According to the locals, our beloved Playa is in the best shape it has been in since 1997, when a jet-propelled car called ThrustSSC broke the sound barrier there on October 15th and set an new world land speed record of 763 miles per hour.
Precipitation was plentiful last winter and the playa even had a decent layer of snow on it, according to Dave Lesfevre at the Winnemucca office of the federal Bureau of Land Management. Once the white stuff melted, the continuous wave action of the wind provided all the levelling old Lake Lohontan needed to take on its billiard table appearance.
Maid Marian, Burning Man’s mistress of communications, noted that the Playa was “hard and chunky” when she arrived earlier in the summer, “so there was hardly a plume when you drove,” but more recently, the ground has dried and “the dust is more noticeable.”
On June 25 that around 9 p.m., some customers of Bev’s Miner’s Club in Gerlach found their drinks were being watered — 2 inches of rain in 15 minutes caused a flash flood that flowed right in through the back of the bar, shorting out two refrigerators and taking out the floor in the store room and an adjoining bedroom. Only quick action with some brooms prevented the mud from remaining ankle deep in the bar, but repairs will still take several weeks.
The same flood decimated Dooby Road’s southern end and it should only be visited from the north or by foot.