I just spent 2 weeks living in an intentional community in the forest ~20 miles outside Eugene, OR. This is my first time in Oregon. My-oh-my, is it beautiful! Just a bit cold & wet for my tastes (welcome to the Pacific Northwest!). I give massive cred to the crusties living on the streets here. How do they ever dry their clothes?
I spent a wonderful week with a new friend in Sacramento. I was surprised how much I enjoyed Sacramento. The weather was great, the dumpsters were full of gifts (two unopened 4-packs of Pilsner Urquell?!?), and the streets were easy to navigate by bicycle. Coworking offices were pretty ridiculous ($192/day are you mad?!?), but fortunately I was able to work from home.
I was just finishing dinner, planning to see a friend play a folk punk show in Sac when my friend in Eugene asked what time I'd arrive tomorrow. Looks like my calendar was off-by-one day; my train leaves in a few hours. Whoops! I made a call to a friend, packed my stuff, rode-off to amtrak, and quickly boxed my bicycle. When I awoke on the train the next morning, I was crossing a gorgeous lake via causeway with snow-capped mountains in the distance. Everything was green, and--as we climbed in elevation through the cascades--there was snow on the ground.
I arrived in Eugene in the afternoon. After assembling my bicycle, I rode around the block while waiting for my friend to arrive. Much to my dissatisfaction, I discovered 90% of the dumpsters were locked, and I didn't have superglue..
I had only a few hours of sunlight left when we arrived to her commune in the forest. I spent the time exploiting their incredibly fast wifi (P2P tower <--> forest campus) calling my brother for his birthday, and talking with a friend about building a bicycle-trailer-airstream-small-house out of zip ties, duct tape, and used campaign signs. Brilliant, and quite relevant to my newfound IC.
Finally, I got a chance to explore. The IC has 88 acres of trails, classrooms, cob structures, dorms, cabins, and a creek. The land was originally the headquarters of a christian work organization. The structures were built by the god-seeking youth at the camp in the 70s. Apparently this org was running several businesses (including a business doing demolition work, yielding plenty of building materials for construction on-site) without paying taxes. The IRS was notified, demanded repayment in the $100,000s, and a legal battle ensued. The org lost, the lawyers took claim of all assets, clearcut the forest, and sold what remained to a bunch of hippies trying to start an IC the year I was born. 26 years later, I showed up to visit a friend for 2 weeks.
I love community, and I love ICs. But every IC I've visited is loaded with good & bad. The campus and their mission statement was awesome. But there was a lot of community-cest, expectations, and fear. Therefore, lots of drama--with a side of extortion. C'est la vie. Regardless, I met a number of beautiful souls, and I'm very grateful for my time there.
After two weeks, I was barely on speaking terms with my host (see drama above). I woke up Saturday morning in my tent, loaded up my bicycle, gave a short goodbye, and rode the 20 miles to Eugene. I arrived with just a few hours before my train left, so I hit my favorite bagel dumpster & neighboring co-op compost bin, had a feast, packed some away for later, and rode on to Eugene amtrak station. After a brief 3 hour ride on the local amtrak train (the amtrak cascades line--which takes your bicycle unboxed for just $5!), I arrived in Portland's Union Station.
The hipster capital of the US welcomed me with open arms, and I woke up the next morning to a second-day-is-50%-off REI used gear sale, where I got my replacement cookset--a ~$60 Jetboil Titanium pot for $9. Awesome!