It all started when I stumbled across this poster on the internet:
|They had me with the art work. I fell victim to their ultra-slick ad campaign and knew I had to go.|
I could write a short story, actually a long story, about the perilous adventures I experienced en route and the long list of amazing, interesting, funny, talented new friends I made, but as my wife informed me late last night, I would probably "sound like the geeky kid that won't shut up about summer camp". I'll stick to what pictures I managed to snap and a few I've robbed off the internet.
|I had some more of these barn shots on my phone, but my daughter Wyoming lost that, so I only have this one salvaged Facebook picture.|
|This is my first time seeing the Shaved Ice Shack in natural light. We pulled it out of the barn two nights before I left for Memphis. I spend many, many hours on these projects just looking and thinking.|
|This angle helps you see how the "ribs" of the shack are bolted directly to the solid metal frame.|
|7PM, Thursday night. I'm supposed to be in Memphis, allegedly 10 hours away, by lunchtime the next day. I'm still cool and collected at this point.|
Tiny House Blog, where you can go for more pictures of the weekend. I knew of the blog but had no idea who he was until the end of the last day, we spent a good while talking. He's a great guy and was really open and helpful. Anyone else with pictures from this thing, please send them to me or post them and tag me or however that works.
|Over my shoulder is Carter from Colorado, who does taxidermy and some really creative wood sculpture stuff. The yellow shirt guy is Robert from Kan-tuck, who just got in to chainsaw milling, which I'm jealous of.|
|Now these two guys almost make me want to move to Milwaukee. I spent the first half of the day trying to figure them out, I thought they might have been some vagabond street buskers, then it switched to father and son gypsy clan, the truth is even cooler. Jon (standing next to me) is Michael's (in the door way) kind-of boss and an old punk rocker that will always be young at heart. They design and build the architectural displays at Urban Outfitter's. Jon is the most genuinely enthusiastic, larger-than-life character I've met in a really long time. Michael is laid back and mild mannered, but he has a ferocious old soul. Aside from being a fantastic woodworker at the age of 21, he is a profoundly gifted songwriter that ought to be on tour right now. Watch this video of him playing one of his songs in an old Milwaukee warehouse.|
After talking with Perry, the gas station attendant for half an hour about the Mennonite builders, and his grandbaby's swimming pool, and the big shed his friend built and almost got someone to transport when he moved but wound up leaving it in the contract for less money than he had into it, I was finally able to get to the air pump and fill up that replacement tire. It was now at least 10:00PM, or 9:00PM, the time change had me tricked the whole time. Just as I was setting up my third set of makeshift board ramps on this trip, this 17 year old kid named Connor pulled in to the empty parking and asked if he could use my phone, to which I replied, "sure man." I got back to business and Connor returned the phone after a minute or two, then asked if I wouldn't mind staying with him for just a few minutes in case one of his parents called him back. His car had broken down and his phone was dead. I told him I had to change my tire anyway, so it was no big deal. We took a look under the hood of his car too, I think maybe the oil pump went out. Anyway, he let me use his jack. I showed him how to plug a puncture hole in a tire, and we had a nice little visit while I got everything squared away. Connor politely replied, "Yes Sir" to almost everything I said and I was almost taken back by his manners. I was going to give him a ride home, but someone finally called just before it was time to go. After he got home, I received this text message from him, "Hey FW it's Connor, I just wanted to let you know I'm home safe and that I appreciate your help, just so I don't worry too much, could you just send me a message letting me know when you're safe in Knoxville, and then back home with your family? I'll be praying for you the whole way."
I had noticed the new tire was a little wonky within the first 5 seconds of driving, the rim was probably bent, because it rattled the whole trailer and the truck along with it. There wasn't anything I could really do at that point, so I just rolled on and hoped for the best. After another long night in the truck, I made it to Knoxville by morning to meet with a new client and made it safely home by late afternoon.
P.S., I came home to some terrible news. The Kohl Family Farm, a local butt-bustin' organic farming family who I've mentioned in the past suffered a terrible and tragic loss to over half of their dairy goat herd in one night. Click here to read more and help them out. They deserve it and there's an important message for anyone into self-sustainability.
|Brinn took this picture last year of Spencer Kohl and his daughter Meredith on their farm near our home.|