I was hitchhiking out of Black Rock City, Nevada on Exodus -- the Monday after The Temple had burned. I had my one orange bag next to me and a simple cardboard sign with the word "RENO" written on it, large, and the )'( Burning Man symbol inside of the O.
I held up the sign less than one minute before an RV pulled over.
This is how I met Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee. The driver was Ch!p, wearing an Optimus Prime mask. The passenger was Danielle, wearing a Bumble Bee mask.
Over the course of our drive to Reno, we not only found kindred spirits in one another, but we had laid the groundwork to form a camp together. Fast-forward to Burning Man 2010: "Metropolis". Indie Rogue Burners was our official camp, and Ch!p had been busy recruiting and building up interest with those who were coming. It would never be the same.
Last year, however, Ch!p was the only one of us who could actually make it to the playa. The 2016 "DaVinci" burn was the year of the Lone Rogue, with Ranger Ch!p running solo ops and getting into all sorts of mischief. It hurt like all hell to miss that burn, and it made this year's burn all the more powerful because of that missing.
2017 was quite a different burn.
Image (above): Pocket One parked aside our tent and monkey hut
You thought I was going to talk about humans, didn't you? Hah! Poor hairless monkeys. Ok, I might talk about a few monkeys here later, but "gadgets" come first. We had our tent for chilling and changing outfits, and we had Pocket One for sleeping. It was the best sleep I've ever had on the playa. We just left the door open most of the week, even when sleeping at night, as it kept the temperature perfectly adjusted.
Image (above): Motion detector LED lighting in storage area
Mad shout out in thanks to the Skybreaks, as the motion detector LED light they sent with me worked perfectly! I put it on top of an empty water jug, so that whenever it turned on, it was more bright because of the jug. We used it to light our entire storage area between tents. Next year we'll bring three to extend the area of lighting.
Image (above): Rave Raffe the robotic giraffe (by Tamiya)
We had THE COOLEST NEIGHBORS this year! One of them was none other than Rave Raffe herself (above), along with about 15 wooden versions of her camped just up the street. She. Was. INCREDIBLE!!
And mad shout out to Stiltz and Jonesie who camped right next to us. Both of them were working the Box Office, so they had been on the playa a week before we arrived. The smile of the towering Stiltz was so infectious. We were gifting back and forth all week with these huge-hearted neighbors. We're hoping to be camping alongside them in 2018.
Oh yeah, and we were camped across from Egg Zeppelin (imagine Led Zeppelin all day long, but serving breakfast tacos). Then Camp YaYa, who saved my ass with rolling papers so that I didn't run out of tobacco. And and and Elephant Parking! :D :D Ok, ok, we really had the coolest neighbors going on this year.
So I guess I'm talking about monkeys now.
Image (above, left-to-right): Ray of Sunshine, Ranger Ch!p, LiLi Glitch
How many people did we have this year? We had Ranger Ch!p, KC Pixie, Ray of Sunshine, Gaea Phoenix, Soul and Sam, and then LiLi Glitch and myself. That is eight, not counting neighbors. We'll likely absorb Stiltz and Jonesie next year. They don't have a choice. We were definitely missing our dinos, Gurple, and Monkey Christopher. We were also missing a Ramona Mayhem for the first time ever since 2006. I hear Monkey is running his own company and could be making a return in the future. Let's hope. Now to get our dinos, Mayhem, and Gurple back on the playa.
Image (above, left-to-right): Ray and Jesse, improv jam session
The above shot came on Friday morning, when Ray caught a guitarist on the street who was walking past our camp. Ray shouted, "Hey, come on in. We've got wine and I'll grab my violin."
LiLi broke out the wine for Jesse the guitarist and his friend Alex from Australia, as we were already having a chill wine day. We'd walked 15 kilometers (10 miles) the night before, so our plans consisted entirely of resting our feet and enjoying the day. And improv jam session? Bring it!
Ray and Jesse naturally seemed to connect, and it came right through in their music, as they had us all clapping and going crazy. It is one of those random, striking, and incredible moments that can never be repeated, nor replaced. It would lead us later to the Tavern of Lost Souls, and to one hell of a crazy day that I'll not cover here in these words.
Indie Rogue made one hell of a return to the playa, and with one of my favorite collection of monkeys together with us in camp. Now... to step that up as we gather together next year.
More -- All my posts from Burning Man 2017:
Ignore the stuff below. I'm mostly writing it here for myself. It is extremely incomplete and I'll add to it later.
1 x Motion Detector LED Lamp [3 next year]
2 x 2pk Propane
3 x 10pk Starbucks Via
10 x 2.5 Gallon Jugs Water [12 next year]
3 x 2 Liter Cranberry Juice [5 next year]
3 x 2 Liter Coca-Cola [5 next year]