The First Smooth(ish) Day

Dateline: Sunday, 24 Aug, Denver

The last 24 or so hours have blurred behind a haze of constant driving, problem solving, and unexpected stops. Saturday proved to be a more grounded day, once we left Salt Lake City around 2 AM. There were some bumps along the way, but all went exceptionally well from my experience.

The buses rolled into SLC after about 17 hours on the road Friday night. Pricilla proved to have the most problems, lagging behind Julia for the whole trip. Julia met up with the truck at the gas station. They had the new truck and were working on hitching the trailer. Julia went to gas up, and Pricilla was heading straight to a diesel repair service once they rolled in.
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Keeping It Between the Lines

uploaded in the middle of Nevada via a Verizon modem

1:50 AM and the engines finally start, in preparation to put the pedal to the metal. Mo and I made a great travel itinerary… for a 5 PM departure! So our planning has been thrown out the window for the first leg to Denver. That first leg might be a non-stop leg, with rotating drivers, all the way through to Wyoming. I’m riding shotgun on Julia while bus-master David Satore, who had driven veggie and bio-deisel buses since 2003. We just hit the Richmond Bridge at around 2:15 AM, and David didn’t get close enough to the toll booth. I had to hop out and pay the person $6, and get my receipt. Waved to Jonathan while I did it, thinking “look at me! I’ve joined the freak show.” Continue reading “Keeping It Between the Lines”

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

uploaded in the middle of Nevada via a Verizon modem

The SLR whirlwind hit my world hard today. I’ve been out of the loop due to all my other projects, and life’s changes, so I landed into the Roadshow world like an out-of-towner. Felt good in a way to not be the one with all the answers. But I also prepared myself to be a bit frightened and overwhelmed at all the tasks and to-dos. The last meeting’s minutes said that we all had to meet here in Oakland by 8 am, ready to work all day. I was ready for Jonathan’s Wonder Truck pick up at 7:30 am. He called me around 8:40 to say he was 20 minutes out. He showed up with Marty and Geoff in tow an hour later. Continue reading “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly”

Waiting for a ride… to Denver

As 9am approaches, I have a full day ahead of me. But I need to get to the SLR meet up first! Waiting for Jonathan to pick me and my pile of stuff up here in the Mission (just got the call; ETA is 20 minutes). Then we’ll drive over to Oakland, where the SLR staging ground awaits. Then we unpack and pack trucks and buses. I’ve gotten real good at packing and unpacking. My personal items are in two bags, along with sleeping gear and a case of Stencil Nation books. Not too shabby for a two month trip to four cities and then South Carolina. The current plan is to leave tonight and miss some of the heat through NV and UT. Have started to spread the word to folks I know in Denver, CO, and points in between. Hope some of you can make it out to the Roadshow!

Here’s the flyer for Denver’s event. Should be fun!

SLR Kicks Off in SF


Had a great Saturday in front of San Francisco’s City Hall and Victory Garden. Once we moved the games to face UN Plaza, and all the tour buses that rolled through all day, things kicked in for good, old fashioned, carny fun. The Bike Kitchen showed up for a few hours, just in case someone needed help fixing their bike. Peter Wagner showed up with a slew of his unique whymcycles. I spent most of my time on his ha’penny farthing (a small version of the big-wheeled penny farthing), and even barked a bit as I rolled around. State Rep. Mark Leno stopped by. So did Ross Mirikami from the SF Board of Supervisors. Press was there. Dance Brigade performed. Jonathan and Zach got to be part of the bike-powered speaking and performing on the garden’s stage. Acitivists were there. The Victory Garden organizers were there. Sunshine was there! Felt good to put the carny hat on and jump back into the Sustainable Living Roadshow. Next stop…. Denver!


Jonathan Youtt chats with State Rep. Mark Leno while SF Bay Guardian’s Bruce Brugmann takes notes. One of the Victory Garden organizers is part of the fun. Continue reading “SLR Kicks Off in SF”

A Pre-DNC Denver

(written July 9 in the van, east of Reno)

We had no time to soak the next morning at Strawberry Springs. After an amazing breakfast of sweet quinoa and scrambled eggs, we packed our gear out of the vardos and into the van for the final leg of the trip east. Jonathan did manage to video tape a carny puppet bit from the wagon. We also visited the caboose up above the springs before leaving, but left the soaking for another day.

