I pulled into Santa Fe during a storm. The 500 mile drive from Flagstaff had offered breath taking views, fast roads through Reservations, GUSTY winds, and rain. I knew that Santa Fe was close, but could see no lights ahead-until suddenly I reached the top of a hill. The panorama opened up and thousands of lights twinkled below. Good. I could call my hosts and let them know I was nearby. The dark vast, open horizon surrounding Santa Fe was illuminated intermittently with long, white fingers of lightning. Rain began pelting me and I scooted on, looking for a dry place to call Meg and Richard. The air was very electric-my heart began beating faster as lightning struck around me. On my left I spotted Centaur Cycles and Scoots, and I hoped that my hosts lived nearby. Soaked to the bone, my teeth chattering, I called Meg. She asked if I wanted to come to their house or they could meet me nearby for some dinner. Honestly, I could not make a decision-I was tired and cold. They came to get me, Audre was unpacked and left at the shop.
I was really excited to meet these two characters. Earlier that day I had called Roy, over at the Genuine Scooters, to see if any parts were needed for Audre’s maintenance. I always enjoy speaking with Roy, and he let me know he was a bit jealous that I was staying with such cool people. And they are cool, no doubt about it. It’s good to take a minute here and reflect on how good Genuine has been to me.
I had just finished lighting the beautiful yellow candles that I made for Summer solstice when Philip McCaleb rang to let me know, “Genuine Scooter is going all the way,” in their support for me. My original proposal to him offered a wholesale price on the scooter, but he let me know that a scooter was only part of what he could offer. And since that day, I have become aware of what he meant. Most importantly, Philip has stood behind the Peace Ride. My idea resonated with him and we spent hours going over my beliefs and his. I’ve never even met the guy, but I’ve had some great phone conversations and emails with him. He reads the blogs, offers encouragement and makes sure that his dealers take care of me. I’ve had so many incredible hosts because of Genuine.
I originally predicted that many fellow Peaceniks would be throwing open their doors to help host me. I had also anticipated that many Peace Organizations would endorse or support the Peace Ride. For whatever reason, most organizations ignore my requests for help- I have written to many, asking that they help support the Peace Ride. My thoughts were that a link or blip about the Peace Ride on their website would help generate awareness and create a solidarity in the Peace movement. And of course, also help me find housing and support along the 11,000 mile route. I made these assumptions since we are all working for the same cause. And from all past experiences, freedom fighters stick together with their eyes on the prize.
Well, honestly, the Scooter Community and my personal friends are the ones that have provided a network of support. These people have made sure I get housing, donations, haircuts, food and show me around their town. Philip McCaleb told me that they were going to place the Peace Ride on their front page. I was surprised and happy that a company was so willing to take an obvious stance of Peace. Many of the people who have contacted me with places to stay have come to my website through Genuine’s, demonstrating the networking power of information technology. This obvious truth also heightens my disappointment with Peace organizations-who chose not to support an obvious Pro-Peace demonstration. I guess scooterists understand the stamina and challenge of a 11,000 mile ride more than car drivers. Even when I started the ride, I had the mentality of a “cage” driver. Shoot, most scooterists consider 90 miles an epic ride. (to quote PJ) Back in the beginning, I would estimate my time based on car traveling and was ignorant to the power of the elements. Wind, rain, elevation-all those things can drastically change your ride. Which brings me back to Meg and Richard.
They put some warm blankets over my legs and took me back to their house. I noticed we were leaving the town behind and turned onto a gravel road. The next morning I was to see how beautiful the surrounding area is. They have a really nice amount of privacy at their new house. We ate soup and toast and chatted a bit. From the initial moment I locked eyes with them, I knew they were kindred spirits. They are smart and quirky and just so enjoyable to be around. I’ll be honest here, I don’t have any time left on this trip to go into details-but you can anticipate a book with MUCH MORE detail of my escapades and thoughts on Peace and conflict. I slept hard that night and woke up early to go into the shop with them. I’m not the fastest morning person, but I’ve been able to maintain an early schedule since staying at their place. That’s helpful, since the seasons are changing and I’ve been loosing riding daylight.
