AFTERBURN REPORT 2003
As we finished up the fourth year of Exodus on the playa, the crew swelled with pride, knowing we had achieved another year of success!
With continued diligence, we helped to ensure a smooth exit for most from Black Rock City. Even with some pains on Monday afternoon, the participants had an enjoyable if not bittersweet transition back to the default world. Apparently, some of you read your Survival Guide and did not wait to leave on Monday afternoon. In addition, Burning Man Information Radio (BMIR) was a big help, with live updates on the traffic. We witnessed less congestion in Gerlach, so I'm sure the townsfolk thank you for your cooperation! DPW also gives a big "thank you" for all of your generous donations as you left the city.
One thing we can say: The challenge of channeling thousands of participants over a single, rutted road kept the Exodus crew on our toes. Though traffic was down slightly from previous years, the Monday afternoon crush remained heavy this year, and at one point it backed up from Gerlach all the way to the gravel playa entrance. That one-lane highway just can't handle so many departing vehicles at once! Many participants decided to leave just after the temple burn this year - a good plan provided not too many go at once - so we had reports of some congestion at that time, as well.
We did experience some frustrating problems with breakdowns. Some participants seemed to feel that a vehicle breakdown was an excuse to party in the middle of the road instead of getting their vehicles clear of the traffic flow. Please remember, it's best to pull off of the road and get help as soon as possible. Exodus will work hard this year on educating participants before the event, on the playa, and during exodus on how to improve this situation. We may also have someone available to cruise the highway and keep an eye out for breakdowns there.
This year, the Exodus crew added supervisors for setup and tear-down, main operations, flagging, Gerlach traffic flow, and other problem solving. This assistance gave the Exodus manager more time to interact with law enforcement, BMIR, and other Project departments. The result was a better functioning system than before and a happy Exodus crew!
Next year, through continued improvements in operations and cooperation from participants, we will have a better exodus than ever! Visit the Exodus site for more information, and volunteer to join in the fun next year.
Odwally, Exodus Manager