Grants Pass the woods and the bears

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For turning out to be such a shockingly conservative town in the middle of generally liberal eastern Oregon, this town has been very open to alternative living. There is a large amount of BLM land not far outside of town for camping and a local convience store with great wick service and an impressive alcohol and food selection as well as usps, all useful in the middle of the woods. The town has a surprising number of assistence groups including very clean fully supplied hot showers six days a week and food banks overrun with produce. The people have been incredibly nice as well and Aaron has been shocked at how quickly he has been handing out business cards here compared to elsewhere on the trip. There are also dozens of little festivals within a few hours radius of this city and I have found multiple herbal shops to seek apprenticeship with, so it looks like a goods idea we decided to settle in this area.
Tonight we are headed back to Eugene and then to Portland to pick up Zoe back fromher family trip, I cant wait to show her the campsite, it is the prettiest one yet esp since the rain caused the river to rise. We have collected half a dozens frogs for a new terraium and Aaron accidently caught a scorpion as well, oops!
Valentine also bought a new truck and is in the process of selling his subaru so right now there are six motored vehicles, a trailer, a bike, a dog, two kittens, a rat and soon to be back to four people all camped in the woods. Fortunately the locals have been pretty openminded and figure anyone who owns a 65 VW and carries trash bags around cleaning up the woods are alright by them so they’ve become fairly neighborly which is fine by us. I am trying to figure out the new photo uploading system on here (cave woman better at paper than interwebyness) and soon as I do I will do another photo showcase of all the fun going on!
xoxo
V

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Paint Fumes become Gypsy Vardo Part 2- Tada! PICTURES!!!

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Outside- a standard RV, all set up pretty in it’s newly cleared out camp space 😀

 

Julia Cameron Excerpt from: Walking in this World
“We are miserable not because we are neurotic but because we are creative and not functioning in our creativity. Therapy may help us to “understand” our blocks. We do better to just get over them. Art is therapeutic. It is NOT therapy. Therapy aims at transformation through understanding. Art aims at transformation directly. When we make a piece of art about something we don’t understand, we come to understand it, or, at least, our relationship to it through our own experience- which is more full-bodied than merely cerebral….healing is a somewhat automatic by-product of self-expression, not a goal per se…therapists urge us to “accept how we feel”. Art teaches us to EXPRESS how we feel and so alchemize it. …therapy adjusts us to the world. Art adjusts the world itself….At bottom, art is rebellious: You cannot name me. I am more than the sum of my parts.”

 

 

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It started off ENTIRELY grey- grey grey grey, with a bit of dirty blue grey on the ceiling and dirty yellow grey on the curtains. It was a depressing sight. A whole winter of grey, filled with outside grey, and did I mention it was just generally grey? So, with the onset of summer, and a super deep clean need growing in my bones, when Zoe said “Hey we could paint the RV” as I was walking past the box full of acrylics, I kind of exploded out a rainbow. We did the walls purple, green, and yellow, and filled in all the space with a rainbow texture covered in a marble texture of silver glitter and a super high gloss clear coat- the goal was to make it look like the walls were made of polished opal- and I think I succeeded as much as paint possibly can.

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Promise petting Harold in the finished RV

Since I was already doing mad colors, the idea of a chalkboard on the fridge was only fitting. We also found magnetic paint, but it was SO expensive, instead we put metal on the freezer front. It has been a big hit already.

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The wood stove, fully finished and installed, with our collection of garage sale cast iron

Learning to cook on this has been quite an adventure- and now I have strategically painted to hide all the ashy marks from maintaining it all winter, yay!

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The most interesting part of this was the transformative effect it had on me. For so long I’ve tried so hard to keep control of everything, to be productive, capable, focused, planned. But as I was fingerpainting rainbows on my wall I simply had to let loose, to let go, to just have fun on a level that I had not touched since I was a child. All of a sudden I was caught up in the flow of creation, of expression, of simply being and impressing the greatness of my being into the world I inhabit. For the first time in a long time I felt a radiant and expanded soul.

