StP HQ / Punk Rock RV Park (1 Viewer) Seeking Help Needs Research 

Matt Derrick

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So this thread is for discussing an idea I've had for many years now, that I would like to share with the community and get some input on.

This thread is for discussing an extension of the Squat the Planet website into real life by starting a homebase/headquarters for the StP community in the form of a physical location with full time live-in residents, as well as accommodating a rotating cast of visiting travelers.

The core idea

The location would take the form of a plot of land that would be turned into a residence while also giving a space for other projects. The residence portion would take the form of what could be best described as an RV park, where residents long term and short term alike could come and go as they please between travels. There would also be more permanent structures in place, such as teepees, tents, yurts, and possibly more advanced alternative building structures like shipping container houses, etc.

Amenities would include shore/house power, potable water, public showers, a travel-specific library, mail boxes, and others.

The space would also be designed to have an open performance area/stage, campfire hangout spots, a bar for special events, and other areas such as gardens and a blacksmith shop. Other ideas are possible based on what the residents want to pursue.

Apologies for the vagueness at this point, but location, monetary and social logistics are all things that will need to be discussed in this thread, and as we work things out, i will update this first post with the latest information that is decided upon; eventually, the goal here is to have an exact outline of the project and what we hope to achieve and why.

At this point though, I just want to get the discussion started so feel free to post your input, concerns, and ideas for how we can make this a reality.

Who would own/run the space?

The idea would be that the land would be owned under a land trust with a board of directors essentially, so no one person owns the land. it would definitely be owned and run collectively.

How are you going to pay for this?

In terms of getting it paid for, I am open to ideas, but my main focus might theoretically be a kickstarter of some kind, where we could sell weekend visits/parties at the land to raise money for it. we did this when I created an indigogo campaign for east jesus and it did pretty well.

For the most part though, financing is still under debate/research.

Similar projects

Just to give you an idea of what I'm going for here, I'm going to list a few places that I feel are at least somewhat similar:

Where would something like this be located?

Locations are still up in the air since I just haven't found that one perfect place that would make me want to settle down long enough to make something like this happen. That said, some considerations would be:
  • Kansas City, MO (KCMO): I keep hearing there's a lot of punk houses here and a good community. Not sure about land prices though.
  • Tucson, AZ: I hear rumors of a burdgeoning anarchist/punk/activist community here and there's lots of BLM land in the area. Suggested by @dumpsternavel in this post.
  • @TheUndeadPhoenix has suggested some of the more remote areas of Pennsylvania.
  • @NewMexicoJim has suggested some cheap land for sale between Albuquerque and Belem, NM; more info and a photo in this post.
  • Morgantown, WV - " Morgantown area still has cheap land in the hills and it's relatively close to Pittsburgh"
  • "there is cheap land around Taos/Tres Piedras NM as well. Taos mesa is somewhat of a all diy houses built in the desert, mostly punks and hippies before them, being there since the 80s. sounds like your project would fit right in. just buy a few acres and all good to go"
While not totally impossible, it seems like both the east and west coasts are probably going to be out of the question due to land costs and other factors, but if someone wants to prove me wrong, please do so. For now, I'm mostly concentrating our search on somewhere in the mid west / four corners areas, preferably along a major train route (again, to make it easier for folks to visit).

I'm avoiding areas that are overly remote (no matter how cheap/free they may be) due to logistical hurdles and the fact that we'd like to have a space where folks could optionally have jobs to save up for their next leg of travel or finance projects in the space itself.

For now, I'm asking any travelers that are interested in this project to keep a look out for good locations that might meet these requirements. If you come across something let us know!
 
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A zed

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Before I started traveling I spent some time in Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC) communities and even though there are some differences maybe looking at them a bit can be helpful. I'll be honest in stating I'm pretty critical of the FEC and I guess "skeptical" of ANY land project, but I'll leave it at that and just offer what I do know/what could be helpful.

Unfortunately I cannot recall from memory the specifics, and it appears their website is down, but I know these communities have used a tax classification similar to what you describe through a land trust (I don't believe they have trustees though but instead community members make up the trust).

