The entrance to Burning Man. The 2011 theme was “Rites of Passage.”

Finally, after much anticipation and preparation, it was time for Burning Man. For those who may not be familiar with it, Burning Man is a gigantic week-long party/art festival on the playa in the middle of Nevada. It’s based on the concepts of radical self-reliance and radical self-expression, but to be honest, this event is literally impossible to describe. Words and photos won’t do it justice unless you’ve experienced it for yourself.

One of the most fascinating things about the event is that during Burning Man, Black Rock City is the third largest city in Nevada (50,000 people attended this year) and when it’s all over, the place returns to dust. There is not a single trace of a person having been on the playa.The art projects in themselves are something to see. Many of them are huge, and just about all of them are interactive in some way. It’s almost impossible to see all of them in just one week.

Me, Karen, Cherie and Chris in Center Camp.

We stayed in Camp Nomadia, where we were with a lot of friends and fellow RVers. We were parked with our friends Chris and Cherie, of Technomadia, Sam and Tracy, our other full-timer friends, and Lee Varis, a friend and fellow photographer who brought his teardrop trailer to the event. Our camp was actually large, and we met a lot of new friends as we went along.

During the days, things were quite mellow, as everyone generally stayed around camp and shared some food/beverages among the group. As the sun went down, the activity level went up a bit, as everyone went out to different events around the playa. And there was never a shortage of things to do. There are multiple night clubs around the playa, parties at the camps and art projects that fared the best in the dark hours. There are really things going on around the clock. If you wake up at 7 am, you will still hear music from the night before. No joke.

The Temple, one of the largest art projects at Burning Man.

One of the greatest things about the event was meeting up with friends, and not only the folks who were staying in our camp. For example, I was able to spend some time with Trey Radcliff, a friend and amazing travel photographer, who was also camping for the week in Black Rock City.

Me and Trey Radcliffe, of Stuck in Customs, on the playa.

The only negatives to the week were the bus issues. Unfortunately, the generator on the bus was acting up and eventually became unusable. In addition to that, the front air conditioner stopped working. We were able to connect to the batteries in Chris and Cherie’s bus, but in the end, these issues caused us to pull out a bit earlier than expected. After all, Photoshop World was coming up, and we wanted to have things taken care of before then.

More to come…

A video/slideshow that Karen made at Burning Man.