Los Angeles, California. We never planned on sticking around this town for very long. After our unexpected 6-month stint in San Diego, we were eager to move the bus North and enjoy the Pacific Northwest before the cold of the Winter sets in. But plots twist and plans fall through, so here we are in our third week in LA. Three weeks ago we made our first attempt at escaping the city, but we only made it as far as Bakersfield before a tow truck came and carried us kicking and screaming back to a repair facility in Southeast LA. PartsBoys here in Maywood has been a true blessing to us. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude to the amazing humans at this little shop situated in the heart of industrial USA. So far, Danny and Ernie have adjusted our fuel injectors, rebuilt our fuel pump, and cleaned up the air compressor. We are also in the midst of another fuel/filter change, just to be certain that we have the best possible chance at making it through the next leg of the journey.
Finding mechanics that have heard of a “Cummins 470” are a rare and valuable treasure. Danny and Ernie have been blowing our minds with their knowledge base, and the love and support we get from Art Sr., Art Jr., and Ed has made us feel like we are in full bloom! No stone may go unturned when preparing Ol’ Bessie for an adventure. She is very insistent on having a complete physical exam before being released into the wild. Otherwise, she will not hesitate to go belly-up on a narrow shoulder just over the crest of a hill at 2am on a busy freeway. So we check the fluids and change the filters and tell her how much we love her and please please don’t make us call the tow truck at 2am again.
Enough with the technicalities. While we wait for Bessie to give us the “green light” to point the ship North, we have been focusing our energies on cultivating the rare and valuable Cummins engines inside of ourselves. I’ve shifted my focus to studying up on what the heck we are doing and why we are doing it. It seems like an obvious question. I should know what I am doing and why I am doing it, right? But it goes deeper than that. Way deeper. I am not the first one to have this seemingly spontaneous desire to buy an old bus and travel across the country with a band of hippies. We must have a message, right? Positive vibrations and free love, RIGHT? What are we “RAGING” about anyways? So my fellow bus-mates and I sat down and scribbled out a “mission statement” for “RAGE in the name of LOVE”
If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, here it is:
“Radical Adventures for a Greener Earth is the manifestation of three sisters who envision a world where all beings coexist in a sustainability and equality oriented consciousness.
Since March 5th 2013, Jamie, Natalie and Caitlin have been building a foundation for change towards an overall more balanced way of existing in their own lives. Today’s culture is dominated by patriarchy, consumerism, wastefulness, and disconnect from each other and the Earth from which we came. By choosing an alternative lifestyle the RAGE women have invited the concepts of simplicity, internal growth, DIY culture, non-violent communication, feminine empowerment, radical consent, consensus-based decision making, water conservation, recycling/reclaiming, income equality, application of anti-oppressive language and locally sourcing/growing one’s own food into their daily lives and practices.
Their purpose is to aid in a worldwide cultural shift where these concepts are not the alternative, but the standard.
A decomposing 1966 LA transit bus sat stagnant in a pasture in Arkansas before RAGE took her home to Austin, Texas and began the DIY process of converting her into their tiny house on wheels. “Bessie” features 95% repurposed materials, a pedal-pump powered sink, compost toilet, wood burning stove, solar powered charge station, homemade water purifying system with Berkey filter elements, vegetable and herb gardens, and an up-and-coming vermiculture compost bin. Besides representing sustainable living and equal rights concepts constantly when connecting with others, RAGE spreads this love culture via tours of “Bessie” the bus, distributing radical zines, non-violent resistance activism and community organizing as they travel the so-called United States.
RAGE recognizes that driving a 10 mpg diesel bus around is far from sustainable. This lifestyle offers many advantages towards the long term goal, but is still a ways from being whole. When possible, “Bessie” runs on bio-diesel and will one day run primarily on waste veggie oil. The RAGE bus continues to evolve, as do the hearts and minds of her inhabitants.”
So there it is, for today. Tomorrow it may be different, so don’t get attached to it, or us.
Jamie Rainbow’s RAGE On the Road Reading List: (ever evolving)
— Into the Wild (by Jon Krakauer)
—Brave New World (by Aldous Huxley)
—My Name is Chellis and I am in Recovery from Western Civilization (by Chellis Glendinning)
—Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (by Hunter S. Thompson) [*currently reading]
—Women Who Run with the Wolves (by Clarissa Pinkola Estes) [*currently reading]
Have a book recommendation? Leave a comment or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Love & RAGE!