Somewhere kinda between California City, California and Edwards Air Force Base.
It’s on roads that the G overlords will tell you are real and the voice from your phone tells you to take. Truth be told, it is somehow so much more convenient than the legends of dry Nevada lake beds that it almost feels like cheating, while also somehow being just as much of a logistical pain in the ass.
When I first heard our permit was denied, I was foaming in my reptilian brain. I don’t know the last time that I've read hundreds of pages of legalese government documents with so much fury and fervor, but that first week was a record setter for sure. Public Lands are Public Lands, dammit! Beautifully though -- there were so many people working in the pro (pronounced prah) and we had countless alternate site options.
Enter the Mojave Site. Wait, it’s close to town? Psh screw that, you need to deal with your forgotten missing items! Roads? You mean there are existing roads? We CaN’t FiT iN yOuR mOLds MaAaAaAnN!! So, I made the four hour trip out to confirm my skepticism and worst preconceived notions so that I could dig my heels in with unwavering confidence. Unfortunately, I met the property owner. Super mellow dude with just the right amount of anarchy and good will. He gave me and Oz a tour of the 300+acre property, walked us up the peaks overlooking the undeniable home of the Electric Universe, sacrificed to the gods, standard festival organizer stuff.
All the things I love about camping in the Black Rock Desert are in the Mojave (okay maybe not the opportunity for chaos in white outs, but that’s pretty much it). Feelings of a non-Earth planet: check. Mostly unforgiving climate: check. Vast, disorienting spaces: check. Sunrises and sunsets begging for collective howling: check check. However, the Mojave also offers things we wouldn’t get to have in a giant dry lake bed, like an incorporated topography to get elevated views of the expanses that will swallow any city we build in it; curious wildlife to add some chaos lost from not having whiteouts, or at least I hope we get coyotes howling back at us; a liquor store nearby; emergency services close enough that we are able to have a huge cost saving added to our budget; a guaranteed permit and people eager to help us instead of drag us along like an abusive ex.
My favorite part about the Mojave site though is that it is OUR site. We are out from the shadow of other certain established events. The land has energy and life. It wants to be channeled and embodied. It is eager to pulse and breathe and yell and shine and explode. The volcanic rocks are proof that it has a history of explosions long before any of us even whispered coos of electric dreams in our infantile dreams. The inherent life force of the Mojave creeps in with dusk and the silent moments when the wind stops. It’s daring you harness it.
Like making a deal with the trickster within the coyote, the Mojave will let you think you are safe, settled and established, only to whip a wind through your camp and send your world flying into the hills. The chaotic neutral in me is excited for the unpredictable nature of our new site, while the first responder hyper-planner is stoked for the foundation that the property owners are providing us. In the lake bed I heckle. Some might say too much. The Mojave has me feeling mischievous. Who will KC Struggles become in this place? So far, he likes wearing a giant cougar head.