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Overhyped in 2012

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It went much better than predicted

If I have my numbers right (and I may not), there was a maximum of fifty-three thousand and some odd participants at this year's event, with the numbers waning over the weekend. After the sell-out of tickets and very dry winter, all the predictions were for a bust: too many people, not enough tickets, too much dust, no firm playa. Actually, the playa was in good shape. There were a few more pockets of deep playa powder than last year, but for the most part the surface was good enough for biking anywhere you wanted.

Although we heard there were long waits for people arriving on Saturday before the Burn, when we arrived on Sunday morning we had no wait at all. Greeters and Gaters were vying to wave us into their lanes as they had nothing to do. Even more stunningly, there were few to no waits during Exodus. Louise and I volunteered as pulsars for Monday Exodus day; our shift was from 9:00AM to 3:00PM, and we never had enough traffic to pulse for the entire six hours.

We were lucky to have gotten set up when we did on Sunday. That afternoon, a lengthy dust storm started, and a few people gathered in our shade structure to shelter against the wind. It was blowing too hard to set up their camps, but the blow lasted a few hours then let up in the evening. We had a few lighter blows with dust during the week, but nothing too bad and never a true whiteout where you couldn't see the ground under your feet.

We had some warmer nights than normal but no truly hot days; if it hit a hundred, I missed it. I think I had a temperature of 45 degrees one morning, but all the other mornings it was 50 for 55 degrees. All in all, I'd call the weather pleasant with a few dustings during the week. See our video of our visit to EGO for what it was like on the playa on Friday night. But as always, the weather smiled on Larry Harvey the night of the Burn (and on Crimson Rose, too), and the Burnf went off without any threat of delay.

We usually volunteer for some duty during Exodus so we can leave on Tuesday. After our shift at pulsing, though, we decided to pack up Monday evening and head back to Reno a day early. We stopped for dinner at Bruno's Restaurant, which was packed, then headed on to our room at the Peppermill -- we confirmed they could take us a night early. There were very few trains of cars where it was an effort to pass, which was nice, and we kept our speed down so that we could stop within the length of our headlights -- no use running into a cow you couldn't see in time. It's always a pleasure to get back to civilization, but we stop in Reno on our way.

Quick suggestion: There was a line for the check-in desk as always, but the Peppermill has a few terminals for express check-ins. We had a confirmed reservation, so we used the terminal, got our keys, and were on our way before the line moved. I don't know if you need to have a reservation already to use the terminal, but if you have one -- use the terminal.

Despite all the angst about tickets being completely sold out and a few thousand extra being made available, not everyone who had tickets came, it seems, and more people than usual left early to avoid Exodus. I never know why these things happen as they do, but there was no dearth of theories on the playa. However, I'm already looking forward to next year and whatever drama befalls us all. Stay dusty, my friends!

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Copyright © 2012, The Civilized Explorer