Trouble viewing slides? Click here. After two months of extensive preparations, Fruit Tree Tour crew veterans and newcomers gathered in Hopland, CA to kick off the 2009 tour with a busy orientation schedule. Along with getting to know each other, learning about what to expect on a typical school day, trying out for various roles in the performance, and enjoying sumptuous vegan meals, there were also some projects with buses and support vehicles to finish up. Colton, a tour alumnus finished a magical transformation of the interior of the Jah Lioness Bus. Also two new support vehicles were converted to run on vegetable oil and joined tour, a pickup truck for hauling soil and a new utility truck for gathering vegetable oil with a triple filtration system, 35 gpm gathering pump and a 200 gallon crude veggie oil storage tank.
A big thank you to Brock and Sarah long time supporters who opened their home to us as the first gracious host home of 2009 along with their daughters Daya and Jah Lila. Some long awaited winter rains finally arrived which was fantastic for the Hopland area ecosystems but not so great when it was time to leave and we found that the buses had sunk into the patch of dirt where they were parked making taking off a muddy and slippery ordeal. Luckily we had the awesome power of the Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel motor plus the driving skills of Leo Buc our alternative fuels expert and Hopland firefighter and Blair Philips the tour founder and bus driver extroidinaire. The support of the crew was also crucial, as an unofficial team building exercise unfolded with crew members gathering to push on the back of Jah Lioness while the Dodge pulled from the front. With all the buses miraculously unstuck we headed out to Isis Oasis, our next orientation location.
The Isis Oasis is a retreat center in Gyserville that also hosts a number of rare wild cats and exotic birds. After a tour of the white peacocks, ocelots, cervils, emus, and macaws, we got down to business hammering out the details of our performance and finishing the props with our beloved director Bridget Barsotti. We also delved deep into building curriculum for the expression session and drum group workshops. We are looking forward to going deeper into the tree-planting curriculum in preparation for our first community planting on Feb. 14th at the MA Center in San Ramon and our first school Feb 17th in Santa Cruz.