The RV Metaphor

I think we’ve begun to resemble our Burning Man RV. Not only is it an aging model, but it needs some replacement parts. Foremost among the needed upgrades is a new generator. Ours bit the dust (pun intended) after the last Burn. It’s critical for us because it allows us to run the air conditioner. Without AC, the RV turns into a hot box in the desert. We also have a medical device that requires power so the gennie is a must-have for our stay in Black Rock City.

Fortunately, our son – also a Burner – recently found a used version of the exact same model built-in generator for a reasonable price. The new one will also need some repair, but we’re confident our old model will provide all needed parts. Of course, there’s still the issue of roadworthiness (for both us and the vehicle). Hence, we’re getting ourselves checked out medically while we kick the tires on the RV

As you can probably tell, the RV is the perfect metaphor for us. In addition to the aforementioned need for a replacement generator, the vehicle’s speed and reliability are far from ideal. I have some replacement parts of my own – titanium in my left femur, for example. And we’re both nearing the age when more alternative body parts may be required. Like the vehicle, we absolutely move slower and less reliably than in the past.

Taking the RV in for a tune-up and inspection will help; but, as far as we’re concerned, even our Primary Care Physician can’t prep us with an oil change and some new tires. So we and the RV will be heading to the Playa aware of possible breakdowns along the way.

Just as we know to pack extra oil and coolant and to bring battery cables, we have to line up the assortment of meds and vitamins that get us started and keep us humming along every day. That takes some additional preparation. We not only have to remember to bring the meds, but we have to recall where we’ve stored them once we’ve packed the RV.

We’ve also got to do more limbering up than previously. We can’t just head out to the Playa and jump on our bikes for the first time in months. We need to start riding now. We won’t have a good time if we end up with strained muscles on day one and spend the rest of the Burn in pain.

Worst-case scenarios are not our expectation, but guarding against them seems wise. How to Burn when you’re nearing 80 years old takes thought and planning. As it does for everyone prepping to spend a week in the harsh conditions of the Black Rock Desert. Check the Burning Man website ( for tips on how to have a safe and fun Burn. If all goes according to plan, we’ll see you there.