Whenever I could afford it, we'd get a really good rental car, maybe a Lincoln Town Car, and make sure it was fully insured. That was the important part.
I consider this the ultimate metaphor for the nature of the early days of Burning Man: We'd go to the middle of the playa after we knew no one was out there and just drive. As fast as we could. Flying on mushrooms. Drinking wine out of a bottle. With the lights out, only the moon and Milky Way lighting the way. And Vanessa and I would be fucking and shooting guns out the window at the same time, Jane's Addiction blasting from the stereo. I consider that my ultimate American experience.
We weren't trying to destroy any of the vehicles, just ride them hard. And when we returned them, I'd send in Vanessa in a little-girl costume, pigtails and a little dress. We'd try to get the dust out, but things like bullet holes and smashed windshields would be pretty apparent. The functionaries of the huge rental car companies didn't care much. They'd just look at the car, look at the paperwork, look at Vanessa, and say, "We see you have full insurance..."