It was obvious that legalizing weed in July would bring huge changes for Oregon, but who knew it would actually be happening so quickly? If you had asked me just one year ago if my next tour of Portland would be on a bus while taking high-quality dabs from high-quality pieces, I would not have believed you. Even now, the second-ever Franco’s Fun Bus feels like it was too good to be true. But no, it happened, and boy, was it amazing.
When you go out to a bar with friends, your average beer costs $4 and mixed drink about $8, and that’s me being generous. For marijuana extraordinaire Franco, of Portland-based concentrate company Franco’s Finest, a night of drinking seems like a night to forget. Drinking out is expensive and unrewarding in the long-term. Franco decided to create something for smoking that embraces Portland nightlife without being a part of the bar scene. Thus, Franco’s Fun Bus was born!
Tickets for Franco’s Fun Bus are $125 regularly, with discount codes and “early bird” options readily available. It is an expensive activity, but when I say it’s worth it, trust me, it’s worth it. Franco teamed up with amazing vendors like Oregon’s Finest, Ideal Farms, Natural Wonders (site coming soon), Uplift Botanicals, Primo Extracts, Trillium Extracts, Canna Refinery, Sour Bhotz, Hide PDX, Earl’s Edibles, Jolly Greens, and more. Not only does Franco donate endless dabs throughout the night (lovely hosts and hostesses will take size requests – ranging from itty bitty to big ol’ slabs), but we each came home with a dab swag bag full of goodies from the fine vendors. When you figure you need a budget for marijuana products anyways, the dab bus makes perfect sense. So, exactly how fun was it?
As my friends and I commuted to Pioneer Square, the butterflies in my stomach were a result of not knowing exactly what to expect. There we were to board Franco’s Fun Bus and drive around Portland for a scheduled 4 hours of dabbing and executive party-bussing. I had no idea what lied ahead. I was picturing hosts and hostesses balancing glass and torches and dabbers in an aisle on a school bus type thing. We arrived early and were watching them set up “The Lego Movie” for a bit when Franco’s business partner Rosie greeted us with a friendly wave. “Dab Bus?!” she said, and we rang back in a chorus: “dab bus!” This was going to be awesome. Eventually (almost) the whole party trickled in, and we were waiting on the bus and one other member of our fun bus family. Our last member arrived just before the bus rolled around the corner and up to the curb. “Executive” didn’t even begin to cover it. With its black tinted windows and handsome party-bus host descending to greet us, it finally set in. This was real. Fifteen stoners were about to get the ride of a lifetime.
With this being such a new event, it’s been far from sold out. Between the small number of us and things like the couch/TV in the bathroom, the executive aspect of this bus couldn’t feel any more real. Everyone was able to take turns dabbing, and I feel confidently speaking for all of us when I say no one was left out. If you wanted to dab, you would just sit down on one of the cozy leather seats near Franco and enjoy.
There’s no precedent for an event like this, so rule of thumb was to treat this outing like any other party bus with people drinking on board. For one thing, that meant no open flame. The beautiful solution? An e-nail! If you’re unfamiliar with e-nails, they attach to titanium nails and keep the metal at a constant temperature. That means your rig will never cool down too quickly, and your dab will be as hot as you like it. Not to mention, so long as there is oil on the nail, it will continue to burn. With e-nails, one person can take a dab, not finish it, and pass on the rig to the next no problem. In short? No dab left behind, and that was certainly the theme throughout.
Some of the strains we tried on the bus were Franco’s concentrate of the month, New York Pineapple Diesel, and some other favorites, like Hot Mess and Buddha’s Grape Dream. Early on I knew this would be a night for heavy hitters, I myself had twelve dabs total (a number that I’ll probably never reach again in one sitting, until I go to the next Fun Bus, that is…). The two rigs we used were both strong in different ways. The glass came from Mary Jane’s House of Glass, a high-quality American-made headshop. The first piece we used was an MIO (Made In Oregon) brand typical inline percolator dab rig – heavy with a nice function. I have an MIO bong in my personal collection: they’re affordable and really nice quality. The second was a Honey Supply double u-percolator that had a chuggy yet smooth feel to it. I think in the end I preferred the Honey Supply, but I loved trying both. Between the high quality concentrates and the nicely functioning rigs, coughing was controlled. In my world, that really means something. The option to go hard in terms of consumption was definitely there, but so was the option to sit back, relax, and enjoy the atmosphere.
Our first “attraction” after downtown Portland was the St. John’s Bridge. Franco’s Fun Bus had a whole itinerary for the evening: drive down St. John’s Bridge, go to Rocky Butte, the Division Food Carts, the Waterfront, and finally back to ‘Pio Square.’ Like stoners, we more or less followed the schedule, but we rolled up to Rocky Butte at the perfect time. Rocky Butte is a destination in Portland due to its gorgeous views. As the sun was setting, the group of us got off the dab bus (a scene as funny as it sounds) and ascended the stone stairs just as the blue moon was rising. People were gathered playing music, picnicking, enjoying themselves, as we all watched the sky get dark around the magnificent moon. It was incredible, and added depth to this seemingly shallow recreation. We all felt a sublime appreciation.
Walking back to the bus, more dabs were inevitable, and so were munchies. In addition to the amazing snacks supplied on the bus (hello m&ms, gummy bears, and caramel popcorn), the goal was to stop at the food carts. We got off the dab bus and unleashed a certain kind of hell upon these SE Division food carts. A very stoney, giggly, docile kind of hell. Innocent bystanders gawking as we got off this bus like some kind of pothead Partridge family, ready to gnaw on some grub. Lots of us got waffles at Smaaken Waffles, due to the fact that it was still open and “prepared” for our business. It was delicious, and my leftovers turned to rightnows real quick. Filing back onto the bus, our last stop was the waterfront.
This stop was a bit of a decompressant – we pulled up and there was no rush. We still had dabs going down on the bus, while the waterfront patiently waited outside. The Fun Bus had brought to a particular spot where there was a picturesque weeping willow tree against the city and river backdrop. Though it felt like I never wanted the party to end, this was a nice spot to collect oneself and prepare for the real world again. We got back on the bus and drove to Pio Square. Franco and Rosie were so kind, and so appreciative, that the whole experience felt like it had been a field trip led by the two best “chaperones” ever. I would give the Fun Bus experience 5 stars, and recommend it as a new must-do for Portland recreational nightlife.
On our way off the bus, we grabbed the final exciting piece to the puzzle – the swag bags! Oregon’s Finest supplied us with cloth drawstring bags to hold everything, and when my friends and I got home, it was like dumping out candy on Halloween night. Some things that stand out? Concentrates from Franco, Uplift Botanicals, Primo Extracts, and Trillium Extracts. There’s a “Cannabis Cure-All” from Luminous Botanicals that’s for “edible, topical, or sensual use.” Kind Heart Collective donated some flower from the girl scout cookies strain, Sativica Wellness threw in a balm and some capsules, and I’m stoked to try my Sour Bhotz edible. There are some wrinkles to work out, of course – like maybe some more labeling and instructions from the vendors – but that’s to be expected when you’re only two tries in to the next big recreational thing.
A gigantic thank you to Franco and his Fun Bus crew. To say that this is an experience of a lifetime would be to sell it short. Did you ever think you would see the day? Activities like this will bring so much awareness and new interest to the recreational marijuana world, and this is just the very beginning. Now you can dab bus, too! Reasonably priced, totally legal, and seriously FUN – will you be on the next one?