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I rebelled against the grey, the standard, the mundane. I rebelled against the fact that I was sharing a small space with another large personality. I rebelled against the feeling that I had to stay within the lines or the world would collapse. I found out what it meant to stop trying to understand and simply to DO, and the power of heavens that resides there. Things that should not have worked out did. Things that were impossible were done. I worked harder than I ever have on anything and I was joyful every moment of the day. And I did it for myself, no other, and everyone in the community has appreciated it and enjoyed it. I took paint and made it a home.

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It doesn’t matter what else is going on, just create.

 

Photo Update :D

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ImageAaron making a mess in the Workshop tent

I’m taking a short trip down memory lane today. Aaron has been in Santa Fe for nearly a week for his sister’s graduation, and I’ve been a bit lovesick. I even miss arguing with him! So, I’ve been taking comfort with kittens, fantasy books, and repainting the interior of the RV. You know, the simple things.

We had a great trip up to Portland to drop him off at the airport. The flight was for an ungodly early hour, he had to be there before six am, so after showers we recovered at Zoe’s favorite place from the time she lived in Portland, Sound Grounds cafe’. It lives up to it’s reputation as a comfy and eclectic art world. We arrived as a couple of clowns were doing a kids storytime, which was an interesting way to enjoy a late breakfast. I was very impressed with their coffee, tea and food selection. They did a $3 Dave’s Killer Bread egg in a basket with cream cheese that was AMAZING! They also offer a wide variety of activities for a wide range of age groups(there are more than just clowns). My favorite part of the trip was all the roses though. We walked so many streets just drinking in the sight and smell. I saw every kind of rose imaginable, even pink and yellow ones as big as my head!

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Of course we were all eager to get back home for kittens and a good night’s sleep after a very long day. The little grey tiger has been adopted by Zoe and Sakka with the deceptive name of “Muffin”, such a sweet name for an increasingly large terror. I adopted the gold tiger kitten, who is bratty enough to befit her name of “Princess”, and Aaron adopted the black one, adoring his mellow nature and little white-dipped tail, and calls him “Alfred”.

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Sakka holding the little Muffin of doom(they’ve taken to calling her Bran Muffin)

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The greenhouse (pictured above) is thriving, though we had to get ladybugs to eliminate a mild aphid problem. But the echinacea is blooming, the mints threaten to take over, we’ve eaten enough greens to feel like rabbits, and we just got a pile of oils, shea butter and beeswax to make salves out of a number of the herbs.

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Zoe outside of one of the Tipi’s

I have been shocked at how comfortable tipi’s have turned out to be. Sakka has been impressive at making it homey for Zoe, putting together a vanity table, and a set of flower boxes outside. The key is to use a broom around the rafters to eliminate spiders, but even that hasn’t been as bad as I expected- and being a first-rate arachnophobic that was a major concern.

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Zoe’s first completed knit hat

Zoe has taken to the knitting like a fish to water, but after several attempts and a good deal of improvement, as much as I want to knit, crochet is just more my thing. Maybe I just did it too long first, but either way, I find it significantly more easy than knitting. Momma Pam found a crochet pattern for socks so I could make them for Aaron instead and they turned out to be more than twice as thick in texture, which is what I needed for him anyway, and I can do it in a fraction of the time. Win-win. But I may do some knit lingerie for winter, light, warm and sexy 😉

I’ve been feeling like I’m on vacation, being alone again for the first time in months. Adjusting to such a large family in a short time has left me feeling a little overwhelmed and having a quiet space to retreat too for a few days has certainly helped. I’m remembering why relationships are so important and re-establishing my boundaries. Oh, and painting, lots of painting. And fabric dye, and hanging art, and my will I be busy the next few days!

 

Aside

Books-

Non-Fiction-

Survival Lessons
Alice Hoffman
4 stars
I didn’t think I could love Alice Hoffman more until I read her short memoir of her battle with breast cancer. No matter what you are going through in life, her words will be a balm to your soul.

French Women don’t get Facelifts
Mireille Guiliano
3 stars
As I personally develop more awareness of the toxins and chemicals in commercial products, I must admit to disagreeing with a number of her recommendations. I did however, find it interesting to read about life from the perspective of one who has been through so much change. I think it is good for me to remember that one day there will be consequences to all of my repeated actions in potentially drastic ways. Easy and mellow read.

