My experimental journey

Art Access for All

Our report is a summary of our week, a sampling of a few of the stories and things we do at here CHARIOT PROJECT

Injured, sickly, forlorn? Goldies is passionate about connecting the alternativly-abled with experiences on playa. This was the first year this service has been tried out

Seeing as how my partner asked for a divorce and for me to vacate just 20 days prior to the burn - some less determined folk might have cancelled this service all together. But I had raised funds and promoted this all year - it was my passion, I was going to assist with mobility on Playa, no matter how much my default life had imploded.

Two working arms, two working legs, and no excuses.

I hauled every thing both default and playa over the pass from San Francisco to storage in my new chosen hometown of Reno.

I couch surfed using friends places from Playa Bike Repair and random facebook pleas on the Reno Burner page. A burner offered his guest bedroom as he took off with early arrivals and left me his key with a "Bring it to me at 8:20 and I". I expected a bit of the "ass, cash or grass" mentality - but what I got were just nice people trying to help. Sometimes this community really blows my mind.

Separating default vs. playa needs half way through a move and a life explosion can be tough. I brought way more to the burn than needed, but that's what happens when you are living out of a truck. I even brought in garbage, who brings garbage IN to burning man? Goldie does.

Early Sunday morning I headed out from Truckee and discovered that someone had broken into my truck and stolen some spare change and of all things...my trailer keys.

I had the door rekeyed by a locksmith and 2 hours of waiting around with my stuff scattered about the storage area I was loaded in and ready to head to Wadsworth from Fernley. Just out of Wadsworth the traffic stopped. We were idle every 10 or so miles and would have to wait another 1.5 hours for traffic to begin to move again. This went on all day. Noon to midnight from Wadsworth to Camp. Just getting through the greeters took an hour while I watched people get out of their vehicles and bang that damn gong. I had to stay calm and not flip people the bird, this was their experience too and they deserve to take that long - its fine right? I found my Canadian friend's smurf-wheel-mobile, as I call it, out on K and 4:30 and set up all the things nearby. Why am I always setting up camp in the dark? And this time, all by myself. Finally at 3am I cracked a beer. I was home. A quick hello to my friends from America's top hat and I went to bed as they went off to volunteer at the airport.

The welder out on J - You are amaze!

Mondays alarm went off at 8am and I hopped up fresh faced and ready to set up goldies taxi service for the injured. As I put the sidecar on my bike I realized one of the stabilizing arms had broken during load out. But the playa provides, my extremely loud neighbors (I swear if Jerry Lewis had twins this would have been them) were shouting about a welder on the next block over. I set off to find the welder and within 20 minutes my rig was ready.

The rig and sign up board

Setting up my service request white board was a breeze and I took "J" for a little jaunt around playa to check out the Lotus Temple and the Serpent Mother. We witnessed the first of the burned out tweakers and got some rangers to come help his dehydrated, blubbering, sunburned arse off to medical with the help of the Lotus staff. I'm really thankful for the rangers, yes thank you!

My first ride request

As we came back into camp I found my first official ride request on my board. "C" at infinite community out at 5:15. I stopped in to found out "C" had just hopped on an art car so I left her my information and told her to have her friends sign her up any time from dusk to dawn so that I can plan my day and be on time for her. The sign up board clearly states I check my board at 9am every day, but following these instructions might as well have been written in sandscript. I suppose out in the chaos of the dust, burners want what they want, right then and there. Planning a day would not prove to be easy.

Some of the neighborhood regulars introduced me to the DogFish crew and we gathered up some beer and hopped on the fuzzy stools and off to playa. I've heard warnings about The DogFish art car, you will get schnockered up at night. And the rumors are all true. I remember my belongings and ash tray falling off the car more than once in an explosion of things and desperatley trying to pick up butts, I should really quit smoking. I'm thankful they put up with me during my Monday night escapade of go big or go home.

Fresh faced

Tuesday's alarm clock went off yet again at 8am and realized I had made one of the dumbest mistakes, a sunburn all over my back. What am I, new? The rest of the week I put myself in coat jail. No cute outfits to be seen, but my shea whitey skin is a priority.

