Category Archives: Travel story

Gangsta from the Emerald Triangle

The Emerald Triangle

Every year hippies and vagabonds travel from all over the country for trim season in Northern California. For a few weeks or a few months thousands of trimmers trim weed from morning until night in something of a hippy concentration camp. Farms pay anywhere from $100 or even up to the fabled $300 per pound. In either case the job is similar to something you would find in an eastern sweatshop. Long hours, near zero job security, virtually no skill development, and a job so mind numbing that only those so high that they cant see the pot forest through all the smoke are willing to do it.

I apologies to all those who feel that trimming is one of the greatest gifts to the lower class known to man and I must admit that if you are an illegal immigrant or cant find work doing anything else then yes, trimming weed is the perfect job for you. Not for me. In this post I will be going through my life coming away from the Emerald Triangle and the type of thing that you get into, not when you trim weed but when you sell it.

My journey started off about two weeks ago. I was living in a Subaru in Seattle working as a pedicaber making ends meet one day at a time. An old friend I knew way back from my Hawaii days gave me a call and said that he needed some help with his harvest. Something about the timing of the phone call gave me some sort of spiritual vibes and so I left Seattle without a second thought. Looking back I am a bit frightened at how far away from reason this call pulled me. It was not as if there was anything holly about my friend but in any case I left without a second thought.

I found two riders on Craigslist that helped with the gas money on the way down. They both turned out to be super awesome people and I was able to learn from them the entire ride down. Spent a night in Portland and then arrived in North Cali the following night. The town that I was to meet my friend was way up in the mountains and I could not find a place where my phone could connect and so had to drive a few (30) miles back from where I came from just to get in contact with my friend. We were eventually able to meet up and he was able to show me the world that he had been living in sense we last talked way back on the island of Maui.

Up in the mountains without service everyone was as hippy as it gets, some sort of trailer person, or reder than redneck; brown neck if you will. Without phones we spent most of our time running from house to house making deals and straitening out our shit before we bounced town, which didn’t take long for us to do. In a place where there is so much weed and no money, everyone owed someone else some money. I don’t think that we got our shit perfectly strait before leaving because as we were leaving we got chased down by a dump truck that chased us down the exit road at top speed. The only reason we made it out alive was because the truck owner was a felon and driving on the public highway would have been a huge risk for him. We only barely made it to the main road but we were off. We had no money but a fuck-ton of weed and we were hitting it off like two crazed bats finding a new mountain for the first time.

Its been four days sense we were chased down by the truck. Its been a super slow and chill journey. In just about every town we pass through we stop and try and sell weed to anyone that will have some. Because of how slow we are rolling its a great way to explore the state. Selling weed is getting much easier the further away from North Cali we get. This type of life has been gangster shit the entire way too. More gangster than I am used to handling in my everyday life.

The first night we were parked waiting for a friend to get home when a girl that looked homeless asked us for a cigarette. She didn’t look harmless at all and we asked if she wanted to smoke some weed with us. She denied us and walked away. Just down the road we saw her get into a Cadillac and drive away. My friend got sketched out and told me to get in the car and drive. Just as I had pulled out of my parking spot the Cadillac came around the corner and someone held a strobe light out the window so that I could not make out who was in the car. “Got weed bitch” I heard someone say. In less than 5 minutes we were miles away from that spot and not about to go back.

The next night we traded some bud for a little thing called Lucy. We were in a college town and were able to climb the homeless hierarchy with extreme efficiency. Around noon we were talking to street kids at their pick-neck spot, by midnight that same night we were talking with what appeared to be an ordained hippy shaman who claimed that he was three hands down from the laying of the acid. Maybe it was the acid but I was super impressed with our short work in that town.

In Cali the weed laws have changed drastically in the past few years. You can legally carry up to 28 grams and if this law is broken it’s similar to a traffic ticket in that there is no jail time. Still, it is illegal to sell and today we had our first encounter with the police. My friend ran and all the cops chased him. He was able to ditch the weed before the cops caught him but still put behind bars. At this point in our journey we are balling and so he was able to pay his own bail and we are still rolling our way down to SoCal. Lucky.

We take each day at a time and the beginning of our trip was a struggle but now I feel that we are strait kicking ass. I cant say how long I will stay with this type of lifestyle. It doesn’t suit me as well as something where I keep my head lower but its new and exciting. The payoff is huge and I might just stick with it until shit goes a little crazier. Who can say? Not me. Maybe future me can. Stay tuned and I will let you know.

-Cheers mates

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Car life>hammock life, sometimes 

Car life is great. I can’t wait to take it to the coast where I will be able to explore from my super mobile home. For now, I am still in the building phase and am working on building the car into the home of my dreams. It needs a passenger window, new carpet, and there are a few cosmetic improvements that can be made. I have been watching different youtube videos that people have made that show off the different style of living that people have invented for their subarus. Some of the youtubers have solar and water collector which is a bit beyond my price point, but a wooden framed that fits into the back seat would be nice. Maybe some cardboard cutouts to fit onto the windows. A disco ball. A play for two.

