Reproduced below are two emails exchanged with Black Bear Ranch11The Black Bear Ranch website, which hosted among other things information and a questionnaire for potential visitors/residents, now appears to be offline. during the planning of The Mythical State of Jefferson Permanent. Photograph by Emiliano Granado.
Hi, below I’ve filled out your questionnaire.
1) What is your name, where are you from and where do you currently reside?
My name is Daniel Wakefield Pasley, I was born (February 19th, 1972) and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. I moved to Los Angeles when I was fifteen, I lived in LA or the LA area for 10 years before moving to Portland, Oregon where i’ve been for the last 14 years.
On July 18th me and 12 friends are riding (bicycles) 250 miles in one go from just outside yreka to happy camp to grants pass to ashland. The whole trip will take us 36 hours or thereabouts. We will ride slow, we will stop to swim and visit with some friends along the way. We will take photographs. We will immerse ourselves in the area and the experience.
2) How did you find out about the ranch?
One of us lives in Hayfork, California, he’s known about BBR going way back. While researching roads and the area through which we wanted to ride we learned were going to ride right past BBR, and so naturally we immediately thought to see if a visit was possible.
3) What do you know and or think about communal life?
Most of know very little about communal life – at least in terms of first-hand experience. By mainstream american standards we are all progressive and liberal and very open minded. Some of us live in Los Angeles, some of us live in Austin, some of us live in Portland. While we are all friends, we are not a homogenous group by any means – some of us are academics, some of us are blue collar, some of us are still trying to figure it out, we are united by bikes and touring and friendship. We vary in age but must of us are in our late 30’s. Two years ago we started getting together once a year to do a bike tour that while enjoyable to ride, also offered something deeper to think about. We are interested in history and culture and infrastructure and similar. The first was a ride from LA to Bakersfield on the Old Ridge Road, the second was from Pittsburgh to D.C. on the Allegheny Passage and C&O canal trails. This ride will be our third.
4) What are your interests and skills?
We are interested in learning about the commune – history, workings, challenges, successes, what’s next, etc. We’d like to talk and interact and simply visit. We wont have a lot of time, while we’d like to really immerse we wont be able to stay for much longer than an hour or two. Maybe we could just visit and walk around and tour? Or maybe we could help you with something – we propably dont have useful skills as far as the commune is concerned, but we are 12 fairly fit, fairly strong and thoroughly willing helpers – maybe you need some lifting or moving done or something? Digging??
5) How could you be arriving and leaving? BBR does not permit one-ways, you must be able to provide a way to leave.
We’d be arriving and leaving by bike – just to be clear, road bikes, the kind you pedal.
6) What do you do for a living?
Like I mentioned above we are a diverse group. Many of us work in the bicycle industry. A number of us are photographers or writers or both. Some of us work for universities. One of us owns a bike shop.
7) Would you be coming only to visit or do you have interest in living communally on a regular basis?
Just one visit.
8) Do you have any health concerns of which we should be aware of, such as, handicap access requirements, medical conditions, communicable diseases, etc.
No, nothing that I can think of.
9) Is there anything else we should know about you and what you have to offer BBR?
One or two of us might want to take photographs. If that’s not possible, that’s okay we’d just like to know as otherwise it would be wonderful to record our visit. Especially if we end up doing some work and really getting into it a bit. We would be very happy to bring gifts/donations in the way of supplies to BBR. While we are riding bikes, we have a freind who is driving the route as well. We could put whatever you might need or want in his rig and deliver it that way. We are very excited about the prospect of visiting. Again, while this trip for us is mostly about riding bikes, we are very interested in a deeper and richer expereince. We chose this route because of the area’s unique, wonderful and fascinating history – of which BBR is a part. Please feel free to call me if you any questions or concerns, or if you just want to get a better feel for who we are and what we’d be like. Thanks for reading, and I hope we meet sooner than later!
Daniel Wakefield Pasley
hey thanks for checking us out. we are pretty open to people coming by for visits. a few things have going on here are of course the gardens and wood runs. there are also a few bikes that we have here, yes too the pedal kind, that maybe you guys could help with, just ideas. a few things to consider is when you ride in your going to have to hike a trail 5 miles up to the ranch. but there is also the road you can drive. unless your a super badass on them there bikes. ha. there are plenty of trees to lock bikes up to. photographs are iffy sometimes. most of us dont want to be in them. however we just ask. be mindful of what you bring. the less trash the better. if you can help with food thats awesome and with a big group it helps a lot. we make sure no one ever goes hungry and that means you guys as well. the fancy things in life we dont get much here, such as chocololate. we could also use things like gas for chainsaws or nails for projects. flour, rice, patotoes, fruit anything really helps. but yea we hope to see you guys soon.