Grrr. The ride into Portland, Oregon AKA, Timber Town, or Rose City, was long and full of confusing twists. The roads were not clearly marked; rain and nightfall further obscured my visibility. However, along the route, I did see my first ever full arc double rainbow. Wish the pictures could have fully captured it’s beauty. The spectrum bands were fully visible and popping out at me.
Finally arriving, I was greeted warmly by Erika and Henry James, the pitbull, outside the beautiful home her and her partner recently bought. I know Erika from the East Coast, we met in RVA almost 10 yrs ago. Our friendship is a gift.We have a consistent pattern of checking in every three years without speaking in between, but the reunion is always comfortable. She seems to be at a happier place than ever, and is settling into her new stomping grounds of Portland, OR. I told her not to let me fall in love with this town, I was only allowed to “get a crush” on it. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous since that distant rainy night. Blue skies, warm sun- remnants of summer still present.
Status: Would ABSOLUTELY move here-when and IF the time presents itself-but all I know right now is finishing this ride. INSHALLAH. Portland is really clean and environmentally conscious-you can even keep up to three chickens here-NO roosters though. It’s rich; with arts, culture, espresso, good food, FRIENDLY peoples, and alternative transportation (7 scooter shops, bike lanes EVERYWHERE). And, it’s totally bent.
Having hosts willing to open their home for days and show me around town has meant a longer stay. I’ve probably put on 5 pounds sampling all the yummy cuisine around town. I suggested that my hosts create a Food Network show, as they have fantastic palettes. They could call it “Epi-Queerious.” And I gave them intellectual rights to that-so don’t even think about stealing it. We ate at a Le Happy, a creperia; Queen of Sheeba, Ethiopian food; Pix for chocolate treats and scotch delights; Moxie, brunch from scratch and served out of a trailer; and Pambiche Cuban Food followed with legit Gelati. I have once again been blessed beyond belief with the generosity friends and strangers offer me. Thank You Erika and Mary, for being such a fun “peach-Pit Stop.” I also award the Whole Foods here with best salad bar yet, love the nutritional yeast on the bar and the house bowls to use instead of paper.
The days have passed quickly, I have done a lot of writing here on the site, to get us all up to date. The remaining miles equals 3,600, low estimate, probably close to 4,000. I hope to keep the website posts shorter, but more current. This project means everything to me, it is a defining life experience. I’m out here going through a transformation and it’s my honor to bring you along. The people I meet along the way are so welcoming, supportive, and too envision a world with more Peace. The overwhelming response to my Peace Ride indicates a fusion, through this solidarity, we can co-create the world we dream of. By doing shorter daily journal entries, I might leave out some detail, but you can ride closer to “real time,” with me. And we can generate collective energy towards change and peace. I hope you tell lots of people about the ride-and if you are on the West Coast, contact me about meeting up!
There were some visits to make while here. I wanted to see the Corazzo headquarters, where my riding jacket came from. Chad was on his way to Idaho, over to the enjoyable town of Coeur D’Alene that I visited two weeks ago. He waited to meet up with me-I wasn’t available until later because I went to a yoga class, finally. He’s a energetic, friendly guy and it was nice to see what Corazzo is up to, a behind the scenes look. I must say, those shoulder bags are going to be a hot ticket, once again, clever and stylish design work. Also, got a peek at the soon to be released Speedway Jacket, really hot with nice 60’s racing style lines.
Just had a conversation outside the Fresh Pot, my favorite hang out so far. This guy started talking at me, and he said, “Ya, Peace sells, but who’s buying?” I responded that what I’m doing by asking people to define peace for themselves is encouraging them to CREATE it, independently. I’m trying to take Peace back from a media manufactured distant reality into a personal sphere.
Anyways, I heart my Corazzo jacket. It’s made with fashion and function in mind. It’s nice not to shop the motorcycle circuits for gear, Corazzo is made by scooterists, for scooterists. I’ve worn my jacket in temperatures ranging from 55-103. I love how reflective it is, visibility is key, especially on a black bike. Chad offered me a back armor piece-my jacket only had foam in the back. He also gave me some other goodies for the road. I gave him a bunch of postcards and stickers to send out with jacket orders. Combining forces, we dreamed up a little Peace, Love and Happiness campaign. They are known to send out condoms, with orders, with their company slogan, “Ride with the Shield. See, that’s the love aspect, and the happiness is covered by the scooter itself! It was fun hanging with him and looking around the shop.
After dinner that night, I attended a speech by Barack Obama. It was a tough decision to make with Justin Timberlake in town. Thought I might have a better chance sneaking into the convention center to see Obama. I pulled up to a huge crowd, the lines to get in snaked around the block. Lots of demonstrators were outside, holding up various signs. One group was chanting, “No More War,” somewhat wimpishly. I walked over and suggested they be more Peace Positive and chant, “More Peace, NOW.” They obliged me and had a big smile on their face as I walked off. It sounded better.
Many people seemed hesitant to take postcards from me, asking, “What kind of money are you asking for?” Once I explained, NONE, they relaxed. I walked right into the doors, past security, and said I was getting an “e-ticket.” I then proceeded to walk confidently past the swarms of people who kept asking if I had checked in, saying, “Yes, yes.” And then I was in.