Currently, I live on the outside of society. Not having a single place that I stay and call home makes it so that I am something other than main stream. Not having a mailing address is difficult in that my first check from where I work will be sent to a location that I do not reside in. All government documentation is mailed and I am currently using my mothers address who lives 5 states away. It’s frustrating that society assumes that you live in a house and if you don’t then you are going to have to figure these nuanced things out. I signed up for this however, and do not regret my decision. At this very moment I sit in a coffee shop next to people that dress like they have a house, a car, a job… Most of these people have probably been going to the same job for years and have savings accounts and maybe even a house. I am so far removed from this type of life that I now feel on the outside looking in. I am beginning to wonder if starting a career and saving up enough money to “fit back in” with the mainstream might be the things that I want to do. (Reading this paragraph through I think- classic, a guy that lives in the rough desires comfort).

The people I went to school with have all graduated and are now making more money than they have an idea of what to do with. I don’t have a way to grasp how much I owe in school loans and also don’t have a definite plan of paying it off. My school friends make plans to travel but something like three years down the road, after they have saved up enough money to make the trip in luxury. That looks like a really good idea for the perspective of my car, but there is no way I could ever wait that long.

I value the experiences that I have had so far but wonder if I might be able to choose a better path for myself. One adventure to the next is something that would be hard to give up, maybe impossible. The wear and tear of life feels like it might get to me at some point and I might then be forced into choosing something different. For now I will continue down the path of the unknown. I wish to be in Australia and that is where my sight still lies. A month or two of work and then I will be off to continue with the great adventure. I will need to figure out how to make money doing the coast over the next few months. This week will be focused on the car. Next week I cannot say. The week after that is still a greater mystery and from then until death anything could happen.

Living out of a Subaru

Today I woke up in the back of my Subaru and took 15 minutes to meditate on where I am in life and where I am going. I am literally parked in the Sodo area of Seattle Washington, close to my friends bus and close the garage that I ride pedicabs out of. Last night was the first night spent in the Subaru. I changed sleeping positions three different times throughout the night. Today I will get some proper bedding for the fold down back seat and then next week I might head south for trim work and fit myself nicely into this west coast kind of life.

My friends are starting to take off in success and I am here, getting thrown all over the United States having to rebuild from zero time and time again. My experiences come with me and I am more competent at building a life than I have ever been. Right now I feel that its time to set my sites on one plan and stick with it. Right as I make up my mind to do this however a million options open up. Only the near future seams certain. In about a week I will head south with some friends in search of trim work. Trim work is not something I am fond of but it would be a way to make money without spending. After trim season I could head even further south and explore what is going on in LA and other parts of SoCal. It would be there that I sell the Subaru and head out to Australia for the adventure that I had originally planned on making.

There is another plan however, that could push the Australian adventure back about 8 months. Here in Seattle my best friend is a guy who turns old school busses into mobile homes. He is making a great argument in my mind that  could get me to stay here in Seattle and convert a bus over the winter into a place thats able to transport pedicabs around the states to different festivals. This would involve me investing quite a bit into building the bus and also into building a pedicab that is festival worthy. After the festival season comes to an end I would be able to sell all of my equipment, take what I have earned, and head out to Australia like I had originally planned.

As I talk about great plans with different friends that I have made over the years, we all talk about what we are going to do with this coming summer and skip over talk of the winter. It seems like everyone is going to hibernate for the winter. I cannot let this come to pass. It seems vauge to head south for the winter. I would like to travel to some distant place where I can make money or maybe work another winter on the mountain but still the issue of money comes into play. Perhaps Hawaii, or maybe Australia, or maybe here in Seattle.

There is so much to do and so little time to do it and the coffee does nothing but stimulates this feeling. For now I will go and speak with my friends about great things before heading out on the town to make money and then head back to my car to sleep. Good things are happening. Good connections are being made. Life is good and it’s alwasy time to act.

Side quests 

It has been a dream and still is my dream to live and love in Australia. As some of you may know I had purchased a plane ticket for the 11th of september to fly from Seattle to Sydney where I could then buy a car and figure things out from there. By flying out of Seattle I could save 200+ on airfare and I could visit a new city; all I had to do was get from Denver to Seattle.I started the trip by finding a Craigslist rideshare to Bozeman Montana with an older guy that was heading back to school. He was great to talk with and we got to know each other well enough that I feel like texting him right now to see how he is doing. Anyways, on the first night of my trip I was able to get to the Bozeman hot springs. I spend the evening talking with mostly college freshman and soaking in the hot water. After the hot spring it was time to look for a camp spot. I do not like paying for a place to sleep, ever, and so I will usually just pitch a hammock between two trees that are secluded enough to not get woken up by anyone in the morning. This night was different. Behind the hot springs I found an abandoned camper truck, unlocked, and ready to be slept in with mattress and all. I must admit there was some old old chicken in the sink and junk on the floor, but the mattress was clean and I was able to lock the door and thus got a fairly fucking decent night of sleep.


