Breitenbush Hot Springs is a special place. Although it’s called “A retreat”, the place is actually a private community. A small touristy business based on old hot springs. Cabins for rent in the middle of the forest.
The hot springs flow into designed, man made “pools”, they are clean and they blend in to the environment.
So far it’s a good picture but nothing we didn’t hear about hot springs.What makes it interesting is the people, of course. They choose to live here as a community with some sort of special rules. To get to their houses you have to get to the other side of the river crossing the wooden bridge.
They are off the grid and the power is being generated by a micro-hydroelectric station from the same river. There is no network coverage and only one yurt has internet, no wireless.
Hippies? Maybe, but organized ones. Dress code might be an open one but work is serious. Everyone in the community has something to do. Teams were created for the productivity of the retreat center on the other side of the river (cooking, maintenance, cleaning, and so on). Everyone is on minimum wage (but get food and a place to sleep in the “village”) and they all have time for themselves (no overtime and 35-40 hours of work/ week is encouraged and lots of vacation).
All permanent members can buy “shares”, become owners on all the community properties, get the right to vote on all community decisions. So, for everyday life, there is a management board (executive team), chosen by vote for a determined period, taking care of the community day to day functioning.
I must admit I didn’t watch the whole series of “Lost” but I noticed some funny resemblance with “The Others”. As a guest, you are not allowed to walk around the village without someone from there. The kids have a small school, and the means of transportation is mainly the bicycle, big or small.
Our friend, Mark, invited us there. He is part of the VStrom “club” just like us and we was kind enough to let us stay in his trailer so we got to sleep in our favorite of trailers, the Airstream.
I wouldn’t fit there as a permanent member but funny thing is that even the people there not stay there their whole life, they spend few years there, go back into “the real world” and back to Breitenbush whenever they need some fresh air.And because people are as they are, the founders came up with a good plan for the generations to come not to sell the place. Although the future of the community is decided by the permanent members, the ones with voting rights, money (sale or dividends) go to all the shareholders (all alumni), and that’s a lot of people. This is what makes the people there to think of the hot springs as a way of life and not a business.
We leave Breitenbush and Mark joins us for a while. Two VStroms riding together again.
It is hot outside so we stop by a waterfall.
It’s not only us enjoying this place. We share the view with our little friends.
We ride to Springfield where we enjoy a quiet end of the day with the smell of autumn in the air.
After all these lazy days we have to do some more riding. California is waiting for us.
Today we celebrate: Gunnar is 40 000 kilometers old. Wow, seems like yesterday he was only 30 000….
We travel narrow roads and high speed highways, we meet hasty cars, weird cars or huge cars. Each one on it’s own route.
We turn away from the highways and traffic and go back on narrow roads towards Californian border, through Sequoia forests.
It is hard to talk about how we felt surrounded by those giant trees.
We ride on, speechless, on the road that seems to apologize to the old forest and try to cross it without bothering it. We were to follow those roads for the next days.
We are now in California, maybe one of the most famous of the American states and the most emblematic for the “American dream”.
We are in California, and we got here by motorcycle!
Next time we see the Pacific Ocean again and we travel roads that “hang” between sky and waters. Stay tuned!