All Charged Up

It all happened the way it was supposed to happen — a good number of the people living in town moved out to the playa yesterday, just in time for a pretty spectacular lightning show, as if to get everyone charged up for what’s yet to come.

It’s always fascinating to watch the weather roll in around here. As one of the Gate crew said at Point One as evening fell and the clouds blew across the sky and lightning started popping in the distance, “This is our show.”

And what a show it was. Soundless and dry, the bolts lit up the sky for hours. We don’t know why the rain and wind didn’t come along for the ride, but we were happy to have them pass us by.

Meanwhile, everyone was getting themselves squared away, cozy even, as the trailers were pulled out from town. The Power crew had spider boxes ready for hookup, and the commissary tent beckoned from across the way.

Thirty-six hours previous, there was nothing but flat, dry playa. Last night, under the big tent, there was, let’s see, salad and fruit and chocolate milk and ice and sport drink and oh yeah, grilled flank steak and achiote-rubbed chicken quarters, smoked paprika rice and succotash. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Hello Shelly, hello Spectrum catering, it’s really good to see you again. Where have you been?

First Supper

We made the rounds a little bit, said hello to Adam and Kush Master and the others in the Auto Pod in the Ghetto. And over there was Kerry and Booya and Squirrelly and their campmates in the Road Crew pod. Why yes, we’d love a beer, thank you.

And then when you walked away from the camp and saw the sky, the big wide beautiful desert sky, from one end of the horizon to the other, with the hills in the distance and the orange and red and pink and purple and gray in the sky, and the ominous clouds waving at you from the direction of town, you were reminded of how glorious and special it all is, and you wondered why the hell you only come here when the big show is in town? You could plop your trailer down anywhere you’d like, anytime you’d like, outside of the Gates or at a different time of year. So why don’t you just do it?

We might, actually.

The Gate folks have been manning the Point One entrance to the playa 24/7 since Fence Day

We stopped by the Friends of Black Rock / High Rock visitor center in town the other day, and we paid up and became full-fledged members. The motivation was the gathering coming up this weekend, further out in the Black Rock Desert, away from all the hubbub in Black Rock City. Club members will camp out for the annual Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on Saturday night. The members haul their rigs out to the middle of the desert, in one of the darkest spots in the country, and basically look up and watch the shooting stars. That’s our plan, too, but we’ll have to see if the outcome matches the intention.

Here are some more pics from moving day:

Generators have been dropped, and power lines have been trenched

 

The cones mark the spots where the posts for shade structures will go

 

Kerry has a monitor to make sure the cutest baby on the playa is all good

 

Getting squared away

 

The commissary tent is ready to go

 

The staff recycling operation is rolling

 

No reservations needed

 

Cowboy Carl always knows the right thing to say

 

 

The lightning show started as the sun was setting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the author: John Curley

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, and I'm especially fond of shooting weddings. I'm also the editor at large of the Tasting Panel magazine, which is devoted to the beverage industry. I've also taught a bit, including two years at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a year at San Francisco State University. I live on a (house)boat in Alameda, California.

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