Archive for the ‘TRAVEL / Gatherings’ Category

*This is such a detailed description of life at Spiritual eco communities like Standing Rock, that I just had to re-post it.

In only a few months, a small encampment of a few Lakota people dedicated to protecting the Missouri River from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) became the center of international attention, swelled to house up to 14,000 people at its peak in early December 2016, and was supported entirely by volunteers and countless donations of both money and goods.

Many people from around the US and beyond traveled to North Dakota to support this fight for indigenous sovereignty, treaty rights, and environmental justice. Residents of the resistance camps existed within a capitalism-free zone, where nothing was for sale and everything from delicious meals to winter camping gear to expert medical care was available for free.

I first visited Standing Rock in early November 2016, and returned to spend five weeks in late December and January volunteering as a white ally to the indigenous “Water Protectors.” I spent my days splitting firewood, cooking meals, installing woodstoves, doing small carpentry projects, shoveling snow, sharpening chainsaws, doing dishes, and—on one rare occasion—livestreaming footage of police violence from the frontlines. During both visits I lived at Oceti Sakowin Camp, the largest of the three Water Protector camps and the location closest to the front lines of the fight against the pipeline. Oceti Sakowin is made up of many smaller camps organized by tribal group and other themes, and I quickly found a home at Two Spirit Nation, a community of two-spirit, queer, and transgender Water Protectors from many different indigenous nations, as well as their non-indigenous allies.

Most of my observations here will center on the deep winter weeks at Oceti Sakowin Camp, when nighttime temperatures regularly hit -25 degrees Fahrenheit, daytime temperatures sometimes failed to creep above zero, and cold winds whipped the open plain. The gift economies of direct action camps and festivals are easier to fathom in warm months, but during this period we all depended on the gift economy for our daily survival in a very real way. It’s notable that as of my departure in late January, not one person had died at the camps—compare this to large urban centers in cold states that see regular deaths from hypothermia among the houseless population under similar conditions.

Lin Migiziikwe Gokee-Rindal, an Anishinaabe Water Protector, was impressed with the collaborative culture at the camps. She reflects that she was “touched and inspired by the ways in which the people showed up for each other and how people in close proximity quickly became family. In harsh conditions and under extreme circumstances, a culture of mutual aid and a framework of traditional Lakota values…led to a thriving and close-knit community.”

What did this gift economy provide for us?

Housing. The winterized camp consisted of many army tents, wall tents, tipis, yurts, and a few tiny houses and RVs. Nearly all were heated with woodstoves, sometimes supplemented with small propane heaters. Most people slept on cots padded with several sleeping pads. You had to know someone at camp to get housing easily, but in an emergency you could spend one night in the warming tent maintained 24 hours a day near the Medic station. Arctic sleeping bags and endless piles of blankets were readily available for free if you hadn’t been able to bring your own. Residents in each structure took turns stoking the woodstove throughout the night.

Food. Some camps had their own kitchens that would cook two or three meals a day, but there were also several public kitchens in the camp that would feed anyone who walked in their doors looking for food. All the kitchens were staffed entirely by volunteers and stocked with donated ingredients. Meat is a staple of the Lakota diet, and I ate many meals of deer, buffalo, and elk meat donated by local hunters and ranchers. Sometimes we’d get a chance to eat Indian Frybread Tacos and other local specialties. At Two Spirit Nation, we had two sizable tents full of canned goods, granola bars, butter and cheese, pasta and crackers, tea and hot cocoa, meat and fish, and endless boxes of winter squash and root vegetables. Much of it was from organic farmers from Maine to Oregon, who had donated their extra crops to support the cause. Even in late January we still had enough food to feed our 15-person camp for another few months…or at least until the first real thaw, when all the frozen meat and produce would go bad.

Water. When it never gets above freezing, liquid water becomes a commodity. A heated water truck would make the rounds of camp most days, and small groups with access to a car would fill up five-gallon jugs offsite. The trick was keeping them unfrozen, so we usually kept them in the living spaces, which we heated around the clock with woodstoves. Melted snow was used only for dishwater, since persistent rumors circulated about harmful chemicals being sprayed in the atmosphere over our camps (as of this writing, there is no reliable scientific evidence to support this).

Sanitation. Oceti Sakowin Camp boasted two composting toilet tents. Each large army tent contained 15 stalls, with two attendants supervising them 24 hours a day. The attendants kept the tent heated with a woodstove, and changed the compost bags when the bucket in a stall got close to being full of sawdust, toilet paper, and human waste. One side of each tent was reserved for “Moon Stalls” where tampons, pads, and baby wipes were always available in each stall. The toilet system was one of the most organized parts of the camp, although exactly where our compost was going to go after it left camp in those nice biodegradable bags remained somewhat mysterious.

Security and Fire Response. An indigenous security team equipped with two-way radios monitored the two gates of camp 24 hours a day, and did patrols around camp. A second Women’s Security team was formed in response to several assaults at the camp, and maintained a safe housing space for women and two-spirit people. Three or four times during my stay, we woke in the middle of the night to people yelling “FIRE!” and rushed to the scene of a blazing tipi or shack, probably set afire by poor woodstove management. While these fires were too far along for our small fire extinguishers to make a difference, there was usually a person in full firefighter gear present who could probably have rescued anyone stuck inside. While the victims of these fires generally lost everything, they could easily get a new set of winter clothes and a new arctic sleeping bag from the donations available in camp.

Medical Care. The Medic Wellness Area boasted winterized yurts and tipis for doctors and street medics, herbalists, bodyworkers and acupuncturists, midwives, and mental health workers. All these services were available at no charge. A licensed doctor was usually on duty in the medical yurt, and there were free-for-the-taking stations for herbal tea, fire cider, basic medical supplies, hygiene items, and condoms. At the time when I departed, three healthy babies had been delivered at camp, and the medics had handled countless front-line injuries from rubber bullets, chemical weapons, concussion grenades, and water cannons.

Fuel and Firewood. Firewood was consistently the most sought-after commodity in camp. Somehow regular deliveries of whole logs consistently showed up, and each camp would send a few people with a chainsaw and truck or sled to get wood for the day. The general rule was to cut enough wood for your camp, and then cut some more and leave it for people who didn’t have a chainsaw. We all split the wood back at camp, and took turns stocking all the heated structures for the day. Every Saturday a propane truck arrived and filled our empty canisters with fuel for cooking and heating. I suspect these deliveries were paid for out of larger donation funds administered by Oceti Sakowin Camp or the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Winter Gear. Endless bags of donated clothing and bedding arrived at Standing Rock during October, November, and December. Much of it was unsuitable for arctic conditions, but there was enough high-quality gear to outfit the winter crew of Water Protectors (about 600 people) several times over. Anyone could visit the donation tents at any time and take anything they wanted.

Tools. Each smaller camp had an assortment of tools, and there was also a large construction building that would loan out any power tool you could think of as long as you left your ID with them as collateral. They provided everything from electric drills to ladders to chainsaws to a sewing machine. They also had 2x4s, particle board, and screws that you could ask for, and they’d give you what you needed if you could show them a sensible construction plan and materials list.

Spiritual Leadership and Ceremony. There were a few heated gathering spaces of different sizes that hosted everything from daily prayer circles to a huge Christmas Eve dinner with traditional singing and drumming. There were also several sweat lodges that any indigenous spiritual leader could use for the traditional Lakota Inipi ceremony of prayer, healing, and purification.

Use Your Imagination… The abundance of physical donations led to a lot of things being creatively repurposed. My buddy and I cut up donated sweatshirts to make crocheted rugs for the living spaces, and unraveled donated sweaters to produce yarn to knit extra-warm wool underwear. I pulled from the scrap pile outside the construction building to build shelves in our living space, and countless donated blankets were used to seal out the draught in winterized tipis. Whatever you needed, there was probably a way to make it with the tools and materials available at camp.

The gift economy at Standing Rock manifested itself according to the principles of indigenous culture. The Lakota people name generosity and compassion as two of their core values, and I saw those values in action every day. Much of the system depended on each group taking just enough for their own short-term needs, and leaving the rest for others. At home my instinct is to stockpile what I need for my own survival (two years’ supply of dry firewood, etc.), but that sort of strategy has its roots in the questionable idea that individual survival is possible without collective survival. In the capitalist economy of mainstream culture, it’s common for one household to thrive while an adjacent one is struggling to meet its basic needs. Houseless people freeze to death huddled next to spacious and luxuriously heated buildings inhabited by more “successful” folks.

In contrast, at Standing Rock we defined success as our collective survival. Therefore we took just the firewood that we needed, checked on the elders every day, brought food and coffee from our kitchen to the compost toilet attendants, and helped anyone who asked us for assistance. This culture of abundance seemed logical and easy in a situation where our needs for survival were simple and a steady flow of money and donated goods was pouring in all the time. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would take to create a steady-state gift economy, which could exist without these flows from the outside capitalist world.

When I finally left Standing Rock my friend and I stopped at a co-op food store in Minneapolis to obtain some much-dreamed-of fresh vegetables to munch on. It was such a shock to be asked to pay for food again. It made me wonder what it would take for our larger society to turn its ship around and set a course for a more generous and compassionate form of economy. It seems that these values arise in us spontaneously when a natural disaster hits and we are suddenly in a survival situation, such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or Hurricane Sandy in New York City. The rest of the time, our whole economy depends on a me-first, get-ahead value system based on competition and survival of the fittest (or, in a rigged system like ours, the most privileged). When luxuries and conveniences become symbols of status, we tend to become self-serving.

When people become passionate enough about collective survival, luxuries and conveniences lose their appeal. How can we help each other prioritize our collective well-being? How can we encourage ourselves to expand our definition of “the collective” to include the Lakota concept of “all my relations”: the four-leggeds, the winged ones, the stone people, the star people? When we listen to the prayers of indigenous people and orient our values in this ancient way, the path to a truly sustainable gift economy can unfold before us.

For further reading on pre-colonization economic history and gift economy theory, see The Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein.

Murphy Robinson is a wilderness guide, hunting instructor, and founder of Mountainsong Expeditions in Vermont. She lives in a Tiny House on a community organic farm in the mountains. You can contact her through her website, www.mountainsongexpeditions.com.

*turn on our social media alerts to follow the action live. 360 videos and event highlights are starting around noon Saturday and continue until Sunday night.
Saturday morning 9am: 

Boarded the train for 100 mike journey into Dallas. I could feel the stress from home melting away. A train ride is much simpler and more enjoyable then flying and more scenic than a cruise boat. Each have their benefits but for a short journey, the train is the way to go.
11am – Arrived downtown and boarded city train to Fair Park.

11:45? – Arrived at Dallas Earth Day.

Please share some of your favorites in the comments below. As I discover new explorers on social media, I will add them to the list below.

 

https://www.facebook.com/HastaAlaska

KombiLife.com

Hasta Alaska is the story of an English explorer named Ben who flew to Chile and has spent over 4 years road tripping all the way to Alaska in a VW Bus. He shares a video blog on youtube that does an amazing job of sharing all the details. His team has done such a great job, we hope to see more adventures from him in the future.

 

http://ModernMotoDiaries.com

Alex Chacon

https://www.facebook.com/ChaconAlex/?fref=ts

Alex has ridden motorcycles in a large portion of the world and continues on a quest to travel as many as possible.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO9yxZFAdyyjRYGMh5Qp-eg

Long Way Around (& Down)

Ewin McGregor & Charley Boorman travel from England to New York and England to Cape Town Africa on motorcycles.

 

http://netvibes.com/HelpingHandsNet

Helping Hands Network

The story of the network has been growing since being founded in 2006 by Tim Frentz. YouTube videos, blog stories and digital Comic Books share the adventures of network members along their path to help causes in need. Short novels are being published soon to help tell the stories in more detail.

FOX Produces Reality Web Cam Based Social Experiment UTOPIA

FIRST 30 DAY REVIEW

WATCH LIVE & View current residents: http://totalreality.tv/utopia.php

or http://www.utopiatv.com and get 4hr rewinds on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8eZTehtrNg

& view the CrewTopia Month 1 video: http://www.utopiatv.com/news/detail/1246/the-ultimate-utopia-video-recap-1

FOLLOW with chat via: https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/#UTOPIA

Utopia

Written by Tim Frentz (Author “Life’s Little Secrets) – The following first 30 day review comes from an experienced survivalist, spiritual guide and eco community consultant who has participated in multiple Utopian communities. Tim is an applicant in consideration and will be visiting Utopia in October until hopefully he is invited to stay as a community member.

Read more about the Helping Hands movement founder,  Tim Frentz, at: http://netvibes.com/HelpinHandsNet

THE REASON FOR THIS BLOG POST is to help promote and educate community living by keeping the viewership as high as possible during the life of the UTOPIA project. At a time where population growth is out of control and the USA civilization is on course to self destruction without a paradigm shift, a return to rural living using sustainable practices is crucial.

