It’s a cold morning right here in Wanting Glass, Oregon.
We’re tenting in a area behind the house of an outdated highschool buddy. He moved out right here from Pennsylvania years in the past, works as a chemist but additionally has a small vegetable operation on this 5-acre plot. He intends to plant grapes right here within the fall, however for now it’s a wonderful place to park an RV.
I simply made espresso on the camp range. It’s a bit unusual to be carrying layers of flannel shirts, lengthy pants and heat socks in the midst of July, however I can see my breath because the solar slowly climbs up from the horizon. My spouse and children are nonetheless nestled within the RV behind me, though my spouse has to rise up quickly for her morning conferences.
One of many challenges of this journey has been conserving her related to Wi-Fi so she will be able to work full time from the highway as properly.
Wanting Glass looks like a becoming place to replicate on our journey. There are a pair large issues that stand out for me from our journey thus far.
The primary is simply how large and exquisite this nation is. We’ve actually traveled from sea to shining sea — from the barrier islands on the Mid-Atlantic coast to the rocky coves of the Pacific Northwest. From the Piedmont to the Appalachians, throughout mighty rivers and nice plains, via the Rockies and the deserts, to the forests fires and farmland of the West, we’ve traversed the grand open house and witnessed the pure great thing about America.
A Nation Curious About Hemp
Moreover the bodily great thing about America, there was one other magnificence that I can’t fairly describe, nevertheless it has to do with the individuals we’ve met alongside the way in which. I attempt to speak to as many individuals as I can — once I’m filling up the tank at a fuel station, I’ll strike up a dialog with somebody on the subsequent pump, or the cashier at a grocery retailer, or our neighbors within the campground.
An enormous RV with the Lancaster Farming Industrial Hemp Podcast emblem plastered on the again is type of a dialog starter. Individuals are interested in what we’re doing and why.
After I inform folks that I’m touring round speaking to hemp farmers and processors and entrepreneurs, they gentle up — the deli man on the Kroger in Kentucky, the campground attendant on the KOA in Colorado, the trucker at a espresso store in Kansas. Individuals are curious and enthusiastic about hemp, and most of the people can’t perceive why we’re not already making our shopper items out of hemp.
They like to inform me what they learn about hemp, how within the outdated days we made rope and sails from hemp, or how Henry Ford constructed a automobile from hemp within the Forties, or how the pioneers made homespun clothes from hemp. After I clarify that each one of this stuff and rather more are solely throughout the realm of chance, however that we lack the infrastructure for strong processing and provide chains, they only type of shake their heads.
And once I discuss hemp’s potential to remediate soil and sequester carbon from the environment, they’re much more but stunned that it’s taken so lengthy to get this trade off the bottom. Me too.
Final week, on the Mesa Verde KOA, I used to be beneath the gun to get my story written and despatched off to my editor earlier than we had to take a look at of the campground at 11 a.m. Round 11:30, as I used to be clacking away on my keyboard on the picnic desk at our camp website, Tracey from the primary workplace drove up on a golf cart to see why we hadn’t checked out but. Seems she and her husband are from Pennsylvania, had moved out to Colorado a few years in the past, and have pals again residence who learn Lancaster Farming. Small world.
I advised her concerning the tour and what I used to be engaged on. I gave her a Hemp Tour hat, a T-shirt and a duplicate of the paper. She let me keep a bit longer to complete up.
Adventures within the West
After we lastly bought on the highway, we drove to the traditional Pueblo cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde Nationwide Park. Fifteen hundred years in the past this place was a thriving group of indigenous individuals residing on the mesa in homes constructed into the cliffs. The circumstances had been harsh to say the least, and it’s a surprising instance of the resilience of individuals and the way there’s not a lot we are able to’t do after we work collectively.
From Colorado we took U.S. Route 191 north to Moab, Utah, the place we stayed at one other KOA campground. Simply as we had been arriving, an enormous storm appeared earlier than us within the desert, and we rode that storm into city with 70 mph winds, extravagant lightning and precise tumbleweeds.
We camped two nights in Moab, attempting to determine if we should always go north to California like we had supposed or if the massive wildfires burning alongside our proposed route could be sufficient to make us change course. We thought of backtracking via Colorado, avoiding the fires and warmth as a lot as we may.
However there was one thing calling us to California. Was it the Pacific Ocean? Was it the enormous redwoods? I believe it was each.
From Moab, we headed north via Utah, took a left at Salt Lake Metropolis, and rolled into our campsite in jap Nevada round midnight, and rolled out once more simply after daybreak. That was this previous Saturday. We drove all day, stopping for lunch close to Reno after which urgent on to Sacramento.
We had been headed to Fieldbrook, Humboldt County, California, the place the redwoods meet the ocean, however there was an enormous forest fireplace smack dab in the midst of the quickest route, so as an alternative we headed south a bit and took Interstate 5 north, avoiding the fires. We may see plumes of smoke on the horizon. The panorama round Sacramento was crisp and brown the way in which Pennsylvania can get after a really dry fall.
After driving 15 hours throughout the desert, we knew that crossing the mountains to the coast at midnight was asking for bother, so we camped at an RV park alongside the Sacramento River close to Redding.
Within the morning we made our method throughout the mountain vary into Humboldt County — three hours of white-knuckle driving via steep and treacherous mountain passes with California sports activities vehicles whizzing previous. Harrowing. That’s the perfect phrase to explain what it’s wish to drive an enormous RV via mountain passes.
We stayed with some Pennsylvania transplants, Lisa and Clark, who moved out from Berks County about 10 years in the past. They allow us to keep within the yurt on their property and so they allow us to borrow their automobile to drive out to the Pacific coast two miles away.
The water was chilly, however I swam within the ocean and my youngsters performed within the surf whereas my spouse strummed the ukulele on the seaside. Unsure how this might have been extra excellent.
We stayed within the yurt for 2 nights. This gave my spouse an opportunity to make amends for her work and me to edit and publish podcast interviews from Colorado. Our hosts had been gracious and beneficiant and so they made us really feel at residence, precisely what we wanted after so many days on the highway.
The Highway Going Ahead
We left Tuesday morning, headed up the coastal freeway towards Oregon. We had been warned that the freeway was closed for development from 7 a.m. to midday, and three to 7 p.m., at a spot referred to as Final Probability Grade, simply south of Crescent Metropolis, so we needed to time it excellent or we’d be caught.
We gambled with our time a bit bit after we stopped at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park to see the enormous bushes, however luck was on our aspect and we made it via Final Probability Grade at 2:59, simply within the nick of time.
From Oregon, we’ll journey as much as some fiber and grain operations in southern Washington, after which make our strategy to Fort Benton, the place there can be a gathering of what Ken Elliot from IND HEMP calls “the movers and shakers” of the hemp trade.
Subsequent week I’ll report on that. Then we’ll begin to make our method residence, stopping in Lancaster County, Nebraska, for a hemp occasion on the College of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The final cease on the tour can be in New Fortress, Pennsylvania, on the Mission PA Hemp Residence, a home constructed from hemp.
I do know I converse for my whole household once I say we’re all wanting ahead to getting residence.