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Updated: Monday, July 3, 2006
Grass Valley/Nevada City
Sunday May 7th
Last year when the Hippie bus and Peacemaker I came through Nevada City, California, several people told us if we wanted to meet people interested in living together in communities we should go "up on the Ridge." The San Juan Ridge is where hundreds of alternative type people have escaped the cities to live on the land, grow their own food (and/or marijuana) and live beyond the constraints of conventional society. Many of these people are older now; some have grown apathetic or bitter and want to be left alone, yet some still have something in their hearts of the vision for justice and peace on the earth. So, we arranged to have a small festival and see who would come.
Our scouts rented an old school house/community building 14 miles up a steep, winding road. As soon as we arrived we needed to set up the open forum tent, hang the banners, set up hospitality tables, clean the buses, and get the instruments set up....all in ½ an hour! Fortunately, people trickled in slowly at first. But as the day went on and word spread through the Ridge about these unusual people and their buses more people ventured out (we estimated about 75 people through-out the day). We had a tremendous day as our "guests" entered in on the festive dancing, in-depth conversations and lively discussions at the open forum tent. Although some maintained or defended their new-aged lifestyles and beliefs all seemed to recognize our spirit and respect our live and we had a very pleasant time dancing together. Some were visibly moved at the end of the day as we all held hands in a circle and sang. These left saying they had a lot to think about and would like to come see us at the Morning Star Ranch. We left many new friends; saying we hoped to be able to come again next year (or sooner) to do it again.
But the day was not over. We drove down from the Ridge into Nevada City (actually a town and not a city).....Sunday night on Main Street was very quiet, but slowly a few people started to come on the buses. One couple in particular... he had been with us all day on the Ridge with his four children and now he joined us with his equally special wife. This man said he had had a dream seven years ago about being part of a caravan. He and his family bought a bus and went on the road for six years looking for the caravan of his dream. They had only recently moved to the Ridge. When he saw our poster for the festival on the billboard of the local grocery store, he was intrigued by the picture of the caravan and knew he needed to find out more about us. After singing several songs to them it was late and time to go.
"Will you come see us in Valley Center?" someone asked.
"I've been looking for you for six years. Of course, I'm going to come see your community."
We were also encouraged by the visit from another man who missed us in San Francisco and drove almost two hours to Nevada City to find us. So many people are seeking something more fulfilling in their lives ........and are not ashamed to admit it.
After being in dirty, crowded cities, exposed to so many defiling ads and billboards with no place to "rest our eyes" we have been very thankful for the pleasant places we have been able to camp (and the kind camp hosts and rangers who have "made room" for us). Everywhere we go, we are meeting precious people who are so thankful to meet us. We are very thankful for them.
There are so many conversations... too many to write about...
We meet people we met last year on tour...they couldn't seem to forget about us and then here we were...
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