Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Burning Man Tips, Tricks, Survival Guide, Dos’ and Donts’ All in One. Part 2

PART 2 - Let’s Talk Logistics, first time RVing

How to get you and all your CRAP from point A to point Burning Man? How and when too book everything. This is how we did it, you can learn from our mistakes.

We booked an RV from San Francisco, made the bulk of our purchases in Reno.

I pretty much did things in the following order and it worked out well:
1. Book RV
2. Buy Burning Man Ticket
3. Buy Airfare
4. Pick up RV in San Francisco
5. Buy Supplies in Reno + Bikes
(will talk more about this in Part 3: Collecting your Harvest)

But you don’t know anything about camping and you still want to go Burning Man? Have no fear. Who can blame you? Get and RV and join a camp. This will make you life easier your camp will help you get organized. Some camps provide meals and build showers. This is what camp dues are for, to build stuff for your camp like light up dance floors and provide food and comfort in a hostile environment.

When is the time to Book your RV? Where?
If your asking this question then probably you’re already too late, prices for booking an RV go up the closer you get to BM dates. So the time to book the RV is NOW! Before December you can get the best prices. Start doing your research right after this years BM is over to book for next year.

MISTAKE – Not Booking an RV early. Rule of thumb the sooner you can book your RV for Burning Man, the better.

The closer you are to Reno the more expensive it will be. So for a couple of hours drive from San Francisco or Sacramento, you can SAVE a lot of money.

What are the costs? Is booking an RV going to cost me an arm and a leg.
That depends on the size of RV and pick up location. Average RV cost not out of Reno is $2,700 for an RV that can accommodate 4 or 5 adults. Prices range $1,500 - $6,000+ so be smart about booking. So about $500 - 800 per person (in a vehicle for 5+ people), should cover RV and gas cost, for the length of the trip. Gas cost was actually less than expected. To fill up our is was about $120 to fill the RV, we filled up 3 or 4 times.

To book an RV you only need a credit card and a partial deposit. Worry about the rest of the money later on when you’re required to pay in full. Rules on payment vary from company to company. Read and ask questions before booking. Also expect to pay extra fee because of BM.

MISTAKE – Trying to fool the RV rental place, by saying your not taking it to Burning Man. They been doing this for years, they know. The dust gets everywhere including the motor. It’s impossible to get off. They’ll know. You’ll end up forfeiting the deposit or paying extra.

The extra insurance we got saved our asses. Get whatever extra coverage you can. I our case we went over a curb, and it made a slight damage to the wheel well. We paid $75, versus $300-$400 to fix with out the insurance.

MISTAKE – Not getting the insurance.

Is the convenience package REALLY worth it? What the hell is a convenience kit anyways? How many kits should I get?
Most RV companies off a kit called the convenience kit. It brings a fair amount of stuff your going to need. Fees for the kits are $50 or more per kit.

Kits include:
• Pots & pans
• Cooking Tools – Yes! It comes with can opener
• Silverware, dinnerware and glassware
• Pillows and blankets
• Towels

A lot of people say no, it’s not worth it but I disagree. It’s easy to bring all this when you live in the west coast, but if you have to travel by air to go pick up your RV its all the stuff you don’t want to bring with you from far away.

I do however think, you don’t need 1 kit per person, 1 or 2 kits for entire RV is fine.

TIP – Get at least one convenience kit.

What do I do when I pick up my RV? And Returning? Cleaning is a bitch.
This is probably the single most important thing I learned about booking an RV! When you pick up this monstrous vehicle inspect it well. We where so excited that we for got to check a couple of things.

We where already well on the road to Burning man when we realized two very important things:

1. The microwave DID NOT work … Keep Calm carry On
2. The amount of gas that rental company said they put in the vehicle was contrary to what it actually had. Supposedly they gave us a full tank. FAIL it was 1/3 full. This was a problem because you have to return it with the same amount… Keep Calm carry On

I cant stress this enough inspect ever single inch of that because you will be liable.

Check that everything works. If it run on electric make sure it turns on and its working properly. If you find any bumps or bruises make sure the company knows it.

TIP - Test all of the electronics yourself
Microwave … make sure it turns on heats up
Stove … make sure it turns on heats up
Fridge… make sure both halves are cold Fridge and Freezer
Generator… test it before you go
Meters for black water… make sure they seem inorder

OH! And expect the RV place to be rude to you, they’ve been dealing with Burners all day.

Returning, the RV is not easier. In fact it’s harder because cleaning it is a bitch. We did our cleaning ourselves this saved us some money in the end. A group of 5 of us did it in about 2 hours.

PLAYA SAND is like BABY POWDER so the first couple of times you try to wipe it off, all your doing is spreading it. Be prepared to use water and lots of it go to an RV park they will have areas for you to clean your RV and a hose. It will be everywhere. It’s going to want to stick to you and to the RV. It’s going to want to go home with you. It’s you new clingy boyfriend or girlfriend that you can’t get rid of. Good old-fashioned elbow grease is your answer.

TIP - Use moist towels with vinegar to help wipe things down and remove sand.

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