s serves hot coffee! The serenity and the beauty of the Lake are icing on the cake that is the Playa.
    Please…always drive with great caution and with thoughts of the safety of your fellow Burners and other creatures of the night.

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  • Pinkpank says:

    Three playa newbies who came to visit several veteran burners in various camps. Arrived Monday evening to sandstorms and ~2 hour entry delay, only frustration was that we kept running into very large “reserved” areas even outside the theme camp reserves. Obviously didn’t want to wake up and have to move camp on Tuesday. Settled at 6:05 and H.3. Exodus on Monday @ noon, took about 2 hours to pavement, and a few delays totaling ~1 hour extra due to broken down bus and previously mentioned rolled SUV/trailer. Also didn’t want to go >55mph to avoid losing stuff strapped on roof and add to the mounds of garbage already adorning the side of the road (amazing – who loses whole garbage bags w/o noticing or picking it up?!?). Arrival in Reno ~5pm. Amazing experience, we’ll be back!

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  • Green Monkey says:

    My 7th Burn, my husbands 1st. We are still married and he never once complained. Because he was a newbie I let him decide when we’d be leaving.

    We left 7:35 and I at 11:35 am on Sunday. We hit the main road at 1:27. I don’t mind the slow bump out as long as I can listen to Black Rock Radio – its a sad moment when the static leaves you no choice but to turn the dial.

    Luckily we did not have trash stored INSIDE the car. If you do, the wait is unbearable.

    In the perfect playa world 2 things would happen..
    1. trash dumping area inside the orange fence available only when exiting (hell, I’d pay $5 a bag
    2. for those of you that tie your shit on top of the car or rv a separate exit line so someone (hell ya, I’d volunteer) can check to make sure your shit is secure.

    its sad when you drive away from this beautiful wasteland and see peoples waste all over the side of the road.

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  • Stache says:

    My two friends and I left on Monday at about noon and got to the pavement by 2:45. While sitting in the back of the jeep, I found some waterguns that my friend had brought but never got around to using. We also had a TON of extra water that the DPW (or anyone else) wouldn’t take. I filled up the guns and started blasting my friends. The waterfight spilled out of the car and a few awesome strangers got involved for most of the crawl out. Running around squirting people in the baking sun, sharing good times, it was a perfect end to our first Burn. Thank you all for an incredible experience.

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  • jesusLizard says:

    On my last exodus a car just to the side broke down, and a gal in front of them and I stopped to help. After getting them going we proceeded to have the most fascinating and intimate conversation of the whole event in 3 minute/50ft intervals. stop get out, talk, line moves get in move 50 ft, rinse and repeat. Maybe it was that blissful state or maybe the connected anonymousness ??? Don’t know but it was a BEAUTIFUL connection that has been maintained since.

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  • Playa Tom says:

    I have flagged traffic for Exodus for several years and this year was the smoothest I have experienced. Tiki Bob and Blue Cross the Exodus managers have done an outstanding job and deserve our thanks.
    I left at noon on Tuesday and had a very easy drive out, hitting the pavement in less than half an hour.

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  • kath says:

    Our first burn.in late on wed so was in 645 and j but had a wonderful time. Missed the burn because due to the huge storm we were unable to leave the tent due to inability to see, then got 2 other burners who were lost in our tent and helped them find their way…..didn’t hear what time the burn would be so missed it, slept a little then left at 3am no probs getting out but would have loved to know if the burn was taking place and what time other than the radio
    next year will be better informed……….great job on the potties though…

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  • Sounds like Exodus was mostly better than prior years. Since procedures were not too different I attribute much of that to the smaller population and economy. We had about a 100 minute experience at 9am Monday. Much of it was just the slow drive along the long gate road — the packed merging section was not that long but did take plenty of time.

    Many years ago an experiment was done with “staging lots” at the peak times. People would park in a staging lot, wait there for the wait time, and then when flagged all drive out at once, no merging, no stop-and-go. But it was never done again, was it found to be a failure, or just too labour intensive?

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  • Nico says:

    We left left our campsite Monday around 9:45 and hit the highway a little over an hour later! In previous years I usually left mid-day Sunday and spent hours cursing and kicking my stalled car in the blazing heat, so it was nice to get on the road quickly with no trouble.

    I would describe the exodus drivers as aggresively fair: nobody was shy about hitting the gas or the brakes to maintain one-car-at-a-time merging, caravan or no caravan. That’s ok – I met up with the others in my group a few miles down the road.