Tim Frentz leads a movement called the Helping Hands Network, which brings all these concepts together among those whom want to improve their lives and any others looking for guidance. In this blog, Frentz adds commentary and suggestions of how to improve on the current cast members actions.

We should all thank FOX Studios for investing over $50 million dollars into a project which has the potential to improve the flaws in the current status of United States culture.

The first few weeks of the project showed just how vast modern day personalities and beliefs really are. The producers have purposely chosen a mixed group in attempt to show a real scenario where drama and conflict would exist.

A perfect cast of peace loving know-it-all’s would make a great show and be very educational to the viewers with the rapid level of community bonding, however, the lessons to be learned by the chaos and conflict of the current cast has a vital role to play as well.

UtopiaScreenShot

1st 30 DAY REVIEW

DAY 1 – 8/29/2014

Not allowing the purchase of finished goods and limiting Pioneers to raw materials and bulk food stock would be much more interesting and educational to the viewers. It would really help the ratings! Not to mention, the participation in capitalism with an outside entity creates conflict over time which tugs at the Utopian dream.

We have already seen extremely heated debates with physical force directed at the destruction of the canned food surplus by Red and Dave because the options are left open. The more options they have, the more disagreement there will be! There has also been violence caused by the use of alcohol.

The attempt to obtain tools and needed items by trade with neighbors should be made before paying retail prices for new items!!! 

The idea of exploring and gathering in a Armageddon scenario is much more appealing. Starting the community with enough food rations for 30 days for 15 people should prevent purchase of additional food but this cast shows an accurate census of how the current US culture thinks. 2/15 of the cast makes attempts to create solutions out of resources available before running to spend money at a store. About the same % of Americans have been conditioned by marketing to think the same way. Our Elders are sickened by the younger generations ignorance and creation of waste.

TOPICS ADDRESSED IN MONTH 1:

(Topics may have been discussed on web cam feeds but not on final edit Episodes on TV)

Rules

Water Conservation (rain barrel collection not discussed)

Natural Resource access (wind and water energy not discussed)

Food Growth (permaculture basics were not discussed in regards to water flow and garden design until Bella started reading about it in week 2) Plants are to be started in portable pots in a green house setting. Make a starter green house and move mature plants into permanent spots with raised compost nutrient rich soil. Mediterranean climate in the canyons is going to wipe out a majority of the sprouts!

Food Collection (fishing & hunting conservation is not discussed. Nut and fruit tree’s are mentioned on web cams but not in the Utopians minds enough. There is very little talk about foraging.)

Food Nutrition (Grocery shopping and $25-50 delivery fee’s cause the biggest arguments in early weeks. Calling a friend to place BARTER ads for neighbors produce on CRAIGSLIST is an obvious choice not being considered so far. Hosting farmers market booth’s during the Utopian Experience days should be a no-brainer.)

Shelter (weather and climate not discussed in episode one)

Microwave Radiation (research proven medical studies and relation to increased % of population infected with related cancers. Bella does warn them eventually.)

Time Management / Roles

Democracy (Rotating government and leadership at least gives them better understanding of what does or does not work.)

Sleeping areas and personal space (Production refused Bella the right to sleep outside due to a Mountain Lion being tracked in the area. Hopefully producers will agree to allow UTOPIANs to sign a release waiver in order to allow similar future freedoms.)

Finances

(Bartering is addressed on web cam chat when Bri shops for a Rooster but it is not in the front of Utopians minds as much as it should be when talking about shopping mostly because THEY DON’T CARE. Most of the Pioneers will all be gone by the time the money run’s out anyway.)

$197 spent for hoses, spray attachment, sprinkler & a circular skill saw!!! Natural irrigation via wood channelling and proper sponge soil creation would void the need for hoses and sprinklers.

$149 on 2 stage water filter to filter fluoride that may or may not exist in their water. (Public water could be used for any non drinking and cooking water. A natural water filter can be made on site to purify rain water collection in addition to boiling and treating with UV light for all drinking needs without spending $149 in normal conditions. Unfortunately, Clarita is in a drought and Utopia did not start with a water tower full of fresh water so an inline filter on the plumbing is a good investment AFTER they have earned spending money.)

$663 to run gas from main into the Barn (Due to the need for a certified material installer. Again NO RULES in Utopia so no building codes should be enforced but it is understandable that production is under a microscope by local authorities to follow their rules.)

DAY 13: AND THEY FINALLY HAVE their first formal organized meeting!!! FAIL…

Day 19: AND they finally have an over priced computer that could have been delivered via Craigslist for $150 on night 1.

Animal Use

Cat talks (Cats control vermin population but Utopians consider it as an indoor pet with a needed litter box instead of keeping it outdoors)

Cow diet (Need fed based on forage/meadow grazing with very little dry hay/alfalfa. They aerate and fertilize the soil while leaving waste nutrients for the chickens to follow in behind for maximum Crop Growth) FOX brings in a VET before improper care leads to a sick cow.

Cows are voted off UTOPIA on day 18. UTOPIAN cast did not include a competent cow care giver so they are in talks about how to maximize their value. Cash sale pre or post birth, barter for goats plus cash, slaughter for food. Somehow, the Utopians are talked into keeping the cow’s even though they can not afford to feed them. Viewers cry abuse, but in reality cows can take care of themselves just fine and the Utopians do keep spending money on their needs BUT it is not a wise financial decision. Viewers please stop screaming cow abuse.

Oat Barley v. Alfalfa v. other options

Chickens (Mobile tractor coop for insect control and garden compost nutrient production is in progress. However, Bri is too distracted by her toys to educate Bella on proper chicken etiquette. Chickens need moved one at a time to grazing if done forcefully. They will return willingly to their coop at night and do not need forced. Moving chickens without a mobile coop cost the residents a lot of eggs in the first weeks.) They still need a net above the grazing area to stop owls and hawks. Josh mentions this on day 15.

http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/59960-feed-chickens-without-grain

Day 13: Bella fails to educate on Chicken Cow relations. Cows completely digest organic matter and chickens feed off the remaining nutrients. Hex blows up at Bella with miss information that there feed taints eggs for 10 days (according to RED). The group trusts advice from one local farm store merchant and a neighbor (Lefty) without being open to higher knowledge in global Permaculture. The group needs a permaculture expert like me ASAP so they are not so easily led in the wrong direction.

Horse ($2000 purchase vs. leasing options for pure recreational purpose)

Goats v. Pigs (trade for a cow severally limits methane production, compost and hog feed resources)

COMPOSTING FAIL!!! (Free graze the cattle and 90% of your compost problem is solved. Barn at night only and mix compost into pasture soil daily. There is enough meadow for one cow if they are fenced in and given one side of the pond all to themselves.)

Skilled Trades (Utopian handymen rely on outside hired help instead of trusting their own abilities and creating parts out of raw materials)

Trash / Waste Management (Disease control)

DAY 17:

Group decides to have one dictator (final decision maker) with 3 day limits. Random pick the order. Hex is now in control then Bri. Nikki may never get her chance. Humorous that everyone in the groups acts like they are immune when the reality is that they could be evicted at any time.

DAY 18:

Don’t dump out raw milk because a fly is in it. Save it for me because my immune system is plenty capable of handling it…and so is yours!

FINALLY, 18 days late on clipping the chickens wings!!! Cow’s are on the way out. UTOPIA is about to lose it’s primary source of SOIL COMPOSTING. Unsure how much top soil is around but the driveways and main meadows show very unhealthy rocky soil which need’s the cow manure to rebuild it’s nutrient base for future crop growth.

$75 is not very much money to place plastic sandwich bags with water around the property to control the fly problem according to AARON.  (omg…really?) Again, he is making a financial decision without the group. I cover natural pest control’s in my book “Life’s Little Secrets” here: http://wp.me/p13eVj-y9

$125 to the Vet $150 for groceries ($50 delivery fee EVERY WEEK) $51 for 17 plates instead of asking a neighbor for some free ones!

$475 for a computer you could get for practically free on Craigslist. (I trade and repair outdated laptops and I get them for the cost of shipping all the time)

DAY 19: Sept 16, TUE

UTOPIA Experience is conceptualized in the meeting (All UTopians skills on display in REN-Fest WanderLust Style)

UtopiaExperience

Producers make the major mistake of NOT opening voting on primetime. No mention of texting or calling in to vote the next eviction. They choose to go with the internal UTOPIAN voting only apparently this round which will not help increase their ratings. YOU must make the viewers feel like we are part of the show with as much interaction as possible!!!    😦

DAY 20:

A dead tree is shown behind the barn but no one has addressed chopping and stacking wood for heat furnaces using the oil barrels. Water catching systems are still not discussed and rain is in the forecast. Compost straw is being hauled off site instead of building green house soils.

They need a Craigslist errand person outside the complex to go around and barter the things they have to offer for the items they need but no one has addressed it yet. I could of had a great laptop for only $75 worth of trade, at the gate within 12 hours of being approved if I was a current Utopian and allowed to call my local network team.

*IF each UTOPIAN’s profile was connected to a live cam channel that followed them around specifically as much as possible, that would increase paid subscribers astronomically.

RED tells Amanda some basics on raising cows and chickens with their basic diet needs. He still has some to learn about Permaculture principals and composting for gardening but he and Bella have the most experience. Red thinks you rake and dry manure but for soil building compost you pile, mix, cover and turn it every few days for 2 weeks and then spread it out. Amanda continues asking Red for his review of others participation.

Josh continues thinking he needs to call a plummer or other trade specialists instead of doing things like UNCLOGGING THE SINK by himself.

The group don’t know toothpaste is simple baking soda. $1 worth lasts 1 person a full year!!!

The $149+20 delivery water filter is returned now that money is short. They can make one themselves for those that it matters the most too. A basic pitcher filter is only $15 and will remove ABOUT 50% of the Clarita public water Chlorine and fluoride particles. But it will always taste like chlorine. THEY need rain or permission to forage a nearby stream so they can get some fresh water.

Day 21

Ruler Change Meeting. Bri passes her turn to Bella. Bella declares ALL woman combined dictatorship.

Day 22 Friday 9/19

Computer arrives. How will they handle scheduling for use of it. How much negativity is this going to cause? Now that it is obvious to all that they are about out of money and food, tempers get out of control.

Day 23 SAT

5+ show up for boot camp at 9-10:30am

30 some show up for the Utopia Experience Fest

4 stay for Yoga

“The Experience” shows that it is possible to sustain the cost of monthly utility expenses with income from a monthly Ren Fest type of business. If the Utopians can come together to live off grid without water and power bills, they would not have to base their Utopia so strongly on making money. Unfortunately the current cast is mostly made up of city slicker who don’t imagine the possibilities of living without money.

 Day 24 SUN

New Utopian Ernie, 39 from Oceanside arrives. Brings more experience with plumbing. Voting on eviction did not happen first and viewers are confused.

Day 25 MON

My warnings about the garden being damaged by wildlife/nature by not starting in Greenhouses (controlled environments) went un-addressed and this day they discover Deer eating everything.

Budget meeting – 20% taxes ; 30% growth & savings ; 40% bills ; 10% personal spending ;

Teams are finally formed (House, garden, barn)

Rumored that 2 new come in Tonight or Tuesday and then NEXT Tuesday, they finally vote out someone. Looks like one forced (voted) eviction per month may be the trend, in addition to those who leave voluntarily.

RED goes financially independent and sets his own timebomb for being voted off.

$1000/month for COW FEED!!! Not including shots etc. The cow is not able to sustain itself off the lands meadow and it needs to be traded for a goat. They also need to contract a deal for free milk/cheese as part of the trade. They can not afford cattle.

House budget. HOT Water $350-700 heater plus $300 shower & tub. Tankless estimate according to Josh is $1200 BUT production must not be letting them order off eBay and Amazon because you can get them for $100-200. SOLAR IS BEST AND FREE.

http://tinyurl.com/o5x6kx3

IDIOT Josh is clueless on Solar water heating and ridicules Nikki.

Day 26 TUE

They show enough 2×6 and 2x10s to build the greenhouse today and “Contractor” Josh has left them uncovered in the weather to warp. His IQ is shrinking every day.

Leadership meetings lead to voting project managers. Bella refuses to participate and does not oppose Hex being put in place as garden manager. No one opposes Bris for Barn and no one opposes Josh for construction. Kristin goes unopposed as internet project leader with Chris and Nikki as helpers and replacement web team.

Day 27 WED

new government with Mike (the joker). Bella is talked into staying by production likely because they don’t want to have to replace more people then they can avoid. (travel costs for new Utopians adds up)

Day 28 TR 9/25
voting is finally opened to viewers and viewers get to pick one of 3 Utopians to be placed on the shortlist by SAT morning 9/27. A few days later, the Utopians will vote from the selected 3.

