Stranded in Oregon, Part 3: West Coast v. East Coast

in #life3 years ago

The last segment of this left off at our first smoke out with the hippies on the property in Oregon where we ended up staying for months, before we managed to get enough money together to leave. We had just moved across the country on the word of our contact, Hippy, to find that the job market was not at all what she advertised.  We were coming from a place where you could get a job in the weed industry easily just so long as you were trustworthy and able to do the job. 

We never had problems finding work in Detroit, so when we were told that there was a lot more better paying work out west in Oregon, we figured it was worth a try.  We knew that Oregon's trimming season was still in session, so we figured there was plenty of time to make some money before heading south to Acapulco.  The intention was never to cross the border with nothing, although we were prepared to if we had to.  We intended on having at least enough money to support ourselves for a little while once getting here. 

After smoking and getting to know the people on the property, we set to making our campsite.  We were prepared to do this, as we had a tent that we brought with us that was bought for me the day I got out of jail (to the person who bought us this tent, thank you. We lived in it for months before it was broken).  We used a big pile of ponderosa pine (my favorite pine, huge pine trees with very long needles, giving them an almost furry effect) needles that had fallen for a mat for a bed, which worked remarkably well.  Tent up and bed made, we passed out, unsure of what the future was to hold for us here, in this unfamiar forest. 

The next several days were a blur of conversations, as the reality that we were stranded on a commune in Oregon really started to sink in.  Despite efforts to be optimistic and open minded, we were already clashing with certain people on the property on basic concepts, like private property.  

We spent a lot of time talking to David, as he was honestly one of the people most interested in talking to us.  This partially came from a desire of his to learn how to make dabs as good as John's and partially from curiosity, I'm sure.  If there is such a thing, he was a middle ground in terms of philosophy on the property.  He had his pretty communist tendencies, but he also had more of a desire to make money and a life for himself than most of the other people on the property.  He had a lot of experience in the West Coast weed market, as he had been working in it in various ways for years.  He had trimmed, lived on site as a farmer, and had also been known to work making dabs.  He's actually the only person we've ever known to have blown himself up (or rather his friend and him) making dabs.  

So he spent time picking our brain on dabs and we spent ours picking his brain on the job market.  Our early suspicions became pretty clear as we had more conversations.  The reality was not what we were told it was. You cannot just go to Oregon in trim season and expect to get a job trimming.  The way it really works is you befriend a grower and eventually they bring you in to either care for the plants, trim, whatever they need.  It always starts with friendship first though.  

In Oregon, it's not about what you can do but who you know.  Crazy and his crazy lady were terrible trimmers. Because they showed up on the property in the company of Resist,  someone that the owner of the house really liked, they got the job too.  They weren't sent away because of how bad they were, they just treated them like shit and underpaid them when the job was finally done. 

We called Hippy repeatedly over the next several days trying to find out about job prospects and her puppies.  We both really liked the puppy on the property, a female from the litter we called Bobo. She told us ridiculously high prices for the puppy despite the fact that we were family.  The only reason Rebel ended up happening was because she lowered the price to get us agree, re-raising the price once she showed up with him.  That's a story to share another day, likely soon. 

She tried to send us in the direction of some people she knew for work, but they were all dead ends.  She complained of how busy she was where she worked, said they had no one else but she never once offered us work, despite the fact that we had just moved to Oregon on her word that the work was easy to find.  It became pretty clear pretty quickly that she didn't want to be bothered with us.  

As tensions with certain people began to rise, the first conversations in regards to a huge philosophy difference between us started to occur.  At first, they were east coast philosophy versus west coast philosophy conversations.  Most of the people on the property were from the west coast, had lived their whole lives in the culture that exists there.  John and I were the only ones we knew of from the east, save for Acid who was from the east as well.  The difference between Acid and us was the fact that we came west for money, wheras he came west for different reasons.  These conversations were just metaphors for the communist versus capitalist conversations, honestly.