As well the FEC, (specifically Twin Oaks I believe) holds yearly gatherings and conferences I don't recall if these were monetized at all, but it seems they very easily could be, especially with "pay what you can" scales. Again not to be too critical, but one complaint of this method I'll simply repeat is that for those who live at twin oaks this influx of "outsiders" can be an annoyance, perhaps this won't be a problem at all in a community of travelers but still it might be worth keeping in mind any splits between this event crowd, and those who are regularly in the space. Within this idea you could also include workshops, whether that be hands on skills or things like political workshops.

As for locations, the FEC is mostly in Virginia, with a local in Missouri and in New York. I'm pretty sure these locations got their land pretty cheap, but iirc I think the land in Virginia has become more expensive. The Missouri Ozark land might still be cheap though, I can't remember any info one way or another, but I do believe it is the Missouri community that is the largest land wise (which I assume translates to it being cheaper).

The communities I went to in Virginia were an hour, maybe two away from the nearest city, and had people who could come pick you up if you caught a bus in or whatever. I think keeping a system like this in mind might be a good idea. A "community taxi" to go with the land, as I think the disconnect from the urban scene was something I definitely appreciate, and assume others would as well but for those without wheels, knowing you can at least get to town to hitch or whatever from there I think is a helpful piece of mind. It's also in my mind helpful socially, since people who might be causing trouble, or even those who feel the space is trouble, have peace of mind knowing they aren't stuck.

I'll add as well, only tangentially related to the FEC and echoing what someone else said, is that I think a decomodified food project is something super valuable to be part of any land project, and while the FEC is not decomodified (most if not all communities make most if not all of their money commodifying food) they are connected to a large organic farming movement. (And again while I have my own critiques of agriculture yada yada) If you were interested in this land project trying to be it's own sort of sustainable place (own food and water) I definitely think there are thing to learn from them as farmers, and the organic farming movement they are tied to.

Moving away from the FEC. I think, whenever you buy land, if you can get it set up in a fashion where people can stay and help work on the space before it's "complete", that'd make it a lot more doable for some people to help. Someplace to sleep, food to eat, and a water source. Again this kind of relates to how self sustaining you want the place to be, but having a well or other water source making it so people who come help (not to mention residence in the future) don't have to worry about water would be very helpful. Shelter can be as easy as bring your own tent, but sturdier structures might be necessary depending on the climate. Food I think is the biggest question, at least when I think about my own situation, for if "I" could realistically come help. I know where I'm currently at I don't think I could travel all the way out there, work for however long, and be paying out of pocket for food. Even just having a dedicated person dumpstering or providing food in some way for people who come volunteer I think would make it much more available for people.

As for my own interest, like I said, I'm not super interested in anything sedentary, but I like the idea of what this could be. I'd say I'm super into it as place to meet up for large gatherings and small meetups alike, and a place to pass through on trips across the country. I'm also super into that space being self sufficient in terms of water and food. I definitely don't feel compelled to drop everything and dedicated years, or even a year towards this but if you told me you had land, and it's not costing anything to come help, I'd stop by and give you a month at the least.
 

SenRex

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This sounds like a really cool idea, up until this year I was always interested in this sort of situation mostly as a way to give my trans buddies who are having a hard time a place to go. I feel like you could find 5 acres for cheap pretty easy in Wisconsin or Michigan but with low land prices come low income wages. Also, it depends on if folks are willing to deal with the snow.

Winters in Michigan are a bit milder depending on what side you're on though I'll also vote for Pennsylvania as I'm definitely looking to head out that way anyways. I'm not interested in settling down anywhere but it sounds like it could make an awesome waystop once you get it off the ground.

Fun fact, you can make your own town gov't if you have enough people or land in some states too. Just sayin :D
 

SleeplessWaif

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So this thread is for discussing an idea I've had for many years now, that I would like to share with the community and get some input on.

This thread is for discussing an extension of the Squat the Planet website into real life by starting a homebase/headquarters for the StP community in the form of a physical location with full time live-in residents, as well as accommodating a rotating cast of visiting travelers.

