May 12, 2014

Ejecting from Gateway Ranch...or...Careful what you manifest

Deer Valley, AZ 

Its been since last September shortly after returning from Burning Man 2013 that Jana and I moved to Phoenix from Gateway Ranch in Northern AZ. For people new to this blog Gateway Ranch is an 80 acre off grid ranch 30 miles NE of Flagstaff that we used to visit during Burning Man regional events. The ranch became unoccupied and the owners invited us to come live there and caretake the place and host events and workshops. I have attempted to write this blog several times over the past few months but I was still so damn pissed about how things went down that it showed in the writing. It was always too long and I kept holding back what I really  wanted to say. I am still having a hard time finding a way to explain what went down in a respectful and humble way. I considered not writing anything at all and just letting it go... but fuck that. I need closure. I can't think of a better way to kill it dead than airing some of the shit out on the infernets.

Fear and frenzied desire drove us onward.

We had to get out of there.  Nothing good comes from diagnosing people publicly, so to put it simply, promises made to us by the owners of the ranch (verbally and in writing) were not kept. ...and they were cuckoo heads. Damn! See?  

I had to keep telling people (including my family) that it wasn't an art colony or a cult! It really was just Jana and I living out there. "Everything is perfectly normal I tells ya."

Ranch doggies Daisy and Duke. I miss these pooches.

For the record, before we moved in, the owners told us that all of the systems in the houses were in complete working order except for a water heater that we may have to help their plumber carry into the house. Just remembering that moment right now makes me want a time machine so I can go back and slap myself... Hard.

We spent 9 months trying to be patient dealing with the owners excuses for not PROFESSIONALLY fixing what was supposed to be working before we arrived.  Instead of sitting around waiting for something to happen, we brought our skills to the table and ended up fixing EVERYTHING ourselves. All of the systems at Gateway were damaged and in disrepair. Water pipes would burst at random times, the power was constantly shutting off, toilets would clog up. Because the owners couldnt bring themselves to pay professionals to do the job, Jana replaced all of the wiring on the solar system, re-did the plumbing, the hot water, and went through a couple of vacuums in an attempt to get the dust, cinders, and dead bug parts out of the carpets. We fixed the wood burning stove so it stopped smoking out the house, we live trapped mice and their little mice families daily, we went days without showers or hot water, I got sprayed with human shit while snaking the toilet. The list goes on, but I need to keep my cool here. Oh did I mention I paid rent? We were supposed to caretake and have time to make art, write novels, become one with nature... Dammit!

Jana is a problem solver and can learn to fix anything. We were the perfect suckers for the job. Here she is redoing the plumbing after the numbskulls that the owners hired totally botched it. They used all of the wrong sized pipes so they leaked immediately and they got glue (solvent) into our water supply. That was just the half of it. This is me restraining myself AGAIN from going on and on.

The way things were half assed put together in that house (before we moved in) was mind boggling. Water is precious out there. We would have to have it hauled in or collected from snow melt or rain. SO WHY WAS THERE SHITTY PLUMBING BURIED IN THE WALLS LEAKING SEVERAL GALLONS A DAY? So the mice could have something to drink. Obviously.

Daisy munching on a rabbit she just caught.
At least it was beautiful outside. Yeah... It was like this or better every day.

This was supposed to be my art studio. I was offered art shows in Phoenix and Vegas while we were there and because the studio never got cleaned out I had a hell of a time making art in that mess. 80+ mile an hour winds made it impossible to do much outside. I tried to paint in the kitchen but had to put everything away every time we had an event which was nearly every other weekend. ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS I MOVED THERE FROM VENICE FREAKING BEACH WAS TO MAKE MORE ART NOT LESS!!!

Just when everything (plumbing solar power etc.) was fixed and working at the same time the owners put pressure on us to leave.  They "changed their mind" about what they wanted the ranch to become. Nice timing on their part. 

In the end they (the owners and the mice) got their ranch back in WAY better condition than it was in before we moved there. We wasted a bunch of time and money.  Looking on the bright side I'm thankful we didn't get hantavirus.  

Jana found a perfectly intact Bull snake skin the day we were moving. Thats Owen on the right. He pointed out that the shedding of skin is a symbol of transformation. 

A different type of Gateway. 

At least now I know that I can live of grid and survive for at least 9 months fending off half bear half hyena monsters with a a knife and an X-box game controller attached to my wrist while riding a 1990 Sims snowboard.

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
Not in this case mofo's! Shortly after we got the hell out of Gateway new doors started flying open like Jack Nicholsons zipper! 

 Now that I've finally gotten a little bit of that Gateway exodus b.s. off my chest I can start blogging again. This is me all excited back in November because I just got a new 900 Sqft art studio in downtown phoenix in a building that was once a pie factory.

(and thanks for letting me vent)

Bill out


  1. I love how the advertising for this page is about "putting an end to leaky basement problems" and other home improvement related issues.

  2. looking for a place for me and my daily and to pregnant pygmy dwarfs, enjoy caregiving, gardening, canning,freezing and dehydrating would like to find a position in Tennessee or for the north. enjoying fishing.
    I'm needing a fenced area to pitch a tent for me and my kids, don't worry I'm close to having a nice garden. commercial retail store that breakfast on kitchen and exchange for my bro. we would sin have milk for cheese and for drinking.