Roadz Less Traveled Tours – From The City to The Mountains… And Beyond
There are usually many ways to get from point A to point B in traveling situations. In this story, point A is Vancouver, British Colombia, and point B is one of the many great music festivals that take place in different areas of the mountains over the course of the summer.
So how are you getting from point A to point B? Your first response, and to many people it may seem the most logical, is to drive a car. We all know that with a car comes responsibilities. And with those car responsibilities comes stress. An adventurous, more sustainable, and all around more connective way of getting people from point A to point B is by carpool, or in this case, “buspool”. Roadz Less Traveled is a bus company operating out of Kamloops and Vancouver, British Colombia, that focuses on the fun side of travel. With a customized 24 passenger bus as your mode of transportation, you’re able to be picked up in Vancouver from a number of destinations and driven in style to festivals on the West coast of Canada spanning from Bass Coast in Squamish, to Shambhala in Salmo.
This year at Bass Coast Ganjaology had the pleasure of camping with Mike Munro, owner and founder of Roadz Less Traveled, and experiencing the energy that he and his whole camp site brought to the festival. Without really knowing what to expect prior to our arrival, we showed up to find a pop-up/collapsable stage on top of the bus’ roof and a sound system made up of two PA speakers and a sub being set up by enthusiastic Roadz Less Traveled riders to project sound into the “living room” of our campsite. Everyone was high off the excitement of the touchdown to such a beautiful festival in the most stylish way imaginable. Over the course of the festival we were able to get to know Mike pretty well and were able to talk with him about his plans for his travel company, Roadz Less Traveled.
G: How did the Roadz Less Traveled idea originate?
M: The idea originated from a sustainability perspective. As far as…if anyone wanted to come to this type of environment, transportation is a necessity. If you were going to transport yourself to an event like this and you want to create sustainability, you want to simplify things. Carpooling is one way of doing it. Less fuel costs. You don’t need 20 vehicles to get to the same place. You can get the same amount of people to the same space with a bus. There is no need to overcomplicate it because we’re all here to spread a message right? And to share creativity.
G: How would you describe your project to the public?
M: Roadz Less Traveled…well the title in itself is pretty poetic. It just means that we’re not going to go down the regular beaten path. You’re not gonna just walk down the sidewalk and stare at your feet, you’re going to go outside the normal accepted popular beliefs and you’re gonna go down a harder path. We’re going to come out to the bush and I’m gonna make it easy for you to do that. There are a lot of people in big cities and they don’t have a vehicle so I created a system that allows them to get where they need to be to help them aim for a bit of enlightening.
G: What are the technical specs of the bus people will be traveling in?
M: The technical specs… It’s a 24 seater, 1999, El Dorado National. Its got a 5.9 commons turbo diesel in it with an Allison transmission. Pretty low kilometers, pretty reliable, I keep it pretty maintained. I’m mechanically inclined that way. It has a 5000 watt sound system, all the sound gear, cargo area to transport the sound gear, the aluminum rack on the roof had many purposes. You can move couches around if you need to, pack gear out into the woods if you need too. Really modular. Whatever a space requires, you pretty much have the tools to do it.
G: There is a DJ booth on the inside too, isn’t there?
M: It’s a modular DJ booth. It can be set up…we use it quite a lot…so ya.
G: How many years have you been running Roadz Less Traveled?
M: Just over a year and a half.
G: What was the first festival to see Roadz Less Traveled? How was the first trip?
M: I designed it for Entheos. It was a learning process! Because I owned the bus for a short period of time…I bought it in May and then traveled for a trip on June 20…so in over 40 days of owning the bus you don’t actually get to learn all the little details. You don’t know what condition some stuff is in, all those things, so just faith to the wind, turn the key, and hope for the best.
G: Did you fill the bus up for that trip?
M: Yeah I was totally full for that trip.
There were a couple mechanical issues along the way, but in the end we got there and back on time… With one flat tire along the way.
Since then it’s been a constant process. You know, every couple weekends I’ll add a couple things…electrical, lighting, LED lights, keep everything very low energy usage. The whole system runs on like 2600 watts. It’s got a really really tiny generator and a tiny bit up fuel and it creates a pretty large space.
G: What are your favorite festivals you’ve been to with the bus?
M: Bass Coast has always been my favorite. This year I was able to move down the beach a little bit, I was able to expand and not invade their vision and they (Bass Coast) gave me the freedom to do that.
G: The music on the bus has been really good all weekend, how did you meet your resident Roadz Less Traveled DJ Briden?
M: He’s been a best riend of mine for 15 years or more. We went to high school together, studied physics, ya and then we dreamed about what we wanted to do as far as the creative aspect of music and art, so we did a few things along the way and it progressed into this. He’s been along since day one.
G: What’s been your most memorable moment with the bus so far?
M: I think this is it. Bass Coast second year around. After all the trials and the speed bumps and flat tires and broken fuel lines for more than a year, everything is ironed out and she’s running smooth. Now we can come and just setup and did what we did today. It’s been a big deal for me and I knew it would too because there’s been so much work going into this. So..Bass Coast 2012.
G: What did you eat for breakfast?
M: Champaign. Just nibbling on champaign.
G: Can you tell us about your visual artist you have accompanying you?
M: Ascencional is the resident visual guy. He did the bus wrap (under the name Totemical) for the vehicle. He’s been supporting the visual on almos every bus trip for the last 16 months. He’s massively supportive and he does live art on the projection screens.
G: Do ou have a style of music ou like to have associated with the Roadz Less Traveled vehicle? What can people expect to hear when out on an adventure with you?
M: Psytrance is kind of what is singing to my soul lately, but things change ya know. Downtempo is nice too. I like bringing in downtempo because I think in this time you need to bring in something that’s a bit more calming for the collective. A lot of times you use intense dark beats to just create a gravity, but I think we need a little more grounding. A little more focus. You don’t need as much intensity to do that.
G: Can we expect any tours into the United States?
M: It’s very doable. I looked into it and as far as the legalities are concerned it’s just a simple thing. 20 minutes at the insurance company. No big deal!
G: So can we expect a Burning Man run in 2013?
M: Easy! Convoy!