Life on the Summit: Hey Spike! and the Burning Man |

Life on the Summit: Hey Spike! and the Burning Man

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily 'Dr. Pepper' Jim Bachman

Just as planned, the icon for the 25th annual Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nev., out in the desert near Reno, is ash, toast, all burned up – and cleared away.

“Never mind all the columnists and bloggers trumpeting tales of widespread drug use, nudity all around and wild revelry on all sides,” reports Sam Bauman, writing in this Swift Communications’ sister pub, The Nevada Appeal, “Burning Man is actually a largely quiet celebration – sharing, enjoying art and music, even quiet hours of chanting and cymbals clashing and trumpets snarling in the temple.”

For a Summit local’s perspective, we asked our man on the ground for his first-ever such experience, Dr. Jim “JB” Bachman, to provide insights to the event, at which the maximum attendees allowed by the BLM permit reached the 50,000 mark during the Aug. 29-Sept. 5 week.

“I went with a friend from Arvada, Geoff Gardella, who had been 12 times,” reports the good doctor, former chief of staff up at the Frisco hospital who now has another residence in Arvada, where he’s a physician in Denver. “Most of our camp – about 15 – were from all over and all ages.”

Out at Burning Man, everyone takes “playa names,” says Jim, who adopted the name “Pepper,” and Geoff was “Hubris.”

“BM is a free-giving society,” says Dr. Pepper. “There are restaurants, hair salons (where I had my head buzzed), movie theaters, dance halls, live music, plays, bars anything and everything. Nothing costs. Everything is free.”

Except … The BM admission ticket runs a little over $300. Dr. Pepper says he spent about $2k for airfare, rental car, supplies, and the vodka ran about $50.

According to our guy on-site, the BM people lay out the city and provide the “Man” built at the center of a mile-wide playa. They provide ice, coffee and porta-potties and nothing else. Everything else is created by the people who come.

In addition to the man in the middle, there was a huge Trojan Horse, a beautiful temple, huge trees, a piano so large you could walk in it and play the strings – and objects that defy explanation, explains Dr. Pepper.

“Most everything gets burned, and there are no cars and everyone walks or rides bicycles,” says Dr. Pepper, who’s 59, and took his unicycle.

Here’s more of the Pepper’s report:

“At night everyone wears glow sticks and the entire city seems to pulsate and blink. There are Mutant Vehicles that look like ships or praying mantas or muffins. The city is arranged in circles around the plaza in tribes or camps. Everyone is dressed in costumes – or nothing at all. Many camps have themes. The one next to us was the Barbie Death Camp and Wine Bistro with thousands of demised Barbie Dolls.”

“The culmination is the burning of the Man with thousands of fire spinners dancing around it. My tribe had front row seats and the spectacle was amazing. After the Man burned and came crashing down and after an hour or so, when there was only a pile of embers remaining, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores,” Dr. Pepper writes.

And that official link:


Now back up here on top – way up on Fremont Pass at 11,318 feet, Freeport-McMoran Inc.’s (FMI) recent Climax Mine job fair in Silverthorne drew about 170 applicants.

Hey, Spike! communicated with FMI spokesman Eric Kinneberg of Phoenix, and Colorado Work Force Center reps Bill Thoennes, Rosemary Pettus, Kim Rodriquez and Cynthia Blair-Hoover.

All are pleased with the turnout and the progress toward a “moly” production opening in early 2012.


Spotted out and about lately have been Dr. Doug and Maryann Stein of Frisco and Florida; Texas oil and gas man Jon Lohman; Doug and Shiela Paxton of Windsor and Frisco; David and Tracy Sungelo of Denver and Frisco; The Maisonnouves: Jerry and Deb, and son Jeramiah, with girlfriend Rose Hernandez, golfing at Copper Creek; Kitty Fowler of Breckenridge; Frisco Fish Taco stand owner Patricia Lesage; Tracy Pasic; the Kingdom’s Tom Bader; builder Rick Hein; Dr. Marc Shiffman; Stewart and Christine Voutour; and Sandy Novotny.

Miles F. Porter IV lives in Frisco. Email your social info to

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