Well, I’m Headed to a Place Called Ofuskee…

This has been a week of highs and lows. I did manage to get a paid assignment, and we pulled enough cans off the river to make it not a waste of time. Unfortunately, we had a couple of flats and in paying my daughter back for fronting the money so that I didn’t have to dip into savings, I invariably pulled from the wrong account and dipped into savings. Hate it when that happens.

We are prepacked for Okemah, will be doing the packing tonight and tomorrow morning when the cooler temps are more favorable. This involved buying a couple extra tie downs as we have more cargo to carry on the rooftop. I’m not keen on carrying it there, but we do have to get it from Point A to Point B the best way we know how.

I also had a Facebook friend point me to an RV water tank that is available at $25. I don’t know if it will still be available Saturday when we get there, but if it is, that will save us some coin. We also are discussing the blackwater tank and the hitch. The graywater tank is less urgent for me but required for the changeover. But I think it will be a little easier to improvise, unlike the freshwater tank which needs to meet certain standards to not poison us, or the blackwater tank, which needs to meet certain standards to not poison the environment.

The hitch is another matter. I talked to a couple of folks that believe I could have a cross bar fabricated that would be sturdy enough to tow, and I am going to take a closer look at the back side of the bumper. If worst comes to worst, we could likely have someone at the technical college fabricate a couple of brackets that would make it sturdy enough to tow anything. I may need to hit up some YouTube videos for the lights.

I do encourage each of you to help with the crowdfunding; while we are saving money everywhere we can, we are still a long way from fully funded. And I do have the deal going on between now and the 15th that if you make a donation, I will have a drawing among all who have donated; the winner gets to pick the color of the hood (really, the entire nose of the bus, since the hood is most of that).

So join in, and let’s move the needle on the Justice Hoping Machine Project! And I’ll see YOU in Okemah!


Feelin’ a Little Flat

So, Saturday night we saw signs for a fireworks celebration. We headed all over, but overshot a couple signs and wound up smack dab in the middle of nowhere, then drove up to the highway before heading home. We got home and prepared to head out, to discover our tire had gone flat. Quick change to the spare, and we headed out to the fireworks, at a small, now defunct school that turned out to be 2-3 miles away as the crow flies. But we’re not crows, so we had to go the long way around.

The next morning, we got theĀ  news the tire was not fixable, but since we had the road hazard warranty, all was good. well, sort of. $35 instead of $90 good.

On Monday, we went out and about to the usual. We’ve been working the river for cans over the holiday weekend pretty hard, but the recyclers decided to make a 4 day weekend of it, so we have a significant backlog. We headed in Monday afternoon, and I heard an odd squeaking sound. The guy at the tire shop had suggested we had picked up a flint rock, so a part of me was dreading another flat. I got out, and sure enough, the front tire on the driver’s side (the first flat was driver rear). Since this was bought used, no road hazard on it. And, as you can see from the picture, it is pretty clearly unfixable:

So, new tire it is, which offset the money I will be making this week, and then some. But the good news is, 2 of the 4 tires are renewed.

We need to get Hope on the road though. After Santa Fe that will be our number one concern. There is a very good chance we may have to sell our car to do it. Not our preference, as it will mean riding our bikes almost exclusively within the towns where we stay, but then we aren’t making any money standing still.

SO it is again time for the obligatory plug for the Justice Hoping Machine Project. I know there are a lot of great projects out and about in the crowdfunding world, but would love for you to consider ours. October 16 is coming up, and we plan to be in DC for World Hunger Day. Your support can help make this happen!

Here’s hoping you all have a safe and happy 4th of July. We are off to see more fireworks!

Countdown to Okemah

So, we will make our annual pilgrimage to Okemah this Saturday. The forecast is calling for scattered thunderstorms, but that is not anything unusual for this time of year. It will be an interesting test of the new tent, at least…and we will have a gazebo this year, which will keep us from being confined to the tent overly much.

We worked the river for cans, unfortunately the recyclers took a 4 day weekend, so we won’t be able to cash in until Wednesday. That means more money at once, of course, but it also means waiting.

We are debating selling our car because we need to get Hope on the road, and this is just one reason why. We can only carry a fraction of the supplies in our Freestyle that we can in the bus, and we may need to hit the road full time sooner than we thought. An awful lot is out of our control. So we are going to pick up some more primer soon and give it a good going over, but still have to finish the body change. Selling our car would do it.

If you can help, though, there will still be need beyond that. You can help by contributing to the Justice Hoping Machine Project. This will get us on the road quicker, and out to doing what we set out to do in the first place.

I Still Believe in a Place Called Hope…

Hope sits today, waiting on a few things that will get her on the road.

What we need at this point: Freshwater, Graywater, and Blackwater tanks. A Propane heater and range top. The range top will cost about $100, including shipping, the tanks will probably set me back $500-600, and the heater should be less than $100. All of this to finish the conversion. We have the money for the remaining paint for coverup.

