Tag Archives: Reno

Burning Man 2013, The Pilgrimage: Part 3

So as you know, I’ve been back from Burning Man for nearly a week, but my travel schedule during that time got so hectic I had to stop blogging.  I came home to a broken air conditioner, miscellaneous plumbing crises, and a catering event, so I’m JUST now starting to come up for air and get the rest of the journey chronicled.  Because…what a journey it was!

We leave the wonders of the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff for Vegas.  Normally I do everything in my power to avoid Las Vegas in my travels, but we need a cheap hotel room where we can dye our hair, and Ross has never seen Vegas before, and I always take a bit of perverse pleasure in seeing a rational human encounter this city that represents the worst of our culture.

We check into some $25 hole a few blocks off the strip and head in search of dinner.  Unfortunately, it’s 3:00am and Gordon Ramsay Steak is closed:

One of these days, Gordon, I will eat at one of your restaurants!  I’m actually VERY eager to eat at a Ramsay location.  I don’t get upset about dramatically overpriced food if the quality of the ingredients is excellent and the execution and service are flawless.  I am potently eager to have the GR dining experience to see if it lives up to the hype!  Maybe next time, Gordon.

After a whirlwind tour of the strip, so Ross can gawk at the stunning architecture and witness the stupendous excess of this city that has no right to exist in the desert, sucking up precious water and electricity so that people can empty their pockets into slot machines and watch over-priced shows, we head back to the hotel room for a Burning Man ritual…the hair dye.

At Burning Man, you need to look “weird” or people look at you funny.  One simple way to do this is to show up with pink or blue hair.  So we begin the hours-long transformation:

With my hair pinked, Ross’s hair blued and his beard pinked, there is only 1 task remaining before we resume the journey:

Those little symbols represent “The Man,” which is symbol of the whole event.  And in the week or so before Burning Man takes place, you start seeing this on cars, moving vans, 18-wheelers, RVs, campers, bicycles, and backpacks all across the country…on interstates and backroads…as 65,000 people begin their journey “home.”  After you’ve been to the event a time or two, you actually do start thinking of it as home.  You have a family there…maybe it’s a family you only see once a year, but they are like family to you.  It’s the place where society functions as it’s SUPPOSED to.  With everyone sharing selflessly, loving and accepting everyone for exactly who they are.  No one is naive enough to think that Burning Man could exist all year.  But one week of Utopia is better than what most folks get in a year.  So people come to think of Burning Man as home, and as I start seeing the symbol on vehicles on the road around me and at gas stations, I start to get misty eyed.  Another great thing is that you can walk up to ANYONE with this symbol on their car, give them a huge hug, and they are instantly a friend.  Eager to help with whatever you need.  Even though you’ve never met them.

Northwesterly we drive, into the bleak, barren deserts of Nevada.  We pass the site where the country was going to store its nuclear waste…way out in the middle of nowhere on Yucca Mountain.  We pass a rock on which is painted, “Shady Lady brothel – 23 miles.”  Prostitution is legal and regulated in a few counties in Nevada, but it’s still very bizarre to see this sign…way out in the middle of nowhere.

As we approach the California border on a lonely road on which we pass only 3 cars in an hour, we crest a hill to an overwhelming sight:

A monsoon storm is sweeping the edge of the White Mountains where they descend to the Mojave desert, kicking up a vast dust storm and bathing each mountain in a different light.  We pull over and stare, mouths open.  Ross climbs a nearby hill and begins photographing next to a Joshua tree.  The entire scene changes, moment by moment.  Thunder echoes off the distant peaks and rumbles across the valley, and I can feel it in my chest when it hits.  We watch the storm for nearly an hour…it’s more captivating than any movie.  Then we drive up into those mountains.  And I do mean UP.  Up, up, up, up, towing a heavy trailer behind us.  My little car tugs like a champ, but eventually we have to leave the trailer on the side of the road because the grades are getting steeper and the curves sharper.  Until we top out above 10,000 feet in the Inyo National Forest, which protects the oldest trees on earth.

The bristlecone pine trees grow only in the American Southwest at elevations above 10,000 feet…far higher than any other tree grows.  They only grow on desert mountains that lie in the rain shadow of other mountain ranges, so these trees sip a mere 3 or 4 inches of rain each year.  They grow slowly.  Their wood is hard, and gets blasted by howling winds, eroding it into fantastic shapes.  We’ve arrived at the Methuselah grove, in which are the 2 oldest trees on planet earth…over 5,000 years old.

