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What to expect at Black rock when camping ?

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ColumbiaNX01

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Hi guys,

What is is like to camp at Black Rock for any specific launch? I will have a travel trailer along with an external generator. Myself and 3 or 4 other guys. Its desert so during the day its hot and at night it can get close to freezing? Just want to know what to expect. I know the rules everything you bring in you must take out. I plan to take everything with me and not plan to go to the closet town to get stuff.

thanks
 
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Random Flying Object

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Be prepared for the very fine dust. Take care of your skin and stay protected. Keep tabs on your water and for you closely monitor grey and black water.

If you have never been, your in for a great time.
 

Worsaer

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Vist Aeropac.org for details on how to fly and survive the Black Rock Desert.
 

ColumbiaNX01

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Be prepared for the very fine dust. Take care of your skin and stay protected. Keep tabs on your water and for you closely monitor grey and black water.

If you have never been, your in for a great time.

Ok thanks. In the event you have to get more water and or dump your onboard tanks how close is the closets rv campground and service station with fuel and water? Is there a diesel station to?
 

FredA

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Bring a 100' extension to keep that generator out of camp - and plan NOT to run it overnight and at minimal times during the day.
Water and shade are your friend - dust your enemy.
Bring super-strong tie-down's for everything that might blow away - this place eats EZ-UP's.
Bring a pair of ski-goggles for the inevitable dust storm.
 

MClark

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Your vehicle and trailer will never be clean again. The dust gets everywhere.
There is fuel in Gerlach, you may have to go to Fernley to dump, about 100 miles from launch site

M
 

ColumbiaNX01

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Your vehicle and trailer will never be clean again. The dust gets everywhere.
There is fuel in Gerlach, you may have to go to Fernley to dump, about 100 miles from launch site

M
How close is Gerlach for fuel? Its 100 miles one way to dump RV?
 

MClark

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From the BALLS launch site it is about 20 miles.
To Fernley the 100 miles is one way
 

warnerr

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I see a great opportunity for someone with a septic truck pump out tank to do very well!!! Anyone want to make $$$$???[emoji857]
 

BLKKROW

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Bring water and more water. When I went a few years ago I brought about 4 cases of bottle water and 3-4 gallon jugs of water. I used the bottled water for drinking throughout the day and the bottle water was for my vehicle in case my radiator decided to spring a leak.

The wind is bad and I mean downright bad, especially overnight. Take it for what it's worth as I have only been there once. But my last night at Black Rock was constant 20+ mph winds for 6-8 hours, this meant my tent which is built for intense weather was on the verge of breaking poles. I had to take down my tent while sand was blowing everywhere and shove it in my trunk and then I jumped into the front seat to get a few hours of sleep. So you are already way ahead as your shelter should not collapse with high wind.

Finally if you think you have enough E-Match's, shockcord, parachutes, etc that is not enough. Bring more than you anticipate. This benefits you and others who forget various items.
 

ColumbiaNX01

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Bring water and more water. When I went a few years ago I brought about 4 cases of bottle water and 3-4 gallon jugs of water. I used the bottled water for drinking throughout the day and the bottle water was for my vehicle in case my radiator decided to spring a leak.

The wind is bad and I mean downright bad, especially overnight. Take it for what it's worth as I have only been there once. But my last night at Black Rock was constant 20+ mph winds for 6-8 hours, this meant my tent which is built for intense weather was on the verge of breaking poles. I had to take down my tent while sand was blowing everywhere and shove it in my trunk and then I jumped into the front seat to get a few hours of sleep. So you are already way ahead as your shelter should not collapse with high wind.

Finally if you think you have enough E-Match's, shockcord, parachutes, etc that is not enough. Bring more than you anticipate. This benefits you and others who forget various items.

I know here in Oklahoma the winds can blow over an RV. Has there ever been strong enough winds at black rock to blow over an RV?
 

rharshberger

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I see a great opportunity for someone with a septic truck pump out tank to do very well!!! Anyone want to make $$$$???[emoji857]
Your No.2 is our No.1, 1-800-Ohh-Crap, the Stool Bus at your service......

(couldn't resist, sometimes at work I have worked with the site water utilities group who pump septics, portable restroom trailers, and provide fresh water to facilities, so we have lots of jokes about the pumper trucks)

Yesterdays Meals on Wheels....

:)
 

Random Flying Object

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He's right about the wind. The folks next to us used ~24" stakes to tie down there canopy and the wind snatched it right off the playa surface. Then proceeded to destroy one of our canopies.

Did we mention it was dry, really &));$&@ dry!

ImageUploadedByRocketry Forum1492567196.999840.jpg
 

dhbarr

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Go to any ranch / farm store if you want serious stakes.
 

ColumbiaNX01

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holy crap! that is serious wind!

Once you get to Gerlach, NV, how far is it to the launch sit usually? I have heard it moves to different places depending on the launch. Obviously, there are not roads. Are there signs that point in the right direction?
 

rharshberger

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custom stakes? or do they make 24" stakes?
You can get 36" concrete stakes, made from 3/4" diameter steel, the things can darn near be driven into rock. For my canopy I use weights made from concrete cast in Costco Dish Detergent buckets (square ones about 2.5-3 gal size) each one holds a 60lb bag of Sackrete then I drill and epoxy an eyebolt into the top, darn things are awkward and heavy but unlike stakes the canopy may get trashed but it doesn't fly away.
 

