Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Jamboree Surprise (sounds like an epic dessert)

So now you know why the last post was written in haste...and you also know that it had some necessary fibs in it.  I had said that I wasn't going to Colorado for the 1st ever Tiny House JamboreeLie !  I went!
Roadtrip with the boyfriend! First stop, legal vandalism at Cadillac Ranch!

The plan was in motion to surprise BA and I needed (AND GOT) several folks to help foster the lies.  BA was to kick-off the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs on Friday morning at 10am.  The DFW Tiny House Enthusiasts were driving and flying in at all different times, many were going to be there early to volunteer. They helped me immensely. On Thursday we played tourist by going all the way up to Pike's Peak, going to the Cliff Dwellings and then hiking around Garden of the Gods in the late afternoon.
Mountain Goat crossing at 14K feet!
I should mention here that we experienced one of THE COOLEST THINGS EVER while looking out over the countryside... we had a fly-by! A jet! RIGHT in front of us! It was on it's wing and just BOOM! a bit below us, zipped right in front of us.
Felt that go through my body and was such a rush!  Once in a lifetime thing. Wowzers :)

The thing that I DIDN'T do on Day 1 was see that BA had posted to Facebook that a group of tiny housers would be hiking Garden of the Gods.  Whoopsie.   We were hiking down one of the more remote/lonelier trails when we heard a chatty group coming up and hear the words "tiny house" and laughter...  I looked back and made the "pull your hat down" gesture.  We came within 2feet of BA...she walked right past me and LOOKED at me, but was in conversation and I had sunglasses and a big hiking hat that she'd never seen.  PHEW!  We hastened our pace so that we didn't run into her in the parking lot.  We worried that she might have recognized us so we took off.   Turns out?  She didn't!
Garden of the Gods

The next morning we got to the jamboree early and looked around. I figured BA would be in the VIP lounge and practicing her speech and blah blah.  NOPE! She was traipsing around all over the place and we were hiding behind tiny houses here and there and ALL THE WHILE, she and I were texting.  THEN?  SHE CALLED ME.  Unfortunately, there was no way to disguise the noises being the same noises of hammers and drills (tiny houses were being built, fences & displays constructed).  I didn't answer and just texted "sorry, driving."  I saw her face look at her phone like "WTF?"  We stayed hidden until she FINALLY headed toward the stage.  We had a space saved and were waved in by our DFW peeps (Thank you Susan!) and waited until she was underway to go and plop down in my chair, right in front.  Once seated I slowly took my sunglasses, then hat, then let my hair down.  It was about 10 minutes of our folks looking at her, looking at me, waiting...  and then she saw me and it was awesome.  The surprise worked!
And she said she was going to kill me... I was afraid of that.  BUT she recovered quickly and continued her presentation and it was stellar.  She had the crowd rapt with her stories and laughing and RIGHT THERE with her. BA definitely set the tone of the weekend: you've shown up here to find your community...We Are Your People...you've found your people!
BA kicks off the Jamboree weekend and I'm in the front row! Surprise!

Even if you've heard BA speak once or twice, it always seems fresh and new because she tailors it to subject matter requested of her by the venue and time constraints given but one thing always remains the same, the authenticity of who she is and how she's living her own truth. We were all so proud of her...and then I was able to join the group fun... no more hiding!  Thank you Kai and Vina and Demere for capturing the fun moment of surprise!!
DFW folks that were there? Tracy, Shannon, Craig, Jet, Rob, Richard, Kim, Jay, Susan, Demere, Theresa and it was awesome to have BuilderDaniel drive all the way from Southern California!! He brought Andy to introduce him to the tiny house community.  I think Andy liked it (understatement) 

Ok, um...so tell me how you really feel about that raspberry cider...

Tallest & Shortest DFW Tiny House Enthusiast Meetup Group Members!

The Jamboree says that 40K people walked through the gates over the 3 days. The lines to see houses were long (I'd seen several already at other events) and it was HOT out there BUT ... it was bliss.  It was a place where we found our people. We had imagined it would be like Woodstock to a hippie and that's what it was! It was as if all of our separate and  tiny tiny house groups all merged into ONE HUGE TINY HOUSE TRIBE.  Like minds. Similar goals. Smiles and hugs and EVERYONE was curious and inspired. Food trucks (even VORE, a vegan one! thanks Angie!!!), vendors, tiny house builds, farmer's market, Pike's Peak Brewery, a chapel where TinyHouse43 renewed their vows).
We first heard about the Jamboree when our friend Angie Alcorn (TinyHouseAmerica) started making the phone calls to get The Names to commit to present/speak.  She has been working nonstop ever since and put her heart and soul into it...and you can tell.  It was such a great success...even with the overwhelming outcome (they thought maybe 10K people would come), they handled it and made it all work.  It was sooo great.  Great job to you Angie and your great husband, Bobby! Super proud of the job you did on this monster!!!
Zack Giffin "First off, I'm going to ask that you please not ask any questions about the TV show...that's not what this is about"
Awesome dude who GETS it.

Friend and designer of my tiny house, Vina Lustado, speaking on the elements and importance of tiny space design.