Disclaimer: There are trees on the planet whose ROOTS are older than the bristlecone pines.  Some types of clonal trees in Scandinavia are a few thousand years older than the bristlecones, but the actual tree you see above the ground is far younger.  Only the roots are that old, they send up a new trunk every few hundred years.  But the wood I’m touching in this photo is well over 4,000 years old.  This tree was alive when the Great Pyramids were being built.  Have you ever touched a living thing that old?  Call me emotional, but I cry a bit.  Enjoy this short exploration of the bristlecone grove:

We reluctantly head back down to the trailer, because the day is fleeting.  The sunset over the Long Valley in the eastern Sierra Nevada stops us in our tracks, though:

Looks like rain tonight!  Only a hot spring can soak away the aches and grumbles of a damp night in a tent during the rain, so after a quick bite at a diner in Lone Pine, we head to the Keough hot ditch.  Not a very appealing name, huh?  In fact, the name alone kept me away from this hot spring for years, even though it’s less than a mile off Highway 395, which I drive every year to Burning Man.  But a “hot ditch” just didn’t sound appealing to me.  Still, I’m pulling a trailer this year, so I’m sort of relegated to the hot springs close to the highway, so we give Keough hot ditch a try.

W-O-W!!!  A river of crystal clear, naturally hot water dances out of the Sierras and cascades through pool after pool on its way down into the desert.  This is no ditch…it’s paradise!  Room for HUNDREDS of people to soak, should the hot spring ever be so unfortunate as to attract that many.

We set up the tent well away from the hot river, so we don’t get disturbed by late night partiers, and spend an hour or two soaking our cares away as the moon rises over the distant White Mountains.  We think about those amazing trees hiding up there, silently witnessing the march of human civilization.  The partiers inevitably arrive, so we hit the sack, preferring to soak in the solitary hours of the early morning.

After a quick morning soak, we head into Bishop, CA for breakfast.  I LOVE Bishop.  Actually, I love all the little historic frontier towns on the eastern slope of the Sierras.  I could live there.  In Bishop we stop at the Petite Pantry, a bizarrely named Sonoran restaurant serving up the best breakfast in the valley.  Jay, the owner, welcomes us and our weirdly-colored hair.

“Buenos Dias, Pepes!  Come in, come in.  Here, sit at this table.  I already have homemade chips out for you, flour and corn, whichever you like.  Sit down, Pepes.  Let me bring you some cafe.”

Jay, it turns out, is not only the owner…he is the server…and the chef.  He brings us an extensive menu of Sonoran classics as well as American classics.  And I get adventurous.

“I see you have chile verde on the menu, so can I order the chicken fried steak and biscuits and gravy, but instead of cream gravy on the steak and biscuits, can you put your chile verde?”

Jay looks at me a little weird.  Which isn’t weird, because I have pink hair.

“Crazy gringo.  Of course I can do that for you.”

Ten minutes later, and Jay parades my plate of wonderment around the restaurant before delivering it, saying, “Crazy gringo with pink hair in there don’t know whether he’s Mexican or white!  He wants chicken fried steak but with chile verde on top!”

All the regulars laugh with him, and the plates land in front of me:

That’s a LOT of food.  Some of the regulars wander over to see what it looks like…or what the person who ordered it looks like.  I dive in.  And it.is.d.i.v.i.n.e.

But it’s a lot.  And there’s no way I can eat it all.  Jay is busy taking orders and cooking, so I figure I’ll save him some effort and dart into the kitchen for a to-go box, so I can wrap up my food.  He slaps my hand just as I’m reaching for the box.

“Are you crazy, Pepe?  Why you gonna put that in a box that has to go in the trash?  Think, Pepe!  Make a burrito out of it!”

He spreads out the two biggest flour tortillas I’ve seen in my entire life and invites me to scrape my plate clean onto the tortillas.

I am just beginning to digest the brilliance of this concept, when Jay notices me folding in both ends of the burrito, rather than the traditional Mexican way of leaving one end open.  He hollers to his guests:

“Crazy gringo thinks he’s making a giant egg roll, now!”

Everyone laughs again.  Jay loads us up with a gallon bag of homemade chips, and a QUART of his fiery homemade salsa…you know, to go with the 3 pound burrito I just made with our leftovers.  He demands a photo with the crazy pink haired gringo:

…and then he sends us on our way.