MClark

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Once you get to Gerlach, NV, how far is it to the launch sit usually? I have heard it moves to different places depending on the launch. Obviously, there are not roads. Are there signs that point in the right direction?
The AEROPAC and BALLS launch sites are a few miles apart. About 20 driving miles more or less.
At BALLS the last few years The Burners have marked the way in with traffic cones, our people have a harder time getting lost and they don't drive across the Burningman clean up area. Many thanks to The Burners for this.

It is so dry there it is underwater.
Like Oh Suzanna.

M
 

ColumbiaNX01

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The AEROPAC and BALLS launch sites are a few miles apart. About 20 driving miles more or less.
At BALLS the last few years The Burners have marked the way in with traffic cones, our people have a harder time getting lost and they don't drive across the Burningman clean up area. Many thanks to The Burners for this.

It is so dry there it is underwater.
Like Oh Suzanna.

M

Someone left the water running.
 

AlphaHybrids

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For stakes I take 36" concrete stakes and weld a single chain link ~3" down from the top. Then I take another piece of round steel and drill it out to fit the top of the stake. That way I can pound the heck out of the stake and not mushroom the top. The chain links let you tie down/attach about anything. I've sunk them all the way in an they definitely hold things down.

Edward
 

RocketFeller

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I haven't been to Black Rock, but these things are easy to screw in/out and can hold a lot more than a standard stake. I've used them with fencing and cane-berries and they are ridiculously solid.

TOSH0009.jpg
 

MClark

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Whatever you stick in the ground remember it has to come back out when you leave.

At Black Rock there are also many days where the wind is calm, the temp nice.
It isn't always gloom and doom.

M
 

manixFan

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I have been going to BR since 2010 and have stayed in a pull trailer, an RV, and slept in a tent. My 20+ year old EZ Up is still going strong and has survived winds that have destroyed others. Same with my similarly aged Coleman tent.

For tents guys are a must. I always use the rain cover which adds additional guy points. I just use the regular triangular stakes that you can get at Walmart and they have never pulled up. But guys are the key. It has survived 50+mph winds there.

For most EZ Ups it doesn't matter how strong your stakes are. The superstructure will generally fail before the stakes pull up. The key is to have a plan to lower the canopy and remove it at the first sign of trouble. You need a backup plan with your neighbors in case you are away from your site when wind hits. I have video from several years ago when a really strong storm blew through and bent the frames of a lot of EZ Ups that otherwise stayed put. Obviously strong stakes are a must but the best way to avoid damage is to take the canopy off if wind hits.

Which leads to another big issue. Lots of folks leave stuff out on their tables when they leave their site. Doesn't matter how well EZ Ups are staked down if things are blown off the table and across the playa. I've seen whole tool boxes flipped off tables when they were left with the lid open and the wind caught it. Worst are rockets that get blown over or off of a stand. Always plan on wind.

And don't take anything that you ever want to look new again. As others have mentioned the playa dust is extremely fine and gets everywhere. It is nearly impossible to completely remove. It is very drying to skin, nose, and throat. Take good lip balm, hand lotion, and sunscreen. A well fitted hat is necessary as the wind will blow off anything else.

It does get cold at night so a good pull-over or other warm jacket is required. Bring a good flash light as well. Actually, bring everything you need. If you need any launch gear other than a standard 1010 rail you should bring that as well.

In all the years we've been there we've never left the playa to get anything. We show up Wednesday night and leave Sunday afternoon. Many years we are nearly first on and last off. We use the porta-potties provided and don't shower while on the playa. We cook as much as possible in a manner to avoid creating dirty dishes that require immediate washing.

Also bring radios. An FRS radio to listen in to the launch announcements and a HAM radio to communication over longer distances. And a real GPS of some sort. In the last few years we've started to have some cell service out there I think due to Burning Man. But I would not count on it everywhere.

The launch site was way north last year in a terrible location. The Burning Man crew usually puts up markers to keep us away from their site as they are still cleaning up. But your best bet is making sure you have the GPS coordinates to the site and checking out the websites already mentioned.

It's a great time. The first time I went just two of us drove 30 hours straight thru to Reno where we rented a trailer. Then we went out to the playa. Almost ran out of gas as we underestimated how bad our milage would be once we were towing the trailer. Made us appreciate how expensive gas is in Gerlach.

Once at Gerlach how long it takes you to get to the launch site depends on how fast you are willing to drive on the playa. Go slow your first time. It's generally less than an hour to the launch site from Gerlach. Lots of folks stay in Gerlach every night and drive out in the morning.

All in all, it's a great trip enjoyed by a very small group of folks. Really a great experience and well worth all the trouble.


Tony


Thursday night 2015:
Black Rock 2015.jpg

Rocket recovery 2016 (min dia 54mm to 23,500' on L935, Mach 2.3):
Recovery 2016.jpg
 
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