Today is the Day! The Bus Is Leaving!

Posted on Jun 23, 2024

Oh, all that happens before we even hit the road!

It’s 7:44 am as I pen this, or rather, type it noisily into my laptop. The bus is scheduled to leave at noon. There is (surprise surprise) what seems like an impossible list of tasks to accomplish before the bus departs, not the least of which is packing hundreds of items into the kitchen trailer and equipment truck. We could just throw them in… but then we’d never be able to access them at the right time, so there’s a meticulous process of labelling, color-tape-tying, and checking in with the Buckstopper in change of each vehicle before anything is where it goes.

Luckily, our destination is not so far away: the fabled village of Forks, just a 3 hour drive across the Olympic Peninsula to the westside of Washington state. If we hit the road before too long, we might even get to dip in Crescent Lake, a gem nestled inside Olympic National Park.

We’ve spent the last 2 days gathering and preparing for the journey, whilst imposing ourselves onto the hospitality of Kristin Crowley and Paul Magid, as well as their many neighbors on Pond Road who have allowed us to park or camp on their properties. Hands have been busy: cleaning out the kitchen trailer, pre-packing the equipment truck, sanding and priming mural panels, crafting hula hoops, schlepping guitars, and rehearsing with the band.

Forest path at Pond Road

Jorjan making Hula Hoops as Gifts

7 panels of plywood, planned to be a new mural for the Hoh Library

This is time for figuring out how we work together, settling into the rhythm of caravan living, and welcoming new people. Over two days, I’ve enjoyed quiet conversations with friends I haven’t seen in a year (Chris Leeming and Donna McKay), plotted painting time with neighbors from across the Sound: (Christine Gunn and Jorjan Plimmer), and learned the names of new Chautauquans (Becky and Julia) who have arrived with a spirit of adventure and a curious “what did I get myself into” look in their eyes.

Sunsets at Pond Road, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca are a highlight, watching the burning ember of the sun above the water while the burning embers of a campfire keep us cozy and warm. Several folks wandered out onto the clay shore yesterday at midday, scrambling down a perilously steep cliff face to reach an exquisite shore. I missed it, as I was hustling to get the panels painted and ready for the road. I did get to explore the beach later, just before a fabulous salmon meal prepared with love by Kristin.

Gathered around a fire

A handful of folks will leave our Pond Road hub in their own vehicles, encumbered by their own peculiar schedules or burdens (Eric and his Earth Balls, Chris Bricker and his recording equipment, me and my mural supplies, Karl, Robyn, and their trusty dog). This year I’m driving on my own, and it makes me feel a bit apart — able to pace myself, but surely missing out on the roving, rolling party that is the bus trip.


In case you’re wondering Who Are Us this year, at morning meeting I saw around the circle: Paul, Kristin, Orion, Mattia, Karl the juggler, Kathy, Eben, Jorjan, Eric, Donna, Nancy, Becky, Raul, Isaac, Shannon, Chris L, Mark, Don, Karen, and Julia. We expecting to meet up with many others upon the road, including (but not limited to): Carl, Ranger, Harry, Faeble, Kym, Shawn and Sadie, and Wade, del Siena, Grace, Sonny, Lily, Artis, Lux, Lee, Sara, Ty, Vanessa Ruby, Reby, “Vortex”, Maureen, Jamie, Janet, Ron, and Wilf.

I’m editing this blog in the afternoon, as I pack the last of the painting supplies into my own rig in Irondale, not far from Pond Road. Rumor has it that the engine has started and the bus is warming up, so maybe they will get there in time to swim at Crescent Lake.

Guitar Strings for Guitar Workshop

Written by Danielle Fodor.  Thanks for the photographers: Eben Sprinsock, Kristin Crowley, and Becky Llebman.