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.

“Are things moving forward in Oakland?” I asked Jonathan. “No, they’re waiting for us!”

Jonathan was upset at some LA movie star, which I later found out “donated” SLR a falling-apart step van. This logistical problem became the number one issue of the day. Without naming names, a former child star loaned SLR an orange step van to take on the road. It was going to pull a trailer and had over $1,000 of solar power installed on it’s roof. When Jonathan’s trusted mechanic, who has 50 years of experience with diesel engines, looked at the van, he found about 7 things wrong with it. Some major problems. The van also arrived without tags and registration. Repairs were going to be pricey, so Jonathan had the LA guy talk to his mechanic. The LA guy doubted the mechanic’s skills, which pissed off the mechanic, and then the mechanic told the LA guy to get his van off his property.

So Jonathan was pissed. Throughout the day, Plan B fell through to Plan C. Plan C didn’t work out either, so Plan D, maybe Plan D(b), formed and made the load in impossible until Thursday. I wasn’t in the loop for all the plans but know that a U-Haul was rented but had the wrong hitch for the trailer. A pick up truck appeared in Salt Lake City, so several plans had to happen to find a truck, with the proper hitch, to haul the trailer to SLC. Skeets saved the day by offering to drive his truck and the trailer to SLC, where we’d make the switch to the other truck.

“Today was all about balls and shafts,” Zach said during the dinnertime meeting. “We got dicked!” Jonathan replied.

During the check-in this evening, Jonathan mentioned “moments of challenge,” referring to the many trials that the SLR crew has gone through over the past days, weeks, months, years. I tried to take things in stride today, and let the crew know that I was going through tough times personally and “might be checked out at times” to deal with it all. Just can’t get too overwhelmed with things while I’m already too overwhelmed with life in general.

Many good items came up during the day’s doings. Geoff from Alternative Healing Network in San Diego has the Health and Healing Farmacy locked in for Denver. Two volunteers are rocking that part of SLR during the DNC. St. Paul and the RNC hasn’t fared so well, making Geoff feel “like pulling teeth” for that event. Chicago moves forward OK.

Two performers from Backbone Puppets are on the bus. Matt and Carly seemed a bit overwhelmed and confused, but they walked into the whirlwind like I did, without knowing what to expect. I have 10 years with Jonathan so know the deal. I asked them about the rest of their puppet crew and they said that they were having the same issues: underfunded, logistically challenged, overwhelmed. Felt good to know this!

Zach said that a professional film crew will follow us on the road from the DNC to the RNC. They just got off a movie shoot and are looking forward to documenting out adventures. They’ll film us all in our raw glory via HD cameras. SLRhd, cable ready!

I spent most of the day doing odd jobs. Sanded and painted three horizontal surfaces. Sanded and drilled holes in some easy-up legs. Painted some donation containers. Spent a good three hours cleaning out the SLR bus, which is currently called Julia. Julia Butterfly Hill sold it to SLR for a song. Very cool bus, so I’m glad that I got picked to sleep on it until Denver. Geoff and I went through all the storage areas, tossed and recycled stuff. Cleared out the bottom. Eight folks will sleep on Julia for the next two months.

Priscilla, the O2 Collective’s bus, has its charm. More open space than Julia, it can sleep 10. Priscilla has a working stove and greywater system. We’ll be peeing in a jar on Julia. The truck that we’ll pick up in SLC will be a late model four-door diesel. Has a great engine in it and will be reliable.

Tonight, Mo and I found a cafe to wifi. We took on the travel plans for the first leg of the tour. So we worked out milage and stops and contacts for RV parks from SF to Denver. We’ll pull 1,269 miles in the next few days, and only have two drivers (David from Aphrodesia and Jonathan) with the skills to get us there. Several other people will be in training so will most likely pull shifts on the easier parts of the trip. The buses only get 6 to 10 mpg, but have huge gas tanks. Julia has the smallest tank, 140 gallons, so will go about 840 miles on a full tank. We have no idea how Skeeter’s truck performs. We’ll soon find out.

Thought that a push on packing would begin tonight, but energy fizzled out around 1am. The kitchens got cleaned and installed. The buses got pressure washed. People moved forward on logistics. Julia gets wrapped later this morning. There’s word that someone needs to drive to Chico to pick up Klean Kanteens to sell. There’s a long to-do list already. Once the trailer arrives, the packing begins in earnest.

Mo and I planned on a 5pm departure. We asked Zach what he thought and so we chose this time to leave tomorrow. Fingers crossed that all comes together for a beautiful day where everything works out. When things go wrong in show biz, there’s always a better day tomorrow!