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The Story continues...
Oh Woe as it is, it came to pass that in September, year of our lord 2011, the mighty member of EcoJaunt, The Douglas, has died! In a parking lot it gave it's last limping start and took us to safety at our host's house in Omaha, NE.

What does one do when their house dies? When their vehicle for information, navigation and habitation goes kaput? ....

...The plan starts with, of course, several calls to mechanics and knowledgeable next of kin in our circle. One Mechanic has the time to talk with me, his voice is in “ole codger” dialect on the phone and he has very little patience for questions from a mechanical novice. “Look! Your not going to do it that way, your going to do it the way I tell ya!” His advice is very good and I like his “don't give-a-damn customer service attitude.” After many tests and tinker tactics led by this man, we decide nothing can be done except to bring it in to someone. Immediately he tells/yells about not taking it to someone if I don't trust 'em. He goes on about calling the BBB to see if there are any complaints. My instinct is to trust him. He has helped me for quite some time over the phone, helping me with things he could have charged me for. Something in his brash way shows me his human care and kindness. I hear he has heart even over the phone. Still, the all knowing Google Maps has no reviews for his business and he is a bit abrasive and just slightly crazy.

Out of the blue he asks “Do you golf?” … “Excuse me?” I say not understanding his brain. “Now why would I ask you that Travis?” Glen often calls me by name throwing a sharp emphasis on the whole word. I respond “I dont know GLEN why would you ask me that?” Glen is quick on the draw- “Because I want you to think! Think Think Think Think Think Think Think THINK!.... I let the silence go... “Travis my shop is located next to a golf store. Ya follow?” – So this sealed the deal right then and there. We will take the van to Jensen Auto Services.

AAA comes and loads our friend on the stretcher. Off we go. We enter the shop by pulling through an alleyway. It is an unassuming shop holding only a small sign. The single garage door is open and we hop through to meet and greet. The shop is a cross between Auto Shop and Antique Store. There are objects of oddness placed in precarious places. Among very beautiful older European cars, there are old clocks, a 2004 world almanac, a Vintage Pac-man arcade game blocking a walk-way, a rack of Navy uniforms, a drinking fountain, a mini version of the goodyear blimp and recliners placed at convenient points around the room.

We brought muffins as an immediate thank you for being so helpful on the phone. After we push the rig in, we present them and Glen holds them and looks at us. “Did some one tell you you could bribe me? Because you can. I want you to know I can be bribed!” Later Glen earns a batch of Swix's amazing homemade cookies by correctly guessing our ages.

The workers are Glen and his youngest son Ron. Ron gets to work gathering tools and then asks for the key. He turns the ignition and both the son and father cringe and gasp. A few more tests are done before giving advice. He tells us it will be a very expensive fix and that the condition of the engine is not good. He also says that we would most likely have further problems in the near future. He advises us to sleep on the decision of scrapping The Douglas and look for a better lower milage van.

He tells us we can leave the van there while we make our decision. We offer to move the van out of the garage into the parking lot to leave room for other customers. Glen declines. I push the issue, not wanting to cause an issue if customers pile up. “Travis sometimes the sheep murders the butcher...” He reads my puzzled face. “Sometimes the sheep murders the butcher Travis, but most of the time the butcher murders the sheep. Now what do you think that means?” “It means the van is staying right here doesn't it?” I ask. He pats my shoulder and says “My Boy! you are getting smarter just by being around me, see?”

Back at our host's house the search begins... Craigslist has some promising offers. We click click click and record phone numbers to be called the next day. When the sun rises we begin our calls and search. The host family are friends of Swix and her family. They live directly across from where Swix grew up. They couldn't be warmer, nicer, friendlier, or more gracious. They offer their car for us to use and we take off with a list of potential new homes.

The first looks good, the second and third not so hot. There are others, but they are not for us. We decide on the first van; it has style, great interior and low milage. We measure for the roof rack and see it will be a good fit. This new one is a bit larger than The Douglas, but none we found out there are the same size. The owner allows us to take it to our mechanics and have it checked out the next day.