Salt, Sugar, Fat
Michael Ross
4 Stars
Truly by the end of this, all I could think was that if as much time, energy and scientific resources went into agriculture and feeding people REAL food as goes into the fake stuff, al solid 25% + of the worlds health and other problems wold be solved. Only read this if you have a punching bag nearby(though that’s how I’ve been feeling about a lot of non-fiction recently)

Unless in Moves the Human Heart
Roger Rosenblatt
2 stars
Reminded me too much of college writing classes, all critique and academia, no beauty or passion. I’m not saying a writer shouldn’t know grammar, I’m saying one should be encouraged to learn rules and break them freely.

 Fiction-

The Language of Flowers
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
4 stars
Being a romantic, and a Victoria, myself, I found myself relating to this story on an unnaturally deep level. The simple premise, of a girl speaking through a forgotten language, speaks symbolic volumes. The entire style reminds one of flowers, simple on the surface and yet with every deeper though, becoming more and more complex, ending in an timeless message of growth. Sad, beautiful, wonderful read.

Game of Thrones- A Dance with Dragons
George R.R. Martin
Bah! I broke my rule- always wait til the series is ended, that way you can read it all, but no, now I must wait for the next book, unable to relieve the torturous misery! The pain! The pain!……

Like Water for Chocolate
Laura Esquivel
4 stars
A joy to read, sweet, easy, powerful.

 Restaurants-

Ashland-

Mix Sweet Shop-
Best Coffee place on the road so far- coffee, tea, desserts, quality food, wifi, cute basement area, and Strawberry terrariums, what more could one need?

Thai Palace
We went here for Zoe’s 21st birthday, it was the only place close by that had alcohol and vegetarian food. We sat outside in the sun on the back patio, listening to a babbling creak while we stuffed ourselves silly on rice noodles, veggies and chili sauce, even leaving leftovers from two meals split by four hungry young people. The waitress brought Zoe a complimentary dessert of thai tea vanilla creme brulee’ that sent each of us into spasms of sugar and cream induced joy. The sugar feast was topped off with their “Buddha Bowl” of rum and juice in a deep stone dish, set on fire and decorated with fresh orchids, enough that we all stumbled back to the car and hung out in the park for a while before being able to drive home. Wonderful day 😀

Eugene-

Library- I want to live there, they have a coffee shop with dollar coffee and great prices of everything else, ebook collection, massive computer areas, the magazine section carries stuff I’ve never even seen before, and the staff is amazingly sweet. Truly, I would simply live at the library if they’d let me, and I’d live or commute to the area just to go there. I’m a little obsessed. Obviously.

Winco- is the best grocery store in existence. great produce section, bulk foods selection, amazing prices on everything. Yes, just yes.

Cush Cafe’
We got turned onto this little up and coming place by a friend who works here as one of the bakers. It is a giant renovated old house turned into the most complex coffee shop I’ve ever seen. They carry a moderate selection of gourmet drinks, including the most delicious decaf chai I’ve ever tasted with spices that will give a healthy burn on the way down, along with a collection of organic coffees. The food is amazing, with pecan pie, peanut butter chocolate chip, banana walnut bread, and espresso chocolate nut on the tasting list all passing muster with flying colors. There is a piano, a guitar and bongos, among other instruments always available to play, as well as a stage and pool tables set up in the back all ready for the regular concerts and open mikes hosting here every week. The back patio is beloved by the boys, as they have a place to be outside hammering away at projects and smoke. This place is a must visit if you are ever in the area.

Recipes-

 Vitamin bowl

Soak 3 types of beans(i use black beans, black eyed peas and kidney beans) in a 1 cup beans to 2 cups water ratio overnight. Add wild rice, quinoa, millet, and lentils at a 1 cup grain to 1 cup water ratio. Put on stove and cover, stir about even twenty-thirty minutes until all the water is gone. Ultimate cure for anemia and impossibly helpful for PMS and cramps. I add the mix to scrambled eggs, tortilla wraps, or add cheese, meat and curry paste for a filling dinner.

Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Spread two slices of bread with cream cheese, on one slice add avocado, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dill. Add slices of cheddar and/or pepperjack cheese, close sandwich and add to hot buttered pan, cook both sides evenly. Can also add bacon, or a fried egg for a breakfast sandwich. Also, spreading butter on the outer sides of the sandwich first makes for a more even crisp, if you are as particular as I am 😀

 Homemade Rice Free Sushi

spread 1/4 avocado across a piece of nori paper, lay a line of cream cheese and smoked salmon down the middle, roll and done! Can also use other canned/smoked fish or top with roe. I’m also found of adding chipotle chili powder for extra spicy flavor

 Camping-

Ashland-
Let me put it this way- we were camped for four days on the side of a small highway, right by the entrance to a private airport from which planes and helicopters were taking off and we never even saw a cop drive by, much less mess with us. It was a little disconcerting actually, but fun sights to watch over breakfast.

Eugene-
Sorry folks, staying with friends in this area, so all safe n snug with no fun cop stories(hopefully), but there have been so many cute kittens!!

Vending

Ashland-
More invites than straight sales, though the networking was definitely worth it as a lot of custom stuff was ordered.

Eugene-
Laid back street vending and a LOT of activity. The Saturday Market drum circle is very popular. There also happen to be a lot of feeds in this area, if that’s a need.

May Carousel

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Enjoy some lovely end of May thoughts!! XOXO!!

 

All your relationship problems solved:

http://theeditorsjournal.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-difference-between-men-and-women-very-very-true/

For the Love of Lingerie:

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/04/29/what-if-sailor-moon-characters-were-lingerie-models-theyd-look-stunning-like-this-【photos】

True Help for the Homeless, I can’t wait for the rest of the country to follow suit:

http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending-homelessness-giving-people-homes-1390056183

As the noose tightens around our freedoms, here is proof that even charity is now a crime, i.e. if you want to help people, your donation must go through a specific or government organization so WE can determine how it’s used, control the money, control it all:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/05/12/3436712/daytona-beach-feeding-homeless/

From Makeup to ART!

http://upopin.com/tal-peleg-eyelid-paintings/

It’s art, no it’s a landscape, no it’s a photo, no it’s real……

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/neil-simone-surreal-paintings

Nutrition data, otherwise known as the eat-real-food-and-enjoy-life-because-it-doesn’t-matter-anyway science:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512214128.htm

I don’t know which is worse- how much the Pharmacutical industry will charge for a treatment to bypass exercising, or the fact that American’s will pay anything to mot have to live a healthy lifestyle in the first place:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512112547.htm

When you’d lost all hope in science and medicine, this comes to renew the world of possibility!:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513132703.htm

Paper sculptures!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/katharine-morling-ceramic-sculptures

For the Relationship challenged, here are some difficult but renewing truths:

http://markmanson.net/6-healthy-habits

Whole new level of Flower Fairy Fashion 😀

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/grace-ciao-fashion-illustrations

so much cute!!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1209765

I want this artist to do a mural in my home!!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1235755

Fashion, Art, Cosplay and just downright beautiful!

http://the-dame.com/epic-headwear-posh-fairytail-couture/

What is homesteading exactly?

http://woodridgehomestead.com/rebirth-of-self-sufficiency/to-make-a-homestead/

If you are interested in becoming more self-sufficent and overwhelmed at how, this article is a great start for learning how to take the transition to your own comfort level:

http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2012/10/how-to-homestead/

Zoe and I just started getting super into knitting, this is now the goal:

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1235472

Political statement- Photographic proof that we all in fact are just people, what a novel idea!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1205326

Art coming out your ears!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/smartwater-10-artists-who-shatter-perceptions-of-reality

For the DIY and environmentally inclined, homemade solar lamps:

http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2012/04/diy-sun-jars-homemade-solar-lights/

April Reviews

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Books-

Non-fiction-

The Unhealthy Truth
Robyn O’Brien
4 stars
I was skeptical at finding out that the author was a mother with no background in nutrition or medicine or anything of the kind. However, within the first chapter, it seems that she actually more than made up for her lack of credentials with passion and a mind-boggling wealth of research. In fact, I believe she did a better job of researching and explaining every aspect in detail, along with citing each study and how it was done, than most of the books I’ve read written by doctors- probably because she wasn’t one and therefore had to be extra-careful about backing up her thesis. And what a terrifying thesis it was, quickly sending me into a spiritual crisis trying to process the overwhelming proof she was presenting in those pages. Along the lines of a modern day, non-fiction version of “The Jungle”, read this book when you are ready to seriously change your health and activism habits.

