Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And...we're back!

Almost no issues with Philip, except for a tendency to overheat on hills when it was hot. Looking in the engine bay today, it looks like I have at least three different coolant leaks to address. Hopefully they are just hose clamps that have loosened up and not some catastrophic failure. THANK YOU to Cat and David, our passengers this year that brought some great stickers to put on Philip. They were also awesome roadtrip companions! This year Philip was part of the Art Pirates and the Bad Idea Bar theme camp at 2:50 and Hajj.  A theme camp (it turns out) is way more work than camping alone, but also totally worth it due to our Pirate Queen Piper and her excellent art direction, and our great campmates. We had LOTS of artists every afternoon for both "free studio time" and daily classes at 4:00. The shade structure worked out (whew!), as did the dome. Overall, it was an awesome year. Our goal now is to start working on next year's stuff now so that nothing sneaks up on us. Yeah, that will work. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

And we're off...

Here in a few minutes. Really. Just a few more things. We're almost there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

OMG OMG OMG We leave tomorrow!

Hmmm...I thought we had another week to get ready. Seems I was mistaken. Turns out that this year will be a bit of repeat of last year in terms of frantically throwing the remaining crap into the bus and leaving in a cloud of diesel smoke. Oh well. Sometimes it's just better to get going. At least we see to be better prepared this year, with a much better shade structure. The bus is also not (yet) a disaster area, so that's something.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Man burns in 20 days, are you ready?

Well, no. Today was a good day for the bus. We got a lot done towards being ready, including getting the tires checked, filling up with diesel, getting new air horns installed (which is obviously critical), and starting to load the bus. The horns sound like an effeminate French car, though. FWIW, we're two weeks ahead on loading. We also got the shower fixture working and set up, so we can pretend to be clean on the playa. She Who Must Be Obeyed stopped by to give her Wisdom, which resulted in a change in shower setup plans (although it wasn't the idea she posited that we went with). The kids had a great time riding down the driveway in the bus, yelling and carrying on. I have to admit, their zest for life is contagious.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to pack for Burning Man, attempt #3

In 2008 (our first burn), we packed as if we were going camping on the surface of the sun. Lots of water (like 20 gallons too much), so much tonic water we literally couldn't give it away, and lots of items that seemed like a good idea here in Redmond (Earth) but were totally impractical and/or useless on the playa (the Sun). For example, all that tonic considering WE NEVER MADE GIN AND TONIC #1. Also, LONG PANTS. WTF was I thinking? Fat guy, long pants, desert, what? 

In 2010 (our second burn, 2009 was a bye), we packed as if we knew what we were doing. Ha. We did fine on the key stuff, but we didn't plan ahead and wound up throwing random stuff in the bus at the last minute (like additional ibuprofen from a free source on the way out of the parking lot). This caused lots of moop and made moving around the bus much like crawling through a dumpster being dragged at high speed through an obstacle course (yes, i have crawled through a dumpster. No, I'm not proud of it. Long distance was expensive in the 80's). Once we got to the playa and parked, not even throwing the vast majority of the shit out of the bus made it feel less crowded and disastrous. Now, I don't mind a mess (as my college roommates that never did the dishes will agree), but I found that the complete lack of order and inability to FIND MY SHIT damaged my calm at the Burn. I vowed to do better this year. 

This year, I have lists. I don't know if the Swordfish is making lists or not, but he better be. We've got storage built, and stuff has its place and will live there, dammit. Here is one of my lists (the food list. it was easier as an image):

Now, you will notice several things from this list: 
  1. We are not big on variety. At least, not food variety. 
  2. Location, location, location. Gotta know where shit is. 
  3. MRE generate "snacks". The scary quotes are to indicate that only those not in their right mind consider these snacks. However, under certain circumstances, they are tasty. 
  4. I like Poptarts. Mmmmmm...
The food list is the shortest one. Other lists include: the essentials, the kitchen box, liquor supplies (we have an embarrassing amount of horrible gin. maybe that's why we never had g&t's?), Other Equipment to be Packed, and the all-important To Do list. The strange thing about the To Do list is that it's never shorter. I keep marking stuff off and more stuff keeps appearing. Sigh. The Man burns in 23 days! 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another productive day...

Unfortunately, no pictures today, but that was because I was so productive!! I let my latent OCD run wild and now I have lists of everything that will go on the bus with a handy "Where is it stowed?" column that will obviously be kept up to date. I hope. The A/C is put back together and no longer looking like a naked R2 unit. The bus is ready to head down to the spa on Tuesday, although I'm a little worried about my wallet making the trip. I definitely had the "oh crap, I'm out of time" feeling today. The Man burns in 26 days!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday was a productive day.

