Nov 212010
 

Mary is punching the engine at 80 mph, northbound.  This chick really likes to drive.  The B-Side Players blare through the speakers with their sexy salsa / reggae combination.   Mary does NOT like to get passed.  Speed-demon-semiarab-belovedwife.

We have left Georgia stronger and more focused than when we went in.  We are eager to get to Barichara, to get back to Greengoes Guesthouse.  But we loved our time working alongside the Earthship Crew and DirtyInterns.  We accomplished so much together in such a short time!  Three weeks ago we had not even met and what we were told on our last night was:  this is not the end, this is the beginning.   It was on everyone’s lips and the repetition made it believable.

Our last week working on the Earthship seemed to progress more slowly than the first two.  Putting it up was quick, but covering the tire walls with layers of cement, filling the floors with gravel, putting in the windows are very time consuming activities.  The Earthship is probably 80% -85% of the way to completion.  It looks good.  We are sorry that we are going to miss the finished product.  On our last night at the site, one day before the full moon, Mary and I walked through the structure.  It was dark save for the moonlight coming in through the front windows.  We knew the site so well, every bump in the path, every drop-off, wet spot, jagged edge and wall in the way that we could walk around this construction site in near-dark with no problem.  This house is beautiful and it is going to be a perfect representation of Earthships interacting with nature.   It has been an honor to be part of this project.

We are headed north towards Toronto to spend Thanksgiving with my parents and to get prepared for our journey back to Barichara.  The 75 feels like some sort of weird zone where time moves and stands still at the same time.  Macon, Chattanooga, Dayton, Toledo… all these towns look the same, from the side of the 75 inside a Marriot and across from a Cracker Barrel.  This antiseptic, serving-size, homogenous road is not for us, it moves so quickly but other than the different colored rocking chairs outside the Cracker Barrel, with no leaves on the trees, it all looks the same.

‘Nuff, from here.  Happy Thanksgiving.  And for the kids down in Georgia, we miss you already!

 

Jun 132010
 

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Magical.  This is the word that most completely sums up our time in this center of positive energy.  We drove in on route 64 by way of Chama, a charming mountain town that flew in the face of all my misconceptions of New Mexico.  Let me clarify that by stating that I did not see one tumbleweed being blown across a dusty, thirsty and uninhabited town at any time during our drive through the 47th state.  On the contrary, Chama was full of kind, friendly and dare I say hip people who were happy to talk about their great big mountains, cool rivers and green spaces.  A quarter of the State is National Forest, brilliant!  I am a big fan of New Mexico.

IMG_7406So… yeah, Taos, right?  The 64 East took us through the Carson National Forest with its tall trees and great views from numerous mountain road-side pull-offs.  The road spills out onto a high plateau where, to our great pleasure, we suddenly (and I am not just using the word sudden as literary technique here) came upon the Greater World Community and its unusual looking Earthship homes shining in the afternoon sun.

We planned on visiting Taos specifically to see Earthships (earthship.com) and to learn more about them.Earthships are the brainchild of architect by trade and eccentric genius by nature, Michael Reynolds.  These homes are built mainly of what to the uninitiated looks like trash.  The main building materials are dirt, tires, glass bottles and cans.  Michael and his crew have built dozens of these curved south-facing homes outside of New Mexico in order to steer humanity back onto the course of sustainable living.  The visitors center was closed the evening Mary and I arrived, but we enjoyed poking around the outside of the display homes and the sites under construction.  We crossed the Rio Grande that night and slept in our truck parked by an organic vegetable garden.  Are you seeing a theme here?

The next morning we woke early (super early if you ask Mary) and after a quick shower at the nearby Abominable Snowmansion Hostel, we headed to the GWC’s Visitor Center.  As we entered the building for the first time, the general feeling of magic in the air became a more concrete reality  when we met a man named Will.  Born in Idaho and brought into our lives by way of Cape Town and Costa Rica, Will was the perfect host.  We were lucky to meet him on his second day as the tour guide and got a barely rehearsed, heart-felt and totally cheese-less introduction to Earthship Biotecture.  Professional courtesy quickly gave way to a friendship born of shared interests and as we read information about the building, Will surprised us with an invitation to join the Earthship crew the next day at one of their building sites.  Awesome!

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My wife and I went to bed early that night and woke up early giddy with excitement.  We arrived at the site at 9am with our bodies ready for action and our minds ready for learning.   We got both in heavy doses.   Our foreman Phil was positive, informative and very friendly.  His first assignment for us was to do some cleaning around the site, but after we had completed that task, we spent most of our day making adobe and spreading it over the tire walls.  Basically playing with mud.  All the while we met members of the crew (mostly when they saw us doing things incorrectly or inefficiently), interns and all the other eccentrics that stopped by the site that day.  By the end of the day we were dirty, sweaty, bone tired and ready to drink beers with the rest of the crew.  And what fun it was sitting around with these people with whom you have sweated all day, talking and laughing!  All the empty cans and bottles end up scattered around the job site only to be placed in the walls the next day.  A beautiful cycle: work/relaxation/work.After an inspiring day of helping to build an Earthship, we joined some of the interns on an excursion down into the Rio Grande.  An after work dip became an invitation to dinner in the Nautilus Earthship which was capped by a perfect night laying on the roof of their house under the stars sharing stories, Tequila and awe at the spectacle above us.

To Will, Danny, Kris, Bill, Jesse, Sebastian, Andre, Chris and the shooting stars, thanks for being part of our magical time in Taos.

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