*The process should be held every 2 weeks. There is an abundance of current Utopians who are lazy and not making an effort to educate and improve for the benefit of the community and it would be more enjoyable to watch as well as more educational if the slackers were removed quicker in a bi-weekly process.

Calf born and several of the cast start talking about selling them before they even care for the calf.

Day 29

Calf watch day mostly

Day 30 SAT 9/27

Bri selected as internet and Utopian choice for eviction. Aaron and Red are 2nd and 3rd finalists for the first eviction vote.

DAYS OF IMPROVMENT

Day 33 TUE 9/30

Green Houses and HydroPonics are again addressed and may be brought up for group vote soon.

RED tells everyone he is ready to leave and Bri is saved. She is guaranteed to be out next unless someone else walks out before then. Really hope a bi-weekly eviction process is put in place to keep the attention of live stream viewers.

TELEVISED EPISODEs REVIEW

#1 – the editors fail to introduce the key concepts to survival like rules on burning wood and foraging outside boundary lines to satisfy dietary needs. Electricity and plumbing is mentioned but they do not cover enough detail.

#2 – again electricity is filmed but no explanation of why a trench needs to be dug and where the cable wire is coming from. Why are the Pioneers not trading for goods and foraging for food. Tell the viewers what is hidden around the compound to increase the suspense. Will the Utopians figure out what resources are right under their noses? Is the water from a well or is it tainted public flouride & chlorine? Is the pond connected to a natural spring or is man made? Will there use of it for irrigation deplete their fresh water supply?  Stay tuned…..

#3 – there is a big buzz about the episode 2 ratings being low. Will this experiment survive more than 7+ episodes (>30) some days?) If the producers could get even one celebrity to accept the challenge of living in this Utopian scenario for a full 7 days, it would grab the attention of more viewers. The projects start time is perfect with the arrival of fall and more people retreating indoors from cooler weather. If they could even get a couple people of interest to take a 24 hour challenge every few weeks, this project will have the ratings it deserves.

#4 – There still is not enough focus on the replacement and eviction process. Viewers comments on social media agree that the members who do not show serious efforts to learn rural living basics and improve their flaws need replaced every 2 weeks. If more qualified Utopians are not allowed into the experiment at a bi-weekly rate, the project will not achieve UTOPIA within the 12 month goal because too many of the current problem causing Utopians will still remain. There are plenty of better applicants (like Tim) waiting to get their call!

MEET THE PAST CAST:

missing Pioneer #16 Andrea Cox – Violated Mobile Phone and Communication policies before Day 1 – http://www.ebuzznew.com/utopia-reality-show-contestant-booted-before-filming-begins

Pioneer Dave: 32 NY Big City Nomad. Trying to recondition from a past in crime & prison rehabilitation. Full of love but mentally unstable. Emotional challenges come from being raised without loving parents and other absence of healthy role models in his youth.

Pioneer Jonathan: 44 TN Pastor.  Brings a strong christian religious presence but accepts others spirituality. Lists enemies as non believers which needs deeper definition. Brings peace and calm to the chaos. Great at avoiding confrontation to minimize the feeding of chaotic fires.

Week 2 Replacement Rhonda: 48 Politically driven. Offensive minded. Out spoken. Willing to work hard but has trouble taking advice. Voted out mostly due to her strong personality but apparently a rule was made that the pioneers were immune from being cast out this week and ONE of the two new-comers had to be voted out after only 5 days. Several of the pioneer 14 have less to contribute to the health of the community.

Week 4 Pioneer RED: Volunteers to leave to get home to family and his commitment to the Blue Grass Boys on the Discovery Channel . An actor with previous engagements and opportunities on TV should have never been selected in the first place for the Utopia project. He occupied nearly 5 weeks of opportunity others like me would have used more productively for the benefit of the project and viewers wanting to learn how CoHo living really works.

What Have I learned so far from these early Utopians?

there is a Documentary called Serious Disclosure from Bella

Without internet access to research and verify facts, misinformation is leading the society a muck due to their in-experience in many basic survival skills. (15 days of par treatment and under use of animals for 1 example. The land is also only being utilized at around 60% efficiency.)

EASTER ISLAND – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Island  Day 15 (one of the first spiritual enlightening discussions lasted only a few minutes between Nikki and Bella)

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SUMMARY

It is early, but so far barely 3 or so UTOPIANs have shown the ability to survive a full year in this scenario without outside reliance for food and resources. Very few show the ability to live among the others peacefully. So far, many of the UTOPIANs spend their free time sitting around arguing instead of planning and doing physical chores to improve the health of the community. Apparently there is a restraint by the producers that is preventing them from gathering food surrounding them freely.

It is unfortunate that there are indeed rules in UTOPIA. The California regulations on fire codes and building permits and inspections have been discussed as reasoning for setbacks and inability to enjoy bonfires etc. 

Why was (RED – from the Blue Grass Boys on Discovery Channel) chosen? There should be a restriction against selecting an actor. DeDecker has modeling experience on TV’s Skin Wars but at least she’s not a regular actor on the show. https://twitter.com/DedekerWinston/status/496076641458999296

HH Logo 1

WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY:

If I was there already, I would have proposals for several improvements brought to the groups attention including;

– an educational hour with rotating teachers and topics related to improving the health of the community. (I would hold a short TED talk time during the Farmers Market/Utopia Experience to bring a new attraction to the group and I would also add it to the dating auction portion of the website for income during the week)

– more structured planning and summary meetings on Mondays & Fridays.

– I would offer to build & run a greenhouse and nursery business to generate revenue (Revenue is their #1 priority after survival. They wasted most of their start up capital like children would but were saved by helpful neighbors who paid to attend a weekend festival event for a couple weeks to build their savings back up.)

– make benches and other wood creations to sell (Carvings etc.)

– a water wheel for butter churning and power (if the source is from a stream but it appears to be on an electric pump which limits the options)

– crop watering around the pond swell.

– proper Permaculture for water conservation, food production, animal grazing and naturally filtered drinking water.

– I would teach and learn new yoga practices with Nikki (and flirt a little I’m sure)

– I would also learn and teach new fitness workouts with Aaron and get some rec time like soccer or Frisbee with him to keep encouraging the others to stay more active.

– I would bring my harmonica to the band

– I would help organize all the groups skills together in one unified event day to raise revenue. Invite local farmers to gather and host a farmers market. (We do Community teaching and Ag days and group lunch on Saturday’s at most CoHousing Eco Village Communities)  *Day 19 they finally come up with a similar idea with a RenFest twist. *Day 27 Josh finally points out the idea of hosting a farmers market.

It causes me pain to see enlightened and self educated pioneers being shun by their tribe. Bella struggles with communication skills and I could help her ease her troubles in many ways. I know Nikki would have welcomed my Reiki and partner yoga efforts during her bodies painful dietary times. My training in meditation will help heal such pains quicker through hypnotic practices. Aaron would appreciate my participation in sporting games, recreation, edible plants, and additions to his workout routines.

Everyone would enjoy my 37 years of adventure stories around the campfires and my experiences with problem solving in similar situations that they are currently experiencing. I also have a built successful money making ventures based on virtual business plan concepts which is a primary current struggle for them to generate income.

EverythingSymbol

WHAT WOULD Frentz’s PROFILE SAY?

Name: Tim (Yogi Gardener)

Age: 37

Occupation: Helping Hand

Vitals: single

Habitat of Origin: Wandering Nomad Yogi

Detailed Occupation: Multi Business owner, board member and Charity Founder, yogi, pro dart player

Skillset: Fitness, Survivalist, Handyman, Farmer/Permaculturalist, Tech guru, teacher, life coach, cuddler

Sign: Leo

Expressed in Emojis: YinYang, Sri Yantra, CoExist

Most Likely to: Connect with Enlightened Utopians

Natural Enemies: Violence, disrespect

T’s Utopia: Colony of Ants like my Wilson/Lambrecht elders in Cather’s “My Antonia”

WHAT WOULD BE IN TIM’s BOX?

Trail Mix and wild rice

SEEDS

Lemon (if no lemon tree’s)

Tea

Water testing kit

UV Light for water purifying

YOGA Bible (notes) for Nikki

Solar Charger, black shower bag

White head wrap, Black head wrap, stocking hat

Work gloves

Small Tarp (white for marker board)

Notebook

Bible (my current book manuscript in progress)

Baking Soda

Sun Block / oil

Leatherman and Multi function swiss knife

Stripped screw remover

Medical & duct tape

dry erase markers (white tarp for marker board)

a few more tools not on site

darts to entertain the group

bug net & hammock

bag of dried fruits

small soccer ball / hacky sack

tin/alum foil

Baking Soda Deodorant

induction burner (uses very little electricity vs. all the expensive natural gas they are burning instead of creating with the cow manure)

37 years of knowledge

EVICTIONS

For the first eviction round, the rule was that one of the new residents must be voted out and all the original 14 are safely immune. We are told there is no rules but the original Utopian 14 do not even consider voting out their weakest links among themselves before considering casting out one of the new-comers who were only with them 5 days.  It’s impossible to fully know a member’s potential in only 5 days and be forced to vote between 2 of them.

Will the same “rule” be in effect at the end of week 4???? The Utopians got to vote the top 3 possible evictions. The viewers got to decide the tie breaker. Viewers voted for Bri but the cast voted for RED because he wanted to leave.

The present cast of UTOPIANs would be very challenging to co-exist with but I’m looking forward to the chance when I get called up.

Out of 317 million in the US, only a few thousand have signed up for UTOPIA and less than 40 or so will make it through the selection process. Out of that 40, only a few of us have a moderate level of experience living in sustainable Co-Housing type Utopian communities.

CONTACT the Cast/staff:

http://www.utopiatv.com/contact-participants

Utopians@UtopiaBusiness.com

@UtopianPioneer

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Utopia-Pioneers/620879118032637

http://theutopiapioneers.com/password

https://twitter.com/pirarobizarro

https://twitter.com/hippykid/

https://twitter.com/utopiatvusa

http://loveablescoundrels.com/

APPLY for a visitation passport:
http://www.utopiatv.com/news/detail/619/namaste-utopia-is-open-for-business

MORE INFO:
http://variety.com/2014/tv/news/fox-gambles-on-big-bold-and-expensive-vision-of-utopia-1201288541/

*Currently Frentz is doing a series of book promotion events with award winning Artist/Publisher HART FISHER around SoCal and any further review comments on the Utopia project will be limited to availability. For more info on Frentz’s current project while awaiting his invitation into UTOPIA please follow AmericanHorrors.com social media and the Helping Hands Network social media.

AmericanHorrorsBillHartFisher

Welcome home!
Where the energy is drawn.

Welcome home.
Where the love creates the wind.
Where 20000 souls combine happiness.

Welcome home.
Where life is full.
Where peace is never ending.
Where LOVE builds a halo around all.

Welcome home.
Where music soothes.
Where crystals & sage lift the spirit.
Where hugs & ohms manifest peace.
Where prayer bells & such open hearts.

Welcome home.
Where hippies, yogis & others enlighten.
Where violence & sin is prevented.
Where caresses of emotion heal.

Welcome home.
Where nature is king, lord & the divine.
Where life is perfect & tears are made of joy.

Welcome home.
Where it is the way it is!

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I have always wanted to make it too the national gathering but I seam to be at the furthest point away when it is time. If it is in PA then im in LA. When it is in Montana then I am on the east cost or Texas.

Finally, in 2014 I was layed over in Nebraska and the gathering was near Salt Lake City. It was as close as I was ever going to get and rideshares were abundant so I pulled the trigger.

My mom wanted to go to a festival in Omaha so I replied to a few ride offers on the rainbow forum that were leaving Omaha the day after the Celebrates America fest featuring Blues Travelers and Sugar Ray. My previous visit to this event was rained out and this show was again in jeopardy with a 70% chance of storms. The park sits on a massive hill reaching 150 yards wide by 400 yards long and with the stage at the bottom it forms the perfect amphitheater for over 25000.

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After a night of enjoying fireworks, music and lovely ladies, we checked into a nearby hotel. In the morning I loaded up with food and supplies from the hotel buffet and hugged everyone goodbye.

I had not been able to find much public info on my driver but her communication had been fairly punctual with minor worrisome delays. Once I heard from her, I was able to send everyone on their way. There is always a bit of stress in these moments, especially if your backup ride does not have a mobile phone and is venturing 140 miles away.

My ride showed up punctually as I watched Brasil sneak by Chile in the mornings cup match. The wonderful miss Kira was waiting in the parking lot dressed in athletic tie dye. Her modelesck 5’5 frame met me with a hug and gorgeous smile. It was going to be a very enjoyable ride. Just when I thought the energy was peaking, Kira informed me we were waiting for another goddess from Kansas.

Kira shared the history of her moves from Omaha to Pittsburgh to Brooklyn. Her family was now following to Pittsburgh to be closer to her and others. She had timed the move so she could go to the gathering and then help drive them from Omaha to Pitt upon her return.