The core idea

The location would take the form of a plot of land that would be turned into a residence while also giving a space for other projects. The residence portion would take the form of what could be best described as an RV park, where residents long term and short term alike could come and go as they please between travels. There would also be more permanent structures in place, such as teepees, tents, yurts, and possibly more advanced alternative building structures like shipping container houses, etc.

Amenities would include shore/house power, potable water, public showers, a travel-specific library, mail boxes, and others.

The space would also be designed to have an open performance area/stage, campfire hangout spots, a bar for special events, and other areas such as gardens and a blacksmith shop. Other ideas are possible based on what the residents want to pursue.

Apologies for the vagueness at this point, but location, monetary and social logistics are all things that will need to be discussed in this thread, and as we work things out, i will update this first post with the latest information that is decided upon; eventually, the goal here is to have an exact outline of the project and what we hope to achieve and why.

At this point though, I just want to get the discussion started so feel free to post your input, concerns, and ideas for how we can make this a reality.

Who would own/run the space?

The idea would be that the land would be owned under a land trust with a board of directors essentially, so no one person owns the land. it would definitely be owned and run collectively.

How are you going to pay for this?

In terms of getting it paid for, I am open to ideas, but my main focus might theoretically be a kickstarter of some kind, where we could sell weekend visits/parties at the land to raise money for it. we did this when I created an indigogo campaign for east jesus and it did pretty well.

For the most part though, financing is still under debate/research.

Similar projects

Just to give you an idea of what I'm going for here, I'm going to list a few places that I feel are at least somewhat similar:

Where would something like this be located?

Locations are still up in the air since I just haven't found that one perfect place that would make me want to settle down long enough to make something like this happen. That said, some considerations would be:
  • Kansas City, MO (KCMO): I keep hearing there's a lot of punk houses here and a good community. Not sure about land prices though.
  • Tucson, AZ: I hear rumors of a burdgeoning anarchist/punk/activist community here and there's lots of BLM land in the area. Suggested by @dumpsternavel in this post.
  • @TheUndeadPhoenix has suggested some of the more remote areas of Pennsylvania.
  • @NewMexicoJim has suggested some cheap land for sale between Albuquerque and Belem, NM; more info and a photo in this post.
  • Morgantown, WV - " Morgantown area still has cheap land in the hills and it's relatively close to Pittsburgh"
  • "there is cheap land around Taos/Tres Piedras NM as well. Taos mesa is somewhat of a all diy houses built in the desert, mostly punks and hippies before them, being there since the 80s. sounds like your project would fit right in. just buy a few acres and all good to go"
While not totally impossible, it seems like both the east and west coasts are probably going to be out of the question due to land costs and other factors, but if someone wants to prove me wrong, please do so. For now, I'm mostly concentrating our search on somewhere in the mid west / four corners areas, preferably along a major train route (again, to make it easier for folks to visit).

I'm avoiding areas that are overly remote (no matter how cheap/free they may be) due to logistical hurdles and the fact that we'd like to have a space where folks could optionally have jobs to save up for their next leg of travel or finance projects in the space itself.

For now, I'm asking any travelers that are interested in this project to keep a look out for good locations that might meet these requirements. If you come across something let us know!
New Mexico is a great idea. The weather further south is pretty tame year around, good for all sorts of travel. The land is cheap, and it seems no matter wear you go, you're always just a handful of hours away from a town. Plus, lots of contract work in ABQ and Las Cruces because of the film/tv industry. They always need extras, and whatnot.
 

Colinleath

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I feel like having a fixed address for a platform that Prides itself on no fixed address lacks creativity as well as jeopardizes authenticity. I feel any sort of land could be used to cultivate food for special events and monetary divisions applied to structures and tools and housing could just as easily be spent on mobile equipment that would serve the same purpose.
This sort of makes sense, but as a traveler who has benefited from visiting communities from time to time, including internet ones, but who can't really deal with any of the IRL ones comfortably for more than two nights at a time, it's fine if stp and this project get turned into something contrary to a nomadic free flowing thing and seemingly contrary to the remission statement (i have yet to read that) or even the name of the site.

Everything is fluid and I've had perverse pleasure in doing the thing I'd least expect of myself and which others would least expect of me from time to time.

Jackson here in bringing up this valid point is also a bit like the bully and preserver of culture he's concerned about. . .

