For the last 5 years or so, I have been told "you should go to burning man!" In July of 2001, Daniel was the one that finally made me take the leap. What follows are a number of photos and a string- of-consciousness journal of the journey.
I made a costume with big silver wings, which is a story unto itself, packed up the car, and headed into the desert.
Wed Night- Drove up. I met a guy in the Safeway parking lot packing his car with food. We exchanged, "see you there" sentiments. Left Sacramento at around 8:20pm.
"Rob Cockerham! You are Rob Cockerham!"
She was very excited to see me. This was
a fantastic way to be welcomed into a huge campground of artists! I was
smiling for about an hour after that.
There were rows of outhouses every so often.
Waiting in the line of cars to enter. 2am
My first look at the man, maybe 40 feet tall.
This array of fluorescent lights was operated with controls. One could spell whatever they wished.
Four people trying to work the controls
The giant burning iron heart, it is sitting on an 8 foot square base.
Thursday - Awaken by the sunlight at 6am, I went back to bed after taking a few photos and peeing.
Inside the tent it was dusty, somehow the dust was coming through the nylon.
Daytime at burning man consists of many, many groups of people sitting
I was beginning to feel that the back of my legs were sunburned.
A sunburn appeared to be the worse possible thing that could happen to you
at burning man, because there is nowhere to hide from the environment.
Near center camp I stumbled upon the supersnail tent & met Julian again and Jackie.
Julian gave me a gift! A poster of photos from previous burning man
costumes. Made plans to return with full
wings for this fine photo opportunity.
About half of the costumes were thrown together with glow sticks and glitter, the rest were great.
About an hour after I left the dance party, I went home to my tent. My silver sun shade had blown down. I secured it and went to sleep. Dust dust dust.
This is what I look like when I wake up in a tent.
6am in the desert, on Wednesday, I was on the edge of town, but as the days passed, others parked around me.
One bank of porta-potties and Johnnie on the Spot.
Camps with shade structures
The Suzuki had a sign on it indicating that it had struck a cow.
The Twinkie Stonehenge at center camp.
People chasing the water truck. They were spraying to keep the dust down.
The base of a tesla coil. The engineer was predicting million volt sparks. Check out the tiny lead wire going up to the coil!
A large black pyramid shade structure
The giant fiberglas goat. It's anus held the answers to many mysteries of the desert.
Inside center camp, they sell coffee
This colorful translucent plastic building lit up magnificently.
A close-up of the iron heart
Skydivers landed in the desert from time to time.
I climbed up one art-structure and got this photo. Having a bike was key.
Self portrait relaxing in my tiny square shade area.
A view across the non-camping part.
Inside the mausoleum, a structure made of intricately carved plywood.
Inside the mausoleum.
Many of tiny blocks of wood bore the names of people who had passed away, they would be burned on Sunday.
Monkey tree sculpture. Giant. Organic. Neat.
Biking between artwork.
55 gallon drum tree of unknown source or destination.
naked guy! naked guy!
pirate express. It is amazing what sheet metal can do for your vehicle.
Daniel and friends' camp, the star-on machine.
Sunset on the road between camping and non-camping
On Friday morning I was ready to leave. I slept until about 9am, after being awoken several times by the flapping tent...even with the earplugs.
The water truck came to spray down the roads & I ran outside and joined the 6 people running after it. It was quite nice to have a funny shower like that.
I walked back making muddy footprints and smiling. That was fun.
I got dressed and went to get coffee. Saw the world's oldest naked man.
I finally fixed them but night was falling. I had two big tenuous
wings, ready to take on the crowds on the streets of burning man.
Eventually I got bored of just walking around & decided to
head home, and then go out with the remote control flare car. (see ketchup
packet bear for photos).
This looked like a movie prop with an orange icon. I liked it. It stood about 10 feet tall.
Tyvek Shade structure. Complicated engineering that is nearly invisible.
Almost everyone took photos.
A merry-go-round we had to pedal ourselves. Neat.
Entering the comfortable sanctuary.
Self portrait with winged hat. The red parade went wacky when they caught me in this shirt.
This large structure is mounted on that car! I didn't see the end result.
The world famous camera van.
On top of the dragon.
Dragon from a distance.
the view from my shady chair.
tents and shade
My aluminum and corrugated plastic shade structure
Azteca camp and the mini-golf course. Note the windsock indicating windspeed.
acrobats in a dome
My wing-backpack leaning against my tent.
More tents in the morning.
Lining up to buy ice at the igloo.
Only at burning man will you see a skywriter write SEX
The more dust that was blowing, the fewer people were out and about.
RVs and tents make the camping area a bit like a swap meet.
Roach coach car
Giant missile car.
View from a scaffolding tower.
the camping area
camping and some open space
This fire cannon was trying to make smoke rings! Awesome. I could feel the heat from where I took this photo.
Polystyrene lion with princess that I helped drag.
lion dragging chaos.
Golf club wings and diaphanous fabric wings.
My fellow lion pullers, note burning man on right
The photographer was suspended to tape his lion being dragged.
Large light brite made from bottles.
pose next to this!
Friday night, the wings and the tent were thrashed!
I woke up around 10am, it was windy, hot, but the shade structure was finally working. Terrific dust storm made me feel helpless and bored. Wanted to leave.
I felt trapped.
Dirt on the top of the tent.
dust in my nose and earplugs in my ears. Ugh.
Dust storms make the outdoors uncomfortable.
the wings mounted on rebar pegs outside the tent entrance.
Shade structure didn't withstand the wind.
I got home safe, with a carful of dusty camping gear and a camera full of memories. The experience was not a total disappointment, but I think I have satisfied my burning man yearnings for many years to come.
Read other, better written travelogues: Europe 1999 | Costa Rica 2000Back to main Cockeyed Rob@Cockeyed.com Last updated Sept. 24th, 2001.