Have you seen the CoLaboratory?
That's the name two brothers from Calgary, Alberta have given a 1990 International school bus they bought in May and converted to run on vegetable oil.
In July, 26-year-old River Easton and his 21-year-old brother Taylor hit the road in Canada with a third companion, on their way to festivals across North and Central America.
By the time they rolled into Napa Saturday, there were 11 people aboard, hailing from as far away as Australia, Alaska and Missouri.
"It was an intention bus from the start," River Easton said. "When you create strong intentions, they manifest in a specific way."
The brothers' "original plan was to get a bus so we could travel between festivals," including Burning Man, the Human Be-In and Rainbow Gathering, "making a documentary about these gatherings," he said.
The idea quickly grew to become what he described as "a community on wheels filled with artists and musicians and filmmakers and other wacky people."
Who's on the bus?
The nine young men and two young women currently aboard the CoLaboratory — "CoLab" for short, Easton said — include Kathleen Manning of Juneau, who got on the bus for an arranged ride to Burning Man in Nevada a few weeks ago.
She had a return ticket to Alaska, but didn't use it, Manning said as she sipped maté outside the bus, which was parked on West Street outside Slack Collective Studios while another CoLaborator worked on its engine Tuesday.
"I've just been learning so many things on this bus. Everybody’s so resourceful," Manning said.
"I'm learning a lot about not being wasteful and not creating a lot of trash," and also quit smoking cigarettes, she added.
Waste reduction is an important part of the Easton brothers' CoLaboratory culture, according to Taylor Easton, who said the group seeks ultimately to become "waste-negative," disposing of more waste than its members create.
The CoLaborators, as they call themselves, performed that function for the Napa River Rock & Stroll on Saturday, when organizers gave them oranges and bananas left over from the finish line festival.
They're also seasoned dumpster-divers, gleaning past-date pastries and other edibles tossed out by restaurants and markets, and they seek to compost their food waste.
Just one rule
There's only one rule on the bus, according to CoLaborator Andre Gordillo, 26, who likened its close quarters to a submarine.
"No drugs, no alcohol," Gordillo said as he smoked a cigarette on the curb.
The CoLaboratory has its own Facebook page,Facebook.com/TheFriendshipTour, where the Eastons describe it as "a community on wheels looking to spread the message of love and happiness through out the world."
The CoLaborators would like to find some work in the Napa area to replenish their funds, according to a recent post: "We are hanging out in the Napa Valley looking for some work opportunities before heading down to Mexico. If anyone has some contacts for us, please send us a message with your number and we can give you a call."
The group is also planning to take part in Slack Collective's special open mic Friday, held in honor of Latino Heritage Month. The Collective has been providing the CoLaboratory with a parking spot on West Street.
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