Roadtrip 2013

“The Man Burns – WTF?” by N&J

BRC, Nevada (aug 31/13)  –  As the week wore on, some conditions in the camp deteriorated. On Saturday morning, awoken to no electricity to run Gizmo’s fridge (warm beer!?!); J (being part of the electrical team) investigated and found that the massive 85 kilowatt diesel generator which provided power to the Reverbia Camp and an adjacent camp had stopped… it was out of fuel. After scrounging up some extra diesel, the generator was restarted on a limited basis. Sufficient enough to quench the playa ‘beer cough’.

The large water tank used to supply the kitchen, drinking & shower supply had also run dry… awaiting water delivery that never happened. This put a crimp on camp life, but not by much. The kitchen trooped along producing amazing meals for the Reverbia camp. Showers were put on hold; although after spending days in the dust, showers didn’t seem to matter much… you were dusty all the time!!! Everyone was alive with anticipation of tonight’s finale… The burning of ‘The Man’.

N&J visited the Temple, a much revered sacred place at BM. It was there they had some private moments to honour those lost, to forgive those who have wronged, and to seek forgiveness for mistakes made. A fellow burner explained forgiveness in that “part of forgiving is to actually be thankful that the experience occurred”. Not sure if ascending to that level is attainable… individually expressed thoughts on paper left in personal shrines and written on the Temple walls as ‘tens of thousands’ had done throughout the week. It was difficult to be there. Partly because of the dust storm blasting, making it difficult to see more than 3-5 metres, equally difficult to breathe making a mask or scarf necessary. Additionally because of the sorrow felt by so many.

click on pic to enlarge – right/left arrow to scroll thru the gallery

The excitement and energy felt on the playa on Saturday evening was truly mesmerizing. The scene was ablaze with colour & sounds. Art cars traveled the playa, lights flashing, music pulsing… everywhere people were moving in all directions, each adorned in costume, decked out in lights (you needed to be lit to be seen by cyclist & others or risk being run over). This of course leads up to the torching of the large ‘spaceship’ structure, front & centre with the large ‘Burning Man’ figure atop. The scene is a carnival. Art cars positioned in a huge circle around ‘The Man’; loud, pulsating music; strobe lights; propane gas-driven fireballs erupting, colourful lights everywhere. People packing into every possible space to witness this annual ritual. Choreographed performers equipped with kerosene burning instruments, dance & gyrate to the synchronized music emanating from everywhere. This culminated in a massive explosion at ‘The Man’ that ignited an inferno so hot many had to turn their faces from the scorching heat, even though they are over 1000 metres away.

The structure ablaze and fireworks erupting the crowd in a frenzy… N who was visibly upset, looks at J asking “why did we burn the man?, I feel so sorry for him”.


  • Jennifer

    Hi guys!! Lazy ol me thought there’d be an email each time you posted, but now realizing that you had to go to the blog and follow it! Sounds like you’ve had an amazing time…the photos are incredible!! Dying to hear more about how you liked Utah…check out Bryce Canyon and Zion if you get the chance. May the chronicles continue!
    Love, Jen

    • westfaliajournal

      Hi Jen, I am so happy to hear from you! I have been thinking about you a lot and hoping that your place is coming along for you. All is good here. Jim and I are getting along fine and are good travel partners. We have seen so much that the blog doesn’t seem to be enough to describe how awesome it is. I am glad you are enjoying reading it. 🙂 Jim just added a section to follow the blog so that you get an email when we do an update. We are in Vail right now. Bryce and Zion will have to be another trip 🙂

      love, nat!

      • Jennifer

        N!!!!! So awesome to hear from you!!!!!!! If you’re near Vail, you’re probably going to Mesa verde, right? If not, then we can go there when we go to Zion and Bryce, when we go on our road trip!! So many adventures to be had. The house is going great! I made contact with Tracy, the third of the Cobworks trifecta and she is really psyched about helping me with the living room window. I’m hoping that will be in by the end of the month, then cob, cob, cob it all done! Are you still going to Habititat for Humanity? It sounds fascinating, like all your adventures. Wow that J is a fine writer.
        Lotsa love,

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