Skinny Bitch
Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
3 stars
I still disagree with the message of veganism touted in this book, we are omnivores and need a well-rounded diet, however, if you want to get serious about being conscious of what you want to put in your body, this is the bootcamp of diet books.

The Nice Girl Syndrome
Beverly Engel
3 stars
For every woman who feels overwhelmed by life and especially human interaction, this can be a huge help. From levels of giving in so many times your mind goes blank when someone asks your opinion, to trying to stand up to someone treating you badly and ending up leaving the conversation by apologizing to THEM for you being so “emotional” or “crazy”, this book is a good first step in the right direction. She breaks everything down, gives encouragement, and plenty of actually achievable exercises for starting to break out of old habits. My only issue with the book is lack of information about studies and references, though she speaks with authority of a doctorate’s and experience behind her words.

Good Calories, Bad Calories
Gary Taubes
4 stars
All the questions you’ve ever had about the contradictory diet advice to be found all over the bookstore shelves explained and challenged. Ideal book for those with a major academic interest in nutrition and health, and goes into serious scientific explanation of how the body’s metabolism works. Brilliantly reference with studies and doctor’s notes dating back hundreds of years and from around the world. Will challenge everything you every considered about how food works in the body, though it’s basically a textbook so be ready to spend some time on it.

Fiction-

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
4 stars
I downloaded the ebook with some trideptation, so many of the novels I’ve gotten in ebook form have been disappointing, but within the first page I was intrigued, but it still had such a gothic flavor I was a little afraid it would be juvenile or insipid, and as I kept reading I was thrilled to find it was complex, unique, beautiful and artfully written. Definitely worth the read if you are at all into fantasy, romance, or alternative cultures.

And more Game of Thrones(books 3 &4)
I can’t help it, I’m addicted. And frankly, the most enjoyable part about studying to be a writer is that I have the perfect excuse to read stuff like this, I swear it’s work 😀

Restaurants-

San Francisco –

The Citrus Club
A small Thai restaurant tucked in among the glittering displays of Haight st, this place is perfect for a group gathering. Their bowls of soup are easily big enough to serve three, maybe four people and range from $8-11. Oh, and they are addictive with their creamy spicy broth, giant chunks of vegetables, and melty rice noodles.

Chile Pie Kitchenette
Brand new authentic New Mexican food(Zoe and Aaron were fiending for homey spicy food) in the Castro district. Their green chili stew is delicious for you, dangerous for your wallet. Spectacular desserts will have you in a blissful sugar coma as you drain your life savings.

Cole Valley Cafe’
Cute, laid back local place, with all necessary amenities though they do have a thing against decaf coffee.

Cole St Cafe’
Literally a nook in the wall, this hobbit sized place has big people sized flavorful chai tea. The strangest thing is that there is wifi, but no place to plug in a cord. Very hipster chic.

Sacred Grounds
Stylish and quirky, decent food for moderate prices, but they were stingy with the honey- what if I don’t want to put brown sugar on my oatmeal? Great place for a simple drink though, and I approve of the use of loose- leaf for their teas.

The People’s Cafe’
Very simple decor, not much ambiance. They have a strange blend of high and low quality food. Some of the stuff is very good and fair priced, some is low quality for a high price. By this I mean, I don’t like being charged $8 for a sandwich with wonderbread. The vegetarian options seem to be the best value, but still I doubt I’d eat here again.

Ukiah & Garberville-
We weren’t in Ukiah long enough to really try anything, but there were quite a few unique places that specialized in raw, vegan and vegetarian options, and just walking by them on the way to, sadly due to need for wifi, Peet’s we were sorely tempted by the mouth-watering smells drifting out. Definitely a place I want to return too, lots of cute places to explore. And we spent twenty minutes in Garberville before heading to the woods, but fyi, Treats is the only place in town with wifi and coffee.

Arcata-
We hunted, and hunted, and searched and threw up our hands and asked locals all to no avail. After visiting at least a dozen cafe’ we gave up trying to find anyplace that had everything we needed- bathroom, wifi, outlets- just didn’t exist. However- Cafe Mokka is the perfect hipster cafe open until midnight some nights and hosts local shows(no wifi); Brio is perfect if you want gourmet cafe’ dining(no outlets); Luke’s Joint is laid back with epic bathrooms and decent food(no wifi and Zoe says they are stingy with cheese on the “goat cheese salad”); Los Bagels makes cheap, delicious pastries and is open the latest(no outlets); Jitterbean has wonderful coffee and simple breakfast fare(no bathroom- frankly that’s an insult in my opinion).

