OJAI! Would you like to go on an adVENTURA? – Ventura County, CA

A guests enjoys the view from Edna during the Ojai Farmers' Market.

A guests enjoys the view from Edna during the Ojai Farmers’ Market.

Well yes, I would! Kidnapping my friend Ally, we left Nevada City bound for Ojai. Taking a couple days to get there, we stopped at junkyards to look for another injection pump for Edna along the way. Old highway 99 has all the junkyards coming down through Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield. Not knowing any better, we took highway 33 over the hills and into Ojai. It was a steep and winding road, but we made it on down to a temporary community house in Ojai. The house is comprised of many folks, several of whom left LA after the UP (Urban Permaculture) House was disbanded due to code violations and such. I met one of them in Colorado in 2012, and two of the other folks, Michelle and Ryan, as they bicycled down the west coast in 2012 making documentary episodes for their project called America ByCycle. They followed the tea bus for a week back then, and they came to Blues Recess Massive last summer to help serve tea at our free tea café.

New (used) and old injection pumps.

New (used) and old injection pumps.

The mess of installing a new injection pump.

The mess of installing a new injection pump.

I was stoked to accept their invitation to come work on Edna in their driveway after I sent out an email looking for such a space. Over the course of a few days, I removed and installed a new (used) injection pump, explored the area (local CSA farm, farm-to-table restaurant called Farmer to Cook, etc), and lived with this great community. The injection pump was a long time coming. After not being able to find a fuel leak on top of the motor for a couple months, I finally realized it was coming from the weep hole on the bottom of the pump, which meant she had a leaky main shaft seal. Bummer! That’s what 5 years of biodiesel will do to these Stanadyne DB2 pumps. 

Michelle and Ryan of America ByCycle.

Michelle and Ryan of America ByCycle.

On Sunday, we went to the Farmers’ Market in town. We got a perfect spot right next to the market with a patch of grass right off the sidewalk. Just as I suspected, everyone was excited and came in for tea. We had jam sessions, people reading from our library, a photographer taking photos, and more. At one point we had a bus full of people who all lived in, or had lived in, vehicles. Even the 50 or 60 year old, wonderfully dressed and well put together gal lives in a camper. It was fun to share stories.

Ojai Farmers' Market tea time.

Ojai Farmers’ Market tea time.

The only person not too excited was the market manager. She came over to us and told me that businesses across the street don’t appreciate venders being out on the sidewalk and street; if the health inspector came he would shut us down; and that Edna was taking valuable parking up for people who had to walk to their cars with groceries from the market. I assured her that I wasn’t a vender, and that I was just a fellow making friends and inviting them in for tea (there’s always exemptions for this in health codes), and that we could arrange for people to help other people carry groceries if need be. She wasn’t amused, and left in just as stern of a mood as when she came over. We stayed all day at market and we never heard from her again. I understand her concerns, and I hate to be confrontational, but I honestly believe in what I do, and I can’t be intimidated by threats – no matter how direct or indirect. Evidently she’s known for this type of behavior. Nevertheless, the guests on this day were incredible.

Michelle of America ByCycle shows us the water station at Euterpe Farm.

Michelle of America ByCycle shows us the water station at Euterpe Farm.

On Thursday we left for a day at the coast. On the way we stopped at this awesome little by-donation, wind- and solar-pumped mineral water station on the side of the road at Euterpe Farms. They host little concerts there and fun events. Edna was thirsty, so we dropped some money in the bucket and filled her up.

Ah, we really are in So Cal. Palm trees at C St.

Ah, we really are in So Cal. Palm trees at C St.

On to the beach! The spot: C Street Surf Break. This is a great spot along the boardwalk where many surfers, from novice to expert, share the waves. There are people walking, biking, skateboarding, and dancing through all day. A nice fellow named David waved at us from his awesome surf van as we pulled in looking for a parking spot. He was leaving soon and after we hung with him for a while, he offered his spot up to us. It was a mellow, but fun day, with friends from the community house coming to visit, and surfers, walkers, and other random loiterers coming for tea. It seems like surf spots like this are perfect for the tea bus, not only because there’s so many open people there, but because hot tea is great when you get out of the cold ocean.

Myself and new friend Jason (photo: Byba Sepit)

Myself and new friend Jason (photo: Byba Sepit)

That night we went back to Ojai, and after a rough couple days of food poisoning, we left for LA.

Thanks so much to the whole Ojai crew: Heath, Michelle, Ryan, Maylan, Ret, Chuck, Alex, Byba, and all the other lovely people, places, and faces.

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2 Responses to OJAI! Would you like to go on an adVENTURA? – Ventura County, CA

  1. Perry Bressman says:

    That’s how we met-when some lady threatened to call the police on you for serving tea. As I was reading your story, about the farmer’s mkt, & the lady worrying about the Health Dept. closing you down, I kept thinking of a place where I could suggest she go with her complaint! Only you could turn it around and offer assistance with helping people with their groceries. I love it. Keep up the positive thinking my friend.

  2. Pingback: Spring Update – Trobuco Canyon, CA | Free Tea Party

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