Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Burning Man - Part II

Getting ready for Burning Man involves lots of prep work. You have to gather supplies (flash lights, hand sanitizer, sleeping bags, etc.). Our journey was to start on a Wednesday and since I would be gone for two weeks there were lots of things to do. Imagine what went through my mind when Tom said, “Hey Babe, do you think we could be ready to leave a day early?” Hmmm. Don’t panic. “Sure, honey no problem.” With Tom’s help we got everything done a day early and set out on our adventure.

Part of the Burning Man experience is “art cars.” People modify and build these cars to drive around in the desert. As mentioned in the last post Horizon built a giant shopping cart (pictured above). For those inquiring minds, he took a 1980 Chevy C 10 truck, cut the body completely off, shortened the frame to 12 ft. Installed a 1976 power glide transmission, kept the original straight 6 engine and ran all new JEGs parts. The basket was built with steel square tubes from 2" to 1", welded all with a MIG gun outside using argon gas mix, painted with real aluminum foil. He installed an 1/8 diamond aluminum tread plate for the floor, installed a stainless steel 12 ft. steering rod, upgraded springs and shocks, then added 16" alloy low profile tires.

Getting the shopping cart to Black Rock City would take over 44 hours of straight driving. When you’re pulling a giant shopping cart on a trailer you get many looks of awe and wonder from people. Suddenly people slow down in the lane next to you in order to get a good picture. People come up to you when you stop and ask such questions as, “What is that thing? Is that a shopping cart? What does it do?”

A couple of my favorites “We’re going to Costco. Where we come from everyone has one of these.”

One young gal out in the middle of night with a young man wanted to take a picture of the cart with Horizon. She asked (with the cutest little southern accent) “Mr. Inventor Man, can I take a picture of you with that thing. My boyfriend won’t believe me if I tell him about it.” Turning towards the young man she’s with she continued, “That’s not my boyfriend.” Hmmm . . . interesting.

The guys took turns driving and sleeping. They were awesome. It’s not easy driving a van pulling a 2,500 lbs cart. On the trailer Horizon had a generator and various tools incase there were any problems with the cart in the middle of the desert. We found out how much of a “Mr. Inventor Man” Horizon was on the way home when the van’s alternator was failing. He started his generator, ran an extension cord through the back window of the van to the front seat to a battery charger, and the wires went out the window and were attached to the battery itself. We were in the middle of the salt flats in Utah and about 30 miles from a garage. We spent the night and after the garage fixed the van we were on our way.

Additional photos of the cart.

© Nadine Zawacki 2010

6 comments:

Laurel said...

Love it.....and looking forward to hearing lots more! Thanks for sharing Nadine.

jennifer said...

That is THE coolest thing ever! I would love to shake Mr. Inventor Man's hand (said in my own southern drawl).

Thanks for sharing the pictures but MORE please! I want to hear more!

Best regards to you and Tom and prayers that you will continue to have fun.

Grace said...

OK Mama Bear, that is one impressive description of how the cart was built! Are you that much of a gearhead, or did a certain Horizon feed you what to say? lol ;)

Bex said...

You sure do know a lot about car parts!

That's a pretty cool contraption. I especially like that you drive it from where my three year old would be sitting in the grocery store!

Nadine said...

I'm glad you all are enjoying the stories.

Grace - I writer never reveals her sources . . . ha, ha. Of course the wonderful Horizon gave me that technical information. Anyone who knows me, knows he might as well been speaking Greek.

Thanks Horizon for the info or should I say, "Mr. Inventor Man."

Kantiki Jayamana Whateva said...

The Shopping Cart! Such a brilliant idea for the "Metropolis" theme this year. Sending mad thanks for your post as well as thanks to Mr. Inventor Man for supplying the details on its creation.

A part of the fun heading into the burn is the pilgrimage itself, and encountering others who don't know what's going on. Your story perfectly captured one of those WTF!? moments as a huge shopping cart on a trailer pulls into town. McPriceless!