Today dawned bright and early (for me) at 9:00 am. The overall goal for the day was to get Philip ready to head down to his spa visit on Tuesday. I got most of the way there, but got distracted by multitasking too much. At one point I was doing laundry, dishes, mopping Philip, taking the air conditioner apart, and building sawhorses. This worked fine until I nearly brought a sawhorse in the house to wash it.
So, sawhorses done. Well, as long as the table narrows significantly at one end.

Air conditioner is still taken apart, it works great, but I want to make sure it dries out completely before I put it back in the bus. Really taking it apart and permanently installing in the bus is going to have to wait until next year. I think it looks a lot like a droid from Star Wars with the covers taken off. Hopefully it won't try to run off or anything.

In other news, the smoke detectors are in (Safety third!) and I've also got a filter secured over the roof vent to keep the majority of the dust out. I'll use blue tape to seal the edges, but I wanted to have metal hold downs so that it wouldn't sag.

Lastly, Philip is all mopped out now. As much as I love the smell of playa (and believe me you get a heady smack of it when you turn on an air conditioner that was run there. It's pretty much a mini dust storm), it's nice to have the bus smelling fresh. This will not last.

Tomorrow, it's all about getting the bus contents organized so it can be loaded next weekend.

Friday, August 5, 2011

OMFG! 28 days?!

Ok, this weekend things kick into high gear. Frankly, the sticker volume from the post office has been, well, nil. This makes me sad. I cried. However, lots of local folks have stepped up to offer stickers and we've got a lot of those on the bus. Plus, She Who Will Be Obeyed and I took a vacation to the Hot Places and brought back stickers from there (check out the post a couple down from here). Overall, Philip is in better shape than last year. He's going in for his yearly check up at the spa (aka the SPA) on Tuesday. Dave rocks, he knows old diesels in and out. If you are reading this from some far away place (like, past Centralia), take a look around for some local stickers, throw them in an envelope, and send them to us! Cover Our Bus, #303, 16625 Redmond Way STE M, Redmond, WA 98053. Think of it as economic stimulus for the Post Office!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Last year, once we loaded the bus it looked like several suitcases, a kitchen, and part of a garage exploded into it. Other than the 4 seats and the 2 lockboxes, there was no storage or shelving in the bus. The Swordfish and I (based on his design) installed the shelving yesterday, and today I found a dresser just the right size for the platform over the wheelwell. I think I've got the dresser anchored appropriately, barring a rollover (which we are going to avoid, thank you very much). Next up, permanent placement for the speakers, outputs for the extra movable speakers, an amp to drive those speakers, mounting of the house battery, mopping, reconfiguration of the air conditioner in the bunkroom, and other assorted fun.
The Man burns in 49 days!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's starting to look like a real sticker bus (whatever that is)

Lots of new stickers, both ones I've posted pictures of before and ones I haven't. It takes a surprisingly long time to get all over them stuck on. I started adding one to the interior. A lot of them are duplicates, bu

t there's still a fair amount of variety.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's a clean bus

Today I washed the entire exterior of the bus. After that, I spent 30 minutes researching RV covers to see if I could find a cost-effective one for next winter. The moss infestation was ridiculous. Anyhow, the bus is now clean and all the mold is gone from the roof and windows inside (more the roof than the windows). Tomorrow I plan to start putting on the new stickers. I'll post some pictures once I do. For the (very few) of you reading this, send more! There's plenty of space.

Friday, May 20, 2011

More Stickers!

These are from various folks, including a few from Burning Man last year, lots from my friend Jim (Thanks Jim!), and a few from the Jet City Roller Girls roller derby up in Everett. I'd love pointers on how to photograph shiny stickers if anyone has any.

Swordfish and I started cleaning up the bus today. There's mold inside, not bad but on the roof and windows. I think a dehumidifier is required for next year.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Time to crank it back up!

Well, I've neglected this blog (and the bus) long enough. The pollen and moss have congealed into a rock-hard coating on some parts of the bus, and it's time to scrub it off and get started prepping for this year's Burn. We still need lots and lots of stickers, and the address is the same. I'll post pictures this weekend of the newest ones. Philip still runs great, I pulled him out and turned him around and mowed underneath. No mold inside, batteries are string, etc. I still have to find a place to get an oil change and a good once-over sometime relatively soon, so if you know of a good bus mechanic, let me know!