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Excerpts From a Letter

August 16, 2012

Words from a recent post written to our Marmot Mento, currently hidden deep within the belly of Kings Canyon National Park. I hope these ideas delivered by helicopter dropped out of the sky and into your lap like a present you are itching to open. Tear off the paper.

“I am glad you like Fort Collins but there has been talk… whispers floating on the cool summer breeze. Talk of completion. Talk of Alaska. Five kids and a bus, take two. Bonded in nomadic spirit stuck together with the hot black tar of the back roads of America. Let’s finish what we started. Stand at the foot of the highest mountain, look into the beyond from the edge of the Arctic Ocean, our toes touching the frigid waters. We dreamed it into reality once, I know we now have even more imagination and will power. I miss the road. The adventures. The bear stories late at night with the curtains closed and all of us stewing in our own smells and ambitions. And so does Emily. And Alex. Sticky… well… he was convinced once and can be again. I love Colorado and cherish my time here in the mountains but Alaska is calling and I must go! And you must go with me. The Grub shall ride again!”



Waste Not, Drink Lots

January 10, 2012

So, it has been awhile. No posts, no words, no communication.
There is now a central location. A ‘home’ for lack there of.
The five has grown to six. Charmingly with a wavering seventh. A New face each week.
We pack them in and shoot them out. We are the grub; we consume hearts and souls. Flourishing off of minds and bodies.
There is no sedentary. No stagnation. Not a sense of lethargy or ennui.
There is now just the temporary centrality of a lived in space.
We move out on spurts in all directions. Making the unseen and unknown our deepest passions.

Fruits, Vegetables, Beverages, Breads.
We have rediscovered our love of the free, the discarded, the wasted.
Organic dumpsters behind Wal-mart. Providing lavish amounts of goodies tainted only by the morals of big business.
A small bruise here, a gashed peel there. But inside succulence. Delicious nourishment. The things wasted on the wains of societal mores.
The score well you tell us take a look.

Apples, Kiwis, Pears, Oranges, Potatoes, Onions, Tomatoes, Clementines. An abundance. I say delish. You tell me.

Brews. Discarded due to subtle inaccuracies. The bottle being filled improper. Labels off skew. Still good. Still delectable.
Strewn about in the dumpster. No signs of contagion. A few broken bottles. That is all. Watch for glass. Rinse the bottles off and you are fine, safe. And now you can enjoy a fine cold beverage from you hard work. A Fat Tire, chilled to the freshest quality a beer can be by the Colorado night air.

And bread – bagels to be exact. Given away. Why? not only because of kindness. But because of a short amount of time. One day. Day old. Day old bagels given away by the sextet. The best around. And for free. Travel to Rocky Mountain Bagel Shop after noon. ANY day. and get this offering. Free breakfast year round. In such abundance. Quite stellar. It’s the cream cheese that must be acquired later.

Food. There is such a disparagement towards miniscule attributes. Seek out the free and you will be full.

– Zak (Sticky)

“In the garbage I see a rose.
In the rose, I see the garbage.
Everything is in transformation.
Even permanence
is impermanent.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh

My Backyard

November 4, 2011


October 3, 2011

In order to be a nomad one must be stationary at times.

– Zak (Sticky)

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Fort Collins

September 27, 2011

For the time being we now reside in Fort Collins, CO. They place is wonderful and magical. The people are free and accepting; and they care. It is forward moving. It is clean. There has yet to be a place where I have spent as much time in which people care about the world around them, about the environment. We need the communities of this nature to expand. Teaching the rest of the nation to live this way is a must. It can only better humanity and the Earth.

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.” – Arthur Rubinstein

– Zak (Sticky)

I’m an adventurer looking for treasure

September 26, 2011

“This wasn’t a strange place; it was a new one.

After all, what he had always wanted was just that: to know new places. Even if he never got to the Pyramids, he had already traveled farther than any shepherd he knew. Oh, if they only knew how different things are just two hours by ship from where they are, he thought. Although his new world at the moment was just an empty marketplace, he had already seen it when it was teeming with life, and he would never forget it… As he mused about these things, he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.

“I’m an adventurer looking for treasure”, he said to himself. ”