Ashland-
Mix Sweet Shop is wonderful! Delicious food, desserts, all kinds of coffee and tea (the hibiscus ginger is one of the most reviving blends I’ve ever had), outlets, clean bathrooms, laid back staff, and two stories of hipster mellow. Also right downtown, with all-day parking in the city park area right around the corner. I love this place!

Camping-

Surprisingly, there has been a lot of available parking in San Francisco. We parked on side streets off Judah, and ran into some trouble but not what you’d expect. There was a ticket, that we contested, saying that we were beyond the 7 ft hight, 22ft long limits of our vehicle, which we measured to be sure we fit within, so that got dropped. The other thing to be aware of is the street cleaning- they are sticklers about it, so be sure you know what day and hour the street cleaning is on the block you are parked. Other than that, you can get away with being parked and camped for weeks as long as you are unobtrusive. Ukiah and Garberville have been super laid back about camping anywhere, only had one cop interaction the whole time. Arcata was strange: two nights camped a few blocks from downtown (they have a ridiculous amount of parking) with no issue, but when we drove out of town to this lovely place off the highway by the river, a cop showed up at two in the morning threatening to cite us and trying to make us drive an hour away to the nearest RV camp. We told her we were “resting”- which is legal for up to six hours- and went back to bed. No citation that night, but we did move to another spot, ending up staying there for over a week before anyone even noticed. The Trinity National Forest turned out to have some very suspicious and insistent rangers, but we just drove a little ways into the Kalamath National Forest and nothing more came of it. Ashland was surprisingly mellow about camping. We have been parked on the side of the road for a week without any issues. One cop showed up to ask if we had seen a lost teen girl they were looking for and didn’t even comment about us being parked.

Vending-

Hippie Hill, and Golden Gate park in general, is great for blanket street vending. Cops and Park Rangers haven’t even stopped to bat an eye at three of us set up, a city this size has bigger fish to fry, esp if, as per usual, you aren’t causing any trouble. I even saw a cop do a double take when Aaron was carrying a bottle of soda that looked like beer, then shrug and keep going since we were not obviously intoxicated. You’ll mostly get approached for drug trade, I have actually been shocked at how de facto it seems to be, but money is available if you have something interesting. But in general, everything in San Fran is so expensive it’s not really worth it if that’s all you’ve got to go on. Didn’t do any vending in Ukiah or Garberville, though saw people out on the street in both places without any problems. Arcata was a great trading environment, though they have a strict no sitting on the sidewalk or smoking laws, and they will ticket you. We got away with it by sitting in the plaza and on stoops just off the sidewalk. We stayed over a week, and enjoyed the community center pool, hot tub, sauna and showers (totally worth it, and free entry for an hour on sundays) before heading to the national forest for a few nights. Ashland has been a great stop so far, lots of trade, some commissions for Aaron and plenty of work available in general that we have been offered. People have just been super friendly and understanding. We’ve also been invited to a couple house parties and had a great time.

Music List-

Tom Waits
Modest Mouse
Devil Makes Three
System of a Down
Marilyn Manson
The Beatles(always)
Marvin Gaye
Janis Joplin
Memphis Minni

 

 

Food Poisoning to sh*t I can’t even afford to eat here anyway….

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aaron hugging meIMAG0128Finally a picture of Aaron with hiseyesopen!!

Sunset was turning the leaves deep green by the time we made it to the Vista Point rest stop, and everyone was ready for the break. Aaron was beginning to feel a bit better from the food poisoning episode, but I was still pretty out of it and Zoe was burnt from picking up the slack. By Sunday morning everyone was recharged and we headed into Santa Barbara, ready to walk the boardwalk and have a day of exploring.Within acouple hours everyone was stressed and pissed off, I have rarely been to a place less welcoming. Don’t get mewrong, Santa Barbara is BEAUTIFUL, and that’s really it. The boardwalk was full of overpriced vendors and the beach was closed for a very sketchy “beach nourishment program”. They said they were putting sand back on the beach, but if that’s the case why was the water black and oily and why did the place stink like a sewage drain? Erosion, really? Nothing to do with the water levels rising? Hmmmm….. One can see the outline of the oil rigs along the horizon, few things are as poetic I’m sure.

