Sunday is usually the day we say goodbye to friends in Fernley, buy the final freshest fruits and vegetables to last a week, and fill up the tank of our 1988 20 foot Sprinter Motor Home for the hour and a half trek to Gerlach, Nevada. Today was no exception. Last year we had found a great place overlooking the playa to camp before heading in line to get in soon after midnight Monday morning. It was about 6:00 pm, and I was settling down for an evening of freshly roasted chicken, chopped vegetable salad, and red wine.
Not the boyo. He had out the binoculars scanning the area, looking for the staff way in, and figuring out how to get in to Burning Man early. To his supreme joy, he discovered that the DETENTION vehicles were moving. (Detention is for those cars, trucks, vans, buses, rvs, and other zealous folks who arrive early.) It took a while to confirm his belief, but disregarding food and drink, he said, "We're going in now."
To those of you who know what that means, you might be surprised to know that we were in by 8:00 pm and camped along the 7:00 radial between Florence and Guangzhou. WOW! We are not really sure why it happened, but one rumor thrown out by folks around us was that there was a 'soft' opening because too many cars were filling up the roads around Gerlach. Perhaps the most compelling reason was that there was a big party planned by the usual suspects in detention. A night of revelry purposefully planned outside the gates was perhaps enough to spur the officials of the area...BLM, Washoe County, and Pershing County... to act and have the gates opened six hours early.
We did not bring so much this year, so we just set out the chairs and went walking around. The streets were a bit emptier. I loved it.