Simple and wise, these words from The Alchemist hit me at a poignant and perfect moment whilst among the clouds. Arriving in Pennsylvania by plane instead of by land, instead of by Grub, instead of by triumph, the strange surrealness of my situation washed over me. It overtook me. The new stagnation of life came creeping up my spine causing me to shake the thoughts out of my head. We are doing this for a reason. We will ride again. This is but another adventure in the grand book of adventures we are constantly composing together. Our journey was, and continues to be, triumphant. The glorious places, the wonderful humans, the lessons that the ground and sky and earth have taught us are ones imprinted on our souls permanently. They have expanded our mind to new dimensions, and our brains will never regain their original shape. A heart meant to roam will find its way back onto the road. For now, mine is at home with the family and friends I left what seems like years ago. Will they notice the difference I feel inside? The open cavern that is my body with a soul expanding out to the horizon line? It is like the wind, like a group of horses galloping free in the fields. That is what I feel inside. This is but one of the gifts the Grub gave to me. The yellow lines on the black tar road, the gravel turnoffs leading into vast jungles, the smiles of the ones I share my life with, these things have all given me immeasurable gifts. Packages of hope, of life, of knowledge not available in books or at any institute of learning. In two weeks I shall return to my new home, the four walled wheel-less place that holds my hopes, dreams, and fellow conspirators. The Grubs mirrors dangle from the white painted ceilings and the jeep seat sits in perfect harmony with our other free furniture finds. A map detailing our journey is juxtaposed with our prized washboard. A home that does not move. How strange this concept seems to be now. How excited I am for this new adventure. I guess I was always meant to be an adventurer… in elementary school I used to get on the wrong bus on purpose. I am an adventurer looking for treasure, I am lucky because I find it everywhere I look. I have spent my whole life looking for extraordinary only to realize that each ordinary is the extraordinary when viewed correctly.

Love, Cate

It is a Van.

September 21, 2011

The Grub died. The drive box ripped itself from the frame. There was not much hope. In order to have it repaired the whole underside of the front end would need a new frame. There would need a master magical welder.

The plan was then formulated. The AAA members would stay with the Grub. The others would go ahead with items in a rented car. Everyone would reunite in the town of Fort Collins.

Step one was to acquire a rental vehicle. To do so someone would have to get to Spokane, Washington from Sandpoint, Idaho. An Amtrak train was found. The vehicle had to be rented under Cathy’s name because she was the only one with a credit card. Alexander was to drive the vehicle. The Amtrak left at midnight for Spokane and would arrive in four hours. Finding the station was difficult. It seemed as though it was the wrong one. The station was dark and dusty. Although the lights were on in some rooms inside. After a while of waiting it was decided that this was the wrong station. Amtrak was then called. It was confirmed that this station was correct. It had once been a freight stop but was now in disuse. Amtrak still came here. The phone call reviled that the train was late. Other passengers started arriving. It eventually pulled up at around one thirty. We watched Kathy and Alexander pull away.

They then arrived at the Spokane airport. Having to wait to retrieve the rental vehicle at seven they waited around the airport. The could night caused them to lack the ability to sleep. Eventually the hour arrived to get the vehicle. Cathy survived the cold. They brought the rental to the Grub.

the rest of the plan seemed oh so simple. Alexander and Em would take the rental with everything they could fit. They would drive sixteen hours, eleven hundred miles straight to Fort Collins, CO. They would unload the rental car at Jayme and Cohen’s, then return the rental at the Denver Airport. This all happened. That’s when their wait began. The wait for the three and the Grub.

Cathy, Mal, and I would use our combined AAA accounts to tow the Grub. Each of us had four calls and each call we could to up to one hundred miles for free. We would alternate calls. Due to most tow trucks only being able to fit two passengers one of us would hide in the Grub during each tow. Maybe a little crazy but not too complicated. It had the workings of a full proof plan. We estimated it would take three days to Fort Collins. How wrong we were.

The first tow started out simply. Cathy hid under the futon in the back. Out driver, Keith, pulled us with a wrecker in a sling position. Cathy had to ride it out at an angle. She managed to pee this way into a plastic bag. How? We will never quite understand.

Keith was a nice fellow. Not too talkative. However, he knew a lot about the land; the river names, the mountain names, the height above sea level of the roads. he was a life long trucker. he took us from Sandpoint, Idaho to a gas station (a former Exxon, now a Ma and Pa) in Mullan, Idaho. About one hundred miles. here we rested. The folks running the station let us stay there but seemed weary that we wouldn’t leave.

The next call was Cathy’s. So, Mal hid. This truck was a flat-bed. The man was quite a character, Rick. First he called us rainbow people. With initial glance under the Grub we heard, “you mother whore.” he saw the rust on the Grub’s under carriage.

once in tow he was a chatty, outspoken, intelligent man. Very highly educated just put off by the way the ‘system’ worked. We wanted him to tow us to a small stop out side of Missoula, MT. he was concerned though. He showed us the area, talked about it not being welcome to cars being dropped off and about how the locals might be unsavory.

So, we decided to he towed twelve miles to the edge of Missoula, MT. A Cracker Barrel. They are fine with over night parking. He was very nice. We only got over charged for seven miles of towing instead of twelve. he knew we were strapped for cash.

By this time it was about ten on a friday night. Mal’s turn to call in a tow. The line went dead. It would only make it through part of the automated AAA call before cutting out, saying the number was disconnected. We figured it was just a temporary technical problem. A half hour later the same results. We agreed to bunk down for the night in the Grub.