I reported to my board at Mobility Camp by 9am. No ride requests yet, bummer. And I was also in panic mode. Seeing as how in all the chaos that my default life had thrown at me pre burn, I guess it would be inevitable that I'd forget something. I had left an important portion of the extra "rentable" trailer at my storage unit. Since texts were possible this year from playa, one of my neighbors texted their friends coming up through Fernley and they picked up my missing parts - again mind blown - thanks neighbors! I put together the bike trailer and took it to Mobility Camp for it to be checked out by day.

As I was tooling around looking for fares I spotted a pedi cab with "TAXI JACK" scrawled on the back. I left him one of my flyers asking for help if he so wanted to and headed on down into the dust (and yes, he came by and checked my board, nice guy). In the afternoon I checked back into Mobility Camp and a family from UH5 camp had checked out my bike trailer for their daughter who had injured her leg in a foot-into-spoke accident. Playa providing! Although they did not want to ever check it back in, they even decorated it. The concept of checking back in is one I will have to work on. And I am not opposed to shaming on BMIR.

By Wednesday I still had no rides given for my specific times or playa tours and was feeling a bit useless for how much effort I had put into this. But my virgins had arrived and I gave my rig to "C" at infitity camp for the day and swapped for a regular bike from the camp. "C" was able to go out with her friends and I with mine, win win! That evening my arse was sure sore and I chose to just walk to center camp and see if anyone from Mobility camp might want to hang out and do a lil art car hopping. "M" said yes! And we had a lovely time visiting and checking out The Man, Medusa and a few art cars.

Night fun

On Thursday morning I still had no one that had signed up for my specific ride times on the board but discovered a plethora of hand written notes tapped to the board asking for rides at 8am, 9pm, midnight, 1am...you get the idea. Of course I could not accommodate all of these and most of them had passed. I checked in on my virgins and they pointed out a girl in our neighborhood that was limping along in crutches. "YOU" I ran up to catch her and asked if she wanted to go on a tour. "YES" My first real customer. We peddled around and I took her to see a friend and then I came back to get her for the sunset Mobility Camp art car tour. We saw the man, the temple, the lady and that alien thing out in deep playa. It was supposed to be a one hour tour and we went out for 3 hours. I think this was a good 10 our day of peddling and art touring. Skipped dinner, flung my dust cloud of clothing onto the floor and fell into a deep sleep.

My all day fare

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP...Friday's alarm. It was time to go meet my VIP celebrity flying in to burning man airport. Aside from silently judging the planes flying out as I sat in exodus, I had never experienced the luxury of the friendly skies at the burn. One of the family's that let me couch surf had their daughter flying in and I went to greet them and take some family photos. So this time I had reserved for myself just to experience it.

VIP at the airport

Then I was off to meet "M" at Mobility Camp and get ready for Critical Tits. In my virgin burner experience, I had stumbled across this parade of thousands of topless women and thought "Gee, there's no way I could ever be that brave"...one year later I was walking around playa topless, proud and free of harassment. Funny how quickly we can shed our judgements and cultural no-no's out there. So "M" and I waited out by the man for Critical in her golf cart that I was driving for her, we had to position ourselves with the back of the vehicle to the wind and all other vehicles were stopped in a white out as well. Usually you can wait out these dusty storms for a few minutes to an hour and move on with your explorations. We would have no such luck, I've never seen so many huddled masses in coats mid-day at burning man ever before. I think we should have just renamed it "Freezing Tits Off" and called it a day. We went into the parade proud we had suffered through to join the party and within 5 minutes couldn't see a thing...I got "M" back to her camp and traded my rig for the family at UH5. He agreed to check my board for me in exchange for using my rig for his daughter. They had not wanted to check back in my bike trailer as it clearly stated on the trailer to be checked back in every day at 9am, they even decorated it. So he agreed to check it in and I got a day off.