This is a great story, of course, but it really is a distillation of what food means to me.  Jay isn’t a trained chef.  He’s making the foods his mother and grandmother made.  But he is the master of his domain.  He greets each guest the same way, whether they’ve been eating at his restaurant for 20 years, or whether they’re a weird pink-haired gringo wandering in from the desert hot springs.  He COMMUNES with his guests, even from the kitchen window when he’s back there cooking up their order.  Jay has found a way to do what I imagined I could never do, if I became the chef-owner of my own restaurant.  I had nightmares of being stuck back in a kitchen, churning out the same food each night, never even able to see the faces of the people I was cooking for.  Jay, you have a magical place there in Bishop.  You’re a lucky man.  I know exactly how hard you work.  And the smile on your face reveals exactly how much you love every minute of it.  Dining at the Petite Pantry was a highlight of my entire 3 weeks.  If you find yourself on Highway 395 east of the Sierras, DO NOT PASS UP Petite Pantry in Bishop.

From Bishop we head north into the Long Valley Caldera, an ancient volcano now occupied by dozens of amazing hot springs.  I’ve explored many, but this time I hit a few new ones, and find a winner in Crowley, or Wild Willy’s hot spring:

The hot springs out here have the most stunning views of ANY I’ve found in the world.  The high Sierras run down one side of the valley, with the White Mountains on the other.  Soaking in thermal water in this valley is just indescribable.  (And yes, for those who don’t know, I religiously believe in soaking naturally in nature.  Swimsuits seem like a perversion in sacred places like this.)

Then it’s north to Mono Lake, that other-worldly inland salt sea you saw pictures of in National Geographic when you were a kid.  It’s a very weird place.  I’ve been many times, but my goal for this time was to actually swim in the lake.  I’ve never swum in anything saltier than the ocean, and I’ve always wanted to feel that extra buoyancy.  They say it’s impossible to sink.  Enjoy:

We’re already running late for our rendezvous in Reno with the Burning Man setup crew, so we head north, but get waylaid in Lee Vining, the town on the shore of Mono Lake where the Tioga Pass road comes down from Yosemite, by a freak hail storm:

We chase the hailstorm north toward Reno:

And make a quick stop just north of Bridgeport to wash off the salt from Mono Lake in the Fales hot springs:

This lovely soaking pool is right on Highway 395, though most people drive right past it and have no idea it’s there.  It’s the perfect place to rinse off after a Mono Lake swim.

Eventually we make it to a VERY smokey Reno.  The fires in Yosemite have sent their smoke directly over this city.  Ashes the size of my hand are floating in the brown air, and it smells like a burning landfill.  We head to the storage unit where our camp’s infrastructure spends 51 weeks a year, and the early entry crew, headed up by Stewart the Aussie and Devananda (both guys who, in their day jobs, basically make the internet work for all of us) are packing the contents of the vast unit into a large moving truck with Tetris-like precision:

Tomorrow, all this stuff will be carted into the vast Black Rock desert and assembled into a home for 30 people.  Camp Potluck.  But now…sleep.

Burning Man 2012: The Pilgrimage

If you’ve been following me since my season of MasterChef aired last summer, you know how fanatical I am about the Burning Man festival.  Trying to describe this event is practically impossible.  Each summer 60,000 people from all over the world assemble on a dry desert lake bed in northern Nevada and build a city dedicated to “radical self expression.”  For the week that this city exists, it is filled with incredible art, dazzling performances, and workshops on everything from solar power to shamanic healing to community development.  Money is not allowed in this city.  Everything is free.  And the experience perpetuates itself through a “culture of gifting,” where you are expected to contribute to the city in whatever way you can.  If you’re a penniless artist, the city will offer you an art grant, and your contribution is a work of art.  If you’re a massage therapist, you’re expected to gift random massages to tired-looking people on the street, or to set up a massage booth several hours a day.  If you’re a wealthy dot-com magnate, you bring a massive dance club and bar, or a restaurant, or you sponsor tickets for those who can’t afford them.

This was my fourth year at Burning Man, and I can’t really imagine my life without it.  Immersing yourself in a city that completely rejects our societal norms…gender roles…decorum and formality and pomp and circumstance…is incredibly refreshing.  At Burning Man, you are expected to be completely and utterly yourself.  No one is going to criticize you for looking and acting however you want.  Burning Man is a place of supreme acceptance, peace, and joy.