So if matt derrick becomes a sort of club med developer for hobos and STP becomes a marketing funnel for these ”hobo meds", I do think that's totally cool. The less organized places both out in the world and on the internet are still available to those of us who don't like that particular flavor.

What is rare is not so much the less organized places, but the more organized ones. . .

I'm glad you made this point though Jackson. I think it would at least half occur to anyone reading the proposal on this site.

My first reaction on seeing the example communities and as a deep introvert (or something like that) was curiosity but no thanks. And the idea of needing to have parties every weekend to help pay for the land was "why would anyone willingly put themselves through that?" But for those of different personality persuasions those things sound like the good life.

And at other times of my life I've benefited greatly from those who organized community projects not entirely different from what's described in this proposal. Just off the top of my head: earthhaven ecovillage, quailsprings.org, Ecotopia bike tour (an annual nomadic bicycle community in the EU).

The Ecotopia bike tour I've never actually been on, but got to participate in the organizing meetings in Thessaloniki one year which led to velokarawane and also to getting a second hand bike donated to me. . .

I guess my point is while this idea of an stp hq and rv park doesn't necessarily seem to follow from the ethos underlying the site and many of our personal nomadic inclinations, non sequiturs can be really cool. . . And the benefits of something like this cannot be predicted, and room for those who shy away from this sort of thing remains the rule not the exception.

And i suppose i like to have something to ramble about.

One last point: in literature and the rest of art some of the most famous/groundbreaking works synthesize two or more genres to create a new one. The musical Hamilton comes to mind.

And STP itself, whatever its remission statement says (which i couldn't find by the way, i only found this) is an example on the internet of what the HQ would represent IRL.

If we get kicked off here or can't deal with the rules or the culture it's back to r/vagabond or a lonely personal website somewhere.
 

Colinleath

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It's definitely a different focus, but check out mountain gardens near Celo, NC.

Celo is a landtrust founded by quakers years ago.

Mountain gardens focuses on plants but they need help maintaining the place, (there have been fewer wwoofers since covid) they're trying to get a non profit setup because the founder and lead anti-capitalist Joe Hollis doesn't have that many years left in him.

There are up-and-coming collectives in the nearby woods as well (groups of young/ middle aged who bought land together and are building small houses, clearing land).

Some of them participate in cow, chicken, rabbit collectives growing meat on nearby landtrust pasture. (But because they do this with others they can still travel from time to time).

There's a beautiful river to swim in near by.

The SE Permaculture gathering is held there from time to time.

20210903_195859.jpg

Cow collective cows.

20210904_153518.jpg


Mountain gardens library (herbs and supplies for making tinctures are in the back room).

20210904_153349.jpg


Mountain gardens kitchen area (library is through the door). I think as a matter of policy they don't use fossil fuels to cook?

20210905_133107.jpg


An elevated house under construction at a new nearby community. Ventilation is key to keeping mildew from growing on your stuff in this area.

20210904_130653.jpg


The south toe river runs through the celo community land trust.
 
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Matt Derrick

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it's fine if stp and this project get turned into something contrary to a nomadic free flowing thing and seemingly contrary to the remission statement (i have yet to read that) or even the name of the site.
I think both you and Jackson have completely missed the point.

The truth is no squat lasts forever, and no one travels 24/7. As a community we need to stop perpetuating this garbage that if you're not traveling all the time forever you're somehow not nomadic or not a traveler or whatever the fuck. it's stupid gatekeeping.

2nd, you have to face the reality that someday we're not going to be able to be nomadic or travel anymore. THAT's the purpose of this project. Someday I'm going to be too old to move around like I did before. This project is my retirement plan.

Also, if you think all travelers can just do what they do without any support whatsoever from those that don't travel, you're crazy. This project is to keep the community connected and give folks a place to live with other like-minded people and to promote travel even though we can't (in the future, when im old).

I think it's dumb when people get hung up on 'omg that project isn't "squat the planet" ' or whatever. we're not beholden to your labels and we choose what to do based on necessity, not because it falls into the 'correct' label.

Having this project exist doesn't stop the entire community from doing what they do, it's just a small slice of the pie, and I'm frankly bewildered by people that can't seem to understand that.
 