Freezing tits

Saturday, FREE DAY! No beeping alarms, I slept in and when I awoke I was swollen, sore and my face looked like I'd been in a losing fight with a dust storm - because I had. Swollen burner.

Having a day off was a really good idea today, the playa and the peddling was taking it's toll on this lil gal. Discovered an ice fairy had come into my camp and delivered ice cold bits to keep my beer and food cold. Thanks neighbor! Now I didn't have to do all the not so fun upkeep errands of the day and just have a time. I rode out to the dusty orange fence and found the last burner waiting for Daft Punk.

Another satisfied customer

Hung out and took some burner portraits for my "Humans of Burning Man" project that I do every year. After that I wanted to check on my virgins and see how they were doing in the weather. So I'm there visiting with them and I guy comes into my camp asking for a safety pin. It was, of all people, my former landlord from the city! Talk about serendipitous. We had a good visit and then I had to take a benadryl for all the swelling and I crashed out in my trailer for at least 6 hours. That's kinda how it works for working at burning man I guess. Any time off I had, was usually spent with two closed eyes and a sleeping mask being lulled to sleep by BMIR.

The ice fairy and tire pressure guy

I woke with just enough time to peddle fast as I could to see the man explode and firework his way to the ground and I headed back for more glorious shut eye time. Shivering man - in a trailer with two sleeping bags, a coat and I was still freezing. I felt bad for the tenters and I was also cursing that person who stole my trailer keys so that I couldn't get into the utility doors to turn on the heat.

Sunday I awoke for tear down, loaded up the tattered and ineffective sign up board from mobility camp and loaded up my trailer. Last day and last minute panic to go experience all the things before the last of them were burned or torn down. I had never seen a burn pile before and I was enjoying watching the cleansing of art projects, "Burn the chariot" "Burn the house" just, burn it all and build it new next year, as it goes.

Stopped into PBR and headed out with some friends to climb and find. Had a beer with my landlord and took a nap. Again woke up just in time to peddle down to watch the obligatory wedding photos burn in the temple. I stood near the woman to watch them burn, which seemed fitting. And then a wedding happened just to my right, well, that's ok too. Good luck!

Monday morning, time to tear down the shade structure. Yes I used an EZ-UP people, and it was fine. But it took me over an hour to get all the stakes out of the ground, and it was the only time I really wish I had some extra muscle in all this. But alas I did it and drove straight out of the gate, no Exodus wait. What a comparison, such a struggle to get there and so easy to leave. Well, it's never easy to leave I suppose. But I was looking forward to not peddling for a while.

Another satisfied customer

Thanks to Mobility Camp and their work on providing access to all at BRC

Mobility camp is full of amazing individuals

Special thanks to Camp Peace of Ass for their seat cover, my arse thanks you

My donors for getting me enough for this taxi experiment

My future donors for allowing the service to expand and be perfected

This year I will need to raise about $2,000 for expanded rigs, communications

Future volunteers, yes! Use the contact form

Shifts need to be filled, byo pedicab

What worked

  • This service is needed, there was more demand than what I could commit to if the scheduling board had worked out
  • Promoting via radio and flyers was good (thanks to NEXT at BMIR)
  • "Rentable" trailers that fit to any bike, if the people actually check them back in and not hoard them

What didn't work

  • Communication, the sign up board sucks, need radios or cb's
  • My sidecar rig needs a motor, I can't peddle that much
  • I'd love a golf cart, or a workmans trike w/ motor
  • More volunteers, actual shifts and possibly a "CHARIOT PROJECT"
  • Announce in the newspaper too or in the book
  • Whiteboard markers dry out, pointless if your board is in the sun
  • Communicating weight limits
  • No other art cars or volunteers came to check in on the board that I know of besides the awesome Taxi Jack

Goldie the Coldie

About Goldie

Goldie is a waitress, slash web designer, slash mechanical engineering student hopeful at UNR. She is interested in anything that has two or three wheels and improving mobility through engineering. Ask her about racing tricycles. Drop her a line, volunteer, ask questions. She is nice and is talking about herself in the third person.