7 months – it is the longest I have been anywhere in years. I came to prepare for the North American Tour, but also to spend some time with my mom and grandparents, and to give them all a hand.
I don’t even know where to begin… Edna and I arrived hauling Freddie (the horse trailer/mobile shop/storage) and brought her out to the back field behind my mother’s house. This spot has been my go-to spot for a long time. I used to have a little trailer back there for living in in the summer, and I built many years ago a roof structure that used to house my living room and outdoor kitchen. This, I set up as wood storage and as a work space for many of the projects I was to work on to prepare the bus for the grand adventure.
As I gathered firewood for my mother, I took the small pieces for my own woodstove in preparation for the winter. I rebuilt my old woodshed, and unloaded many things from Freddie. It felt good to settle into a place – a place with old friends and family.
Amongst working for my mother, my grandparents, and a couple different farms, I worked on Edna, served tea at various events, hosted couchsurfers, and made some new friends. I also undertook some personal projects like restoring an old Corona Model 3 typewriter and a Singer Featherweight sewing machine.
Events included an Elephant Revival show at Brickworks, the Sh’bang Festival in Bellingham, tea every Tuesday at Tuesday Night Music at Brickworks, the Lookout Circus, Touch-a-Truck at Friday Harbor Elementary School, Brewfest on Lopez Island, Halloween in the neighborhoods I used to Trick or Treat in, a coal meeting (where even officer Felix joined us for tea), a free Thanksgiving meal at the high school, a memorial for my dear friend Sam Carter, and many other places! I built many a friendships with fellow tea enthusiasts, bus dwellers, dancers, and tinkerers.
Some of the projects on the bus included: working on the WVO conversion (gauges, wiring, switches, temp senders, plumbing, etc), replumbing some of the fresh water system, making and sewing covers for our bench cushions with my mom, sewing new curtains with my dear friend Ally, enclosing the fridge in wood, installing a Webasto (diesel-powered coolant heater and circulator), installing a new horizontal propane tank, fitting a new grey water drain system, building out the food/cold storage zones, welding a co-pilot chair mounting bracket and a woodworking a cabinet below it, installing new valve cover gaskets, and installing a new larger (3G) alternator. Blog posts on many of these things to come!!!
I spent a lot of time on Talking Horse Farm, where a couple of my friends live. Only a mile from my home base at my mom’s, it was an easy bike, walk, hitch, or drive for instant community, with good food and good peeps. Lots of tea and friendly faces here! Thanks Ally, Amanda, and Findlay! I worked for the meat farmer there wrestling sheep in exchange for good meat.
I had wood fires at night to stay warm, boiled tea on the wood stove, and worked on projects until bedtime many nights. My days were varied with projects for my mom, for myself, and for friends. In January I took off to work in Seattle for a couple weeks, which was super refreshing. I hadn’t left the island at that point for four months – too long for a nomad used to the road.
Whereas many people find themselves the most productive when stationary, I find the exact opposite. When I’m on the road, I am forced to confront my everyday needs. At my mom’s it was easy to use her resources like food, water, shower, etc, whereas on the road I am much more likely to acquire my own food, make sure my water tank is full, and be proactive about securing my basic needs. On the road, I can’t not be proactive. In this way, I like being on the road. I admit, I can get lazy when stationary (well, lazy by my standards. I still got A LOT done when on the islands).
I had moved out of the back field mid winter, as it was getting too wet and muddy to drive in and out. When I was getting ready to pack up, I needed Freddie for organizing, but even Levi, my step-dad couldn’t get it out with his 4×4 diesel truck. We ended up having to haul it out with his backhoe, which barely made it. It was quite the ordeal. Thanks, Levi.
I always say that I would live on the Islands if I wasn’t from the islands. And perhaps one day I will settle down and do such a thing – but not just yet. I am ready to be on a big journey!