Lawrence Scible, 58, is a survivalist — a citizen of the streets and interstate highways who travels by foot and pulls a homemade home-on-wheels.
In April, the wandering Rastafarian left Spokane, Washington, with his 400-pound walkable home in tow and has since logged more than 1,000 miles, roving north and south along Oregon’s Interstate 5 and down to California. On Wednesday, Scible (aka, “Ras Ible”) rolled into Astoria via Lief Erikson Drive for a sojourn.
“I just follow the wind, man. Wherever the Lord leads me, that’s where I go,” he said.
Scible may not have a destination, but he has a goal: to find a financier that will help him buy property and build a church where he can mass produce walkable homes for the homeless.
After leaving West Virginia — where, Scible said, he served prison time for possessing and trafficking marijuana, an experience he has written about — he built his own walkable home as a prototype.
“This right here gives you shelter. I close this door, and it’s like being in a house,” he said. “I’ll never be homeless again.”
A carpenter and handyman originally from Maryland, Scible built the wood-frame box with little more than a hammer and a handsaw — no electricity needed.
Draped in canvas and lined with Styrofoam, Scible’s human-powered mobile home — whose name, “Peacemaker,” is etched in a hunk of driftwood — has enough room to sit, stand and sleep. He hangs his clothes from a rod near the ceiling. He brews his coffee and cooks his food in metal pots and pans heated by a plumber’s torch. He goes to the bathroom in a small plastic basket lined with disposable doggie bags.
And, not one to waste space, Scible has turned the outside into a political billboard. Among the colorful decorations — the rainbow streamers, plastic flowers and miscellaneous flags — is a serious message: his belief in abolishing marijuana prohibition.
But Scible, a Navy veteran, isn’t a one-issue activist, for painted near a pair of pot leaves are 22 red crosses tallying the daily average of suicides among America’s veterans, as estimated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Even with his life compressed down to a space 4 feet wide, 6 feet long and 5 feet 8 inches high, Scible remains a cheerful optimist, one with a legion of Facebook friends and followers helping to promote his Walkable Home Project.
“All walks of life have pitched in and helped this mission,” he said, adding that he hopes to produce a documentary on his journey.
Wherever Scible ends up founding his church, he said it will be open to all faiths and, if possible, it will be in Oregon, a state that “has everything I could ever want,” he said.
“It’s got pine trees. It’s got mountains. It’s got the coast. It’s got the backwater. It’s got the ocean,” he said. “Man, this is God’s country right here.”