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Mansfield, MA — July 6th
Thursday, July 6, was another pleasant Massachusetts day and we drove to Mansfield for the parking lot scene at a concert. The lots filled up as the afternoon wore on, and the loyal fans came to see Phil Lesh and Trey. We welcomed many curious people aboard our buses. Some met us for the first time, and many others we knew. Conversations often shifted from the sheer physical appeal of the bus and its craftsmanship to the people and their way of life that made it.
· “Hey,” one man said, “I helped jumpstart this bus (Peacemaker I) ten years ago at Woodstock.”
· “My brother lives in Island Pond and has known you people for years.”
· “I just got out of jail, and I am really searching for meaning in life.”
· “Hey, come to my farm on Saturday for a festival.”
Hundreds of visits and thousands of encounters later we rolled into Hyannis, thankful for such a day. All of us, young and old, were touched and affected by many other people’s lives.
Cape Cod / Martha's Vineyard, MA — July 7th-8th
Boarding the ferry Friday morning became an event, as everything does that revolves around a 46-foot long, 13½-foot high bus. We were scheduled to ride on the freight boat, but because the maximum number of people is 16 and we were 38, they transferred us to the passenger ferry. We were the first ones on and the first ones off. No sooner had we landed at the quaint town of Oak Bluffs than Micah walked up and said, "Hey I know this bus I've seen it on the Dead tours." Little did we know then that Micah would play a big part in changing our plans for Martha's Vineyard.
Martha's Vineyard is an island where everyone knows everyone. Micah, being an islander, started us on our interconnective journey. Unable to come with us at the time, he left us with his number promising to help us with any need we might have. Hospitality rang true time and time again during our stay on the island.
As we rolled off the ferry, we were greeted by a large green park surrounded by beautiful, sprawling Cape Cod mansions and gawking islanders. We finally settled on playing music in a wonderful courtyard in the center of Oak Bluffs. A very friendly shopkeeper named Melvin graciously powered our amplifiers enabling our music to be better heard.
Leaving Oak Bluffs, we wound our way down the narrow island roads with low-hanging branches banging the roof till we came to beautiful Edgartown. After finagling our way into several parking spaces, we squeezed the bus onto tiny Main Street and played in the center of town in the town square. A large millstone lay in the center of the ground. Police and town officials received us with a choice parking space right across the busy, narrow one-way street, with our doors facing into traffic. Entrance and exit from the bus had to be carefully tended by our people.
A young man was sitting off in the distance reading an invitation to our upcoming festival. Christopher is from Poland and working here for 3 months. I was so thankful to have a Freepaper that is written in German and Polish! We had a very good talk and he wants to communicate with someone in Polish. Dear German brothers, you should be seeing him after September.
The last stop (so we thought) was Vineyard Haven, where we were scheduled to ride the last ferry out at 9:30 PM. We made our way up to Main Street and parked in the parking lot of a shop that was closed. We had a wonderful time there and our bus was inundated with people throughout.
Danny was walking by at the same time a police officer was telling us we had to leave, "right now." Danny's sympathetic response was an offer to stay the night in his backyard down the street.
It was a tight squeeze down the long, narrow driveway, everyone holding his breath to make the bus fit, as Nehemiah skillfully inched his way to the refreshing, boat-dotted shoreline. We were exhorted to be quiet in consideration of the very close neighbors, who actually came out to see us and were old friends of our brother David from Boston, who was our very wonderful tour guide, having lived on the island for eleven years himself.
Bedding was impromptu as no one had been prepared to spend the night, but typically all worked out. Saturday morning promised us another fair day for travel and meeting people.
Tracy is a chiropractor. She comes to our house for Friday nights in Plymouth and our café in Boston. She has been hearing, "You have to see the bus," which was at a rock concert. But she could not find the bus that night. Well, a few days later, she was on her way to Danny's to give him an adjustment at his house on the island. Guess who was parked right across the street?! You got it. A giant maroon-and-crème-colored bus. She was on her way to see the very person who had put us up for the night. She postponed her appointment and came with us on our journey.
Meanwhile, Jesse was next door at the neighbors', thanking them for their tolerance. Jesse invited them to see the bus, and when they did, they gave us a connection to help us get back on the ferry since we had foregone our reservation the night before. Also, they gave us a connection to an influential party who would help us get into the street fair that so many people were telling us we needed to stay for. But the fair was going to be held in the very spot that the police had asked us to leave the night before.
Next we went to the West Tisbury Farmers' Market where the bus was packed out full-time until we finally pulled away several hours later. There we met someone very special. Annah Edey is the pioneer of the alternative self-sustaining lifestyle on Martha's Vineyard, and author of the book "Solviva." We had a very interesting talk with her in which she shared about the innovations that she had labored meticulously for over 20 years to provide a clean and healthy way of life for people. We invited her to our festival next weekend and even asked her to teach a seminar to us and any guest who should be so fortunate as to be there.
We were the last to leave, but first, we met the nicest garbage men who kindly let us empty our garbage in their trash.
We are thankful for all the helping hands, great or small, that grace our journey.
We ended up at Aquinnah, formerly Gayhead, the beautiful southern tip of the island where a pleasant, cool breeze blew and we made many new friends from all over. The beautiful lands of the Wampanoag Indians were refreshing to our souls.
Elidad and Yachal left to go back to Hyannis to prepare for the festival the following day. While standing on line for the ferry, they noticed that everyone on the line was talking about the bus. A policeman told them that that bus belonged to the Twelve Tribes. Then everyone started talking about the Twelve Tribes. Elidad asked the police officer what he knew about the Twelve Tribes. He said a few things, then smiled saying, "You're one of them."
"We love your island," Elidad said. The policeman returned, "You are more than welcome here any time!"
More coming soon!!!