The Burner Byway: Summer Road Trip

Hit the road this summer in Reno Tahoe on the Burner Byway: Reno to the Black Rock Desert and beyond…

There is nothing like wide open highway that will make you fall in love with traveling all over again, and there is no better place for wide open highway than Nevada. If you’ve never been to rural Nevada, or if the only time you’ve adventured to the Black Rock Desert was for Burning Man, it’s time to crank up the tunes, open Google Maps, pack (local) snacks in a cooler and hit the highway… You’ll wonder why you haven’t done it sooner.

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Here is the ultimate guide to a road trip on the Burner Byway!

Stop 1: Reno

As the gateway for the annual Burning Man festival, Reno has embraced burner culture year-round around town – from massive art pieces, to fiery community gatherings, to the friendliest hospitality.

You better believe downtown Reno is getting more artsy by the minute…

In addition to the new Playa Art Park in the heart of downtown, a must-stop photo opportunity is at the BELIEVE sculpture was on the Playa in 2013, and now calls the Riverwalk in Reno its home.

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Have you wondered where the art for Burning Man was created and who creates it? Answer: Sparks, NV and YOU. That’s right, you could be one of the people who has a hand in creating a massive art piece – just head to the Generator. The Generator’s creative community code is Burning Man’s Ten Principles and equipped with major tools and the friendliest people. It doesn’t get much bigger than “The Man,” and this year’s Man was created right here at the Generator – how cool is that! The Space Whale (built last year at The Generator) will be displayed in the downtown Reno Plaza. To tour all of the Burning Man sculptures with factoids around Reno – there’s an app for that: Reno Art Explorer!

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The archive-based exhibition, organized by the Nevada Museum of Art, is on view in Reno July 1, 2017 through January 7, 2018. CITY OF DUST: THE EVOLUTION OF BURNING MAN Reveals story of how an experimental desert city came to be and how it continues to evolve today. Be sure to check it out now because it will travel to the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, in spring 2018.

Free hugs at check-in? The Morris Burner Hotel might be one of the quirkiest places you’ll stay. Where else would you find themed rooms like the Goddess Room or the Sparkle Pony Room? Definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.

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There are a number of places in Reno to experience Burning Man year-round: check out this video by The Blonde Abroad and Courtney Scott!

 

Stop 2: Pyramid Lake

No need to go all the way to Egypt to see some incredible pyramid formations – just 30 minutes from Reno. Pyramid Lake is a component of the National Scenic Byways Program and is the only byway in the nation entirely within a tribal reservation. O, and the fishing is awesome. Size matters.

pyramid lake

Stop 3: Gerlach, NV

Home to arguably the best welcome sign in the country.

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If you’re wondering what “the fastest town on the planet” means: Gerlach holds the land speed record – 714 mph driving on the Black Rock Desert! For a quick bite – Bruno’s has recently remodeled their restaurant and their diner-style food is just what a road trip calls for. Plus they have fast and free wifi, you’ll quickly find out full bars of service in the middle of Nevada is more sparse than people. Be sure to fill up in Gerlach on gas – it’s your last chance!

Stop 4: Planet X

Just a few miles out of Gerlach, and it is truly …out-of-this-world incredible. Every piece is hand-painted, and inspired by Nevada and the Black Rock Desert.

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Stop 5: Soldier Meadows Ranch and Hot Spring

After about 60 miles north of Gerlach, 50 miles driving on a gravel road, and countless miles north of cell service, you’ll find the Soldier Meadows Ranch and Guest House.

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Heading down the driveway, you’ll be greeted by hundreds of cows. MOOOOOVE.

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Stepping outside the car, you’ll be overwhelmed with relaxation before your feet hit the ground as you take a deep breath of fresh country air.

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Say “hi” to Cashmere, the most adorable ranch dog, as you walk up the steps! (Dog person.)

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The Ranch has a number of sleeping options, from queen rooms to bunk houses to cabins. All for affordable prices that include fresh cooked meals. The queen room cost $70 for a Saturday night.

Stop 6: Hot Springs

Soldier Meadows has a private hot spring on their property…. Waste no time getting to it…

Fun fact: Nevada has more hot springs than any other state! And, more mountain ranges. Outdoorsmen’s and outdoorswomen’s dreamland. Mentioned grabbing local snacks from Reno, well this the perfect spot to crack open a cold one. Brewer’s Cabinet in Reno offers their craft brews in a can!

hot springs

Back to the Ranch House…

Staying hours away from cell service, phone service (they don’t even have a land line on the property), cable and wifi (their connection is extremely weak) can be a little intimidating, but don’t worry, the adjustment happens real quick. Just…

Step outside….

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Watch the sunset…

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And dive into a board game…

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The ranch may not have internet, but their board game, book and VHS collection is impressively extensive- and a major throwback. This is what The Game of Life is about… finding the balance between modern technology and everything but. Let your mind slow down and get tucked into bed early. Earth’s natural alarm clock, the birds and animals on the ranch, will wake you up with the sun.

One of the best parts about staying at Soldier Meadows might be the delicious, farm-fresh meals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included with your stay! Farm to table has never been closer, as in a stone’s throw from your plate.

Stop 7: Open (dirt) Road

The drive between Solider Meadows and Gerlach is around two hours, but the scenery is timeless.

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Stop 8: Black Rock Desert

Add the Black Rock Desert to your bucket list right now.

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Okay, glad that is settled. The Playa is truly a remarkable place. The wide open space beckons adventure and serenity. It is known to many as “home” even though, as you can see, no one lives there year-round. The Black Rock is home to Burning Man’s Black Rock City, is a place where you can be who you want to be without judgement. Even after 70,000 people leave the pop-up city every September, the good vibes, energy, and creativity stay within the cracks.

It’s the perfect place to relax with Playa picnic.

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And, it’s a perfect place to put the pedal to the metal. Of course you have to give the place that holds the land speed record a run for it’s money.

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Stop 9: Guru Road

Across the highway from the Black Rock Desert just outside of Gerlach is a drive-through art exhibit. What else would you expect in this art mecca?  Built by DeWayne “Doobie” Williams in the late 70s to early 90s there are many pieces worth getting out of the car to interact with.

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Even the locals enjoy the stones engraved with words of wisdom.

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This television piece was a personal favorite. Get outside. Explore more. Discover Nevada.

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Stop 10: Open Road to Reno…

One of the best parts of Nevada road trips are one of the long, open roads.  Take a moment to get out of the car, breathe the fresh country air and take it all in.

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Some scroll through the day. Others seize it. Go do something crazy. And tag it #RenoTahoe so we can see it.