The speakers were friends, old and new...and so many! and on all different subjects! Alek Lisefski, Deek Diedricksen, Andrew Morrison, Vina Lustado, Zack Giffin, Jay Shafer, Lee Pera, Andrew Odom, Gary Bute.... the list was long and awesome and I had so much fun...one of the funniest moments was when Kai Rostcheck (Tinyhousedating and TinyHouseLending creator) got the "single social scene" going and even had a dating game that had 3 single men and 3 single women up there on stage... Jay Shafer was one of them!  Oh...the hilarity!   Shout out to Kai for being an awesome MC... totally exudes love... and Andrew Odom who is the MC that is so comfy on stage and is really funny and Andrew Morrison who is just... awesome to listen to...speaking on anything from tiny house codes to his new shorts..he's just genuine and I can't even stand how wonderful it is to witness he and Gabriella together - great couple. I had fun being able to mingle with them on Friday night.  Another biggie at this event was Kent Griswold. I shook his hand and introduced myself but I'm not sure he'll remember me, it was amidst a see of others wanting to meet him. I just love it when people show up and check their egos at the gate (even those that you'd think HAVE a reason to have gotten a bit of a big head because of all they're doing in our tiny world) and they are just OPEN ARMS and WIDE SMILES and HUMBLE and know that it's not about them...it's about the community that we all belong to. I loved that.
In a fortuitous parking lot meeting, we saw Gabriel Craft drive up with his super awesome set up.  You know who he is, and even if you don't think you do..you've probably seen his rig or his work (writing, documenting, photography) that we all love and love. And love. He is a nomad...a rooftop nomad. He has a spectacular tent over top of his vehicle and he camps up there! He has been going on really fabulous adventures, many with his daughter, and it's been fun to see those pictures.
One of the best surprises was that Zack Giffin is a genuine tiny house person at heart. I had actually seen his youtube video (ski bum, chasing snow, builds tiny house, goes after it). I didn't make the connection until the day he spoke. He was really nice (and REALLY funny) and I wished he could have spoken longer but he was late to the stage and kept getting interrupted.  Afterwards he was generous with his time and, again, had us all laughing with his stories. I was really happy to have seen that he was a tiny house person before the show Tiny House Nation came along; he's not an opportunist latching onto the movement (because there are those, <groan>). I'm glad Zack is on that show. He brought many to laughter and to tears with his heartfelt presentation. I like who he is.
I got to spend downtime (not building) with the DFW group. Spectacular group of people and we laughed a lot. Man...I am LUCKY!

I was so happy to see BA solidifying the connections she's made over social media and finding her people and being able to spend time with them.  She was having the time of her life...we all were...man what a great culmination of energy.  It'll be awesome to see where all that goes from here on out!  And yes, there will be another Jamboree... the people have spoken. Darin Zaruba of EcoCabins was behind this event and realizes that it's a good thing he did.

On the final day BuilderDaniel and Andy took to the road at 1ish because they were on their way to stay the night in one of the Earthships in Taos, New Mexico.  We were like "WHAT?!" and they invited us.  OMG!!!!  SO exciting!  We had to stay a little longer at the Jamboree because we weren't done making connections, hanging out with friends...plus Jay found out I had a boyfriend and wanted to meet and chat with him.  We got on the road and drove up to the earthship in darkness...and it is DARK out there (BuilderDaniel had to flashlight-wave us in). We sat and watched the spectacular night sky. Stars and more stars and a lightning show over the mountain pass.
Tires, earth, glass bottles and it has it's own water catchment system, solar system, passive heating and cooling, grows food for you and ... oh yeah, is a luxurious shelter that costs just a few dollars to live in? You need to experience an Earthship.
BuilderDaniel's camera captures some of the spectacular light show
Entrance to our earthship...see the bottles in the steps?

The Earthship is built, essential from earth and recycled trash..as in cans, glass bottles, and tires. Instead of filling a landfill, they're packed with earth and made into extremely thick and strong walls that will insulate and hold the berm that the house is built into. In that berm is the water catchment system.  Have you ever been in a southwest storm?  It's stupid not to catch that water, so they have two cisterns buried. From the top you can see the solar and smaller water catchment system components but the big components are buried. Inside the house? it was like a resort. (I had only seen these things on video, I was astounded at their beauty!)  Gorgeous! And...plants and trees in the hallway facing the south in the windows/greenhouse. This house will grow your food...tomato plants, melons, fig trees, chiles, herbs and...A BANANA TREE!

The greenhouse was along one side of the hallway and the house was on the other...3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and a large living room and kitchen space.  The walls were creatively decorated using glass bottles and you could see the passive heating and cooling screens and how the windows worked to keep the house comfy.  It was great to see that a house could truly be off-grid and be LUXURIOUS.   It was way beyond what I expected.
Food, in buckets, just hanging around


across the hallway from the food gallery/greenhouse are the bedrooms and kitchen/living room

Notice the glass bottles and lovely design...this was in every room and walls and provided "night lights"
The next morning was a quick tour of the earthship welcome center to see the systems more in-depth and then we went off in separate directions BuilderDaniel and Andy had to drive back to California and we were on our way back to Texas...but wait...   FIRST...
I really wanted to go back to some places in remote northern New Mexico that I visited in my early 20s.  I had to share them and had to just BE there...some of my favorite places on the planet that I needed to share with my most favorite of all people.
Roadtrip in my 20's...it had been too long since I'd been back
It added about...oh, 8 hours to the drive back but it was worth it and we made it back in time for scheduled meetings in Dallas.
Surprising BA, the tinyhousetribe, the jet fly-by, the beauty and feeling of the Colorado Springs and then New Mexico... it was such an overwhelming trip.  Friends Friends and MORE Friends. Thank you all for helping me surprise BA and for following us around doing our tiny house thing. See you at Jamboree next year, right?


  1. It must taken ya all freaking' day to write this!!


  2. Oh, now I'm even more sad I didn't make it after all. Definitely must go next year!


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