Not sure why I needed to pay in the first place? Or why it was so easy to sneak in? Nevertheless, I won’t say much now about the speech, but he is a good orator. The crowd was going absolutely wild, and he said all the right things. I noticed my own skepticism and thought about that for awhile. I just don’t believe in politicians anymore, the game seems so corrupt. Just look at my speech in that proceeding sentence, my first instinct is to call politics a game. And if you read that sentence without disagreeing or questioning me-well, case in point about skepticism. I want to believe that new candidates will bring integrity back into the House. They will step into office with access to the same privileges that this administration created through Homeland Security, and whose to say they will have any more integrity? I was also disappointed when Obama proclaimed that “He would get us universal health care within his first year holding office.” As much as I want that, it’s totally unrealistic to think it could happen that fast, and so I didn’t appreciate the sensationalism. Regardless, I try to stay involved in our politics and participate in it, so it was good to finally hear Obama’s side of the story. Attempts were made to get a postcard to Obama, without success.
I will have the opportunity to see a lot of friends over here on the West Coast, and it’s really nice to have familiar faces greet me. It was great to hang out with Erika, catch up, watch some of her recorded performances-overall it was really laid back. Mary rides a scooter, too, just like my old Stella Blue, a 49CC Metropolitan. Being that Portland is such a consumer conscious town, alternative transport is abundant. The city buses are fueled with bio-diesel and the rail streetcars are electric. The town is known for its bicyclist community and there are also 7 scooter shops. I went to meet Justin and Rob over at the Vespa shop in Nob HIll. They have some Genuine products too.
I had some more postcards and stickers mailed to me from Genuine, which means I have passed out more than 1,000 postcards! These two were just the greatest and they generously donated $100 for my gas fund. This is good, because I ran out of money in Portland. If you would graciously like to support P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER, donations can be made using the Pay Pal button. It is an easy, safe way to kick me some funds. A little goes a long way! Please consider that offering housing and food is also really appreciated!
Rob and I talked for a really long time, totally a fantastic guy who wins an award for the coolest, shaggiest pink seat ever. They also offered some service, so I cruised over to the warehouse and met the two mechanics. They were fun to talk with and hooked me up with a new bulb for the headlamp and an air filter. I noticed some oil around the intake-and I can’t emphasize this to Buddy owners loudly enough-don’t overfill your oil-it takes less than a full quart. Oh, and “Tim” power washed Audrey. She is now the shiny, dazzling lady from 6,600 miles ago. It was good to meet that whole crew!
That night Erika treated us to dinner (thanks Mz. Leo) at a delicious Cuban restaurant. Afterwards we had Gelati, although I could only handle the “not a lot” size that was offered. Back home, I did some laundry and hung out with Erika, trading music. Their guest bed was absolutely divine, I will miss it terribly. I had many a nights good rest in it and I hope they come to see me back East so I can return the NUMEROUS favors they granted me. Today we decided to play Salon because I love Erika’s haircut. I never let friends cut my hair, but this afternoon before leaving, she gave me the faux hawk or “friend” hawk. It’s perfect. We shot some video of the cut, which was pretty hot and pretty funny. I hope she youtubes it.
Earlier this week, I hit a slump. Fortunately, it didn’t last to long and right now I am feeling better than I have in awhile. Things started looking up after my friends from Omega sent me some cheerful wishes. I have been processing some stuff that I will post on next-about solidarity and the anti-war movement.
When I was at Bumbershoot, in the Flatstock exhibit, a vendor gave me an Ice Cream Man sticker. I was told there is a guy who rides around the country, his only modus operandi is to give out free ice cream. So, I put the sticker on my Shad case, my traveling non-corporate bulletin board. Don’t even eat ice cream, but I liked the idea. Friday I was on my way to yoga class, before a limb snapped off, and I spotted the Ice Cream Man’s truck in a coffee shop parking lot. I went in and asked around, “Are you the Ice Cream Man.?” Finally, I met him. He’s a great guy with a good gig going on. Levi’s and Nike help sponsor him, but he’s ok with that, he feels like the more money he raises, the more money funneled towards the cause-making people smile by giving them ice cream. Aside from their help with gas and ice cream, he still has a humble life on the road, and is hosted by people along the way. He was so enthusiastic! He asked to take some postcards and stickers to give out at a music festival in Austin, TX, the ice cream truck’s next stop. He took a photo of me and Audrey and the Ice Cream Man sticker on my shad. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me. Definitely would have spoken to him for awhile, but I was determined to catch a yoga class. Oh, he does have vegan treats! He cheered me up a lot and expressed that he had been through “the slump.” I felt like it was a quirky meeting and was glad for the series of events that led to it.
Another meeting that came out of the Flatstock exhibit was with Lynn. We RANDOMLY struck up a conversation at the exhibit and it turns out that just the day before in Portland, she had RANDOMLY met Heather, who rode her Vespa cross country last year. Lynn promised to get us in touch since Portland was my next stop and sure enough, she did. Unfortunately, we never met, our schedules conflicted, but we spent some time talking on the phone. I look forward to meeting her and she is trying to get me in touch with some people she knows along the coast. It’s always so exciting to hear from other long distance riders. I’m happy that we found out about one another. All in all, Flatstock wound up helping me make some connections with good people!
That’s the brief scoop on Portland-a lot of flavor in a town that I hope to savor again, at a later time.
thanks to all, especially Mary, Erika and Henry James……
I can’t wait to see the Pacific Ocean!