People on the west coast really only do business with their friends, wheras on the east coast you might develop friendships with those you do business with.  It's about who you know on the west coast, but you can get a job if you can prove you can do what's required in Detroit without much issue. It's a completely different mindset.  On the east coast, job terms are made clear before you ever start working, including pay.  If your boss isn't happy with you, they send your ass home and find a replacement capable of doing the job for the pay discussed. 

On the west coast you just work, because they're your friends and they pay you whatever they think you deserve.  If they have a good year and you get along well, you'll make out like a bandit.  If anything goes wrong in their season and you have any disagreements, expect to get screwed on pay and probably to be treated like shit.  West coast people just seem to make life uncomfortable for those people until they decide to leave, they utilize a lot of passive aggressive tactics which can be pretty annoying to deal with.

When we talked to David about the differences we had with people on the property, it always came back down the to east coast versus west coast philosophy.  He was very clear on how things work and our experiences confirmed a lot of what he said.  He said many times to us that we were too east coast for the west coast, which was true in a way.  But in many ways, like our love for cannabis, we were to west coast for the east coast.  The longer we stayed in Oregon the more it became clear that we needed to head for the south coast if we ever wanted any hope of peace. 

So we went to the west coast with an east coast mindset, and we suffered for it.  We had other opportunities in Detroit, longer term commitments that would have paid out very well for us.  The problem was we were too close to Ohio for comfort and we were trying to make a decent amount of money in a short time. The longer we stayed in the states, the higher the chances we would be apprehended. We had a goal of making it to Acapulco by the start of Anarchapulco, which was in February. Staying in Detroit until the following fall at the very least was risky, even if the payout would be huge.  We had a chance to run a warehouse grow that we gave up for possible faster returns trimming in Oregon.  

The other advantage to going to Oregon was that we would be on the west coast.  We had been told it was easy to panhandle on the west coast if we needed to, which was going to be our last resort if we were not able to get the funds to make it out of the country by working. We had discussed the possibility of having to hitchhike and walk across, and what that would mean. It was much easier to put these sorts of plans into action if we were on the west coast, a place notoriously friendly to hitchhikers and vagabond types. 

Had we kissed ass and stayed in Oregon, we would have had plenty of work this growing season.  The issue is the same with staying in Detroit, the longer we remained in the states, the higher our chances of getting caught were. When we realized the true reality of the job market in Oregon, we determined that it wasn't worth trying to stay and do things the west coast way.  We couldn't keep our mouths shut in our opposition of the communist lifestyle, so staying and depending on these people was not an option.  We had some things in common with the people we met there, but at the end of the day there were fundamental differences that made getting along really hard, despite the commonalities we did have. We said many times, if we're gonna stay to work, it's going to be in Detroit.  Considering we were on the opposite side of the country, this wasn't really an option anymore. 

The plan turned to focusing on how to find our own way out, on our terms.  We were perusing Craigslist for cannabis jobs, with the understanding that 90 percent of these jobs were not posted online.  Most of the jobs available were taken and were only available to friends and friends of friends.

John spent days doing research on the cost of large backpacks, special tents, special woodstoves and anything else we would need to live off the grid in the forest.  Oregon was full of National Parks, so worst case scenario the plan was to just go live in the forest until we could make something more concrete happen.  We knew that our time on that property would not be easy and we were attempting to best prepare ourselves for all possible scenarios. 

This wasn't easy considering we had no money. We only got one other weed trimming job in Oregon, for a drunk that lasted a day. We eventually started selling a little weed to the neighbors, who became our friends. We used that money to pay for food, primarily.  Eventually we found a dab job for John on Craigslist, which we used to get our first truck, the one that barely made it to Grants Pass.  All of these stories will come soon, but the point here is we were alone to make it happen, and we did.  It took months but we managed to leave that property and make it to Acapulco without being arrested, a feat that surprises even me sometimes. We had a little help from a few people that made the difference, something we'll be forever grateful for. All in all, while we had many bad experiences in Oregon, we learned a lot.  Our belief in capitalism as a means of handling human interaction was reconfirmed, as we saw a first hand example of how communism doesn't work.

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Stranded in Oregon, Part 3: West Coast v. East Coast — Steemit

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