NewMexicoJim

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After reading all of the above and absorbing everyone’s input so far, I have some observations and suggestions.

This project sounds like an intentional community that also functions as a waystation for travelers. There would be permanent residents that live full time at the location who are the leaders that keep the operation viable, creating income, paying bills & taxes, making improvements, etc. As a waystation, travelers would be welcome year round and these would include any and all types, rubber tramps in a van or RV, hitchhikers, train riders, bicyclists, overland hikers and so on. These would be temporary visitors, staying a day, a week or a few months.

The major issues right now revolve around site selection, financing and finding a core group of supporters who can commit to making the project a reality. You will need to find these people fairly soon so I suggest starting with 2-3 others who express an interest and who bring relevant skill sets to the project. These individuals will form the Location Selection Committee. Choosing the site that will work well for both the near and long term is primary.

I suggest starting with a list of important criteria for the site such as proximity to trains and highways, land cost, utility costs, water rights, building codes and ordinances, local attitudes, income potential, climate and any other must-have criteria. Choose three sites to begin with and let each member of the committee research an area. Give them a deadline of one or two months to answer all the questions and have a follow up meeting to decide either on a location or to select another three locations to research.

Of course, we also live in a capitalist society so the main criteria for this project is money. How will you fund this? You will not only be purchasing land but you will be committing to paying yearly taxes plus whatever utilities you want to have at the property. Water, electricity, gas, septic all cost money on an ongoing basis. You also want to make improvements such as an RV park, performance space, showers, dwellings etc. No matter how frugal, you cannot get it all done for free. There will be a monthly budget and a need for income to support expenses and fund long term projects.

I think it would be imperative to build this with an eye toward income production. I read once about a commune that supported itself by farming for the local growers market and by making and selling hand woven hammocks. Someone above mentioned a blacksmith shop. Be the local farrier. Open a blacksmithing school to train people in this fast disappearing craft. You could have a welding shop or do roadside assistance. Is there a niche on Etsy where handcrafted items can sell? Whatever it is, and there can be multiple sources, it needs to be able to support the community without the need for donations. The permanent residents would be the main managers/workers with some type of requirement that visitors pay their way by contributing labor. I sincerely doubt you can fund this with donations alone. You will need regular income sufficient for the long term.

To make this happen, you need a starting point and I think I have provided that above. This is a worthy project and more than possible. Keep the initial group small and grow as the need arises. There’s nothing wrong with going ahead and putting up a Kickstarter campaign and selling the idea more widely. Dedicate a chapter to the project in your next version of the Anarchist’s Guide with a link to the campaign. Make a few, small, initial steps, with achievable goals and you are on your way to getting it done.

Matt if you want to discuss any of the above, feel free to call or email. I’m happy to do what I can to help.
 

PotED

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Hi.
I have a house in the South Hills Suburbs of Pittsburgh off Pa rt.51. Easy access to US 70 . Lots of space and close to everything. Shopping and buses. Off street parking...
One acre , half is woods. I bought it as a home base but then Covid. I haven't been traveling much. Wanna get back to it. Rather travel with others.....
Just looking and putting it out there.
Have a good one.
Ready whenever
 
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So this thread is for discussing an idea I've had for many years now, that I would like to share with the community and get some input on.

This thread is for discussing an extension of the Squat the Planet website into real life by starting a homebase/headquarters for the StP community in the form of a physical location with full time live-in residents, as well as accommodating a rotating cast of visiting travelers.

The core idea

The location would take the form of a plot of land that would be turned into a residence while also giving a space for other projects. The residence portion would take the form of what could be best described as an RV park, where residents long term and short term alike could come and go as they please between travels. There would also be more permanent structures in place, such as teepees, tents, yurts, and possibly more advanced alternative building structures like shipping container houses, etc.

Amenities would include shore/house power, potable water, public showers, a travel-specific library, mail boxes, and others.

The space would also be designed to have an open performance area/stage, campfire hangout spots, a bar for special events, and other areas such as gardens and a blacksmith shop. Other ideas are possible based on what the residents want to pursue.