As she continued to speak I couldnt look away from the amazing spectrum of neutral colors gleaming in her eyes and a tiny little hoop piercing on her lower lip.

As we entered our 20th minute of chat a small SUV with Kansas plates pulled up and TWO beautiful college girls in sun dresses appeared from the back seats. Layce was near 5’10 with a slender light skin and dark dreads and her friend Bella was a bit as shorter with died lavender hair with a thin build and light complextion.

Layce’s mom was a free spirit and encouraged the girls to take the journey before committing to summer job committments so she drove them up from Topeka to catch our ride.

They piled in back while I took shotgun and we were on our way. As we traveled across Nebraska, the girls revealed a lot about their personalities. Kira had 7 national gatherings and nearly a hundred road trip adventures in her pocket so she played the leader position well for our group. Layce was a bit shy at first but grew as we went along. She would continue to have a timidness about her but I wouldnt be suprised if at some point she just let loose once we got to the forrest destination. Bella had taken a few road trips and we relied on her to start up conversations each time we went through more than 30 minutes of silence.

By nightfall we had reached the Rockies and found our way to Kira’s friendly home where we would be sheltered for the evening.

Our host, David, was a computer programmer and fit the description fairly well but also benefitted from the outdoor life of the average Boulder resident. His wife, Jackie, was an athletically built plant biologist whom had so much positive energy that you could see a white lining if you squinted at her just right.

After we made our introductions, I found my way to their balcony to pray and meditate as the sunset over the mountains. I enjoyed a certain cloud in the shape of a walrus in the western sky as it changed colors with the dimming sunlight. I continued writing and reading as I waited for dinner plans to be announced.

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Our hosts wanted to show us their neighborhood health food pub called Southern Sun. I spurged on a humus reuben and salad loaded with too many veggies to name. Every bite was out of this world and I enjoyed praying and meditation with the infinite flavors shocking my system. Unfortunately Bella was turning out to be full of frustration for all the wrongs in the world and in her youth she has not realized how to control her vocal volume and mannerisms. Far too often up to this point Bella continues her negative rants not understanding she is in the company of several enlightened spirits whom understand her complaints and are aware of their needed solutions. I pray she soon discovers that her quiet voice is just as powerful in our company. It was a very challenging 2 hours of blocking her out while moving about to observe the nearby art while savoring each bite.

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Once back to the crib we played a card game they called defense where the last person stuck with a card bought a round. By 2 I found my way to a couch and fell asleep watching a flick on my phone.

SUnday 6/29

Shortly after I awoke, Jackie followed and set me up with a bike for the day. I started with a 10 mile ride down Marshall Creek road passed a bunch of old mining and farming antiques and cabins. Then I circled around some ponds and explored a cave before soaring 40 mph down a 2 mile return which led me to the perfect street for a morning bath.

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As 10am approached for the Netherlands Mexico game, I rolled on towards downtown. The trails were nicer then their roads and nearly one third of the traffic was on foot or bicycle transport. As I entered Pearl street flashbacks of Santa Monica overwhelmed my vision. It was so similar that if I didnt identify the familiarity I would have thought I was experiencing dejavu.

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I enjoyed a few street performances including a Caribbean yogi contortionist, African drummer and a Didg player. There were so many to choose from that it was halftime before I made it to O’Neils.

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After the Mexico defender ruined their countries hopes in the 92nd minute, I went to an art walk 3 blocks over and then cooled down in a swimming hole.

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I had almost 2 hours before the Costa Rica game so I took the Boulder Creek trail 4 miles east and experienced several serene sights including a rock sculpture where rocks were set on top of iron beams. I also found some sand volleyball and an observatory where you could look under the water at the trout.

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I returned to O’Neils to watch Costa Rica pull off their shootout win over Greece while munching a salad and then went swimming again. I then started biking Boulder Creek up the mountains.

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I didn’t plan on doing it when I started the day. I was only going to go to the base of the first ridge but once I reached it, the incline was so gradual that I kept going about 4 miles up and over the first 6 ridges.

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I found the perfect rock and sat in the river to work on some writing until the sun set leaving me enough light to find my way to the Chautauqua music hall.

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Through out the past few days I had been exchanging messages with my first true love. When I was 16 I met Samantha while swimming in the Red Cloud Nebraska pool during a Wilson family reuion. We spent all day and night hanging out with my family while getting to know each other. We exchanged numbers and kiddy pecks on the cheek.

Over the next year we wrote every few weeks and I would return to visit her several times including a sleep over when she moved further away to Smith Center Kansas. One day the letters stoped coming and my next one was returned to sender. When I called the number was disconnected so I drove down and found the house empty. A neighbor told me they packed up and left overnight.

I made up some note cards asking for anyone who knew her families whereabouts to call me but never heard back. After a month with no replies, I started calling listings with her name in Tucson. She had told me her grandparents were there so I hoped I would find them. I didnt know it then but they were her mom’s parents and she never mentioned their last name.

Every few weeks while I was at college, I would search her name and pray I would find her. Still no luck and years started rolling by. Every month for 18 years I struck out searching. Finally one day in 2012, I got a friend request on facebook from her under an alias.

She had found our letters and pictures and couldnt stand not knowing if I would ever forgive her. She told me that she was in a coma and had to be transported to a larger city and her mom moved to be there. Her mom didnt think our friendship was serious enough to call me and by the time Sam recovered she was afraid I had moved on and didnt want to deal with my posssible unacceptance.

18 years later we finally picked up where we left off but she had just reached a serious level in her relationship with a possesive guy and she didnt want to jeopardize it by texting too much. We exchanged messages a few times and when ever I was coming to Denver, I would let her know. She was never able to come meet me because her boyfriend was not willing to go and would get furious if she tried to leave.

Finally, 20 years after our last hug, we were getting together at the  Chautauqua orchestra.

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Once Sam arrived, I biked down to the car and loaded up the bike before walking her and 6 yearold Serenity up to the concert hall. We sat in the very back to chat and catch up.

She drove me back to the apartment and we exchanged kisses and tears of pure bliss.

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My Rainbow family loaded up and we were on our way. As I was getting settled for the final 9 hour drive Sam sent me one of the most loving texts of all time expressing her excitement to be with me again.

Signal was spotty along the way but every chance I could get I was checking world cup updates and uploading my stories. The sun was just setting as we entered the state park near Heber Utah.

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Once we found a parking area, we sorted our gear and got in line for the shuttle. The girls filled in the last few spots of a truck bed so I went over to a minivan. The driver was to the point, yelling “put your shit on the roof and get the fuck in”. Several people hesitated but I was getting the feeling it was a long walk so I tossed up my small bag and snuck back in the corner with my pack. I should of done it the other way around because my money and important items were now in jeopardy on the roof as we traveled over a very bumpy road. As I entered the van a caring brother gifted me a pair of thermal pants after hearing I didnt have any with me.

It was a 15 minute ride and along the way we picked up people until we were to the point where there was a second layer laying on top of us. Amongst the dogs and dirty hippies who showed little respect for their body, two brothers caught my attention. Next to me was a 30 something bearded brother from New Orleans and across was a teenager who looked and talked like Napolean Dynamite. I told NOLA about my fall stay to help repair central park after Katrina.

By the time we pilled out of the van it was dark and I couldnt find Kira so I walked up the entrance and back playing Marco Polo until we heard eachother. We passed several camp villages and went about 10 minutes until we hit the end of a trail and put up the tents. It was nearing 11 so Kira let me bunk with her and the other girls went out and found some cuddling buddies.

On the morning of Monday July 1st, I jogged a mile further out of the grounds and found a watering hole. When i got back Kira was ready to move. we packed up and moved Kiras tent to the other side of the rainbow grounds to an area above Kids Camp. We went past a trade circle where there was a enormous amount of jewelry and other items. It was the second day on the gathering Calendar and already there was 15000 people with campsites as far as the eye could see stretching like fingers out from the center circle peace pole in a massive meadow.

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Kira found some friends to camp by way up on a mountain side. We leveled a spot out but it was still pretty slanted so sleeping was not going to be great. After everything was together, I sorted my day and night bags and then walked with Kira until she found her friends.  I wandered out on my own and found a Indian Krishna camp serving great rice dishes and soups.

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They didnt have any need for volunteers at the moment so I went up to Granola funk to help build the theatre stage and do some writing.

Granola funk is where the artistic crowd hangs out at night with a different themed show every night from the 1st to the 5th. This year it was designed like a TV.

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At sunset I went to Kirshna camp and ate dinner and that was followed with a prayer and song service with sitar music. To finish the night I went and danced around the drum circle.

 

PART 2

https://freehelpinghands.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/welcome-home

 

 

I came across this amazing Nomadic Permaculture Yogi’s story and am now following his efforts. I hope to follow some of his steps over the next 10 years so I am republishing it here to guide me along my travels….

previously published: http://permaculturenews.org/2014/05/07/nomadic-permaculture-journey-continues/

 

Posted May 7, 2014 by  & filed under Courses/WorkshopsGeneral.


Awareness course group, Tipwere orphanage, Malawi

Five years ago, I never would have thought it possible to experience a journey and transformation in my life like this. My whole world-view and belief system changed. With it came a change in eating and sleeping habits, a reduction in consumption of all kinds of unnecessary products, a more positive state of mind manifested, through satisfying work outside the city or office environment in beautiful outdoor settings, and getting to meet and share time with interesting people from all around the world.

How did that come to be?

 

In 2009, leaving Austria and my comfort zone, I took my first small steps in organic farming and community living in the Caribbean and after went to South America. We traveled by local buses through Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador, meeting local activists, farmers and change-makers to find out about local challenges, alternative initiatives and to build networks of support, sharing and understanding. This journey made me understand the global economic and environmental dark sides of our lifestyles, behavioral patterns and the exploitation of people and mother nature. I wanted to act, change something, and be part of the solution and not the problems. After some time of research I luckily discovered Permaculture.


Fruit tree root pruning, Natueco farm, India

I participated in my first PDC in 2010 with Alex Kruger from Berg en Dal Ecovillage at Nature’s Gift Permaculture Centre, Malawi — which was, just a few months before, the hosting site of the 9th International Permaculture Convergence. I stayed at the centre to volunteer for two months after my PDC course, and also participated in an Earth building workshop in which we build an outdoor kitchen with cob pizza oven.


Liquid fertilizer making, Farmer training, Surkhet district, Nepal

This experience changed my life, opened my eyes and inspired me to transform myself and the environments around me into more holistic, abundant and regenerative systems. A big awakening process started and with it came the motivation and opportunities to start spreading some seeds of change, which brought me to many different countries, cultures, climates and led me to participate in, co-organize and co-facilitate eight PDC courses and several introduction workshops and farmer trainings, mostly in India but also East Africa, Nepal and Portugal.


Mulch pit, Tipwere orphanage, Malawi

During my 1-year stay in East Africa, I was working with amazing and inspirational people and projects, being part of a permablitz in an orphanage near Blantyre with Walter Mugove and Chris Walker (ReScope Program), plus helping out at two 5-day Permaculture workshops in rural orphanages around Malawi. We established nurseries, kitchen gardens, compost systems and grey-water systems together, plus Chris Walker and his local team were sharing Permaculture theory and practical knowledge. I also got the chance to visit and volunteer in projects along the way through my travels in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. It gave me lots of great experiences and memories for a lifetime!


My Pattern session, PDC 2014, India

I wanted to continue on this path of gaining practical experiences in the different fields of Permaculture, living and learning in culturally and environmentally different places, so I saved some money after working in England and went off to magical India.

Arriving in India and ending up in Auroville, learning and working with experienced people like Krishna from Solitude Farm and Bernard and Deepika from Pebble Garden, pushed me to the next level. I got the chance to help with the design and implementation for Sapney Farm, a degraded half acre in a tropical arid climate on the edge of Auroville, owned by Snehal, the founder of Heal the Soil Project. With the help of Ellumalai, a local gardener with many years’ experience in growing medicinal plants and tree-planting, Martin from France, and hundreds of multinational volunteers, we managed to transform and get good response from the land in the short period of just 3 years. We started to receive more and more visitors, people started asking for advice and we started to organize more workshops. Heal the Soil hosted the first PDC at Sapney Farm, with Bernard Alonso from Canada in January 2012. We also successfully organized a PDC in Portugal in November that year, when Luis, one of our first PDC students, invited us to come to his land there. The network had started to grow! It brought me to Portugal, where I helped establish permaculture systems and gardens for 10 months, visited the Tamera project and meet Sepp Holzer — showing his inspirational Water Retention Landscapes during a day visit to a large group of people — to a brief consultation in Southern Italy, after which I returned to India.


Permablitz, Auroville area, India

After that period we also collaborated with the Himalayan Farm Project located in the magical foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. We organized the first PDC there together with Ben and Sam from the Panya Project, which brought 25 people from many different countries to this amazing place and we learned, shared and experienced for three weeks the beauty of living together in harmony with nature.

