I had no desire to stay around and get stuck in hours of traffic as 45,000 people tried to stream out onto the one lane highway for 120 miles so I left right after the temple burned. I had already packed up my car during the day and literally walked back from the temple burning, got into the car and drove. I still got stuck in about 10 minutes of traffic as the 6 lanes of cars squeezed down to the one lane road but it was pretty much free sailing from there. There were quite a few times there were stop signs or something that would become traffic snarls as the night became morning. It was funny I got out of there at 1 AM so I had spent exactly one week there. Until I got back to the Freeway I crossed through a couple of Indian reservations and I had been warned that they demand payment for speeding tickets on pulling people over so I made sure to follow the speed limit to the Freeway.
The lack of sleep over the week and trying to pull an another all night drive finally caught up with me and I had to sleep a few hours in a truck parking lot. They had dumpsters for the trucks to clean out their cabs so I was able to dispose of my bags of trash that had accumulated over the week easily.
Before arriving at my sister’s house I took one of the remaining gallons of water and dumped it over my head to try to clean out as much dust as possible. I then shaved and got dressed into clothes I had been saving so no dust got on them so I could look mostly presentable.
I hadn’t realized how much I needed it but I had used Burning Man as a way to decompress. At first I just tried filling up my schedule with different events but that failed (as so many other people I heard had the same trouble) since the sense of time did not seem as important out in the desert. (Though I was constantly telling people what time it was since I was like a god since I had remembered to wear a watch.) I tried seeing all art on the first day like it was some sort of check list type thing and of course it just kept showing up throughout the week so there was no way to see it all. Some of the art took 2-3 times of taking it in before it had an effect, other work required viewing at a time of day. Riding on art cars with someone else in control of the destination was also something to acclimate to.
The funny part is that as I told my stories to my friends and family a lot of them inevitably would say they should have gone with me and if I was planning to go back so they could go with me the next time. I hadn’t even thought about the next time. I was more worried about how to get all the dust out of everything.