As our trusty mechanic, Jim says, it's time to
"Check your oil. Check your tire pressure. Check yourselves."
We on the space bus have been talking a lot about how the moment feels like the closing of the first chapter of the trip, and the opening of another. We are comfortable with each other...trust and patience abound within the family. We are all beginning to get a grip on our personal struggles and to define our personal goals, and encouraging and supporting one another in all this. Problems on the bus these days seem to be external, rather than internal, which almost make them not problems, because what is a problem up against six creative and optimistic heads, hearts?
We've made our current priority the addition of a veggie oil system to Loki, so we might have a chance at affording to continue our quest across the country later this summer. The list included a tour of our neighbor's veggie school bus (front engine, 90s), research on what system would work best for our old girl (rear engine, 80s), finding a suitable mechanic or enough people who know what they are doing to help us, then to install a veggie filtration system, extra tank, heater and additional fuel lines to the engine.
Yesterday I spoke with Dr. Dave, veggie oil man in Asheville, yesterday, and worked out a deal where if we pay him for parts and labor, he will not only convert our bus but teach us how as he does so. Great! Because we were nervous about paying someone to convert Loki and then not having a clue about how to troubleshoot and maintain the system. Dr. Dave is well reputed in Asheville as a guy who knows his stuff, recommended to us by a girl who converted her own bus and another guy who runs his own machine shop in the river arts district. Says the tank, the kit, and some additional valves are going to run us just under 2,000, and figure 15 hours at 80/hr in labor. So onto our list goes the task of raising 3,000 dollars in the next month. Today I will make headway into a brand new kickstarter page with which we will fundraise just for Loki's operation.
The first priority indicates it's time to leave Burnsville and head to Asheville, where lie the resources. Which brings us to the next overdue project...thanking everyone who has made our stay in the Burnsville area so rich, rewarding and enjoyable. So we threw a party last night on the farm! A potluck, in honor of our Philly roots and a Southern tradition, and everyone we know from three towns was invited. Fried chicken, and sliced watermelon, and soup with the greens Jeff and Brad and Max and I weeded for down the road, peach moonshine and pasta salad, an evening jam around the piano in the trailer bed still hitched to the truck, a fire and old sing-alongs underneath a huge Carolina night sky. Much laughing, hugging, strong voices, love, gratitude. One huge family all together, who we know we will come back to now and again.
I would add to our mission statement and current priority list CONNECTIVITY. One of our surrogate road moms, joy, used the word when she was describing what is important to her in her life now, by the campfire last night. We have been so blessed with being raised by supportive families, by our Fuhrly extended family back in Philly, by each other, and by all the adoptive siblings, parents, guardians who we have picked up throughout this trip. Our network is such a special one, and so enormous, at this point, I think we must be very committed to nurturing it, reviving it often with correspondence and visits. I'm not sure we would be successful at what we are trying to exemplify without such a magical family, and to lose touch would be taking our very foundation for granted. And I certainly want to be a part of this family as it grows, which it must. I am going to compile a master contact list for Loki in the next couple of weeks. So, if you would like to be added to it, please send whatever contact info you would like us to have to firstname.lastname@example.org. If not, I will come find you!
Thanks for reading, family. Be well.