In the morning Glen is not around, he is not feeling well. Ron is there and takes the van out for a spin. He makes a few checks and stamps a smile of approval. We now have our new home! Then Ron does the unthinkable. He gives us the Keys to the shop. This stranger gives us the Keys to his family shop! Having known us for 24hrs he trusts everything to us! We can stay late and come early. All the tools are fair game.

More logistics over the next few days lead us to understanding that the man who owns the van has actually defaulted on the payments to the bank. The bank has ordered him to sell it and they will collect what ever money he gets for it. Bottom-line is he wants to help us get the lowest price possible for the van. We don't even have to haggle, he is haggling the bank for us. Great, and we get the van for $1500 - 25% less than what the bank wanted.

This wheeling and dealing however was taking some time and we where in a hurry to get started, so we (with faith, as we have not quite paid for the van yet) jump the gun and began pulling seats and chopping holes in the walls. The next week and a half is filled everyday with retrofitting the old retrofits from The Douglas to... The Rally Wagon!! The bed comes out, the safe comes out, the kitchen's out, and the carpet, the wardrobe and lighting too. Everything must be refitted and modified but fits well. New features are added as result of the build of the van. This new one is deluxe, having already been a conversion van. There is track lighting, curtains, thick floor foam, and pockets.

We cut holes in the doors to make pockets and storage. We bring a wall out to make storage for clothes, cut holes for the kitchen, and find some great nooks for skateboards. We stain wood, cut carpet and foam, measure and bolt. Our home starts to take shape.

The biggest task is to take the roof-rack (weighing approx 700lbs) from The Douglas and transfer it to The Rally Wagon, resizing the structure to fit properly. We will also be adding 4 inches to the height. Many sketchy ideas were discussed that would have, I believe, caused much cuss and grief. Ron comes up with the plan to raise the van on the rack and bolt the whole van to the roof, then lower the van while leaving the detached rack above. Swix and I drill and screw I-bolts into the ceiling and apply the chains.

The rack is detached and The Douglas descends, now looking very naked. We push our old friend off the lift and add the additional metal we had fabricated to the rack. With many adjustments done, we aim “The Rally Wagon” at the lift and drive under. This van is getting quite the travel outfit. Lining up the roof-rack is time consuming but tolerable. Without the help and love from the Jensen's Ron, I honestly don't know what we would have done to get that rack transferred. With some push and shove we get the job done and out the door The Rally Wagon rides.

The rack is mounted but the lift job we gave it means adding more wood to the side walls to reach the wagon. We find in the Jensen's warehouse wooden siding from a torn down house. This will be good wood for the task and is nearly the exact size we will need. We apply a varnish to protect it from the rain. Next we measure and cut the many pieces to precisely fit into the puzzle.

During the building process we meet many neighbors that observe our progress. Ron's brother owns the golf shop next door. Randy is his name and he and his brother have many vegetables growing in the back of their shops. Over these 12 or so days, friendly chats grow in number and friendships are made. Randy owns property and has ambitions of starting an eco-community on the land. Glen has suffered a stroke recently and the amount of people dropping by asking for him is a real reflection to his person. His recovery is small but steady. With his strong will I believe he will make a full recovery.

Ron takes on the task of the mechanical work needed while Swix and I dismantle a piano for him and haul a load of scrap to the dump. We also follow him to his house and help take apart a sectional dock from the lake. After a wonderful dinner, Ron, a man of many surprises and interests, shows off his Tesla coil that he's made from parts purchased on the internet. It shoots a lightning storm nearly two feet, causing florescent tubes to glow up to eight feet away. Many topics were discussed and much laughter flowed from his family and ourselves.

Finally the Rally Wagon is completed. We are invited to Randy's house for a bonfire and dinner to which we gladly accept. When we arrive, Ron would like to know if he can adopt me as his little brother. Truly we are touched, that in such a short time we could meet and gain the trust of a new family. Great times are had late into the night and in the morning we wave good bye as the Jaunt continues.

Turkey tail mushrooms discovered at Kitson Dam area in Oregon

ECOJAUNTERS attempting photogenic properties

Moss, up close and personal. Because I'm a botanical nerd and I think it's  cool to watch moss' amazing reproductive cycle during the spring.

