burning man trip aftermath and cleanup

Today's priorities: beer recovery and engine care.

Roundtrip mileage from home in North Carolina to Reno and Black Rock City, Nevada = 5700 miles (9173 km) towing a 27 foot (8.2 meter) travel trailer. Whew! I'm afraid to tally up the fuel receipts. The bill will come soon enough. Driving across almost the entire USA to get to a week-long extreme desert camping event like Burning Man is quite an ordeal.

Image #1: The beer. This was all we had left over, so I unloaded it from the trailer today and it's now in my house refrigerator. Heavy items like beer and water are better purchased near to the destination, so we got three cases of canned beer in Reno, Nevada. It's best to get enough for yourself, plus have plenty to offer to guests that drop by to see you at Burning Man. Canned beer is better than bottles due to the weight reduction, plus you can stomp the cans flat afterwards and drop them off for recycling. You have to take out everything you take into the festival, so cans win. Breaking a bottle in the desert is a big no-no anyway. You'd have to pick up every little piece of glass. It's a "leave no trace" event. The desert must remain pristine after everyone leaves. Litter is called MOOP (Matter Out Of Place). No MOOP allowed!

Image #2: The engine from my pickup truck. It's still completely whited out from the desert dust. The only clean area is the oil filler cap from where I just changed the oil today. I change the oil and filters prior to departure, then change them all again after the trip. Towing a travel trailer results in a very hot engine sometimes, so I use synthetic oil and premium factory filters (Mopar). We always overheat the engine at least once in the Nevada deserts, usually when it's about 114 F (45.5 C) outside, and we've been ascending a steep grade for half an hour at full throttle. Pulling over and racing the engine with the hood open is the way to cool it. You watch the temp gauge. If you wait until the engine is steaming, you've waited way too long.

I change the oil myself. I can do it in half an hour and not have to drive somewhere and wait for it to be done. I also am paranoid about shops using cheap oil and filters or maybe botching the job. If I do it myself, I know it's right, and I can use champagne parts at beer prices!

8 responses to “burning man trip aftermath and cleanup

  1. Originally posted by slackwrdave:

    Pulling over and racing the engine with the hood open is the way to cool it.

    I'm sure you've covered this before, but is that thing a diesel? I can't tell if those are spark plug or glow plug wires I see. I don't see coil packs in this picture. If it's gasoline, are the coil packs on the firewall?

  2. It's gasoline. As you know, driver, diesel is better for heavy-ass towing but initial cost is too high, plus they're so "clacky"!I wonder why diesels always absolutely stink under the hood?I don't see any coils under the hood. I remember coils from the old distributor, points, and rotor days. Maybe the appearance has changed so much I don't recognize such a part anymore.

  3. How do you clean the engine after your Burning Man trip? Do you give your engine a steam clean?

  4. Originally posted by harrytheman:

    How do you clean the engine after your Burning Man trip?

    I'm not sure. Last time I just left it as is. I worry about spraying water over all those wires and things.

  5. Horror story:I almost forgot, one time I had a neighbor's cat up in there. I knew it slept in there sometimes, so I tried to check before driving off on cold mornings, but one day its time came. I turned the starter and heard all kinds of hell break loose under the hood. I looked under the hood and it was even worse than expected. I tried knocking the parts loose with a broom, but it was too gross to bear, so I just drove on to work with cat dropping onto the roadway here and there.They asked me one day if I'd seen their cat. I couldn't bear to tell them. I should have said, "yeah, I-85 between exits 120 and 123." Heck, I'd warned them several times about that cat sometimes on my engine, but it had been a long time, and it had had no effect on them anyway.I'd been really pissed if that cat had thrown the serpentine belt off the pulleys or ruined my fan clutch.

  6. Originally posted by slackwrdave:

    I worry about spraying water over all those wires and things.

    It'll be fine. If you think about it, all sorts of water gets in the engine compartment when it's raining out. Just don't use a pressure washer on full open. Coin-op car washes usually have a low pressure setting. Sometimes that just means not pulling the trigger.Also, if you do it at a car wash, be sure to leave the engine running if the engine is already warmed-up. Otherwise, you risks hurting something. I've used the coin-op car washes back in the day when you could use the spray-on degreaser and wash it off there. Never hurt anything.

  7. Good tips. Thanks.

  8. Quite a horror story. Not surprised that you could not face telling them.

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