Starting around Ukiah, the signs and billboards for garden centers start to grow out of the landscape, each advertisement trying to trump the other in offering the best for the grower’s needs! Blooming Solutions! Cheapest Pre-fab Growhouses! Soil Delivered! Anywhere!! Biggest Yield Ever with Bumper Crop Deluxe 2015!! Now Organic!!!!
I’d say that for every fourth billboard had something to do with growing the best, prize-winning, blue-ribbon, and champion something…And that’s where it gets a little hazy. The billboards illustrate comically prize-winning blue ribbons with the number ones pinned to the side of a bushel-basket or on the quarter-panel of a full pick-up going to market, but what kind of crop it exactly is, whether it is tomatoes, roses or corn, that part is left off. The billboards are vague on what is being grown except it guarantees to deliver your biggest crop ever, never saying exactly what that crop is, but you get the idea…
That is the feeling I get from being in the Triangle that Dope is all around you but you never see. It’s like having drinks in an exclusive country-club with the exceedingly rich; the last thing one does is talk about money, yet the state of the dollar or the value of their stock is never that far from their mind. American dollars is the above-the-counter- form of currency that you see, but I really get the sense it is Dope that makes the World go around, at least in the Triangle.
First of all, everyone grows. That is it. End of story. If your mother lived here, she’d grow. That person you don’t like who always votes the wrong way, they grow. I’m sure all sons and daughters of law enforcement up here grow. Everyone grows. That’s why no one talks about it. It isn’t a dirty little secret if everyone’s doing it.
Last December while I was investigating various domestic Cannabis Cups that had been happening as of late, there was one Cup that caught my eye. This particular Cup had been going on for about nine years, officially, just a mere three hours north from me.
I knew the area from my travels there some twenty-five years ago when I was young trimmer and driver. But I literally hadn’t been back since I was in my twenties as a young swashbuckler and adventurer for hire. Thinking I was familiar with the area, I decided to give the host of the Cannabis Cup a jingle. That is when I was invited into the coolest clubhouse since Spanky and Our Gang’s ‘He Man Women Haters Club,’ (sorry, it was my first.) This is when I first heard of Area 101.
It was on my drive up there noticing the billboards that used to advertise property for sale and other real estate deals, car dealerships, phone plans, and Internet providers were all gone and replaced with signs advertising everything from soil-enriching solutions to tractors and trailers for harvest.
Last time I was here you had to hide from the Man. Now I could tell there was a new boss.
Tim Blake is the owner of Area 101. After that initial call we spoke every so often. Tim is a hard man to catch. He doesn’t sit still for too long because of his on-going concerns from the environment, the importance of Organic Living and being kind to Mother Earth and for what I there was there to talk to him about.
Every time we spoke, Tim’s passion and energies radiates over the phone. Rolling Stone magazine did a small piece on him while doing a story about the business of Pot in California. He always has something in the works and something he’s just finishing up.
Area 101 is his ‘new’ baby.
Ten miles north of Laytonville, California, is the coolest clubhouse ever, Area 101. I pulled up in my rental car having very little idea of what to expect. During one of our conversations over the phone when I asked Tim to explain what he is trying to do with Area 101, he’d just answer “yes” to my questions.
Is it a coffee house? Yes.
Do you do shows? Yes.
Is it a retreat? Yes.
Is it really 160 acres? Yes.
Do people hang out there during the day? Yes.
Do you put on town-hall meetings with the DEA, local police and growers to start a dialogue going? Yes.
Do you have a Cannabis Cup there? Yes.
Do you hold spiritual and different religious retreats of various denominations throughout the year? Yes.
Are you having one of the biggest Techno-Trance-Dance music festivals with International D.J.’s to be held outside of Europe? Yes.
Do people just show up looking for guidance and a spiritual touchstone? Yes.
Do people come in from different countries and continents thinking you sell dope? Yes.
They don’t. But they do everything else you’d expect from a spiritual/resource center/clubhouse keeping the flame alive in the heart of Mendocino County, and the Emerald Triangle…