Also, I went to stay with Deepak Suchede for 1 month in central India, an experienced natural farmer and practitioner of Natueco Farming Science, mixing spirituality and science with traditional Indian farming practices. In Nepal I stayed with Govinda Sharma at the beautiful Hasera Farm and in Kathmandu at Sunrise Farm, from where I set out onto a journey into the wild west of Nepal, the Surket District, to visit the Himalayan Permaculture Centre, a project supported and founded by Chris Evans and local Permaculturists. I was lucky to be part of a 5-day Permaculture Farmers’ Training there, organized at the centre for local future permaculture farmers. I experienced an almost entirely self-sufficient and self reliant community (tea, sugar, salt and occasionally oil are the only products bought from outside) living in beneficial relationships with nature — a truly inspirational ecovillage model and traditional, low impact lifestyle!

After returning to India, more courses in Sapney Farm followed. Once again we collaborated with Bernard Alonso, plus held another PDC with Govinda Sharma from Nepal, who came to teach in the Auroville area for the first time. These courses attracted people from over 19 different countries and created a very rich, diverse and fertile learning environment for all the people involved. It also led me to participate in a practical Earthship building workshop at Karuna Farm, near Kodiakanal in South India, the first site in India to have an Earthship constructed.


Plant distribution at Intro-course, Chambe Rock, Malawi

In November 2013, I participated in and facilitated three sessions at a Permaculture Design Course in Darjeeling with inspirational and experienced teacher Rico Zook. This experience gave me deeper insights into professional group facilitation and confidence to continue sharing the knowledge I acquired in the period of my nomadic travels all over the world. Immediately good connections where established with Rico and we decided to do some more work together in the future. There will be a PDC with him in December 2014 in Sapney Farm, India, and we are organizing a PDC course with him in a beautifully located nature reserve near Barcelona in Spain this June 2014.

The latest stop on my journey was Thailand. I visited Khao Sok Nature Reserve, a very diverse and ancient rainforest in Southern Thailand — Zone 5 inspirations everywhere! Afterwards I visited my friends, Ben and Sam, at the wonderful Panya Project. I gained further inspiration in a brief visit to Pun Pun, plus a few days at Tacompai near Pai, and a short stay at the newly founded Gaia Ashram in Nothern Thailand. These four visits led me to meet amazing people and establish further connections plus get inspired by some functional models of Permaculture and natural building in Thailand, which in some parts has a very similar climate to the area where I was working in India.


Web of Life, Chambe Rock, Malawi

Over the past five years I was hosted, supported and inspired by amazing, kind and open-hearted people who gave me the chance to practice and get a deeper understanding of the theoretical knowledge I learned from books, videos and workshops. In return for my work I received food and accommodation plus a small income from workshops which helped me to sustain myself and to start to make permaculture almost my full-time profession.

I am extremely grateful for this journey and feel happy to share with you here my story and some impressions from past workshops. I feel my example could be a good inspiration and motivation for future students of PDC courses and Permaculture workshops all over the world, to make people understand and realize that a transformation and shift in our lives and ways of seeing the world is very much possible and supported by the Permaculture toolbox.

A good start is to just get out there! Follow your inner calling, join some Permaculture projects, communities and workshops, start to build networks and relationships. Start with small, manageable steps and more and more doors will open along your way!


With Deepak Suchede at Natueco farm, India

Although a journey like this may not be possible for everyone, and being aware of the significant resources it took in flights and transport, it’s possibly also not advisable, but there were huge returns for these investments — we regenerated degraded lands, designed and implemented regenerative systems, planted trees and grew our own food, harvested rainwater, re-used grey water, utilized alternative technologies and shared and inspired many people through workshops and volunteering. I believe the general environmental impact of the projects and life I lived these last years is comparably lower than in my old life in Austria, as often I was living in projects during the pioneer phase with no electricity, tap water or internet, etc.

Stay tuned, as in the future I plan to share more in-depth reports and articles about my experiences around the world.

We are hosting a Permaculture Design Course with Rico Zook and myself, together with a local project, Active Earth, in La Garrotxa, a beautiful nature reserve near Barcelona this June, and still have places available. For course info feel free to get in touch at: permaculturainfo (at) gmail.com

The time is now! and as Mahatma Ghandi very wisely said:

Be the change you wish to see in this world!

Links for further information about the projects mentioned in the article:

Along all my travels I continue to witness proof that more and more people are being forced off their rural homelands.

In the Midwest the GMO giants Monsanto and their affiliates (ConAgra, DeKalb, Pioneer etc.)  pressure farmers into over paying for their seeds, fertilizers and other products by suing them for any property containing their unregistered products. These farmer’s fields are accidentally infected by cross pollination or stray seed infestation but yet they are held reliable instead of the seed company affiliates simply because Monsanto pays off all the law enforcers. This practice has bankrupt and evicted nearly half of the rural farms that once existed in 1988.

 

In the south and other drilling areas like North Dakota, the Petroleum Oil giants Exxon/Shell and their affiliates pressure land owners to sell their land or face eminent domain prosecution by either falsifying a catastrophe such as an oil spill or forest fire or pipeline failure. Nearly 25% of homes in rural Texas and Louisiana for example, are vacant and dilapidated. The Midwest is now under attack as well by Canada’s TransCanada KXL Pipeline. A project that will take highly unstable tar sand oil through the worlds largest underground fresh water Ogallala Aquifer and jeopardizing 50% of the USA’s drinking water.

In the Northeast and other areas it’s Natural Gas giants like Chesapeake Energy that are using the same tactics by injecting toxic chemicals into the ground water and allowing natural gas to mix into the water sources.

Forest Logging

I recently explored the lakes and trails around the Delaware Water Gap and Camp William Penn in the Poconos of PA. The Camp was funded by the City of Philly for low income youth and shut down after 88 years in 2008 because of the Bank Bail Outs. The state absorbed the property under the Delaware State Forest fund. Google earth shows the property being maintained but actually the cabins have all been gutted, all the pines have been logged down and the metal roofs removed for salvage by the State. Google earth does show the surrounding woods to the north in their current barren state with all the Pine trees removed however.

Read the articles and join me in concern for the sad state of many of the areas nature centers. This is just one of many I have found while exploring the Poconos, Lehigh Valley and the Water Gap’s State Forest holdings.

http://articles.philly.com/2008-07-07/news/25245646_1_summer-camp-camp-william-penn-rec-department

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pennsylvania-dcnr-acquires-664-acre-tract-for-addition-to-delaware-state-forest-104353488.html

 

Camp William Penn

 

The Water Gap area is another example. A dam was proposed that affected 10 miles of the Delaware river north of Stroudsberg and the state forced all the residents out with eminent domain in the 1960’s. Hundreds of nice homes and historical rock barns and several resorts were all abandoned and the land was claimed under State Forest jurisdiction. The dam was voted down after 10+ years of battling but the state refused to allow the residents to return to their 200+ year old homesteads where their ancestors spent years clearing rocks and timber and leveling the land for foundations. In 1973 a judge ordered law enforcement to force out the remaining squatters. Today only about 5% of the properties have been maintained and the rest lay in shambles for hikers to shed a tear for or seek hidden refuge until noticed by a park ranger.

http://delawarewatergap.org/TOCKS_ISLAND_DAM_PROJECT.html

There is an increasing trend that city dwellers want to relocate an average of 30 miles away from city hubs while at the same time the rural livers are being pushed in the same vicinity. Inner city properties are increasingly vacant and dilapidated while developers continue to build new communities surrounding the hubs.

 

This practice is putting the US on a crash course for disaster by over consuming our natural resources instead of building upwards on top of our pre-existing structures. The only way to stop this train wreck is to stop buying these cookie cutter homes in new developments and force the builders to wake up to the destruction they are really causing.

 

ALL you have to do to see what future this trend is bringing down upon you is look at areas like China and Honolulu on google earth maps!

August 6-7th coming soon

August 8th

Arrived in Newcastle WY from Colorado Springs.

While eating a great valued plate sized pancake breakfast at Donna’s, I was joined in conversation by a nice gent from MA. After eating, my new friend picked up the tab for my birthday. As I stood by my bike, a group surrounded me to talk about it. I explained how my dad started me on the 80s Honda 750’s ever since they came out aind how the two of us had toured the continental 48 on them. They enjoyed hearing how I rescued the bike out of the MN field and rebuilt the Red/White/Blue into the bike I was now riding in memory of my pops.

I then headed north out of Castlewood. About 15 miles out of town about half of the land was covered with nearly 6 inches of hail slush. I went almost 8 miles before most signs of the hail had disapeared. As I entered Lead, SD my engine started ticking and I knew I must be using up more oil then usual. I had just added 3/4 of a quart in Lusk this morning while talking to LA Guns. I carried on 3 more miles to Deadwood and parked on main street. The parking was completly full of bikes from end to end but I found a spot at the far end.

I went straight to Saloon 10 to see if they had started their 10:30 poker tournment yet. I was still able to get in so I played their Turbo tourney and ended in 5th place around 12:30. I could then still make it to the 1p tourney at a different casino or try to promote some Shhmokewear.

I ended up weaving some Shhmokewear in several high traffic locations of Deadwood but had to refrain from displaying too much product because the city has a no vendor policy. I noticed cops surrounding me about 20 feet away so I quickly packed up and moved on. I got some more $8 oil at the Lucas booth and also got a free registration to win a $35k custom Tin Lizzy chopper. While waiting for the 4:45 drawing, I rode up to Lead to get a sub sandwhich and picked up a tarp for the rain that was coming.

I didn’t get back in time for the drawing so I went straight to another casino to get the currrent details for their poker tournaments then headed for the Buffalo Chip to party with Sturgis.

It was $72 and there was no way to sneak in with my gear so I sucked it up and paid. The campgrounds covered a 4 square miles with 2 stages, 2 shower buildings, a food barn, and a swimming hole not including the main stage grounds which was another 2 square miles full of everything you could imagine. I rode around scouting my best options. I found the perfect spot right between the side stages and the main stage ground. There was a little corner not being used but clearly meant to be part of a reserved area. No one was around the camp next to the spot so I quickly put the bike and tent on the very edge.

The gentlemen paying for the lot pulled up in his truck just as I completed so I quickly broke the ice. Ray was a Navajo and and very friendly. I jumped at the chance to share a Native American story with him and then he welcomed me into his personal space.

After getting all my gear into the tent, I headed into the main stage grounds to party with Skynyrd. Bradley Gilbert was warming up the crowd when I walked in. I made a few quick Shhmokewear advances before it got dark and then headed up front. It was a good thing I brought a tarp because it started pouring as they setup. Everyone near me was thankful when I shared it with them.

One of the few things that could possibly make Skynyrd better would be the roar of 100 loud bikes showing their appreciation between every song and the energy of thousands of bikers dancing together. After an epic performance of Free Byrd the soaked crowd shifted over to the night club lounge to dance till 2am. I failed to make any campground friends so I wandered back to my tent and passed out.

Friday 8/9
I spent the morning exploring the campground looking to score some free food and then went and showered and shaved. I went down to the swimming beach area and set up to promote some shhmokewear. One person after another came up and talked to me. Before I knew it, 5pm had rolled around and I had sold 10 bracelets and it was time to get in the filming crowd for CMT’s Sturgis show during a beer belly contest. As that came to a conclusion, a massive storm front was moving in. I had planned on promoting on main street in Sturgis all day but with the storm coming fast I wasn’t even going to have enough time to relocate my tent.

It wasn’t long before the storm hit. I was ready and standing by the bikini beach stage so I could take cover. The wind blew really hard and then marble hail followed. Everyone nearby was racing for a spot under the stage.

After the storm blew over I went to my tent and made an RTE meal while listening to the music of the Doors’ Robbie Krieger.  Then it was time to find my way to the stage for Sublime. I found a way in and enjoyed the show then went past some new Shhmokewear customers camp and then to the music aat the watering oasis to chill until 2ish.

Sat 8/10
Some young inconsiderate staff members ran their generator all night long with no silencer casing so adding that noise to the constant bike thunder made it a rough nights sleep. I needed a reset so I took my breakfast down to the watering hole right away.

I was soon joined by 3 bikini models who were doing their calendar shots and some Discovery channel filming. Some of the BC staff came over to make it look like there was more of partying in the background. I mde some new friends like Meagan, Zack and Greg who were running the karaoke and sound systems. Meagan and her mom were active in teaching and performing arts around Lower Bruelle reservation near Mitchell SD.

A few minutes went by and then a man resembling a 50 yearold version of me appeared. He started a yoga routine similar to mine while conversing about his 6 years as a Hare Krishna devotee in HI, Phily and San Diego.  Greg Bechtol met his wife at temple and then had children growing up in the yogi life. He mentioned how inspired he was by “the way home” autobiography of Swami ????  I was currently reading the same book and structuring my own version of it so we talked about how our journeys compared for a few minutes. Greg then went back to his camp to get a flyer and another monk traveling Sturgis with him. His friend was still mastering English so we didn’t talk a lot but just being in the company of other devoted yogi’s was a great way to close out my stay at Buffalo Chip.