But it’s no easy task getting there.  I left for Burning Man 6 days before its gates opened.  2 days before that, though, I was cooking up a storm.  I smoked 2 pork shoulders.  I turned 2 briskets into beef jerky.  And I made GALLONS of hummus and babaganouj (smoked eggplant and sesame dip).  I froze everything, put it into 2 coffin-sized coolers along with all my gear for a month, and headed west.

I made a small detour to visit my parents, way out in Snyder, Texas.  Since MasterChef, I don’t get to visit them as often as I used to because my schedule is so busy.  Mom made a delicious breakfast of farm eggs, blueberry pancakes, and fresh raw goat milk.  Delicious!

All too soon, back to the road.  I wanted to make Tucson that night, so I could arrive in Phoenix for lunch with the incomparable Monti Carlo, so that I could arrive in Apple Valley, CA in time for dinner with Stacey.  By the time I arrived at Monti’s house, though, she was in tears, frantically cooking.

“What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

“My watch party is tonight and all these people are coming…”

But I could tell that wasn’t what was bothering her.  I gave her that “tell me what’s REALLY wrong” look.

“Tonight’s my night to go.”

I felt like such a terrible friend at that moment.  Here I am, rushing to get to Stacey’s house, and tonight is a really big, scary night for Monti.  The night she gets eliminated from MasterChef.

“I have to stay, then,” I said.

“Are you crazy, dude?!?  Stacey’s husband just went deep sea fishing and has pounds and pounds of tuna for you guys to eat.  You have to go.  I’ll be fine.”

We chatted about Burning Man for a bit and I convinced her that she HAD to come next year.  We’re gonna have a MasterChef camp with a full kitchen and have mystery box challenges, and feed the good people of Burning Man INCREDIBLE food.  That cheered her up a bit, but I still felt like a dirtbag when I drove off.

It’s about 6 hours from Monti’s house to Stacey’s house, through the barren Mojave Desert.  Stacey lives (…or, rather, lived) in Apple Valley, California.  A tiny village (by California standards) that most people have never heard of.  But *I* know it well, as it’s the closest town to the Deep Creek hot springs…an extraordinary set of wilderness hot springs in a wild canyon, only a few short hours from Los Angeles.  I’ve soaked there so often, it’s entirely possible that I been there at the same time Stacey was there…even a decade ago, when she was still in high school.  She and her friends frequented the hot springs back then, which is when I was soaking there most frequently.  How crazy is that?!?

Stacey lives (er…lived) at the end of a long dirt road, smack dab up against a big granite mountain, in one of the coolest houses I’ve ever seen.  Small, cozy, eclectic, absolutely FILLED with fresh produce.  Stacey manages a farmer’s market, so she’s always bringing home gifts from the farmers.  Her decorations are literally almost entirely edible.  Lemons and avocados were stuffed in every available corner of every room, even the bathroom.

And then, of course, there was Stacey.  Her personality on the show was so big and bold, that I was completely taken aback by how tiny she is.  She must weigh 80 pounds soaking wet.  But one of the brightest and most joyful souls I’ve ever met.  The first thing she did was shove a bowl of poke into my arms.  THEN she hugged me.  (Poke is pronounced “PO-kay” and it’s a Hawaiian specialty of raw fish marinated with soy and citrus, mixed with a variety of ingredients like onion, seaweed, sesame seeds, etc.  It’s one of my favorite things in all the world.)

Her fridge and several coolers were overflowing with fresh tuna and other fish that her hubby Mike and his buddies had caught.  And Stacey pulled out the stops and created a menu based entirely around raw fish.  Take a look:

The party was going in full force out in her backyard, which is easily the coolest entertaining space I’ve seen.  Funky, hippy, Bohemian, southwestern shabby chic.  I felt right at home.

Stacey and Mike love to entertain, and I enjoyed reading her “Party Rules” board:

She has a pond where rosemary (a desert plant) and ginger (a tropical plant) are growing side-by-side.  Over in the corner is her extensive container garden:

Stacey lives next door to her parents, who are delightful people.  Their backyard is also incredible, with a huge waterfall, and an outdoor kitchen to rival anything I’ve ever seen.   Stacey is Italian, so her family obviously has to have a pizza oven, and this one puts my little homemade oven to shame:

After a tour, we were back in the kitchen cooking and eating.  One of Stacey’s favorite things to make is sushi.  (Ironic, because she was eliminated from MasterChef after a sushi challenge.)  Her spicy tuna rolls were absolutely divine.