    I wish we had room in the car for someone by the side of the road in need of a ride. How did these people fare? Were any still stuck there after all the cars were gone?

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  • G-Spot says:

    Does anyone track accidents on Exodus days? We saw several on Sunday morning. It might be worthwhile for Burning Man to obtain details (date/time/severity) from the Highway Patrol and publish them before the 2010 Burn as a warning to all about being certain to be well-rested, sober and drug free before leaving the playa. It is a real downer to see smashed and burned-out vehicles on your way to Gerlach from the playa.

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  • Burn the Medic says:

    Exit was as it always is.. which is why I take the long leisurely route across the dirt and stop in at Pyramid lake.

    My question: When will we come together as a community and stop throwing trash bags on the side of the freeway. 1/4 mile away from Playa and the trashbags start appearing. Leave no trace means.. take it all the way to a proper receptacle.

    “Shame is often a more powerful force than virtue” – Lee Harvey.
    So start shaming your fellow burners into keeping their trash.

    oh.. and can ya’ll make it easier on us ESD folks.. Drink more water.. PLEASE..

    Have a nice day!

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  • Mack'n says:

    My wife and I (and a number of campmates) opted to delay leaving until Tuesday, and it was well worth it. The chaos of the Burn dwindled into a saner camping trip, we indulged on many gifted treats given by those lightening the load for Exodus (many of which we then passed onto DPW). After breaking camp, we were treated to “Playa breakfast of epic proportions” by neighbors, and left in the early afternoon- it was impressive to realize that driving playa speed limit meant roughly a half hour to pavement with only a handful of other cars, but it was still much nicer than previous Exodii.

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  • Sunshine says:

    Considering time is a man-made concept that I don’t buy into, we left on the last day of the event ~ perhaps it was Monday, Sept 8th, but not really sure. We left our camp site, hit a porta potty, then made it 2 blocks when someone still sitting in their campsite (complete with welcoming firepit!) offered us baked potatos as we drove by. Having not had dinner yet, then looking over toward the exodus line, we pulled right in and joined them.

    Ah, one last Playa connection before departing until next year. We spent the better part of the late night evening with them, snacking on baked potatos, spicy sausage, and drinking our water and coffee. Whoever they were, thank you! We loved your ‘parting hospitality!’

    Once we headed out, we actually checked the time . . . strictly for nastalgia purposes, of course . . . and it was 11:40pm. We had made it a full 8 days on the Playa!!! There was no line to wait in, no departing crowds, and nearly all the signs that once lined the exit road were gone (where do those go?).

    Once we got to the highway, we were immediately met by two huge semi’s going about 80,000 mph past us on the highway. Shocked by their violent pace, we sat there at the exit to the highway for a long time wondering if we really even wanted to leave. Once the right moment arrived, we entered the highway and began our journey home to San Diego.

    Our first intended stop was Bishop; this would have been half way home for us . . . but we made it as far as Reno and checked in to the Grand Sierra Resort where there was a fantastic AfterBurn party going on. For $49 per night, we showered, slept, and bought clean clothes as if we were experiencing them for the first time. Did I mention I hit it big (twice!) on penny slot machines that paid for our entire three night stay, meals, and new outfits? Oh yeah, the Source is good to us and gifted us with a beautiful three day transition between our new home, the Playa, to our beach home in Ocean Beach, CA.

    Thank you, Burning Man, for transforming our lives with 100% pure love and light. I have yet to find the words epic enough to tell our OBcean neighbors what exactly we experienced. . . how does one share life transforming Evolution into words?

    We’ll see you next year in Metropolis! Until then, I wish you peace and love.

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  • Yellowdog says:

    We left at 1 pm on Monday, 2 hours to blacktop. Much better than the year (2006?) the road was closed at Gerlach by people trying to get gas. This year we were queried on the way in by Sheriffs to ensure we had enough gas to make it out. Good idea.

    On exodus, each lane moved sequentially, but equally. Every time it seemed like everyone else was moving except us, we would move up to the same neighbor-cars we began with. Big kudos! Once we reached blacktop, it took 3 hours to I-80, due to a burner trailer rollover accident about a mile ahead of us (no ambulance, everyone walking around).

    I agree with the above suggestion to publicise MVA statistics in several venues (website, Survival Guide, signage, BMIR). Besides actually seeing an accident, nothing gets your attention better than a reality-check listing of motor vehicle accidents and required hospitalizations. We love our fellow burners and want them to be safe.