Glad we departed when we did, because the ride to Denver took us over a mountain and was three hours instead of two. We spent a good deal of time on phones talking to Denver people as well as Zach at the SLR HQ in Oakland. Susan Powers is one of the SLR contacts in Denver, and she was flexible with our Radical Standard Time (Chris’s term) lateness. What can you expect from a bunch of Californians?
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We found our Denver destination, a new condo development, on 16th Street in the Highlands neighborhood. Sue owns and sells the property, and we found out that she’s a huge volunteer and green businessperson. We also met Steve, co-owner of the Masterpiece Deli located in the property, Russ, Sue’s husband, Tom Walton, her assistant, a security guy, and a few other people. Jonathan expected a short check-in meeting and site inspection with Sue but got a huge committee meeting instead.
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An Eco-Carnie’s Day Off (pics)

Here’s a small batch of photos I just took off of the camera’s memory. Got back into San Francisco today right when Jonathan said he would. On the way out of the Bay Area, about five hours late, he said he’d get us back by sundown Thursday. More bloggin’ tomorrow. Hope you enjoy this easy upload on the first night back.

Copper Mtn Boulders

Took the chairlift up Copper Mountain and ended up at about 9,000 ft. above sea level. Veronica soon found a patch of snow that we all slid down on with our asses in a rain jacket. This is where the fox and gopher showed up to visit.

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A Management Moment

Don’t know how long I’ll be able to type tonight. There’s no electricity in the “Gypsy Wagon” I’m sleeping in tonight at Strawberry Hot Springs, CO. Jonathan and SLR are taking sustainability seriously, so for only a small extra amount of money, we’re spending the night under the stars. We showed up around 6 PM today and got a two hour soak in before making a great meal. Then we soaked again around midnight tonight.

Last shot of Copper Village, where the PA system plays cheesy 80s music, even from the trees!

Props to Halsey for mentioning this place on the day I was leaving. He’ll be here next week when he visits Colorado. Jonathan stopped here when he moved to SF about 14 years ago. And Mark said that “we wouldn’t want to leave” once we got here. He was right!

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Lightening Over the Condo Compound

Drove past Vail yesterday on the way to Copper and marveled at the tall cranes rising out of that outdoors village. There must be some tall condos going up there! Copper is only about 7 miles away from Vail, and has a town named Frisco a few exits down on the Interstate. The first thing we saw driving into our final destination was a man in the river fly fishing. We also saw a van with “Solar Powered Stage” painted on the side of it (two guys who are doing a Tour de Fat tour after the Copper Mtn. gig).

We got our keys before the 5 PM check-in due to having to set up our games. We’d spent all day driving from Grand Junction, slowly going up and up into the Rockies towards Copper Mountain and the resort that’s developed below it. I don’t have much experience with the ski lodge culture, so was shocked to to walk into a full on condo for a room. The guy at the check in, who had “I’m interested in … active walking” on his name tag, told us that the condo owners sometimes make three times their mortgages on renting out their properties in the village. I walked through my very own two bathroom with a porch condo, which I was sharing with Tom for three nights. Jonathan and Veronica got their own room, with a huge king-sized bed. Full kitchens in both places too.
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B100, B10, B50

For those of you who don’t know, I don’t just wear the stencil hat. I also wear the eco-carny hat. Over the past two years, I’ve been on the road with Jonathan Youtt and the Sustainable Living Roadshow, doing the carny bit with some great themed games up and down the West Coast. Well, the big SLR tour is happening this fall, starting in Denver, going Southeast, and then heading west for a huge LA Halloween ending. I had to joing the circus this year, and had committed about the time the book deal came around. So expect to see posts about the SLR for the rest of the year, now in the new category I made for it: “SLR 2008”

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Some final shots of the Stencil Nation June Tour: Fun at Camas Books, with a final ferry shot of Victoria, BC

Woah. Was I in Victoria, BC just four days ago? Looking for stencils and only finding one? Riding bikes down to the touristy downtown area and then being totally exhausted after all the biking on the trip? Looking for a pint at a pub and finding the pubs full up with Canada Day holiday goers? Did Camas really roll out the red carpet for me and Chris, giving us a great event, buying our books, and then letting me hang out the next day doing stencils (thanks for the cans PESTO. I’m glad Vic has a few more stencils now!)? Man, Peter was nothing but nice as our host, telling stories about Reclaim the Streets in the 1990s, pulling out a 1990s stencils, and feeding us/biking us around.

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