Apologies for the vagueness at this point, but location, monetary and social logistics are all things that will need to be discussed in this thread, and as we work things out, i will update this first post with the latest information that is decided upon; eventually, the goal here is to have an exact outline of the project and what we hope to achieve and why.

At this point though, I just want to get the discussion started so feel free to post your input, concerns, and ideas for how we can make this a reality.

Who would own/run the space?

The idea would be that the land would be owned under a land trust with a board of directors essentially, so no one person owns the land. it would definitely be owned and run collectively.

How are you going to pay for this?

In terms of getting it paid for, I am open to ideas, but my main focus might theoretically be a kickstarter of some kind, where we could sell weekend visits/parties at the land to raise money for it. we did this when I created an indigogo campaign for east jesus and it did pretty well.

For the most part though, financing is still under debate/research.

Similar projects

Just to give you an idea of what I'm going for here, I'm going to list a few places that I feel are at least somewhat similar:

Where would something like this be located?

Locations are still up in the air since I just haven't found that one perfect place that would make me want to settle down long enough to make something like this happen. That said, some considerations would be:
  • Kansas City, MO (KCMO): I keep hearing there's a lot of punk houses here and a good community. Not sure about land prices though.
  • Tucson, AZ: I hear rumors of a burdgeoning anarchist/punk/activist community here and there's lots of BLM land in the area. Suggested by @dumpsternavel in this post.
  • @TheUndeadPhoenix has suggested some of the more remote areas of Pennsylvania.
  • @NewMexicoJim has suggested some cheap land for sale between Albuquerque and Belem, NM; more info and a photo in this post.
  • Morgantown, WV - " Morgantown area still has cheap land in the hills and it's relatively close to Pittsburgh"
  • "there is cheap land around Taos/Tres Piedras NM as well. Taos mesa is somewhat of a all diy houses built in the desert, mostly punks and hippies before them, being there since the 80s. sounds like your project would fit right in. just buy a few acres and all good to go"
While not totally impossible, it seems like both the east and west coasts are probably going to be out of the question due to land costs and other factors, but if someone wants to prove me wrong, please do so. For now, I'm mostly concentrating our search on somewhere in the mid west / four corners areas, preferably along a major train route (again, to make it easier for folks to visit).

I'm avoiding areas that are overly remote (no matter how cheap/free they may be) due to logistical hurdles and the fact that we'd like to have a space where folks could optionally have jobs to save up for their next leg of travel or finance projects in the space itself.

For now, I'm asking any travelers that are interested in this project to keep a look out for good locations that might meet these requirements. If you come across something let us know!
I love this idea. How do I help!?
 
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We're still in the brainstorming phase right now, but finding a location is probably the first step, feel free to make suggestions!
I don’t know much about where the best places for land are down there (I’m from Canada) but just say the word and I’ll be there with tools, my van and hopefully some helping hands. Depending on the price tag I might be able to help pitch in on the land a bit even. This sounds cool and exactly the kind of thing I wanna do in the future.
 

zenchop

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I'm very interested in helping in any way I can. I'll be getting back on the road this week after a bad accident and family medical stuff and the accident left me somewhat disabled but I'm good at sewing, was a cook for 20 years, can build mad furniture out of milk crates and a hacksaw blade and zip ties. I get disability and would be happy to throw most of it in as long as food and medicine and guitar strings are attainable. I agree with what was said about a vagabond retirement sanctuary of sorts. Been living back in my van again the last 6 months and with the injury it ain't as easy as it used to be. And being in a community and able to contribute in my own way would be very important. As for places, I lived in Phoenix and Tuscon years back and remember the outskirts of Tuscon especially being a lot of militia dudes. Might've changed by now but.. I love new Mexico and have read that a few times on this thread. Personally there's something really ancient to the scenery there, maybe it was all in my head driving thru the state but I think that idea is cool. Maybe outside Roswell to see if we can hitch a ride on a ufo haha. But I'll pilgrimage anywhere as long as this van is as tough as I am.
 

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  2. Buy Matt a Beer
    $20.00 of $75.00
    Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully this will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $20.00 of $100.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
  4. Finance the Shopping Cart
    $20.00 of $200.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.