A few minutes later some of my new friends joined us for a swim. I was also able to charge my phones while tanning and working on a custom ordered bracelet pipe. After lunch I said my good byes and packed up camp. I was off to downtown main street Sturgis and the heart of the rally.

While I was strolling around looking for mud flaps and seat rests with my KXL protest shirt on, a film crew came up to me because of my patriotic jacket and wanted some promo shots with their models. I then had them then take some shots for me with my shirt and their model to put in the next Helping Hands comic issue.

It was starting to get dark so I cruised over to my friends Randy and Shirley who own the Swap Meet property. We talked briefly as they were closing up and then he told me there was an empty lot a block over to put up my tent. When I pulled up to the lot, it was just what I hoped for. It was mostly cushy grass away from the noise. There were two other tents and an RV to keep the attention away from me and to detir anyone from raiding my tent.

After I was all set up, I headed back to the concerts on main street. I went from a country group to a hard rock group to a Joan Jett all girl group. All of the bands had girl lead vocalists too. I eventually made it to the Easy Riders club on the end of the strip where there was a blue grass group on one side and a night club with tons of mostly naked beautiful college girls dancing. You know where I ended up for the rest of the night. I found a stool near the dance floor and kicked back. After a short while, some tatoo artists from a reality show sat at the tables around me, including their super hot leading role model. She was very friendly and let people get a picture with them. I just took a couple of her dancing by me.

As I made it back to main street, I grabbed a $3 hot dog and got to my bike right at the 2am street parking curfew. As I was finishing my dog, a guy grabs my bike and wheels it over to his tow truck. I stepped in front of him just before the ramp and several other bikers surrounded him and the ticket cop. A few words about how much I had to drink were exchanged and then they stepped away from my bike so I could ride off and avoid a $250 tow fee!

Sunday 8/11
For the first time in 4 nights I was able to sleep with a bit of peace. There were still a few bikes roaring but I slept straight through. I left my tent up and went to stroll the vendors one last time then hit the $10 Gypsy Sideshack buffet while watching some NFL and charging my phone. As I was getting ready to ride over to the grocery and dollar stores for supplies, a guy from Portland roled up and wanted to talk about my bike. He had just closed his car dealership and was dealing with a sick wife so he rode to Sturgis to reset his stress.

I then went to Randy’s swap meet to look for my mud flaps and seat back. They didn’t have any so I bought a RWB Eagle vest extendor so I could help them out somehow. Shirley came over and started crying when I gave her a hug because she spent most of the spring providing hospice for dad in Texas and then her Uncle had passed away that morning. She also was still suffering from a bad business partner who she had been trying to part with the past 2 years and the city sales tax officers.

City tax officials had been going around entraping business owners by asking for receipts and citing any discounted sales even if they were properly taxed. Randy was forced to spend a night in jail and pay a $1800 bond and a $500 ticket. For the small vendors paying $4000+ for a booth in addition to a $700 permit and sales tax it was the last straw. The city is trying to use these dirty tactics to terminate long term contracts in certain locations in order to open them up for bigger corporate operations.

Randy and Shirley got too busy to talk so I went back over to my camp and loaded up then returned to get a picture and talk about visiting their farm in southwest Kansas on my way to CO Springs in late Sept. After saying goodbye, I stopped into McD’s to use the wifi and get my email caught up while enjoying a Sunday. Then I hit Subway to get sandwiches for a couple meals in the woods.

Once in Deadwood, I stopped at the casinos to verify the current poker tournament times and then went up to my favorite camp spot in Bullock/Rosevelt Castle. After getting set up I went back down and had an hour to play Black Jack at the Lodge. I took my $6 winnings over to Cadilac Jacks for the $23 seven pm poker tournament where I was dealt pocket Kings two hands in a row and lost all the chips before the second level ended.

I sat around waiting for my phone to charge awhile and used the wifi to check facebook then headed over to check out the new Grand Casino.  It was built with the same foundation and structure as the original wood saw mill building. It also has the river running under it that powered the saws and now charges electric turbine generators. It is interesting to see how the streets were built over the top of the river for several blocks. Inside the casino were some nice giveaway bikes and a biker painting exibit. The sports lounge had more football to watch and on another screen was a show featuring the top 50 Sportcenter commercials which is my favorite ad campaign. I plugged my phone in and watched some while charging then it was off to some live music at Saloon No. 10.

I was immediately approached by a nice older lady and reminded I was as handsome as the guy on “One Tree Hill”. I had never watched it but now I guess I have to look at some mug shots of the actors to see if I really do look similar to him. The nice lady continued to make advances at me so I often moved around the saloon. I bumped into the owners of the Full Throttle franchise, Michael and Rachael, and we talked about setting their next party up with Shhmokewear gift bags and then took some pictures together. I avoided the temptation to play black jack until close and instead left with the Full Throttle crew to walk around a bit. Not much else was going on so I headed up to camp.

Monday 8/12
Ahh. My first solid night of peace and quite. I was frustrated that the low cloud cover blocked my view of the meteor shower but I fell a sleep pretty quick anyway with the top of the tent open under the few stars I did get to enjoy. Some times a turkey or chipmunk, owl, eagle, deer or bear will wake me up but not this night.

I needed a nature day after all this excitement so I started with a hike down the rarely explored side of the mountain facing Deadwood while enjoying my apple, grapes, bananna and granola bar for breakfast. I went about 800ft. down and then back up and then went over to hike to Mt. Rosevelt/Bullock Castle. There were two nice elder local laddies having a picnic so I approached them for my morning conversation about the history of the castle and then another group offered me some water when I asked if I could trade a granola bar. I rode the bike up to the top and discovered the preservation of the peace tower was complete and they added a metal roof. I sat up there several hours while writing and eating then left my mark facing Spearfish and hiked down to the lookout dock for some nice private tanning of my cheeks.

At 6pm, I went back to camp to change gear and head into town. I stopped at the Lodge and another awesome Red White Blue bike parked beside mine so I got a quick picture then went in to play some black jack. From there it was off to Cadilac Jacks for their 7pm tourney. I had a good run before finally getting knocked out in 7th place. It was 11 by the time I got done replying to emails so I skipped downtown and went back up the mountain.

Tuesday 8/13
I started the day off with a nice 2 hour all natural yoga set at the tower before the first group of hikers showed up. I then went back to writing and tanning between visitors. Around 1pm a storm front started moving in and before I could get packed up the rain was already falling. I went back to the tower to stay dry just in time as quarter sized hail began to fall. As each ball fell it shreeked through the trees and exploded against the bark making a loud gunshot like noise. As the hail banged the steel roof and the thunder boomed I had to plug my ears as if I was in front of a concert speaker. After about 30 minutes the rain stopped long enough for me to run to the other side of the peak in my sandles to make sure the bike wasn’t blown down the cliff. I could see another wave rapidly blowing in from the south so I ran back to the tower. When I got back there was an adventurous couple in their 60s climbing the steep 14 inch high steps. The lady had a caine and bad knee but she tackled the beast as I watched in awe. As if the hike wasnt enough of a challenge. It was no suprise when they told me they lived in a sustainable cabin in the wild and he was a logger and trucker.
They continued on to make it back to their vehicle before the bucket of rain fell again. Pea sized hail forced me back into the shelter and this time the wind and lightning were going full force like a twister was forming. I began taking off my metal items and prayed I would not be struck sitting next to the lightning rod stair case rails attached to the roof. I had to remove my hat and shirt containing metal buttons and wrapped up in the tarp to stay warm as the rain and hail blew in through the window openings above me. As it calmed down I went to the top to scout the surrounding. I began cursing and pleading with the storm to move on so I could go get my warmer clothes and head into town.  A voice from the stairs below responded “keep praying”. I was completely caught off guard, not expecting anyone else to attemp the hike in this storm.
It was two more hard core bikers out looking to challenge their riding skills. They had just riden in the storm, up the muddy back road which I don’t even attempt in perfect conditions so they had my salute immediately. Mark and Gary were two of the few remaining bikers still camping among the hills after the rally. They were taking their time returning to the Minneapolis area. We shared a joint and stories about riding the storms out before the rain stopped to let us down the mountain. I went and put on my warm clothes and boots and then rode with them over to lead to get some PB&J. I gave them directions to Hippy Hole/Devils Bath and then we parted ways.
I headed over to the 7pm tourney and struck out again but got my phone charged for another day of writing then I went over to the 10 and lost at Black Jack. After getting my Sturgis journal caught up, I headed back up to the tent.

Wed 8/14
I started the day with a great uninterupted rock lifting and pushup workout on the lookout deck and then headed down to Cadilac Jacks for the 1pm $23 tourney. I got the further in this tournament then any other so far. I got knocked out in 5th and then the remaining players split $1000 four ways. It was 4pm by the time 8 got caught up on email and the weather was nice so I went for a ride through Spearfish Canyon over to Hippi Hole (Devils Bath) and then around Spearfish and back up to the Lodge in time for the main event tournament. Wednessday at 6:30 the Lodge has a $54 buy-in, 200% added, unlimited add-on event where the deep pocket retired boys put in around $6000 extra into the pot. This night, the pot was $9700 with a 40 player cap and they pay the top 10. That gives players a 1 in 4 shot at making as much as nearly $3500 for first place on a $54 minimum investment. I rolled my first table, winning about every 4 hands. By the time we split the table at the end of the add-on rounds, I was the tournament leader with 25,000 in chips while the table average was only 5k but then the thick wallets opened up and the old timmers loaded up $500 cash for 50,000 each in chips. I didn’t have that kind of money to invest so I was going to have to earn my spot at the final table. I almost made it before going 16k all-in with Ace diamonds & Queen hearts and lost to an Ace King kicker for about a 55k pot which would have gotten me to the money. Instead, I was sent packing empty handed in 15th place. I was too bummed to go to the 10 for music now so I went back to camp and called it a night.

Thursday 8/15
I packed up camp and headed to the 10 for the early $10 tournament. Two of the finalists from the big tournament were there and just getting started. I again had a bad run and was knocked out early. I headed over to the park for breakfast and writing and then went to Cadilac Jacks 1pm tournament for my final chance at making some money before heading to my camp on the lake in the middle of no where. I once again found myself on a roll and near the lead deep into the final table and just as I was about to finish in the money this young kid made a top notch play. He limps in for 1600 and two more call when it comes around to me so I push a massive 16000 with Ace Jack and the kid insta calls representing a strong pair. We see the rainbow 2,4,5 flop and he puts me all in and I fold to try to recover with only 2500 left in chips. The only time a player would do that would be with a high pair. If I would of just played it safe, I would have won enough to cover my whole trip and previous event entriees which ended up being $400. Frustrated, I sent a message to Heather that I would be ready to leave the hills and meet her at Ft. Robinson for dinner the next day and then turned the bike for my next favorite camp spot at Jenny Gulch along Silver City road.

I stopped at lake Raboix to pick some shrooms and then met two cool random travelors. They had met at Glacier years back and scheduled a reunion rendevue at Raboix. One came from Idaho and the other from Lacross WI. We shared stories and then I signed their travel journals before heading off for Jenny. I couldn’t remember exactly how to get to the cliff diving spot but I remembered the turn was by an ATV rental and fishing campground so I just kept riding until I saw a good posibility. I wasn’t even sure of the name but I saw a road sign for Jenny Gulch and I remebered a story from the very first time I tried to find it. Several years back I took that road for 2 hours to discover it turned into a logging road and then eventually was gated off through a field road on private land. It reminded me that I was in deed looking for the next crossing to get on that same road a few miles further ahead.

I arrived about 5 and had a good hour and a half to tan then put the hammock on a cliff about 40 feet above the water and then got dinner ready. There was no phone signal so there were no distractions to keep me from writing as the sun set and the half moon took control of the sky reflecting over the towereing pine tree shadows in the lake.

Friday 16th
I slept great in the hammock after encountering only one single mosquito. I don’t think having the tarp over top of me even mattered. Every time I pulled it back to watch the moon and stars there were no distractions other then a squaky eagle. It was so relaxing that I couldn’t convince myself to do any writing. The morning started out with and hour of rock and shroom collecting and then as I was about to get a nice morning bath in, this miny van parked and 7 noisy kids jumped out. They were soon followed by 3 more vehicles and my nice private spot 30 miles from no where was suddenly compromised. I thought most kids were in school by now? I rerouted back to my hammock to get some writing done and waited for the sun to shine a new hidden spot out of the childrens view.

So much is wrong with so many places. I have spent months in many eco villages and other communal areas all around this country and here is what I conclude so far…

 

When choosing a location to live you must consider the quality of the survival basics such as water, food and shelter.

