After a gruelingly long drive I arrive at basecamp while it was lightly raining. I was able to spot which place it was because of the rock-jacks viewable from the road. I thought to myself “this is the only place that would have them and google maps indicated I was close as well.
Kai greeted me either by happenstance or he saw my car pull in and came and made sure it was me. He took me for a short tour of basecamp and showed me all of the neat things I’ve heard about on the podcasts and read about on permies.com.
I looked upon everything with a sense of awe and bizarre surreality, I couldn’t believe that I was actually here. I saw everything from the Pee Palace and the Willow Feeder to the Berm Shed and all of the Rocket Mass Heater goodies. It’s defiantly a different thing to check things out online than to look upon them with your own eyes.
After the short tour and chatting with Kai a little bit I was invited inside to meet Jocelyn and Paul as well as Sara, another gapper who was helping Jocelyn in the kitchen making merengue . The Rocket Mass Heater in their living room was purring happily which lent a cozy vibe to the whole place.
When I was done chatting with Jocelyn and the gappers for a little bit I went in and met Paul in person. I had talked with him on the phone and in meetings with other permies.com team members before but seeing and speaking with him in real life was on another level altogether.
It was late and dark at this point and the gappers were waiting for me to be done talking with Paul to head up to the lab so we wrapped it up quickly. All I wanted to do was sit and have a long conversation with Paul about, well everything, but I saved it for another day. I thanked them for their hospitality and then followed Kai up to the lab and then Allerton Abbey, which is the name for Wafati 0.7.
I wasn’t sure if my car could make it up the muddy road to the lab but Kai assured me that it probably could. It was touch and go a bit here and there in some places but I was able to build up speed and power through the places where it was super muddy and the road was holding water.
Arriving at Allerton Abbey in the dark was pretty awesome. When I pulled up I could see the giant mound that was the Abbey as well as the Voltzwagon, which is the large solar cart that powers everything up here. I had to make about 4 trips to carry everything I wanted to have in inside that night and Kai offered to help with some of it, which was nice. Jim the Ant was sitting on the couch inside and reading a book. He greeted me and went back to reading.
After getting settled in a bit and meeting another gapper named Sean I made my bed and got ready to pass out. It took a while for me to get to sleep and I woke up a bunch of times – but I think that was just because I was sleeping in a new place and I couldn’t really believe I was actually here. I’d occasionally open my eyes and look up at the logs above that made up the rafters of the Wofati and remember how much I’d always wanted to see it for myself.
The next day was going to be the start of something I’d been wanting to do for a long time.