Thanks Suzanne! I do think you bit right to the bone on this one - I have been a reclusive artist and have not integrated social media in my art life as much as I could have. At this point all I have to show is my artwork (maybe I'm wrong, but I think work speaks the truest about someone's level of commitment). So yeah, right now about 30% of pledges are coming from folks I know personally from college or otherwise. I am pleasantly surprised at how many total strangers and even those overseas are pledging and are excited to see this happen. I'll see how it goes - in either case, it's happening, but every bit does help ;-)
About this 'life change' - I feel I needed it. A lot of people work day jobs and do this on the side but after I acquired that darkroom and really started teaching and producing art again I realized it was time for a shake-up and this thing has been milling around in my head for a number of years so I went for it.
About this being a beg-a-thon - trust me my dear friend CGW, I'm fully committed to putting all of my savings into this project ABOVE the meager amount we're asking . If one sits down and calculates what it would cost to convert an empty box on wheels into a rolling functional darkroom/studio/educational space the sum would be 3-4x higher than our goal on kickstarter. I already put about 8K in and am getting ready to drop the rest of the saving in within the next month. Besides, I do believe in the power of community and humanity and that those two things can be pretty powerful.
"Hard to let someone check out a Mamiya RB 67 on Twitter" - that's exactly why we're doing it... bringing things like that to communities that might not have your bar-meet-up group. And I too very much prefer to meet in person - again, why the bus will travel with the hope of meeting communities like the one you folks have and bringing closer together (if they chose to want do so).
Also, I'm glad to see that quite a few people have written articles about this trying to help our with the funding (I'm not a trust-fund baby... I work for a living and don't have $40k in cash, sorry again for that. If I was a trust-fund baby, believe me, I'd make this thing on my own dime and do this stuff for free).
And so on...
Bob - I'll have to look up Mr. Bentley - Agfa 8x10 is some gooooooood stuff. I did this tryptic once from three APX100 8x10 negs and you can see every window pane in San Francisco on those 30x40s... Jobo's good too... I wonder what his water tank capacity was