From my house, I drive about 1/2 mile to the Pyramid Lake Highway, then straight north. Within fifteen minutes I have passed by all the housing developments and the land opens up into the widely spaced ranch properties of Palomino Valley. Then up alongside the Dogskin Mountains to Pyramid Lake. At the lower west corner of the lake, I hang a right and drive along the southern shore.
Very few people choose this less known route, so this portion of the drive is wonderfully peaceful and stunningly scenic. The Indian reservation town of Nixon is at the southeast corner of the lake. Here I will intersect the main road and from this point on there will likely be a parade of vehicles headed north on to Black Rock City.
The land is all open, classic high desert scenery. The excitement builds slowly. Soon I will reach Gerlach, and then ten minutes farther will be the turnoff to the playa. If I have timed it well, the entrance line will not be overly long. A half hour would be a quick entry.
Ahead lie the gate and the greeters. At the gate, the precious ticket will be torn, and then the car will opened up and checked for stowaways. The Greeters lie another short drive further, or perhaps another long line. I hope for good timing, but it will be what it is.
It is here that we are Welcomed Home by smiling costumed burners. The first thing they will want to know is are there any virgins here? To mark the virgins’ Rite of Passage, they climb out of their cars, are hugged by these strange and often scantily clad greeter people, and then encouraged to roll in the playa dust. For the dust will be everywhere soon and it is good to just get over the idea immediately that you will be staying outside world clean. For you will not be. Next they strike the gong in recognition that they are Home.
Us old folk can do all this too if we wish though we are generally just ready to go find our camps. So after hugging the greeters and laughingly receiving our whowhatwhere booklet and playa map, off we go to a reunion with friends and with the amazement of Black Rock City.
There is wifi in BRC this year, much more of it than last year according to my sources. I have a list of locations at intervals along the Esplanade and expect to trip on over to the closest one to my camp now and then over the next week.
So my friends, be seeing you. sooner or later. Live from the Playa.