Waterside Jaunter ;)

Epic moments just before a downpour and followed by the double
rainbow...what does it mean!?!??!

One state down, only 49 left to go!

...sort of...

We've spent the last few weeks interviewing like mad and gaining information up and down the I-5 corridor. From Ptown we trekked south to Eugene, guns blazin' and raring to go! After months and months of planning and organizing and prep work, we finally put rubber to the road. Phew...and so it begins ;)

In Eugene, we spent the weekend at the HOPES17 conference, attending lectures involving topics of sustainable building and design hosted by the University of Oregon. We gained information and insight on topics from green eco rooftops to sustainable reuse tactics! And however unrelated to the conference he was, the most engaging and inspiring speaker of all was Paul Stamets, my new mycological heart-throb (oh faint).

And WE got an interview with him (flutter flutter of my eyelid eyelids). Check it out!

This guy is the sh*%&@t! And I mean that with the utmost respect.
He has spent much of his life doing research involving the use of mushrooms to solve many of the world's problems. For example, Mr. Stamets has discovered that mushrooms can help with bioremediation. That's right, not only amazing when sauteed, mushrooms can detox the water from oil spills and clean up nuclear biproducts in hazard zones!

Paul has also found that Turkey Tail Mushrooms can cure many different types of cancer!

Mushrooms, so we have learned, are the old folks of the earth. Over time, as species have come and gone (you know, that whole meteorite ice age type of shtuff), mushrooms have survived...AND do you know who else has survived?

...Anything that has symbiotically paired with mushrooms...

Curious. Mushrooms have an intricately entwined rhizotomous root system that not only connects the mushrooms in a tactile manner, but also allows them to communicate. Once one piece of the mushroom 'colony' has learned how to overcome some type of invader or germ, this is conveyed to the rest of the organism, be it inches, feet, or even miles wide! If we humans could figure this one out, we'd be set!

I could go on...but I suppose I'll leave your hungry eyes SOME piece of the day for the doing of things and the going of places and the hugging of people.

For more info, check out Paul's website and our video. He is an inspirational man who believes in defying the rules, thinking outside the primordial box, and bettering our world ...with MUSHROOMS!

Earth Day is on Friday. That's so sooooon!

Today of all days - we need to step up to our responsibilities for the planet. 

Why? because someone put a date on a calendar... so we should. 
So buy your Hallmark cards and go do the Good deeds!!

We have come up with only 3 tasks that WE and you should implement to "make the world a better place ... for you, and for me, and the entire human race" (MJ 1972 - 2009)

So here we go, and it's not supposed to be easy. We are going to step outside our comfort zone to make a tiny tiny tiny difference that if repeated can make a tiny difference that if repeated can make a huge difference.

That said, here are the tasks at hand for our 7 days triathlon.

ReUse- We use (and do not reuse) so many products everyday that we throw away.
Goal: ReUse 1 item that you would throw away or recycle.

Transportation- The way we get from A to B is sometimes more than costly.
Goal: One day a week DO NOT DRIVE A GAS POWERED VEHICLE: Use a bike, your legs, or public transit.

Consumption consideration- Calculate the cost of the journey. 
Goal: Calculate as you shop, the miles your food travels to reach you. Imagine all the motors used to make that trek. Brainstorm about which local products can replace those from far away.

Make smart choices...
For those of you who feel unchallenged - we offer this challenge.
The 100 mile consumption workout.

Only consume goods and services created within a 100 mile radius from where you live. 


From the top of Skinners Butte in Eugene OR we jump and salute the flag after a fine meal.
Once night falls we edit over the pretty city scape. 

We've fundraised and promoted
Edited and uploaded

Fixed up the van
And now have a plan

There's still much to do
Before our final tootle-loo

But sleep or not
We're taking off from this spot

To find sustainable tools
And peoples who's coolz

And put them online
With some laughs and rhyme

To tickle your thoughts
And make you laugh lots

To change how you view
Some things that you do

Some choices you make
For so much is at stake

So away we go
We'll soon find our flow

Sustainability's at play
We're leaving Friday!