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  • Dangles says:

    Left Sunday morning.

    Towed our friend’s van out to the road as her alternator wouldn’t have taken the idling in line.

    She fired up and was off with us following.

    Very generous parts folks in Fernley helped them put a new alternator in after we had split off.

    Drive home was uneventful except nearly driving off the road in Idaho. Thereafter, my friend drove while I hallucinated from lack of sleep (believe me, I tried to sleep but could not).

    Slept for 18 hours after we arrived back in Montana Monday evening. 1000 miles both ways is too far to drive in an old conversion van after a week in the dusty desert.

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  • smarty pants says:

    This year I left about 2:00 on Monday and it took about 2 and 1/2 hours to the blacktop. Last year I left about the same time on Monday and it was smooth sailing all the way through (barely any waiting).

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  • Smoothest exit EVER!! says:

    I shouldn’t tell you this, because everyone else will probably do it next year and eliminate the possibility of our repeating it…..but as I can’t stop from bragging about our Miraculously Good fortune I will tell you our secret exit strategy. Consider it our final Gift to this years Burning Man community…..my condolences to those who chose to skip the Temple Burn and ended up waiting in traffic.

    After much tortured hemming and hawing over whether to leave before or after the Temple Burn, we finally somewhat sadly got in our car and decided to skip it in favor of not waiting in traffic. As we were driving out, we heard on BM radio that there was a wait. Figuring what the hell….if we have to wait anyways…..Drove to the Esplinade and caught one of the last art cars headed to the Burn. Saw the Burn. Jumped on the first art car leaving, scurried to our packed car, and drove out…..

    Well, apparently that last wave of people committed to leaving early were just about gone by the time the Burn was over, creating a narrow window of ZERO traffic to be filled by the first wave of people that stayed for the Burn. As we were in that wave, it took us 15 MINUTES TO THE PAVEMENT!!!

    60+ mph to Gerlach and we were pulling into our hotel in Reno by 1:30 AM !!

    May the Traffic Gods bestow their blessings forever!!!

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  • Tom says:

    we left after the Temple burn, around 3AM Monday morn

    no traffic whatsoever!

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  • Jan DeLano says:

    We had a fantastic time this year. We were all packed and ready to hit the road Sunday morning at 5:30am. Drove right out to the road. Right outside of Gerlach, I glanced over at the sunrise light and my car went off the road into the soft shoulder. I couldn’t believe it. In trying to recover the car, which I could not, the embankment got to be a 45 degree angle and as I tried harder to get the car back up, it hit some street signs, went airborne and flew about 20 feet in the air and landed on the roof. I was pinned inside. All of our stuff went all over the road. My husband was behind me and saw the whole thing.

    So glad the road was heavily patrolled as the officers were able to get the Helivac from Renown Hospital for me. I spent 2 days in the ICU there and
    have multiple fractures in my neck along with sterum and pelvis. I had to have neck surgery to fuse my 4, 5, 6, vertebrae together alnog with wires. I spent a week in the hospital there. I have along road ahead of me but its all a miracle that I didn’t hurt anyone else. Its going to take a year to fully recover. We lost our car, contents and wonderful playa bikes. Sad.

    I am so grateful that I am alive and will have no spinal cord damage from this. It was terrible. I was treated so well by everyone and so thankful to all that have come to my aide.

    I didn’t fall alseep and was not drinking, (don’t), speeding, or trying to pass anyone, just a quick distraction and off I went into that soft stuff.

    So now I have my Playa Bling and my life.

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  • booblies says:

    I went solo from Chicago (virgin burn) and had over 2 weeks to enjoy a road trip…I got to day 5 Sat and was enjoying everything including the survival mode that my body went into as far as the heat and the dust. And with that I left Saturady at 7pm when I heard that the burn would be postphoned til 10PM! I know it was my first burn but I learn a great deal, saw a lot and liked what I saw…So with this in mind it gives me a reason to return with friends in a rented RV and see both burns! PEACE!

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  • Marty says:

    My first burn – wonderful to see the city grow all week long. Our camp loaded up at 4am Monday and hit the pavement less than 30 mins later, maybe 25? The road to Fernley was populated, but moving along fine. I’m glad we left before dawn – I wouldn’t have liked to see the city so empty when the sun came up on Monday morning. Early departure worked for me with a 13 hour drive to phoenix following.

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  • Tati says:

    This photograph is so alive to me, and it is beyond beautiful.
    It was my first burn, I will be back.

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