R.I.P. Rainbow Trader
For those who remember Rainbow Trader, this is for you. It is also in memory of my best friend and adopted father. Trader was the best and most caring person in my life, next only to my mother.
Rainbow Trader got his name because he was a master at barter and trade. He could practically sell anything and used his earnings to help and feed others.
Born in Morocco, where he was once a slave, he traveled the world and learned 9 different languages along the way. He spoke each fluently.
I met Rainbow Trader about 9 months after I escaped from the Dickens County Correctional Center located in Spur, Texas. After making my way to Santa Monica, I headed to Eugene, Oregon for the summer.
At that time, I had a laptop that I used to write business applications using Lotus SmartSuite and to fix home computers. That was how I was making my living, going door to door and offering to fix, optimize, and/or upgrade computers from windows 3.1x to Windows 95. I got the computer after a suicide attempt shortly after I escaped. While suffering on the railroad tracks, 20 miles outside of Kansas City, Kansas a strong voice came to mind that told me to get a computer.
When my stay in Eugene was over, as I was preparing to jump a freight train east, I ran into a couple who were hitchhiking from the Rainbow Gathering. At that time, I had no idea who or what a Rainbow Gathering was but I knew the folks I met were my kind of people. We ended up hanging out then decided to travel together. In my soul, I was lonely and needed company.
As we were headed out of town, we ran into another Rainbow kid named Ellis. He had LSD and wanted all of us to trip together. The couple liked that idea and invited him to tag along. When we started hitchhiking, with a destination and meet up location in mind, we split up and I traveled with Ellis.
When Ellis and me reached Hwy 101, after parting from the couple to make our way to the next destination, we decided to pitch camp in a ravine next to the ocean then head-out the next morning to our second meeting location. That morning, Rainbow Trader got stuck on the side of the road after the bolts on the passenger side began to loosen and shake the RV. That is when his three sons went for a walk with their dogs down to the ocean.
His three sons (John, Chris, and Willy) found me and Ellis after the two dogs found us. The dogs were a rottweiler and pit bull. The rottweiler belonged to the kids and the pit bull belonged to PJ. James Thomaston (aka PJ) was following Rainbow Trader in a larger and much nicer RV. The kids later invited us up to meet everyone.
This is how I met Rainbow Trader. We went on to create a strong father/son bond as he provided me with a home-base for nearly every year I was on escape status. He loved and cared for me like a father and I loved and cared for him like a son. During our entire relationship, we proudly represented ourselves as father and son.
Rainbow Trader (aka James Dalton) is the original registrant for KindRideShare.net. He believed so much into this project that he also financed its web hosting and domain renewal for many years, until he died.
After Rainbow Trader learned of my skills in computers and electronics, he took a very strong interest and started to encouraged I learn how to code. He wanted me to create a social interaction forum, on this new thing called the World Wide Web, and was very determined NOT to let me go. That is how Ellis and me ended up traveling with him, his family, and PJ.
After traveling to Slab City, he carefully articulated his vision and I totally bought into it. Problem was, I had never seen the web and had no idea what I was facing. It just so happened PJ, Ellis, and me wanted nothing to do with the heat in Slab City so we left.
It would not be for another few months before PJ and I caught up with Trader again. When we left, we headed to Texas to see PJ’s sister. We lost Ellis along the way.
After returning to Slab City, we packed up the family and started our second adventure to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. This is when I met Gypsy Starchild, who today runs a free traveler’s sanctuary outside of Tijeras, New Mexico. (More on that in another post.)
Once in T or C, Trader pressured PJ into buying me a new computer. Once I got that, he pushed me to learn HTML. It was not long after that I learned HTML was not going to get the job done. That is when I pulled the books out of my backpack and began to learn Perl for the first time. (More on how came into possession of Perl in another post.)
I carried Rainbow Trader’s mission with me from then onward. Every moment I could find, I was studying Perl and writing code. Within a year, I had mastered Perl and was well on my way to developing some of the first AI websites on the World Wide Web. The year of my break through, when I created V-Cities, was in 1998 while staying with PJ in T or C. (More on that in another post.) V-Cities then evolved to become the original version of Kind Ride Share, after I met Steven Duncan and Corey Estes in Missouri.
Once I created version 1.0 of Kind Ride Share, Tuesday and I left Missouri only to be separated later on. From then time forward, I had dedicated myself to turning Kind Ride Share into Rainbow Trader’s vision. This is how the People Guide, City Guide, Message Board, and Kind Links page came into Kind Ride Share. (Mind you, this took place at the beginnings of the World Wide Web.) I did my work under trees, bridges, on freight trains, in the bushes, a tent, and coffee shops all across America. Within six months, I among the first to develop social media platforms on the web. This was before we even knew what potential social media holds.