Couple live in curious-looking custom RV

June 25, 2001 12:00 am
Tamera, custom RV-creator Sam Shwallas friend-girl, tends an on-board garden in their home on wheels. (Baker City Herald photograph by Brenna Knowles).
Tamera, custom RV-creator Sam Shwallas friend-girl, tends an on-board garden in their home on wheels. (Baker City Herald photograph by Brenna Knowles).

By BRENNA KNOWLES

Of the Baker City Herald

En route from Seattle, Wash., to the Rainbow Family Gathering near Lowman, Idaho, Sam Shwalla and his friend-girl Tamera parked their renovated RV at the Baker City Napa Auto Parts store to add a few liters of oil Thursday afternoon.

Shwalla, 26, is originally from Texas and has spent the last few years working as a painter and musician in Seattle.

He has dedicated six years to creating his RV, which features a skylight, food dehydrator, bedroom and kitchen. The bedroom is made partially from a Volkswagen van that Shwalla nestled into the top of the RV.

On the front of the RV is the word Janus which means Greek god of new beginnings.

We like to think of ourselves as modern nomads, said Tamera, 35, who preferred to be called by her first name only. She said she is a student at Evergreen State College and is taking some time off from her job researching sustainable agriculture in western Washington to attend her second Rainbow Family Gathering.

Ive inspired the interior as the on-board gardener, Tamera said as she pointed out the tomato plants that soaked up the afternoon heat inside the front window of the vehicle. I grow edible plants and flowers that we use for tea and salads. Its a pretty alternative lifestyle.

Tamera also said that she would like to add a J.R. Tolken quote to the front of the RV that says, All who wander are not lost.

Shwalla said that there may be 50,000 people at the gathering. That was the estimate on how many there were last year in Montana. Since it is in the same general area there may be less this year, but it will be a crowd for sure, he said. We might be up against some displacement by the Forest Service.

The travelers said that they received a positive response from the Baker City community.

People have been friendly and supportive. Theyve come up and talked to us, asked questions and seemed encouraging, Tamera said.