Disgusted, we decided to hit up the main area of town, State St. and walked up and down about 12 blocks full of corporate shopping and coffee shops. Outside of one coffee place was the only worthwhile thing to happen the whole trip to Santa Barbara, a pretty girl singing her heart out with a guitar. I know, I know, cliche’ Californiamuch, but really. I’ve seen a lot of buskers in my travels and this lady has presence. It’srare to see a girl out performing by herself anyway and I was impressed at how animated and engaging she was madeline buskingMadeline playing for us

to total stranges and passersby. She hooked quite a few people, including us, to stop and listen for a while as we enjoyed our beverages. After a bit we tipped her and chatted a little, and her name is Madeline Meyer ( I was so happy, I lovethe name Madeline, so romantic, she said the same of mine :D) . What a vibrantly sweet soul, I wish her best is her singing career dreams. Wishing we could invite her out to the campsite without seeming like freaks, we continued on looking for McConnell’s Ice cream shop, since Aaron and I had tried it back in NM, and the main location was on State St. I’ve done quite a few of those kinds of tours- Ben and Jerry’s, Harry London, Hershey’s and whatnot- and typically the distrabution center is significantly cheaper, or at least has free samples. It was $5!!! for a single scoop! WHAT?!?!?! It was less than that for a pint at the store! And the handpacked pint was $9! DISGUSTING! Very frustrating, it is truly the best ice cream I’ve ever had, but that is lunacy- worth it if you find it at the grocer, not worth seeing the main locale. This was the worst example, but it was pretty much that way the whole walk, everything priced up to astronomical levels, even the local corner store was selling Tecate of all things for $4. Finally, pissed off and bored we decided to head back to the far more comfortable forest.

By tuesday a towtruck was eyeing us, though we hadn’t even seen a cop since we parked, so we decided to head down the road. We were planning on hopping vista point to vista point and enjoying the view for a bit, the city sucked but the landscape was delightful, but that didn’t work. We ended up out of the national forest area, and got kicked out of what we had thought was an abandoned camping area by a very sweet old man ( I am pretty certain if he was owner rather than manager he’d have let us stay, he thought it was pretty funny to find me up a tree with a book), and for lack of other options we stayed at Camp Cachuma. It was $23 for one vehicle, plus $10 for Zoe’s honda+trailer, so not horrible for one night with dumpsters, showers, and water spigots right on the edge of the lake. We made dinner to the shrill screams of the skinny blonde in the tent next to us. Apparently, the children were playing the wrong game, it was time to play THIS game now, and no you aren’t allowed to play in the grass, you have to ride your bike. We hid inside so we didn’t have to watch the little girl sit at the picnic table crying, and didn’t go outside to enjoy coffee until the “listen to your mother” guy had packed up the tent. Thought about having riotous loud sex to mess with them, but decided the kids would end up suffering the consequences, they’ll need enough therapy already. Other than that the place was well maintained, the staff was nice, and they certainly kept to the culture of the area with sky high prices on everything in the general store. It was a little upsetting that even are charging us thirty dollars for nothing more than a pretty parking spot, it was 50 cents for 3 minutes of water for the showers, but it does cut down on water waste. I was relieved to leave the areaBy the time we were headed out the next morning Aaron and I were totally healthy again, which means it makes perfect sense that then Zoe got sick. With what exactly is still anyone’s guess. She’s a vegetarian so she doesn’t eat the same stuff we do and it was days after Aaron and I had food poisoning. Nevertheless, she had a rough trip from Santa Barbara, so rather than pushing to Monterey, we stopped for the night in Santa Marguerita. A very nice cop showed up around 10:30 (it is the most likely time for them to show for vehicle camping, it’s late enough to be reasonably sure you are stopping for the night) and after Aaron showed him some of the folded steel knives he was working on (he was a little nervous about a cop asking to see ALL his weapons, lol) he said we could stay the night. Next stop MONTEREY!!