Among Friends in Oregon and Northern California


Back in the late 1970s I dreamed of traveling around the country in my trusty VW camper bus. I imagined parking safely at the home of friends. Or friends of friends. Long before I learned that very few degrees of separation exist between any two people in the world, I imagined that with at least friends of friends of friends, there would be a welcoming door in nearly every town.

This idea is playing out in our road trip. In Seattle now, we’re parked at a friend of a friend’s. We plan to travel many miles where we know no one personally. The next leg of our trip will take us through southern British Columbia and Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.

I imagine there’s a world of friends yet to meet in the broader permaculture/ transition/ sustainability/ green/ earth-caring movement. Perhaps it’s you, friend, or your friends, or their friends.

Some friends we visited in Northern California and Oregon on this journey:

  • Mary Nelson, sharing dinner and meaningful conversation in Chico, California
  • Logan Smith and Tammy Strobel also in Chico, giving us a video tour of their tiny house;
  • Jan Spencer of Eugene, Oregon gifting us with fresh-picked peaches and blackberries;
  • Llyn Peabody and Chris Burns, with their Monroe’s Sharing Garden squash, celery,  carrots, filberts, blackberries, beet greens, and yummy homemade dill pickles;
  • Rick Reese of Eugene, gifting us with his Sustainable or Bust, the topic for our video conversation beside the Williamette River, and his canned wild blackberries;
  • Otmar Ebenhoech of Corvallis, for a Garage Mahal tour of existing and future wild EVs, and a delectable Japanese dinner;
  • Sara Bly of Hillsboro, chaffeuring us all to a Pink Martini concert near Portland;
  • Steve Couche, as in 2010, hosting us in front of his house for over two weeks;
  • William Stewart, cooking a delicious paleo dinner for a gathering of new friends and old;
  • Rain Crowe, providing a tour of Tryon Farm,  including the Mother Earth school for youngsters (what a way to begin one’s life!)
  • Nora Gedgaudas and Lisa Collins, giving a full day for videoing, sharing good restaurants, local sources for primal foods, suggesting bike trails and tours, and not least a dynamite recipe for Nora’s Nut Ball Snackers;
  • Tina Frost for notifying us of Pink Martini‘s Portland concert, whose music she introduced us to;
  • Poet Don Hynes and glass artist Linda Ethier, conversing about the tough predicament many don’t want to face;
  • Sylvan Grey, for whom I created a cover image for her album of lovely kantele music in the 1980s and had never met, meeting at last with lively conversation;
  • Paul Cienfuegos, gifting us all with his work in the community rights movement, an emergent bright spot on the horizon
  • Barb and Joel Grover, whose cargo bike store is doing even more splendidly since our 2010 video

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