The Breakdowns Part… Uh… 5? 6? Is Anyone Keeping Track Anymore?
Kasey doing her best to not look stressed.
Saturday came along with air light and fresh, and a gentle breeze with that hint of salt that comes with ocean towns. We awoke, packed our van up and took to Pacific Ave, the downtown strip, and began our day with a good busking session.
The night before we had decided to tuck tail and run North to the Canadian border within a couple of days. We needed to get some money together busking in Santa Cruz to help us along the way, seeing as our tax returns weren’t coming any time soon. Kasey was ready to go home, and I was thinking I’d had enough of this rain. It was set in stone: Monday, March 3rd was D-Day and we were bound for Canada.
Our sentiments at the time… Courtesy of http://elyancardigans.com/2009/02/20/
It was a Saturday, and we were feeling much like the weather – dour and overcast. The rain was beginning to wear us out. We hadn’t seen any rain since Memphis, Tennessee, and now we were getting the total of California’s annual rainfall in a week and a half. Regardless of the weather and our gloomy demeanours, it was really nice to get out of the van and into public. We had our largest crowd ever in front of the O’Neill Surf Shop. 30-40 people stopped along the street to listen to our music. Kasey and I didn’t even notice that a large crowd had gathered, listening, on the other side of the street until raucous applause came from behind us. Our moods were starting to change, and we could feel our fortune was beginning to change as well.
We heard about an open-mic down the road at a little spot called The Poet And Patriot. We went down to the Poet at about 1:30, and signed up for the last slot available – the first time slot, at 3pm. We met Brian and Sean, the lads running the open mic and the bar, respectively, and had a pint with them.
Photo courtesy of our Canadian Friends The Shrugs, via facebook.
Little did we know that this would ignite the fuse to the largest series of “happy accidents” I have experienced in my life. (To this very minute, as I type this, the happy accidents continue…) We played our set, and were cajoled to play for nearly an hour as more musicians and locals filed into The Poet. We played celtic favourites like Dirty Old Town and Fisherman’s Blues and burnt the house down… We unleashed our original tunes with a new fervor – and that’s a BIG deal. (We may or may not have been getting tired of some of our originals…)
We met dozens of brilliant, wonderful people. We booked a showcase gig at The Poet immediately after our performance. We played darts, and we had a giant Afghanistan-Style meal ordered for us. (Thanks Mark! Safe travels!) We made plans for the next couple days with all of the locals, and we enjoyed the company of many new friends. We decided to check out a Grateful Dead cover band up in Felton while I got destroyed in a few games of darts. We had beer after beer after beer purchased for us. We were wrapped up in a typhoon of luminous good energy.
We got into Clementine to follow our new friends Pat & Gary up the mountain toward Felton, to check out that Grateful Dead cover band at Don Quixote’s in Felton, CA. We got out of Santa Cruz and started climbing in elevation. I warned Gary that we would be slow going since Clementine isn’t a powerhouse. And then…
Well, there goes 3rd gear we each thought simultaneously. I flashed my lights at Gary’s truck in front of us, so he knew we were struggling.
I once had a Toyota Corolla blow it’s transmission in Ontario. We were driving in 5th, and I was gearing down to head towards an off ramp on a 400-series highway. The sound was similar to this, but unlike the situation in the Toyota, we could still drive in 1st, 2nd, and 4th gears. We limped Clementine up the mountain, and parked her in a Safeway parking lot. She was leaking fluid something fierce, and she was evidently VERY ticked off at us.
This was an odd breakdown. In past breakdowns Kasey and I were not unlike a train-wreck. When things go wrong in Clementine it generally sends us into an impossible tail-spin. We’re irritable at best, nauseous and inconsolable. We are rude to each other and polite to others, which further sets each other off. We’re miserable, hateful and downright ghastly. However… None of that happened in this instance. It may have been the super-high we were on from such a positive group, or maybe the shock never hit us… But we swallowed our pride, locked up the van, and hopped in with Pat & Gary.
We had no idea what to do… Gary picked up a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey, and we headed up the mountain with them. They had a gorgeous mountain property with a little shed tucked inside a redwood stand… It had a Ping-Pong table, beer, whiskey, herbal remedies and great attitudes. We were really lucky to breakdown with this lot.
Gary & Pat in the shed.
Good times were had all evening, and all-day Sunday. We got our stuff together and brought Clementine up the mountain on another tow truck. We prepared ourselves for the hunt for a transmission. We ate, and shared stories with each other. Herbal remedies kept our stress at bay, although we were beginning to understand what kind of situation we were in.
We couldn’t find a transmission unless we dropped a major upfront cost to get a rebuilt transmission sent to us in a couple of weeks.
We needed a place to stay, preferably close to town so we could busk and work.
And we probably needed to get a clutch kit…
Things were starting to build up, so between Sunday and Monday we were on the hunt. We found the answer for our transmission after 6 hours of work on Monday. That didn’t solve our place-to-stay issues, however… Gary had been really kind to let us stay at his place for the weekend, but the landowner was clearly very uncomfortable with people he didn’t know staying on his property.
(I had a very succinct, uncomfortable, and rude, conversation with this man… I’ll leave it at that.)
Clemmy in paradise, surrounded by redwood stands in Felton, California.
Gary had a lead on a commune that we could stay at, and their house meetings were Monday nights. We went to visit, introduce ourselves and to plead our case. We were willing to pay a small guest rate, and to contribute to the community… We just needed a foot in the door so we could make the rest of this trip work out.
Thanks to Gary and to more good fortune, we were accepted. We were to move down to the Bean Creek Commune on Wednesday… This was one of my dreams since I was little, flipping through the pages of an old ‘Avant Garde’ magazine – a 60s and 70s publication advocating the sharing of ideas, free thinking, art and other liberal points of view. In one issue, I read about orchards and hog farms, and the idea of free love and energy sharing… I was hooked. It has always been my dream to be part of a social, living, breathing commune. You could say being accepted to join Bean Creek was a dream come true.
Next Issue: Bean Creek Family, Santa Cruz, and more Puglia Sightings in California!