What we would like: a hitch and tow dolly to bring our car along. This isn’t a mere luxury. In some cities, such as Santa Fe, the streets are narrow and not conducive to bus travel. The tow dolly will allow us to use the car in and about town and provide better mileage, as well as being better for the environment. It will also allow me to not take my family with me on jobsites in a big honking school bus, which can create a poor professional image and cost me work (the alternative being parking near enough for bike travel, which might mean their hanging out in a commercial area for several hours at a time; again, not the image we wish to convey). So while the hitch and dolly are not essential, this is not a whimsical wish list item.

To get Hope on the road, it will un about $1000. For the hitch and tow dolly, add another $1500 to safely cover it. This is why we are hoping to hit the 10% goal of $2500.

There is much to do. And my genuine hope is that we can have it done in time for World Hunger Day on October 16, when some groups are planning a DC rally.

So if you can help with the project, you can find the link HERE.

Kick ‘Em When They’re Up, Kick ‘Em When They’re Down

Well, we finished June, or rather June nearly finished us. On paper, we came out in the red, but the reality is, only the work in the last week of the month kept it from being an actual lost. Now we head on to July.

The work that is being offered is not at a competitive rate, in fact the only serious advantage is the time flexibility. I pulled an additional 25% out of a job on July 11, which is overnight and will shorten our WoodyFest weekend, which makes it bittersweet at best. Still, work trickling in is better than no work at all, although I still have a minimum because it is necessary to avoid the costs eating up everything you earn.

So we will be heading to WoodyFest July 8, driving 200 miles each way for a job site to work overnight, and driving back. “Ugh” doesn’t even begin to describe it. But we have enough money to make it through Santa Fe if nothing goes wrong, so we’ll spend the next few weeks hoping nothing goes wrong.

I am putting my resume in for a position locally. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I am fully capable of doing this, and believe I can bring a lot to the job. On the other hand, it means setting the contract work aside, and the contract work has long been my failsafe, providing money when there was no other source. Still, this would get me to doing more of what I believe I was meant to do.

I am still funding for the Justice Hoping Machine Project. We still need $690 to make it roll; we may be able to pull a little out of our personal funds, but there are a lot of variables in that scenario. So if you can help, please do. We have great things on tap and would love for you to be a part of it.

Running on Empty

Yesterday was a marathon. I had started a 2 day project last week, but they asked me to wrap up and put on hold. They asked me to reschedule for Tuesday (yesterday), which gave me pause, as I knew I had a night time project pending. Still, I had hopes I could wrap it up and get to the night job, and you NEVER want these things reassigned, so I took it. I could not push it off to later because a third party vendor was moving software to her new computer, so it needed to be in place.

So I arose at 4 AM to make the 6 AM start. I had an hour’s drive to the second start, had a hard start time of 6:45. If you do not check in on time on these, you are not allowed onsite and can lose future assignments. As the afternoon wore on, my window was getting tighter and tighter. The second job was pretty certain to take me to 2 AM or beyond, and I was hopingĀ  to grab a nap. I finally was able to wrap the first site at 4 PM, and headed to the second. A Google Maps snafu cost me another 20 minutes in course correction, and I finally arrived at the site with about 45 minutes until start. Fortunately there was a Sonic there, so I consoled myself with a half price cheeseburger, as I hadn’t had much to eat all day.

When I finally left the site, it was 4 AM — 24 hours later, 19 of that spent working, and 2 more hours on the road. I was exhausted to the point of barely being able to stand up, but had to start on my way home. I stopped in Catoosa at the Waffle House and had some coffee and a decent breakfast, but didn’t make it far before I had to pull off to a truckstop.

I slept for a few minutes, then awoke in sheer terror. For some reason, my mind was convinced that I was still on the road and had fallen asleep at the wheel, and it took several minutes to get back to a normal state of being. I grabbed about 20-30 minutes more of sleep, and was able to get home with only one more coffee stop.

This is another reason that the Justice Hoping Machine Project is so important. There are a declining number of free campsites, and if I can avoid spending money at a hotel, that is money that can be applied to more important things. Having a vehicle, such as a bus, greatly increases the options available to you.

But I am home, safe and sound, and searching for my next assignment. A week from Friday we head to OKC, then Okemah, then Santa Fe, and, it appears, back to Independence Kansas. And you can follow it all here!

Pride, Politics, and Ice Cream

We left Independence and rolled to Oklahoma City. We went via the turnpike because it is the quickest way, even though I am not overly fond of paying tolls. I had asked around about a place to pitch a tent for the night, and had a friend offer to put us up.

Sunday we headed to the Pride Festival in Oklahoma City. We were marching in the parade later in the day, figured we’d get there early and check the festival out. It was extremely well attended, and parade floats were lined up for over a half mile. We were marching for a friend and gubernatorial candidate, Connie Johnson, who I believe can help reverse some of the problems in this state. The support was overwhelming, as was the volunteer turnout. I had 8-10 signups myself, and others had more.

One of the wonderful churches in OKC, The Church of the Open Arms, offered an ice cream social following the parade, which the kids enjoyed as a followup. It wasn’t too hot, but definitely enough to wear us down, and I was running back and forth handing out literature.

So this morning, it is back to business as usual, whatever that means. We will be at the Tahlequah parade on Friday with Connie, but not much, besides work, prior. If you are in Oklahoma, or will be, in 2018, I would encourage you to take a look at this splendid candidate!