 

I only trust rain water I collect for drinking. (Everywhere has been over-ran with chemical pollution and do you really think a bottling company cares about your health?) People dump chemicals into their drains plus more chemicals are added to treat those chemicals plus fluoride etc. Even rain water is tainted in large industrial areas with bad air pollution so I avoid those areas as much as I can.

 

I avoid all processed foods, grow my own veggies and try to only purchase local farm grain, fruit and dairy products.

I limit my use of energy sources and maintain a solar and wind powered battery bank and I bike or use public transport or carpool as much as possible.

 

Considering the basics of survival when relocating a home base is what it all comes down to and I encourage everyone to examine everything closely.

Location wise….

The northern 2/3 of the US is too cold to promote a physically healthy lifestyle. The northwest (Idaho, Montana, Seattle, Oregon etc.) is a great environmental and artistic rich culture BUT it is very clear as you look around that a majority of those who live there very long become physically sick early in life. These areas are also the main areas for mining and natural gas drilling problems.

The eastern portion of the country is over populated and constantly facing earthquakes and sink holes caused by the removal of oil, gas and burning coal near the surface so I stay away.

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The southern 1/4 of the US (excluding coastal and lake side areas) is too hot during summer. Everyone is active from 5-9am and 8-10pm so getting things done outside like gardening and fitness is very limited. You find most people in doors in gyms or doing their own thing being antisocial until the sun starts to set. These areas are mostly over ran with oil wells and rivers are polluted with farmland chemicals. The exposed oil pollution through Louisiana, southern ARK and TX have caused many problems now but one of the most serious is the mutated mosquito which carries very serious diseases and it is not deterred by normal organic repellent solutions. I witnessed many bites while there and they do not go away quickly like a normal itchy mosquito bite.

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The Havasu and southwestern desert area is hot and arid and the lake does not have much for recreation unless you have a kayak, jet ski etc. The lake access points are commercialized with parking fees and park entry permits. There are a few free spots but no one really uses them. Most lakes in the southwest are primarily for drinking water so swimming in a lake is not normal. It is funny, but less traveled people here think swimming is ONLY for POOLS.

It makes me compare the area to the area around Phily. Because of the high population, lakes have been sold to resort developers and most of them require day passes to enjoy. One has to hike rivers to find a decent free swimming spot.

In Havasu and the rest of the desert, there is very little shade and camping and hiking for longer then a day is boring because the scenery is all the same. Most people who live there enjoy motorcross and ATV life. Not much wildlife either. There is very little rainfall for water collection and gardening and water bills are similar to what you are use to paying for electricity in up state New York.

There are not very many paved roads so the fracking is hidden from view. There are very few ground wells for water and I do not know of any reports of well owners experiencing poison/gas in their water. I’ve met GasLand director, Josh Fox and follow his research closely.

He has not reported about AZ cases yet that I have found. The aquifer below AZ is so small that any break in the border allowing methane or other gases in will taint a large portion of the water. My conclusion is that I would not move there.

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Enough with the negative… let’s talk positive.

California (from Northern LA to Oregon)
This is a Mediterranean climate. Year round food growing. Bountiful fruit. 50-85 degree constant. Plentiful rain and sun. Low cost of living in eco village areas which can be found all over the coast. Canyon areas are less populated and get a bit chilly after dark but it is only a few minute drive to the nearest warm valley. The area is full of Renewable energy, environmentally conscious people, and the fitness minded.
Central Arkansas
Year round growing weather. Not too hot. Fresh water lakes and rivers with mid level mountains and hot springs. Lots of hiking, caving and camping. Bluegrass friendly music and arts lovers. Lots of festivals. A fair level of fitness minded people. A high level of bugs though. Not as liberal so law enforcement is not as relaxed and there are a few DUMB laws not in favor of food stands and such.
Central Colorado
About the same as Arkansas but only the southern part on the east side of the mountain ridges stays warm most of the year an enjoyable outdoor lifestyle. It is very liberal and our human rights are not violated by law enforcement much.

 

South Carolina to Miami Keys Florida
Caribbean climate. Not as constant as California Mediterranean. More powerful storms but constant growing and rainfall. Fit people. More relaxed politically but not as earth friendly as California.

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The Helping Hands network is setup to match causes in need with help anywhere it is needed. When we struggle to find help, I go and live around the causes for months. Sometimes a sponsor provides everything needed and other times people directly connected to the cause provide everything needed. These projects have given me experience living in nearly all the regions of the US.

When not traveling for short term causes I return to previous causes sites to follow up. I currently enjoy the Ojai California (Northeastern LA) area during the winter where I focus on projects related to the return of industrial hemp. I would like to find a project to help in the Caribbean some winter soon hopefully also.

In the spring/summer I enjoy eastern Nebraska where I focus on renewable energy and community gardening causes. Nebraska has a low crime rate and low cost of living while providing 6 months of outdoor growing and moderate weather. There are plenty of lakes, hiking and camping. There are also street festivals every weekend and a large amount of big name concerts. The main negative of being in Nebraska in the summer is the chemical pollution of the air and water by big corporate farming and the increasing presence of pipelines.

In the fall I enjoy camping in the wild between Tyler Texas and Little Rock Arkansas. The area is similar to Nebraska but has even more wildlife to enjoy. It stays warm most of the fall and the law enforcement is usually welcoming to those who camp. The main negatives are the bugs, the support for big oil due to their financing of community needs, and the lack of recycling. Parks and road sides are covered in liter in this region.

If I had a family, I would prefer the Caribbean or Ojai areas but it would ultimately come down to my mates vote and proximity to family.

 

 

(More pictures available on my facebook wall)

Prep

A rise of the people against the dirty energy fracking and TarSand Oil practices in 2012 encouraged me to carry on the awareness efforts while hiking & hitching from Lincoln NE to Taos NM, Lake Havasu AZ, Las Vegas NV, and LA CA.

The 24 hours leading up to my April 17th departure were used to closely examine my gear and limit the weight I would be carrying over the next 10+ days. I had hoped to be present at the 4/17-4/18 public hearings and central Nebraska rallies against the TransCanada Companies forced occupation of lands from Native Tribes, ranchers and farmers stretching from Canada to the southern US but my friends needed to leave that morning.

My friends Ryan, Billy and Kim were on their way to Vegas for a dart tournament and it was the perfect carpool road trip for me to do my next spiritual walk-about. It was a long day of driving for my friends and I. Starting at 4:30am, Ryan got behind the wheel and pushed back the boredom of driving through 12 hours of southern Nebraska and Colorado.

As we entered the 30 degree Taos NM area, the sun-setting sky opened, covering all the vegetation with shimmering ice crystals. It was as if we were touring a Christmas light display the way the Adobe buildings lined the iced surroundings, while the neon shop lights reflected around us.

Taos

Once we got settled in the condo it was time to explore the old Spanish settlement landmarks. A large portion of the area had been renamed after the explorer Kit Carson who led armed forces in the occupation of the surrounding area from the natives. His burial site was within view from the deck of our room and beyond that was a park, a community arts center and a restored model of his last house.

The surrounding area was full of shops, art studios, cafes and bars. Our first stop was Doc Martins restaurant. Just inside the door I was met by an amazing wood stick ceiling with an amazing center column protruding to a stained glass sky dome. The ambiance was candle lit with a romantic live jazz band entertaining the crowd. Wearing my “Stop the KXL Pipeline” shirt, I entered casually and sat towards the back with my map of the area. It was the perfect spot to look up directions the EarthShip Biotecture community. Everyone ordered food and drinks while I made some calls and sent emails trying to get invited into the EarthShip’s evening activities.

Taos Cafe

Once everyone was done eating we moved on down the street to El Caminos where the live jams of John Pepe were going on until midnight. The other big live music scene for Taos was at the Solar Center Club which was too far to walk. No longer had I walked in the door was I invited over to the bar to chat about my shirt by a young gent named Brian with a Rollie Fingers curl mustache.

On my left was a group of Navajo ladies who were quick to lean in on our chat so I got a round of drinks and waved my friends over to mingle. Even if they had boyfriends nearby, no one was going to cause me any problems thanks to our 300lb. 6 foot Billy.

Brian’s family had 300 acres of ranch land and they were being pressured by natural gas representatives for fracking rights. We had a great discussion about GasLand.com, the earthquake consequences of removing oil/gas resources needed by the planets crust, the fracking chemicals mixing with the water and his observations of the EarthShip members.

 

Gasland Poster

 

The dance floor soon gathered enough free spirits that I felt comfortable joining them. A few minutes later I was waved over to the bar by an Industrial Hemp supporter who wanted to talk about my experiences. Farrah was a 1st generation Dutch Iranian who had a lot of international renewable energy experience currently living in Seattle. While talking to her about my experiences setting up the nations first carbon neutral green gas station (NebraskaGreenFuels.com) and consulting industrial hemp jewelry maker Shhmokewear.com, we were shadowed by two gay land owners in black suits allegedly from Jackson Hole WY.

Before the WY couple could jump into our discussion Farrah mentioned that the band singer, John Pepe, rented a EarthShip home and my attention shifted to talking to him as they took a set break. Farrah introduced me to John and then they invited me to the 420 corner to share their peace pipe while discussing the EarthShip community. My feedback was limited to this handful of kind Taos citizens but I think it’s safe to conclude the EarthShip community was not much of a community at all. It was everyone’s opinion that the community was 80% upper class earth lovers who were not motivated to build a gathering center such as a park or rec building or even a community greenhouse. Roughly 5% of the community is staff who love teaching the other 15% of interns and anyone else who is willing to pay tuition fees to learn how to construct an EarthShip. Surely I thought there would be a group yoga session or shared meal time each week.

We then shift our conversation to the location of the local hot springs. All along the Rio Grande there are deep cracks releasing heat from the Earth’s crust to form hot springs and Pepe gave me directions to 2 different areas on the way to the EarthShip Community. One location was used in the famous hot spring scene for the movie “Easy Rider”.

As Pepe started up his final set another lady approached me to ask about the fracking details. As I began telling her about GasLand, the two WY suits cut in and commented they knew all about it because it was going on back at their WY ranch. The first guy, short and bald with a German accent, satirically told a story about how his cattle troff wells would burn but then laughed and followed that with the comment, “We solved that problem by using new chemicals in the process now”. I quickly smirked back, “so you are saying that you think adding different chemicals into drill wells to limit gas escape into the fresh water supplies is BETTER?”

He also smirked that refinning TarSands oil was no different then our existing oil. It was quickly obvious that they were placed into the community by a fracking affiliate to soften up the towns resistance.

I wrote down a bunch of links for the lady and the suits, then told everyone good night as I returned back to the condo.

Taos Bar

 

TR 4/18
I got up at 7:30a to talk to Ryan about my request to hike to a hot spring and then visit the EarthShip Community for an hour. He was fine with doing it on the way out of town rather then running me out there, dropping me off and going back and forth. That plan gave me an extra 30 minutes to do yoga and my morning workout while he went to lift. Around 8:30 everyone was ready to hit the road.

As we neared the first hot springs marker I decided the venture was going to consume too much time exploring and hiking so we continued on until we hit the Rio Grande Gorge bridge. We jumped out and rushed some quick pictures together on the bridge in the 10 degree morning chill before dashing back into the warm truck.

Rio Grande Canyon

Two miles further west on HWY 64 we came to the EarthShip Community. I didn’t want to take up too much of my friends time but for 7 years I had been trying to get here to spend some time learning how to construct these Earth homes so I was going to take a little extra time talking to the team currently building the newest home. Three good ole truth patriots were warming up around a fire barrel talking about the Boston bombs. They were quick to welcome me around the fire and discuss TransCanada. The foreman continued the conversation by sharing his knowledge of how the tribes in Canada were being pushed around to allow the pipelines over their hunting grounds as well.

EarthShip

They went back to work and as much as I wanted to join them, I needed to finish hiking around and get as many pictures as I could quickly. I saw no signs of any community gathering ground, no gardening or attempt at income generation and only encountered one lady strolling about the 40+ home 300+ acre community.

The next 6 hours we pushed west through the New Mexico bluffs and into eastern AZ. The nights destination was Overgaard AZ.

AZ condo WorldMark OvergaardAZ condo 1 AZ condo

 

DAY 3 FRIDAY 4/19

We made it to the Lake Havasu exit by 3pm. It was still another 22 miles to the lake but I didn’t want my friends to go out of their way so I had them drop me off at a service station so I could hitch into town.

I went and got a card board box from inside and sat out front making my sign saying “south to Lake Please” and after about 15 minutes I was asked to move away form the door. After 15 more minutes I was asked to move out by the road. I found a spot in the shade by incoming traffic and worked on sewing a patch over a hole in my vest pocket. After another 30 minutes I started walking around where the entrance met the parking lot and 5 minutes later a young guy named Jesse picked me up.

