May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light within you, guide your way on "~Incredible String Band

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Homeward Bound...

After spending a few months laying some roots and working in Santa Barbara, by late June, we were more than ready to hit the road.

So it went, on a beautiful June day, we packed up and headed towards Steamboat Springs Colorado and the National Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes...the largest, free, completely non comercial gathering of hippies, gypsies, freaks and nomads in the world.

Everything went smooth for the first few hundred miles, until just outside Las Vegas Nevada the bus began to sputter and cough, right before coming to a stop on the side of a very busy interstate in 111 degree heat. We tried for hours to get it to work with no luck.The cars were wizzing by at 80 miles an hour, inches from where we were working.

It was around 6:30 at night when we decided to take what little money we had left and pay for a tow. We called up the nearest place and they said it would be at least a two hour wait.


What could we do ? We waited, and waited, and waited..two hours stretched into four, then six..we called repeatedly and each time were assured they would arrive soon. Soon we saw the sky beginning to lighten and knew that sunrise was close at hand. The thought of sitting through another day of 111 degree heat was agonizing.

Finally, well after sunrise the tow truck arrives and takes us to the nearest truck stop. The cost was near 200 to go 5 miles. It was a good safe spot where we could stay for a few days if need be. The time was 11 am and already the temp was near 100. Moss wasted no time getting to work on the bus. He worked for hours, even as the temp continued to climb to 113 degrees. I have never felt heat like this in my entire life. The candles on the wall were literally drooped over, like a wilted flower.The birds sat with their wings outstretched and moths open. It's all I could do to stay concious. There was a small water bottle that we kept filled and I went around the bus constantly spraying everyone down, including the birds and Gaia. ..but Moss would not stop ! Sweat was pouring from his head, there was no shade and still he continued to work.

Honestly, Neither Stone or I understood how he was able to do this..but do it he did. Finally by late evening Moss had isolated the problem and fixed it. It was simply a small crack in the gasket on a veggie filter.

By early the next morning we were off again with filters fixed and full tank of veggie. Earlier in the year we were given a Garmin, gps navigation sytem. You just type in where you want to go and hit GO! and it takes you there,telling you by voice when to turn.It knows all the rest stops,food, gas stations, shopping centers. I managed to get the gps coordinates for the gathering and puched them into the garmin, and we were guided the whole way by this thing. We chose shortest distance , rather than fastest time setting, which also tends to be the more "scenic" route.

At one point we were guided 60 miles down a dirt road with washboards so bad we could go no more than 5 miles an hour ! The scenery was beautiful though, huge red rocks dotted with sagebrush ..which of course we had to stop to pick some of.

We arived at the gathering site around the 18 th of June...a very remote site in the rocky mountains, 10 miles down a dirt road and many,many miles from the nearest town. We were met at the front gate by a couple of older hippies with walkie talkies who informed us that the feds had a road block further down and that they were aresting, searching (with dogs)and ticketing people going to the gathering. Suprise suprise..

This back and forth between the forest service and Rainbow has been ongoing for years, with the feds trying everything possible to put an end to our first amendment right of freedom of assembly. In 1995, after losing sevral court cases to the family, it was ruled that the feds have the right to decide "time, place and manner restrictions". From that came this new rule that any gathering larger than 75 people required a free permit. The problem is that in order to obtain a permit, someone needs to sign it, which means taking responsibility for 20,000 plus people. Not only that, but rainbow has no recognized leaders or organizers in the way a religous group, the girl scouts or a festival would, so there really is no one to sign!

For more info on Rainbow legal battles ( it is quite intresting really..) go here,

After a brief discussion we all agreed to take our chances. We went about 7 miles down this windy mountain road until we arived at the roadblock..a bunch of green forest service trucks and uniformed forest service officials standing around.

They waved us down.

We stopped and opening the door with a big grin and playing dumb, we asked what this was all about. The woman forest service agent was quite nice and wanted to inform us that this was an illegal gathering and that, if we continued on we could be subject, at any time to arest or ticketing.

We thanked the woman, explaining that we had come a long way and that it was our first amendment right to gather on our public land and we would be going on. She nodded, we waved and off we went!

Unfortunately, for so many others this was not the case. At some point I guuess they received their orders and inevitably there were hundreds of arrests and tickets. So many in fact that they set up a makeshift courtroom at some remote forest service fire station, and volunteers at the gathering ( lol..we are ALL volunteers at a gathering) trucked bus loads of people out to make their court dates.

This continued for another week or so until they realized, as always that the wave of people comming in could not be stopped and to do so would require the national they gave up (or at leat reduced their ticketing activities) and all went well. There were some tense momment's however, especially early on when 200 gatherer's decided to confront a roadblock of police armed with riffles. The gather's joined hands and walked toward the roadblock, oming all the while.

The officers retreated.

Following is a link to some amazing video footage of part of the incident..unfortunately this otherwise peaceful act of civil disobedience is punctuated with highly provocatory and negative cooments from a disgruntled and obviously frustrated A Camper. Check it out..

Despite all this the gathering for us was a good one (excluding a week long toothache for Moss and a bout of stomach flue for me), we met many new friends and saw many old ones. Unfortunately my camera battery charger was lost and we were unable to replace it until recently, so the whole summer we were unable to take pictures.

After the gathering we drove up the backbone of the Rockies ( taking the back roads whenever possible), through some truly trecherous roads, some of which were still being made ( I'll try to get a video I took up) and into Oregon. We stayed at a free campground, right on the Mckenzie river, and down the road from Cougar Hot Springs, for about two and a half weeks. We stocked up..working like mad, making dolls and felt boots to sell at the Faerie Worlds Festival in Eugene. At the festival we met Brian and Wendy Froud, who both coomented that they really liked my work.I had a roving vendor pass and sold 1000 worth off stuff, many of which were custom orders.

We stayed a few weeks in Oregon, visiting with some friends, before meandering back down the coast via the 101 freeway bringing us full circle back to Santa Barbara, where we are at this time.

We are currently busy filling the orders taken at the Festval, basking on the beach and working another good initiative..lower tuition for Community Colleges. Our plans, as always are tenetive and sporadic.In afew weeks we may leave for Northern California, then head to the east coast so I can visit my mom, who is sick.

After that we need to decide on a place to winter over. Any suggestions ??


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hello you guys! I thought I would just say Hi. Nothing fancy. [Now that I have been getting used to all family members being on the blog road.] Good to see your comment board up and running. I love the pictures of the Rainbow gathering. What beautiful land. I especially like the picture of everyone holding hands against the mountain backdrop.

Love You Guys,

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