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Pumpkin on the Playa September 12, 2008

Posted by Merrilee in Burning Man, Projects.
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(sorry, I have been completely slammed with work and home life since we returned on the 2nd…)

So what happened with the Pumpkin once we got to Burning Man?

Well, it was a mixed bag. First, the good.

The vehicle is absolutely beautiful and got many, many compliments. People kept asking if Keith is an engineer (he’s not) and were interested in how it was built (I’ll get Keith to write a detailed posting on what’s under the hood). It was fun to ride in.

Here, from Jons photostream, is what it looked like on the playa.

Here, from Jon's photostream, is what it looked like on the playa, while we were in the middle of putting the lights on it.

Of course, there were a few downsides:

  • The controller kept overheating
  • The playa conditions were sandy, and we kept getting bogged down in the sand, probably because the vehicle was geared too high
  • There were problems with charging, and because of the conditions and the gearing (probably) we were chewing through our battery charge. We finally strapped a generator to the back, which kind of defeated the purpose of having an electric vehicle.
  • Due to conditions, the roads got really bumpy, earlier in the week than is typical. The “ribs” rattled off and we took them down on Wednesday and just went topless. Once we did that, we decided the vehicle was better off without them.
  • One of the biggest problems (from my perspective) is that Keith built the vehicle to be “modular” so that it could be broken down to fit in a small trailer. That is true, but it takes close to a day to assemble and then disassemble. This used up valuable playa time!

Of course, we have some future solutions. I will be looking for a garage to keep it in, and a trailer to tow it with so we don’t have to build/unbuild. Keith will be working on the various mechanical problems. And we’ll be looking for a new name since it won’t be a pumpkin (I had proposed “Marriage Wrecker,” but now I am in a better mood about it).

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