Trace Mounds at Blackrock

1970 Blackrock Desert

A good friend of mine Christopher Brooks responded to my questions about the trace mounds we saw this year at Burning Man from the previous year’s event.

Here is the research he did along with a bit of history of the Blackrock desert.

The pictures he shows of the early years remind me of my first trip to Blackrock. I brought out my Vespa with 10″ tires and was able to drive at 50mph with my eyes closed and no hands! It was not a reckless move back then, just flat and hard.

The Snail meets the Dragonfly

After a very early morning photo shoot of the snail, while trying to find someone who was serving pancakes, Lisa and I are approached by a guy on a Segway wondering if we have 110v power on board the snail. He asked if it could run a vacuum cleaner and would we like a ride in his helicopter. I stepped out of the car to make sure I understood his request and quickly said yes. I followed him back to his camp to pick up gear, friends and our tip…

While they were loading, a couple of clean guys got in wearing Enron shirts and tossed in this neatly stacked $50,000 bundle of cash! I grabbed it and thanked them for our tip. They laughed, took our picture and then showed us the center was all ones.

I stopped by camp to pick Kyrsten up (took a slick tongue to get her out of bed that early) and 20 min later we are vacuum cleaned and seat belted in.

Paul, the guy who stopped us, and the snail in our prop wash.

These guys brought out a plane too. Here it is after they crashed it a few days before. As we head straight at the side of Trego mountain and pull up just in time to barely make it over the top, we are starting to wonder if we should have said yes to this ride. I found out after the ride that Lisa is terrified of flying!

One of the interesting things I saw from the air was the large dune we kept hitting riding the snail around that week. You can clearly see it in this picture as a dark fuzzy line running from the bottom left, though the camps, twords Trego mountain (looks like a road). Turns out this is where last years trash fence was! I took a look at aerial shots (see below) once I got home and you can see many years of scars left from having the event out there. I think this is a great event, but I wish there was a more open dialog with burners and BM about the damage being done. The combination of lack of rain and years of BM is why this years event was so dusty. This event leaves a huge trace, what are the real impacts on this area and how long will the desert take to recover?

Goggle map link

What a ride! Thanks Paul and crew!

More pictures

Burning Man and the Golden Mean

Well we are finally here. The Snail is a BIG hit and everyone loves it. Our DMV shifts helping people register their cars went so smooth and visiting with people there is one of the highlights of my trip. The dust is bad, but one of the best nights was riding around with Kyrsten and Merrilee on bikes and running into wonderful snapshots of playa life that faded away with the next brown out and rain. Everyone out seems happy and ghost like alive in their dusty best.


The Girls loved the snail. Merrilee has story time in it each afternoon.

Our camps round up of Art Cars.

Kyrsten and I dusty and happy burn night

Moths caught in our 500 watt spotlight. We’re having so much fun lighting up everything with it!


Morning on the playa

See you at home, back in West Oakland!
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