The Ranch is currently in the best organizational condition in its history. Junk piles that managed to linger for years and years finally made their way to a recycling facility in Reno. The benefits of 2010’s yard expansion were very short lived and so we added yet another expansion in the early Spring of 2011. This new expansion provided a more spacious work arena for pre-production crews as the season shifted into gear, as well as adequate landing and storage space for the 70 new storage containers acquired this year alone.
Although things are pretty good doesn’t mean there’s no need for improvement. We’re currently working on adding a living/meeting room to the Ranch House. We have some ongoing quirks in our overall electrical system which we hope to get worked out before the 2012 season gears up, and this year’s Christmas wish list includes a pressure washing station for the Auto Shop and an internal wash station so our grease monkeys can clean up without destroying the Ranch’s community bath house.
As is to be expected with a building constructed back in the 1940s, the Black Rock Saloon continues to breed maintenance issues. This property is DPW’s oasis in the desert and sees a great deal of high energy action throughout the event season. Over the winter we replaced yet another section of floor in the bar area (as we’ve had to do numerous times over the years) but the fact that this building sits on top of a natural Spring (as does the entire town of Gerlach) makes it inevitable that wood’s going to rot and give way no matter how many times we replace it. The current plan is to gut the Saloon entirely and replace the joist floor with concrete come Spring.
With the exception of some irritating swamp cooler issues at the Gerlach Office things seem pretty under control there with no major issues. Last year we tore out most of the floor in this facility and filled in the “basement swamp” with truck loads of gravel so as to suppress the rising flood and it’s been holding perfectly well so far. We had started to give the Office a bit of a face lift when we replaced the front porch and added a temporary awning, but weren’t able to complete the overall exterior remodel due to time restraints. The goal is to finish the awning and some other exterior cosmetics that were started last year come this Spring giving both the office and Main Street Gerlach a bit of a face lift.
On the outskirts of town on way to the playa is the old Gerlach Community Swimming Pool which was shut down pretty much right after it opened many moons ago. Burning Man has owned the Pool Property for some time now and uses it for various staff operations pre- and post-event. Over this past winter we put a new roof on the showers building, painted the building’s exterior and installed all new plumbing A to Z in the men’s and women’s bathrooms. The property could still use some basic upgrades to better facilitate trailer functions there which we hope to address before the 2012 event cycle gets started.