While we were alongside Prospect Park we determined that Godzilla, our bus, needed some serious repair work. So we decided that going to Arc38 would allow us to work on the bus much easier than in the city, and that we could get some rest and recuperation at the retreat.
Arc38 has eight main projects:
1. Online presence, networking, media creation, and open sourcing the Arc38 vision.
2. Feeding the movement, growing food, processing food, and food justice.
3. Volunteer coördination, local community building, and outreach.
4. Transparent, donation based funding; and cooperative sales for artists.
5. Studio workshop space for artists and artisans who are focused on change.
6. Establishing a sustainable community learning and unlearning center.
7. Managing incoming and exiting resources in a sustainable way.
8. Getting in touch with nature through camping and outdoor activities.
While we were at Arc38 there were a handful of activists there, including José (Occupy Wall Street) who I have mentioned before as one of the people who would come by Occupy Trinity Wall Street at night to make sure I could sleep safely when I was the only one occupying there during the day. It was good to see José again, and I hope we meet again many times.
Once at Arc38 we quickly found out that Godzilla’s troubles were far more serious than we could fix on our own — it was beyond our experience. We determined that there probably was a blown head gasket along with a deteriorated oil pan gasket. We also found out that there was a coolant leak somewhere, but we could not find any obvious leak — which scared us into thinking we might have a cracked engine block. That would mean the end for Godzilla. The smoke pouring out the exhaust didn’t assuage our fears any.
Luckily, we were later able to determine the engine block was OK, and it was simply a bad thermostat. But before we realized that we had some tense nights worrying about the Occupy Bus Tour’s future. We determined to never again ignore the needs of the vehicle because we wanted to rush to get somewhere. If we can’t make an action, we can’t make it. Running the bus out of diesel, ignoring the oil leak, and ignoring the increasing smoke out of the tailpipe all led up to this situation.
So, we spent a few days at Arc38, and for my part I used it to get away from the madness of the city and reconnect with the Earth. Durty talked to Charlie on the phone about our troubles, as Charlie knows a thing or three about diesel engines. Charlie offered his knowledge, hospitality, driveway and tools to us so we could repair the bus. We gratefully accepted, and began the trip to Long Island.
We said good-bye at Arc38 to Liz, the Traveling Musician, as she had more traveling to do. Dré came with us as far as Brooklyn. The trip should have taken about 4 hours, but Godzilla was having so much trouble that it took us 12 hours. I drove the entire way, and although we babied her it was quite nerve-wracking once we hit Manhattan — because we knew we couldn’t stop anywhere in the City for fear of getting stuck in a place where the bus would get towed.
We did make it to Charlie’s house, and Godzilla has been stationary ever since. We have worked on her every day, with Durty doing most of the work, but Stacy crawling around under the bus as well, learning how it all works. Charlie, Kim, and their children have treated us like members of the family. I am amazed every day we are here how welcoming the family has been to us. We three are very grateful, and will not ever forget how much they all have helped us out. As I write this, having not written a post in a while, we are almost done putting the bus back together. Soon, maybe today, we will fire it up and see what happens. It has been very depressing, very frustrating, very maddening how difficult every step of the way this repair work has been. It seems the engineers designed everything to be impractical to repair outside of a fully stocked mechanic’s garage. We could not even get the oil pan completely off because the engine has to be pulled in order for there to be enough room to remove the pan. Without Charlie & Kim it would have been impossible. We thank them sincerely.
Another reason it has taken us so long repairing the bus is because we are very low on funds. We have been collecting bottles and cans from the roadside to help pay for the parts we needed. We would all appreciate any donations you can spare — even a single dollar helps. Please consider helping us get to the KXL Pipeline Blockade, the Trail of Tears, the March Against Monsanto and other actions. We bring mutual aid in the form of two Street Medics, a mobile Food Not Bombs chapter, a solar powered charging station, a People’s Library, an OWS Info Table, livestreaming from the Hard-Grounder uStream channel, dedicated protesters and much more. But we need your help to keep Godziilla running. We would love to count you in as a part of the Occupy Bus Tour! Monetary donations for the bus can be made at our WePay pages for the Occupy Bus Tour, and monetary donations for medical supplies can be made at our BlackHeart Street Medic WePay page. Thank you.