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He took me all the way to the north entrance to the lake front. I had plenty of time to scout the area out and then waited for the sun to set in order to approach the secluded spot I found to sleep for the night.

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I prefer a remote area where no authority hassles me but when I have to stay low, it challenges me to improve my stealth techniques.

In this case, the best spot I found was in a ditch below eye level with medium vegetation  It had a storm drain to hide my gear during the day and perfect tree’s for my hammock. Power was 40 feet away in a picnic pavilion and plumbing was another 20 feet from there. 60 feet the other direction was the Ranger check in station!

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I was feeling a bit of sun sickness and struggled to sleep. I woke up shivering but knew it was still 80 degrees around midnight. I tried my thin liner as a blanket but woke up again shivering around 2. I gave in and unpacked my sleeping bag but still struggled. It started getting light enough to see me easily by 5:30am and boaters were showing up for a bass fishing tournament and a speed skiing race so I took my hammock down.

 

Day 4 SAT 4/20

My appetite was lacking due to the previous days heat exhaustion so I just snacked on some granola and trail mix most of the day. I moved around different locations along the beach and asked the most friendly looking boaters for a ride every now and then with no takers. The northern lake access boat ramp area is mostly just older people relaxing. The water skiers use the middle area near the London bridge and the wild spring breakers go about 20 miles down to the southern-most cove.

Havasu Boats Havasu hiding spot

 

I hid my heavy pack in a storm drain and hiked light with just my money and days food hoping to find a good ride to the funner spots. As the day went I on I grew content with just watching the water skiing races and working on some hemp braiding. I had everything I needed in the current location so venturing further was not a priority.

 

Havasu

The evening sunset in Havasu is amazing. The colors bounce off the canyon walls and teal green water as the sun set behind a mountain ridge. The only thing that could have been better would have been to have a lot quiter boats. So many of them were over sized with NASCAR sounding engines. A nice bike/hike trail along the waterway would be a great improvement also. Currently your only convenient
way around the lake is by water and renting a kayak was $100 and a Jet Ski was $175 for 4 hours!

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After most of the traffic left and it grew dark, I went back to camp and got my gear and set up the hammock for the night. I slept much better this time since I knew I was going to need my sleeping bag by 3am when it dipped to the low 60s.

 

 

Day 5 SUN 4/21

I followed the same routine as yesterday but today I had a ride to Vegas at 9am so I did a few risky things that drew attention knowing I didn’t have to sneak around for another nights stay. I cooked up some oatmeal and then wore my protest shirt around the boaters on my way to the bathroom and back.

I decided to test how friendly the Sunday Rangers were by approaching them to check the time and mention my bus departure. They were friendly but kept an eye on me. They noticed where I went and came closer to watch me pack.

My shuttle to Vegas cost $55 plus $10 pickup. It had a 25 minute layover by the London Bridge so I quickly ran around the bridge and took some pictures.

Havasu London bottom Havasu London Bridge view Havasu London Bridge

We went through Laughlin at the end of the Corvette show and the beginning of the bike rally. On the ride my pipeline opinions were questioned by a Montana oil supporter. The kid next to me was busing back to VA. He noticed the hookah bracelet I was weaving and asked how much I sold them for. He quickly picked out one to take on his journey.

I arrived at the Vegas airport at 2 and had to pay $7 to get to Ballys. My friends were going to the store so I repacked for LA and then walked around casinos with my protest shirt for a couple hours until they got back.

Ballys

 

We partied in the room and made sandwiches before heading out. I took my laptop so I could get some photos loaded on the blog knowing Ballys and Paris don’t have much for live music or club dancing. A girl who recognized me came over and said hi and introduced me to her friends but my shirt disinterested them pretty quick.

Paris demo

My friends soon headed for the room shortly after 1.

 

Day 6 4/22 Monday


Got up at 7 for pancakes and then went to the dart tournament area to say hi to all my friends before getting a 20 minute swim in. 11am bus departure was sneaking up on me quickly. I had 5 minutes to swap bags and take the truck keys back to Ryan and get to the bus. The driver had just loaded the bag and was closing the luggage bay as I walked up. A minute later I would have been delayed 3 hours waiting for the next bus.

I was approached by 2 more hemp enthusiasts on the bus to LA. The Shhmokewear products are a big hit everywhere I go. I would of loved to surprise my good friend Sung with my arrival but his job keeps him unknown hours so when I was two hours away I broke silence and set up dinner plans.

I also coordinated a possible social meetup with another friend and arranged my lodging at Shhmokewear headquarters for the night.

From the bus drop at 7th and Maple I walked 5 blocks to central station and hopped the green line to my buddies near Manhattan Beach. It was here I met TX hobo Jesse. We had a nice chat about how he moves from one construction site to the next to sleep and then wakes up before crews arrive in the morning. He also told me how he can get on empty train engines with beds and AC from Long Beach back to TX. “Just bring plenty of water because sometimes the engine may stop for an extra day”, he warned.

 

Day 7 4/23 Tuesday


We got up at 7:30, ate some oatmeal and I was out the door by 8:30 heading for the Shhmokewear office.

After a few train hops I was in East LA Boyle Heights around 10:15. There must have been some budget cuts because there were no more paper ticket sales, only plastic bar code cards and I never saw any inspectors.

Boyle blooms Boyle paintings Boyle

 

When I walked up to the office I had a hard time maneuvering around all the items piled around the garden features. It had been officially hippitized.

 

garden hippitized

As I entered the office I was greeted by Scott at his prep station. As my voice resonated through the hall, Will came crawling out of his office all droopy eyed. He was soon followed by 3 more staff residents; Lee, Tim and Jesse.

I kept the guys company while Will prepped for the day. We went over a bunch of business items and he handed me an article to edit. Anytime he needed to redirect his attention, I turned my focus to the article so we stayed productive.

By 1 he was ready to go do some errands and eat. We picked up his assistant Gloria from her place and then went to get office paper on the way to a Mediterranean grill for lunch.

LA lunch

It was 4 by the time we got back and we had covered most of our meeting points so I wrapped up to head to my pick up point. My buddy was going to meet me at the Culver City depot to drive us 30 miles to Ojai but when I checked in he changed his mind and didn’t want to go.

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By then it was too late to train to Clarita and hitch over so I had to flip my plan for the week. Ojai was out now that I only had 24 hours to enjoy while using up Tuesday to get there and Thursday getting back. I decided to spend Wednesday at Venice and Thursday at Santa Monica now instead and I could stay at another friends house there instead of bothering Sung any longer.

I grabbed a train back to Sung’s for one more night. He asked me to accompany him and his girl Launi, to a new Indian restaurant for dinner. He dropped me off after dinner and then he went back out for the night.

I didn’t get much writing done before I passed out. I was so looking forward to sleeping under the stars in the hot springs but a warm couch and TV would do.

 

Day 8 4/24 Wed

I woke up, made some nice warm oatmeal with the comforts of kitchen access and then packed a day bag with snacks and some jewelry making supplies. I spent about 2 hours uploading photos and blog updates and then was out the door about 11.

Took the train to LAX station then the Santa Monica blue line to Venice. Spent the day walking around my protest shirt and even got in the background of a Bob Sinclaire DJ video with a piano and models.

 

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My host would be over to pick me up at 10 so as it got dark I relaxed on the beach with the sunset and some hemp weaving. From 9 to 10 I got a beer and watched the Lakers game until my ride arrived.

 

 

Day 9 4/25 Thursday

My friend was very hospitable and offered me everything they had to share. It is so great to have friends who give you unlimited access to their lives.

 

They dropped me off at the Santa Monica cliffs and I went about my blessed day protesting oil along the beach, pier, boardwalk and surrounding. I was approached by many interested people and all of them supported our efforts to stop the TransCanada invasion.

IMG_20130425_101349 SM Bench

 

By the end of this day of silent demonstration I had handed out all my flyers. As 6pm approached I went to a whole foods store and picked up wine and goodies to share with the evenings full moon wine hiking group and then met up with the car of friends driving to the Los Leones trail head.

My Minneapolis cousin Jen, had just moved to LA and she was available to join us but was going to be 30 minutes behind us.

10 people had already departed down the long moderate trail so the 4 of us in our car were joined by 3 other late arrivals to take a very difficult short cut trail. The long trail took 1.5 hours to the summit while the shortcut was about 30 minutes of brutle climbing.

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As we progressed, I continued to look back hoping to see my cousin and her girlfriend. I was also hoping to find a mature field of white sage.IMG_20130425_184651

Just as I began questioning whether there ever was going to be an end, the bush cleared to reveal the picnic area of the summit and our other 10 full moon party-goers.

I quickly scouted the area for sage and then joined in on introductions. On the far end of the group there was a guy with his back towards me who had the Scott Krinsky (Buymore Geek Jeff Barnes from Chuck) hair due. My parents generation know it as the the GENE WILDER due.

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As I positioned myself better I realized, it was Scott. I got to meet him back in March of 2012 when he did stand-up during Shhmokewear Comedy night at a penthouse club. I got a picture with him and talked briefly in 2012 but this was going to be a 3 hour social opportunity to chill and learn a lot from him.

As we laid out the picnic blankets and rested our weary legs everyone placed their goods in the center and the drinking commenced. Scott and his lady sat directly across from me so I was able to talk to him the whole time. As the sun set over our view of the entire LA coast I powered up my phone hoping to get my cousins # before the power died again. I got the first 6 #s before it shut back off for good. I had to accept that fate may not bring us together on this visit.

I hollered down the mountain for her as the Blood moon rose over the skyline. I noticed their light and kept a close eye on it as it got further away. They had decided against making the difficult climb in the moon & cell phone light.

I returned my attention to my friends and conversations with Scott. Most of the group was intrigued by my oil protest efforts and questions kept coming my way through the night about renewable energy, living a yogi minimalist life, the Pipeline and about life inside the 420 culture.

 

Around 10pm we all packed up and began the 90 minute hike down by moonlight. I was a bit buzzed and could not feel my feet much but I did notice a field full of young Sage brush to harvest enough for my tea needs. When harvesting this spiritual smudging plant it is important to think of it like you are moving a soul around. You say a blessing before harvesting and only remove up to 25% from each plant so it continues to grow healthy.

Scott and I talked the whole way down about Ojai springs, Machu Picchu, our career futures and a few other things. His cell phone light saved my drunk butt more times then I would like to admit.

We reached the cars at 11:15 and everyone said their good-byes. I was invited to the full moon rave at the Artist colony called the Brewery but didn’t want to mess with late night public transport. I passed out as soon as I hit the couch once back to my hosts place in Culver City.

 

Day 10 4/26 Friday

I helped my friend transplant some Sage and Mint and consulted her on garden plans then we went to this wonderful french breakfast cafe. From there we went to her work by the beach and said our good byes. I briefly walked the Santa Monica Promenade with my protest shirt on the way to find a spot to charge my phones.

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I spent from 11 to noon charging my phones at a coffee shop and then was out of beach time. It would take 1 hour 15 minutes to get to Sung’s; 15 minutes to get my pack and get back on the train and then over 1 hour to get downtown to my 4pm bus to Vegas.

 

On the oceanside bus I sat beside a 2011 USC volleyball player wearing #7 and we chatted about sand volleyball and Jenny Kropp all the way to the train.

After getting my pack and getting back on the bus I started watching the clock fiercely  knowing I was cutting it super close. One train delay or no delay by the Vegas bus would leave me scrambling for options like another bus. I called their support desk to check in and beg for them to wait. All they could say was good luck.

As I arrived to the southern edge of downtown I had 17 minutes to get to the bus. I had 11 minutes to go on the train and then hope I could run 9 blocks in under 5 minutes.

Hike gear

It was down to the wire but I made it! Once on the bus the lady beside me had to put up with my sweaty smell. She was not shy. Within the first hour I felt like I knew her life story from childhood in Florida to life battling the flawed 1%’s legal system as a Vegas dancer, movie extra and gambler.

 

I made it to Bally’s in Vegas about 10:30pm. I was just in time to catch my friends for their last wave of partying. I was hoping they were going to be in the mood to explore a new area with a good music scene but unfortunately they were on their last leg. I was content with sitting around playing some keno with the Bally’s house band and eventually went to the room around 2am.

 

Day 11&12 4/27-28 SAT/SUN

 

It was a long, uneventful drive from Vegas back to Lincoln NE. We went along the northern Grand Canyon area and up past Salt Lake City. Traveling across northern Utah was much more beautiful then I remembered my last visit. We past several nice river scenic areas but once we reached the northern Colorado passes it was too dark to enjoy. I took over the wheel near the Nebraska border and drove from 1-4am before Ryan was ready to go again. He made it a few more hours then Kim was ready to take over for the final shift.

I slept all day Sunday and then got back down to business first thing Monday to follow up with all the new friends we made during this 2013 KXL Pipeline Helping Hands Network awareness tour.