We literally gorged on raw fish.  MasterChef was playing in the background, but I wanted to watch Monti’s farewell episode in private rather than a party setting, so I ignored it.  We talked long into the night about how MasterChef had changed our lives.  Stacey and I felt like we’d known each other all our lives…I felt so connected to her so quickly.  She and Mike are definitely my kinda people.  Eventually I drifted off to sleep on her couch, and I awoke the next morning to this:

If that’s not being pampered, I don’t what what is!  It’s a plate of cheeses, fruit, and nuts, and on the side is a serving of poke, underneath of which is a shot of smoked tomato water.  !!!  Lucky me!

It was a busy morning.  Stacey was canning her homemade barbeque sauce, which I was lucky enough to taste (and then get a pint of!).  Stacey puts even more ingredients in her sauce than I do.  Her base is smoked tomatoes, which is totally genius.  And one of her many “secret” spices is fenugreek.  Her sauce is EASILY the most complex and delicious I’ve ever tasted.

In addition to BBQ sauce, there was a whole yellowtail left from the night before, and it had to be dealt with.  Stacey stuffed it full of lemons from her grandmother’s tree and herbs from her garden, filled the body cavity with aromatics, and Mike smoked it out back.  While it was smoking, though, Stacey had plans.

“See that mountain behind the house?  Let’s climb it!”

I strapped on my hiking boots and she and I headed for the hills.  20 minutes later (it seemed MUCH longer), we topped out about 800 feet above her house on the pinnacle of the granite crag.  I had been driving for 2 days, and it felt so good to use by body for a change.  But by the time we got back down, we were sweating like crazy, so we plunged into her parents’ saltwater pool and talked about her impending move to the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where she’s going to start a restaurant and sell her BBQ sauce and several other artisan items in the farmers’ market.  She was sad to leave this incredible place that she and Mike have truly made their own.  But excited to be moving to a place exploding with life and abundance, where life moves at a slower pace, and where food and the land are considered sacred.

I was sad to leave Stacey’s house.  We spent barely 20 hours together, but I had grown incredibly fond of her and Mike both.  There are some people you meet in this world who share the same soul…the same ideals.  I am so excited to visit Stacey in Kauai (where she already is!) and see how she’s putting down her new Hawaiian roots!  Follow Stacey’s adventure here.

Then I drove into Los Angeles to meet…FELIX!  I don’t think ANY contestant this year on MasterChef was more intriguing to be from the start.  I absolutely adored Felix.  I don’t think they featured her enough, and I don’t think she was eliminated fairly.  From talking to my friends from this season, they all just raved about Felix and what a unique person she is.

Moments after arriving at her West Hollywood apartment, she had a katana at my throat.  *giggle*

Felix is a fascinating girl.  Hysterically funny with one of the most expressive faces I’ve ever seen.  She’s sexy and brassy and bold, but at the same time, shy and quiet and diminutive.  Felix has been working as a food runner at one of LA’s most famous fine-dining restaurants for awhile, and has just been promoted to a server, which means the potential for a BIG increase in pay.  So I’m really happy for her.  Of course, she wants to be in the kitchen, and with her determination, she’ll be there in no time.  But she’s such a people person, like me, I’m not sure being cooped up in a commercial kitchen is for her.  Maybe she should be doing underground dinners, like Jennie Kelley and I are with FRANK, where she can interact with the people she’s cooking for…

Felix and Tanya and I met up with my sweet little Peanut (Esther, from my season) and had dinner in Korea Town.  Tanya has been living in LA, staging (the culinary equivalent of interning) at restaurants and has now gotten a paid job at a bakery.  Tanya, like David Martinez and Michael Chen, plunged head-first into the culinary world after MasterChef ended, and is serious about turning her passion for food into her career.  I’m so proud of her!

It was fun having this little cross-season dinner.  Esther hasn’t had time to watch the current season, so she had no idea who Tanya and Felix were.  But they shared the same intense experience that Esther and I did, and Tanya and Felix are very close, like Esther and I are.

After dinner, I got to meet Felix’s adorable boyfriend.  They’ve known each other for years, since they both lived in Puna…the southeastern district of the Big Island of Hawaii, which is where I’m trying to move to start my farm.  They are an adorable couple.  But all too early, I had to leave for San Diego, because the clock was ticking, and I still had to cook a week’s worth of food for 30 people before Burning Man.

