Breakdown + 3-Month Reflection

Late last night we were driving into Flagstaff, AZ when I heard a thunk almost like a rock falling into deep water.

“What the f*** was that?”

Suddenly the power steering was gone and it was all I could do to turn the bus into a parking lot through clouds of white smoke that started pouring from under our hood.  The answer to my question became all too clear when we opened up the front.

The central pulley system of our engine runs around the water pump, which spins along the crank shaft and is connected to the radiator fan.  It snapped off its axle, sending our belts helter-skelter and driving the fan to chew right through the core of the radiator we just had replaced less than a week ago.

For a couple hours we thought the engine was ruined and the bus was finished.  We headed to Chili’s to have a last meal and figure out what’s next.

Thinking the bus was gone was strangely freeing and came with a weird sense of confidence in the vision behind our journey.  For the past 3 months the bus has been our home, our studio and our identity.  It’s given us access to people and situations we would otherwise never have had and put us under the public eye wherever we’ve gone.  It has been a constant presence in really every aspect of our lives and a never-ending source of adventure, dilemmas and opportunities.

Because of this I think we (definitely at least I) had been placing it in a position of central importance to our movement.

Really though, looking back it’s definitely more a fun and representative consequence of the way we do things than the source of our inspiration or adventure.  Even the way we got it: we found it on E-Bay and were closing the deal for it 1,000 miles away literally one day later.

The three of us decided to be ourselves, to work as a team and to trust our intuition.  That was pretty much it.  We wanted to see what that and that alone might teach us about how we want to live and where we naturally add value to society.  We felt that these few principles would take us to a more alive and aware place and would help us find unique ways to support ourselves.

We took an opportunity to jump into the ambiguous when so many others our age choose to fill a defined role with an explicit value attached (often due to significant pressure).  Letting our roles stay undefined and what we do stay implicit has been weird, overwhelming and tiring -especially the quest to explain ourselves; however, the adventure, inspiration and understanding it’s led to have been unparalleled.

So here we are, 6 months into this adventure and 3 months on the road.  Although it’s not the source of our journey, the bus has been incredibly valuable to us and thankfully it is reparable and should be back on the road by the weekend.

We’re headed back home to Madison to gather what we’ve experienced and head into the next direction of our adventure.  Thank you so much to everyone who’s been a part of it so far.

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2 Responses to “Breakdown + 3-Month Reflection”

  1. Steven Hargrave

    As chance would have it I passed you on I635 going north in Kansas City, Mo. I must admit that I have heard of you until I saw your bus on the road. Admittedly I was intrigued by seeing what appeared to be a transport with two micro busses on top. I find your mission interesting.

  2. Simon Kenton

    I was tooling down the west side of La Veta Pass on 160, running a ’57 gold dodge with a typewriter transmission and a bullet hole in the right rear fin, sweeping through a long chicane at 70, and found myself in a whole herd of mule deer, bouncing like dufflepuds. Couldn’t miss all, wanted none through the windshield, had to center one, which stuffed the radiator back into the fan, which shrieked, at about 2000 rpm excavating a slightly canted well through the cooling fins, filling the car with the scent of hot propylene glycol.

    Limped back to Walsenburg, found a chrysler radiator that would serve and a jeep. Put a chain on the front of the golden dodie, eased the jeep into 4lo, popped the clutch and jerked the front end out by side and by side until it was roughly square and the radiator would fit. Connected hoses, instilled liquids, headed back over La Veta down to San Luis (Siete estaciones de la Cruz), Questa (the molybdenum-colored rito), Taos (many galleries, and endless road construction), Espanola (iridescent spiderwebs in the rear windows, dice off the dash, and bold sweeping unsignaled turns from gutter to gutter in the face of 4 lanes of traffic: the fabled Espanola turn), and Los Alamos. Sisyphus, I lift my leg on the iterative boulder.


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