Richard has a ton of experience with motorcyles and scooters. I learned a lot from him and appreciated going on some rides-back of the bike. That was a new experience for me and an enjoyable way to check out Santa Fe, if only the 8 mile drag from their shop to house. Santa Fe is a beautiful town and full of progressive citizens. I asked Meg what she loved about Santa Fe, and one of the responses was the mindset and identity of its locals. I, too, in my little time there, was very appreciative of the community consciousness. Every conversation was very authentic and people were quite upfront about their viewpoints-personal and political. I appreciated the honesty. Also, I appreciated Santa Fes building code, three stories max I think, which helps maintain a view of the gorgeous surrounding terrain. It was easy to tell I wasn’t in Anywhere, USA. Even the main drag, with its box shops, was more attractive than most places, as the buildings look adobe.
I hung around the shop most of the day. It was a bustling environment, but sporadically me, Hayley, Richard and Doug would delve into a conversation about Peace and War. They were insightful conversations amidst business as usual. I did a lot of work contacting people in Crawford, TX to set up a Pro-Peace Rally on October 13. The scooter (Audre) needed a some work. She was at 9,690 miles when she went into the shop. And running pretty damn good for all the consecutive mileage-especially since I’ve been riding hard the past two weeks. The elevation, 7,000 ft+ since Prescott, AZ had slowed her down a bit. That’s natural.
Doug, an experienced mechanic, gave her a thorough inspection. He adjusted the valves, changed the belt and the oil. Then he took her out for a test ride. The oil filter wasn’t tight enough and it came off, the oil ran out, and a piston blew. It was a mistake that Doug didn’t mean to make. He had tightened the filter, then in consideration for the next mechanic, he loosened it a bit. He heard the knocking of the piston, got off the bike, pushed it to his house, loaded it on the truck and brought it back. It was clear he felt awful about it and I didn’t want him to. Ya, we were in a jam, as it was Friday and Genuine was already closed. Columbus Day was on Monday, which meant parts wouldn’t actually arrive until Wednesday. I was expecting to have 900 miles behind me by Wednesday. People are expecting me in Crawford, TX by Saturday. It was a tough situation for us all. There are two things about this situation that I appreciate-and it’s hard to say which one more. Probably the fact that Meg gave me the engine from her Buddy125, because it got me on the road the next morning. But, equally as important was the way everyone handled the situation. We all put our heads together, problem solved and moved on. It was very professional and we made time to joke. I think they were happy that I didn’t flip out-but I saw no reason to-all you can do in a crisis is to solve it. I joke around that now I have Meg’s heart. The “heart transplant” went smoothly. Now, we are into Audre Mac OS X 10.4.11. And it’s an upgrade, for sure. Meg, thank you so much for being the most crucial Pit Crew member as of yet. Audre is burning rubber down the road. It is really amazing how fast she is now-the engine only had 1,500 miles on it when I got her. This engine was broken in at high elevation and maybe it rides faster now at sea level???I’m still learning the feel of this one. I know that the gas mileage isn’t as good as mine was, but that is probably explained by the 6mph speed gain I’ve gotten.
That night Meg and Richard took me out to dinner at Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery. I really adore them. Our conversation was interesting, covering the gamut of sexuality, movies, scootering, evolution, Peace and life stories. What I enjoyed is the way we made room for difference in opinions. I had my first chile releno, and it was so good that I ate two more the next day before I left the state. Richard had told me that he associates autumn with the smell of those peppers being roasted. Sure enough, driving around town the next day, I noticed that lovely aroma.
There is a lot more I can say about my brief time in Santa Fe. I’m in a rush to post this and go meet the scooterist in Oklahoma City. I will update it soon. But I wanted to get something up and thank Meg and Richard for being amazing people. I wound up at Aztec Coffee on my way out of town and hung out with some fantastic locals. That’s also the place were I discovered the Impeace sticker and the barista gave me four to bring along! A guy that I met there called New Mexico, The Land of Entrapment, (instead of Enchantment) and I whole heartedly agreed. Definitely one of the top spots so far, and I WILL write more about it in the near future.