In San Diego I met up with my dearest friends Nate and Sandy.  I’ve known them for 17 years, since college.  They just gave birth to their first child scarcely a month before I arrived, and for some reason they decided to play host to our “base camp” for Burning Man this year…as if they didn’t have their hands full with baby!  Normally they go to Burning Man with us, but certainly not this year.  Though it was a bit of torture for them, watching us all get ready for the event, knowing they weren’t going.

My dear friend Raspberry, who I’ve known for more than a decade, and my best buddy Monty (my old college roomie) arrived in town from the Pacific Northwest, and the first order of business upon arrival was hair dyeing.  At Burning Man, if you look “normal,” you’re probably not expressing yourself radically.  So for the past 3 years, I’ve dyed my hair some crazy color, and Raspberry decided to join me this year.  (Raspberry isn’t his real name, but we call each other Raspberry because of a random connection to Carol Channing’s character in the film Thoroughly Modern Millie…long story.)  So we started the laborious transformation which first requires bleaching your hair until it’s almost white.


After that, it’s 2 hours of heating the shocking color into your bleached hair, followed by careful washing, followed by an apple cider vinegar soak to raise the pH and seal in the color.  And you end up with this:

Early the next morning, it was grocery shopping time.  Buying enough food, beer, snacks, and camping supplies for 30 people for a week is no small matter.  This was the bill at the FIRST stop:

And that was just the first.  I spent well over $2,000 that morning.  Then we went to the extraordinary home belonging to my friends Mark and Elaine to start cooking.  We had to make Pad Thai, sesame noodles, chicken salad, chicken with saffron rice,  pasta salad, braised cabbage, beans…and then freeze it all with dry ice.  Thankfully, Elaine and Raspberry are both superb cooks, so we made short time of it.  Mark and Elaine’s kids even got involved.

Mark and Elaine are my kinda folks.  They grow much of their own food, they have an AMAZING chicken coop filled with layers, and their kids have incredibly broad palates.  (They were scarfing down my vinegary braised cabbage like it was candy.)  When we were finished, I was able to introduce the kids to the wonders of dry ice…I remember being so mesmerized by it when I was a kid.

With food cooked and frozen solid and our massive infrastructure loaded into the 22′ truck, we headed north to Reno, stopping along the way to pick up my new friend Denis.  I met Denis on my last trip out west, 3 months ago, at a hot spring just south of Yellowstone.  (Blog coming soon.)  He’s one of the more fascinating people I’ve met.  He started college when he was 16, in a quadruple major program: Mathematics, Economics, Russian, and Ceramic Arts.  (???)  After 4 years of intense study, he needed a break, so he had spent the past year working in California’s Youth Conservation Corps, building trails and fighting fires in the wilderness.  Denis is the biggest social butterfly I’ve ever met, so when he decided to come to Burning Man with us, I knew it was going to be an amazing experience for him.  Especially since he would turn 21 during the event!

Sunday morning we rendezvoused with a large contingent from our camp for breakfast at Peg’s Glorified Ham and Eggs, my favorite eatery in Reno.  Promise me that you will NEVER visit Reno without eating there.  They have 3 locations around this VERY small town, and each of them are jam packed every day of the week.  Peg’s is legendary for huge portions…in fact they serve most of their entrees inside a massive skillet.  Denis is legendary for packing away food, so he ordered the full 1-pound ham steak, 3 eggs, hash browns, cabbage slaw, fried bananas, and a thick slice of cantaloupe.  3 minutes after it arrived, it was gone:

And that wasn’t all.  I could only stuff HALF my tamale skillet into my stomach, so Denis finished mine.  And then Raspberry needed help with his plate.  Denis basically polished off about 8 pounds of food for breakfast…a good thing because as much as he was about to bounce around Burning Man, missing half the meals in camp, he’d need all the calories he could get!

After breakfast, a few hours to gather last-minute supplies, and then it was off to Burning Man…about a 2 hour drive northeast of Reno in the high desert.  The route passes Pyramid Lake, a massive inland sea named for a natural rock formation near the shore.  This is the home of the Pyramid Lake tribe, who have lived in this desert for centuries.

Your eyes are weary, and my fingers are sore.  And we have YET to arrive at Burning Man.  So I’ll let you off the hook for now, and pick back up again tomorrow.  I have amazing stories and images and videos about Burning Man to share with you, and perhaps an even more amazing account of the long journey home afterward.  So why don’t you go ahead and subscribe to my blog in the upper right corner of this page, to make sure you don’t miss another post!