The Real Burning Man


QUARTZSITE, Ariz. — “Road Virus” is a 32-foot-long matte black “skoolie” that is the rolling home and bookstore of Emily Black, 35, a former librarian and an alumna of a Bay Area tech start-up, and Sade Black, 27, a musician and writer. From it, the couple sells horror, science fiction, erotica and other so-called fringe lit, along with oddities like raven skulls, preserved scorpions and postcards sent by Charles Manson. For the last month, they have been parked here in front of Reader’s Oasis Books, an idiosyncratically stocked emporium presided over by Paul Winer, a sinewy former rock ’n’ roller otherwise known as the naked bookseller because he wears only a sock over his private parts.

Skoolies are school buses that have been turned into houses on wheels, and the Blacks, who bought theirs through Craigslist for $7,500 and have been on the road for a year, are new members of a sprawling and disparate tribe of vehicular nomads that flock to this dusty desert town each winter. They come for the boondocking — nomad vernacular for free or low-cost camping — on the thousands of acres of federal land that are adjacent to the place, and for the community, particularly that found at a two-week-long rally called the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous.

Source: The New York Times