The next morning we were trying again. But first, to cook so food. Egg and veggie omelette. Yet, there was no satisfaction. Cracker Barrel pulled us in. We got coffee., biscuits, gravy, peach cobbler. Satiated. Also there was BACON. I ate two of the three pieces. The third went to a noble cause.

Mal’s call got through. The tow truck arrived sooner than expected. We though we were caught having three people. Mal jumped out and started talking. I went into hiding. Cathy rooted around in the Grub. The man never suspected of said a thing. I was tilted a bit by the wrecker truck, but managed to read and rest under the smuggling futon. Rocky was his name. Cathy and Mal said he was awesome. That he seemed jealous, wanted to do what we were. He dropped us by a McDonald’s in Deer Lodge, MT. I then had to hide longer. He parked the to truck next to ours and went in to get food. Then sat next to the Grub and ate and chatted. This is when I got hot. Without the bus moving there was no ventilation. And this time of year in Montana it was unseasonably hot. But it worked out.

It was again my time to call AAA. Dan and his wife came to get us. Another flat-bed. Cathy hid again. The only qualm, Dan made us remove the stuff from the roof rack. Some type of height violation. However, we never went under a single over pass. But what could we say. Dan was all right; seemed to have some type of chip on his shoulder though. His wife was very quiet. We got dropped off in Three Forks, MT in a dirt lot by the market.

It was dark, it was late, but we wanted to continue. So Cathy made the call. The tow man came out. He pulled into the market lot. I ran over to direct him to the Grub. He asked if we wanted to go to the closest shop. I told him one hundred miles south rather. He came over and looked at the Grub. Said this truck couldn’t handle the weight, but that AAA could send a better tow. Our first denial, by Elite towing. AAA then called back and stated we were too big. What? We had been towed five times before including at Brice Canyon. Someone called us a bus. AAA doesn’t tow buses. Our vehicle is a VAN, a Dodge Ram 350 Van. Not a bus. We didn’t know what to do. Wait until sunrise.

The next morning AAA complied and found someone to tow us. Jason, the best tow driver of all. They even went outside of the AAA affiliated tow companies to find him. He was great. Elite towing has said that their better truck was at the weekend to convention. That is why they couldn’t tow us. Jason called B.S. Said they weren’t even there. They were just lazy and wanted to get us for more money. However, we didn’t break.

Jason understood what we were doing and was all for it. It was within the AAA rules. He took us to the Town Pump in Big Timber, MT right off route 90. Just a truck stop, gas station, casino, and diner. We waved him goodbye. Not knowing.

Mal’s turn to call. Hanser’s towing came out. The young gent seemed nice enough. However, didn’t think he could handle the tow with his vehicle. He said his dad could come out the next morning with a better truck and get us. OK. Said he would call and be out there the next morning around eight.

He never showed. AAA was called. They said he was on the way with a fifteen passenger van. ??? We wanted our fifteen passenger van towed! Didn’t need one. AAA then said they would call us back. When they did they denied us. They called us a bus.

This is when Mal had it with AAA. She called and explained that we were a van and not a bus. They would not tow us. They knew what we were doing. They called out tows piggy back tows. That those were not allowed with our coverage. But the five previous tows, what were they? Mal even got on the phone with her home representative of AAA. The rep was confused. She called AAA Montana and got them to understand, we were a Dodge Ram 350 Van. AAA Montana called Mal they wouldn’t tow still. Just because one tow company called us a bus. Mal yelled, cursed, cried, they wouldn’t tow. She even told them that they were leaving her and Cathy in the middle of nowhere to die. We even tried calling Jason to have him explain to AAA that he had towed us and that others could too. He called back and said they were assholes to him.

We were at a loss. We called Em and Alexander. It was time to scarp the Grub. Oh the sadness, the horror, the pain. The scrapers would come the next day. So would Alexander with a rental SUV to fetch us and our remaining things.

That afternoon a van with ‘hippies’ pulled up. Jen, Ecca, Kendra, and Stu (AKA Kerby). They were gas jugging, we had twenty-five plus gallons of gas. They psyphoned as much as they could. They were travelling to spread the word against breast cancer. We weren’t too sure about their ways. But their personalities were nice and sincere. We partied in the Town Pump lot that night.

The next day we unloaded the bus of all items. Even the roof-racks and the old bucket seat (it will make a good chair in an apartment). Walter the scraper came with his helping hand. They were great; they like our ride and what was going on. They gave us two hundred and fifty dollars for the Grub. A reasonable price. They were extra nice. They offered us places to stay if we ever found ourselves back in the area. Very nice hospitable fellows.

Shortly after Alexander showed up. We bogged down the rental SUV, a Ford Expedition. Making it all fit cramming inside and outside with all our items. Then Mal and I split the ten-hour drive to Fort Collins. Four Ante Meridian we finally made it.