The next morning I woke up with the sun, put my large pack on my back, my small pack on my front and started hiking to the highway by which I could throw up the thumb. It’s a 200 mile journey from the hot springs to Missoula. It took me three rides and most of the day to make the trip. The first guy picked me up on the side of the road and sent me off about three miles down the road. The second ride was with a lady that made her daughter sit in the back so that she could give me a ride a few more miles down the road. Sweet of her to be able to trust a hitch hiker even with her children present. The third ride got me to the Missoula off ramp and was with one of the more interesting persons that I have met in a long time. The guy looked like he was in his early thirties but turned out to be ott 45. He was driving from South Carolina to go camping with a few friends in Idaho. He told me of his train hopping days that lasted from a mid teen all the way through his mid thirties. Through dumpster diving and knowledge of the forest he was able to go for years without needing money of any kind. He was able to cross the American borders without a passport. Now he has his “sweety” and a son that he is raising on a farm/commune in SC. When he dropped me off in Missoula I thanked him for his stories and the ride

In Missoula I was able to meet up with an old friend who gave me a place to sleep, a shower, and endless conversation. Missoula this time of year is smoked out by forest fire to the point of not being able to see the sun. Breathing in the air makes it feel as if you’re coming down with a hard sickness and I had to leave.

For the last part of my trip I decided to take the night bus. It would get me to downtown Seattle and I could sleep for the entire ride there. I remember talking with a lady during one of our stops. We got into chit chat and I learned that this was a lady in a terrible place. She had drug problems and was being taken away from her kids. I told her, at least it can’t get any worse. She said- I beg to differ. At the next rest station it’s something like 3 in the morning and the entire bus is emptied into some random bus station. We are zombies when I hear some shouting and see an old guy get slashed in the face with a knife. The culprit dominates the bus station brandishing the knife shouting about injustice for about three minutes before an officer shows up with a fully automatic weapon and the man is put to the ground in cuffs. I see the lady I had talked with earlier who whispers- still think this day can’t get any worse. Little did I know at the time that my day was to get a whole lot worse.

The next rest station it must be something like 4 in the morning when they make us get off the bus again so that we can fill up on gas. I am half asleep when they announce that its time to get back on the bus. What I think I hear is that it’s time to get back on a bus that’s not my bus and so I stay where I am, half asleep. Minutes later I realize that my bus has left without me. I call Greyhound and they tell me that I can wait where I am at for the next bus which comes in 12 hours. I spend the rest of the night asking people if they are going to Seattle and getting what sleep can be got out of gas station bench. I end up buying a new bus ticket with a different bus company the rest of the way to Seattle.

I get to Seattle. First thing that hits me is how beautiful the stone buildings next to the water look. It strangely reminds me of St. Paul. I go to the Greyhound bus station where they give me my large pack that was checked under the bus. No one can find the smaller pack that I had carried on with me when I boarded the bus. I go through the blurry ass camera footage to see something that looks like what might be someone walking away with my pack. They tell me that Greyhound is not responsible for carry ons shoe me out the door. It’s Friday, my plane leaves on Monday; my passport, drivers license, birth certificate, and social security card were all in the pack. I’m fucked. Expedited passports are about 500 which is too much for me to spend and then expect to make a responsible start in Australia. It looks as if I will be staying in Seattle for a while.

Putting the large pack on my back I head to the pedicab garage downtown. On the way to the garage I meet two guys who are working on a school bus. They yell some sort of nonsense at me through the window and invite me aboard. Inside is covered with tools and supplies by which these guys are flooring it out so that they live in style and avoid paying rent. They give me a beer and we smoke some weed. The one guy works at the same cab company that I plan on working for. He lets me sleep on the bus with him that night and then in the back of this truck the following night. Over the weekend I make money and friends on the rickshaw. Looking to buy a subaru later today by which I can live, love, and save up some money for a trip to Australia. It’s a definite setback but I really do love my life. Seattle is beautiful and now I have time to explore. Today I interview for bartender and then will jump on the cab to get some exploring in. I currently don’t have any identification but have not yet been carded even though I frequent the bars in town. Looking forward to the Seattle jungle and have plans to visit the forest with another forest dwelling creature from Minnesota. Starting fresh in a new city is one of my favorite things to do. I feel like a baby on a mission. Everything is so new and there is so much to do. Now, it’s time to build.