I’m back in NYC after a month of travel out west – through El Paso/Juarez, San Francisco, and Black Rock City.
I spent a week in El Paso, TX visiting Annunciation House – an emergency shelter that I volunteered at in the 80s. Annunciation House has been serving the undocumented homeless population since 1978. On average they have 80 guest at anytime from all over the world. The purpose of my trip was to do some photo documentation and to meet the volunteers in regards to setting up a blog for the house.
After El Paso, I headed out to the Black Rock desert by way of San Francisco as part of the Burninator Crew. The Burninator was one of the large funded art installation at the Burning Man Festival. It was a grid of fire canons that were triggered by a computer sequencer. It was very much a success.
I’ll be heading to El Paso, TX for a few days, then to San Francisco for a day and then up to the Black Rock desert in NV.
In El Paso, I’ll be visiting to Annunciation House – a collective of 5 houses on both sides of the border that serve as shelters for primarily undocumented people. I’ll be doing some photo documentation and helping to update the website.
I rode from Boulder, CO to Black Rock City in Aug of 2008.
The first day was the best. I got out of town around noon and rode on 40 west across the mountains to the sate line, camping in Dinosaur National Monument. The ticket booth was closed so i just rode in, found a campsite and slept on a picnic table.
40 is a great ride that takes you through some small pretty towns. The next day I crossed up through Utah and worked my way up to highway hell – 80. It was a 110 degrees and there were gusting winds and 18 wheelers screamed by me and I was wearing a very nice but black helmet. (I would never buy another black helmet. The Darth Vader look is just not worth it).
I tried riding in just a t-shirt for about 1/2 a tank. It quickly became apparent that between the sun and the pavement, this would not work. Another biker saw me flushed and nearly passed out at a truck stop and told me that if i zipped my jacket all the way up, opened the vents and poured water inside, that I would stay cooler.
It was a long trip that would have been more pleasant if I had done it in 3 days. I got into Black Rock City at midnight. Stood inline for my ticket with everyone else in the middle of a dust storm. I hadn’t done that in years as I usually get out there early and work on an art project. By 2 A.M. I was through the gates, ticket in hand. I found some friendlies and who pointed me to a cushion on the dirt which is exactly what I needed.
I had survived my first long trip. I learned a few things:
my bike can do about 180 miles on a tank
my butt can last 1/2 tank before I have to get off the bike – even for just a couple minutes
riding 70 mph is much more comfortable than riding 85 mph
Sharing the road wtih 18 wheelers really sucks.
Post Burning Man, my friend Matt Lindsay aka Privateer loaded my bike and gear onto his big beautiful crane and drove to us to his home in Ashland Oregon. It was nice to relax after being playafied for a week but I sort of regret now being able to do that part of the journey on bike.
Matt and his wife were so kind as to allow me to take over their backyard and blow and spray down all my gear… which is always a huge mess. I got the air filter on my bike changed at a local bike shop and then rode up to Portland, OR. A mere 5 hours drive in much more pleasant weather.
That was the extent of my long distance trips in 2008. I look forward to doing some riding and camping in 2009 and perhaps some rock climbing – something I did a little of while out in Colorado these last two summers. I’m now based out of NYC so all trips will begin out of there.