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01.08.20 Monday

I sent this out to my campmates.

Subject: Playa Surface
Date: Mon, 20 Aug 2001 11:52:11 -0700
Organization: black rock city
To: Supersnail Camp Members

This year will set records for dust! The surface of the playa is not like I've seen in 4 years. There are also variations of surface condition across the site.

In cleaning up the '98 site, I found that the surface of the playa at that site consisted of a thin brittle crust, and up to 8 inches of 'freeze-dried-coffee' textured sand. This was due to the fact that the playa froze over this winter and the frost was never followed by long rains. The frost 'fluffed' the moist under layer and it never settled.

The 2001 site is much firmer, but take note:

*Riding bikes will be much easier on roads than on the open playa.
*On the open playa, follow treads left by cars.
*Wide tires are better than 'ten-speed' tires.
*Wipe the mud chunks off of lubricated areas daily
*More popular roads will be smoother than out in the sticks
*The north half (6:00 to 10:00) is generally firmer than the south half
*Riding against the wind will feel like going up hill in SF

*Deep rebar!
*See if you can block the screens (even the overhead vent) so the dust doesn't blow in
*Deep rebar! L-shape is better than candy-cane shape.
*Julian uses dog ties (sort of a cork screw), but they're expensive.
*Thrift-store stuffed animals make a great cover for rebar if you don't want to hammer it all the way in.
*Set up tent with the chintzy stakes that come with it first, to get the layout right. Then hammer rebar into the four corners, and especially the upwind side (normal wind is coming from the front gate).

Totally unpredictable... ...But I've experienced the following lately:
* 114 in the shade at the ranch. 104 in my trailer.
* Nighttime could be 80, or could drop to 50
* dust storms
* 10-minute rain -- not enough to make mud
* dry electrical storms

This morning I woke up on the playa and had to put clothes on. Today is dappled with clouds.

 \/ shaman-at-the-ranch
Feeding Tofu to Cowboys

In the distance, Rome is built in a week.

My new sleeper tent gives way in the gale, while my 3 year old supply tent remains erect.

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Futile Water Truck