*****VIDEO AT BOTTOM*****
July 15, 2007 was an exciting day, I shot up out of bed and gleefully donned my riding gear. Good ol’ Southern thermostat registered in at 91 degrees. Checking my tire pressure and adding air in full gear provoked some dramatic cussing under the helmet. Even us “peacers” have their moments.
116 miles stretched ahead on a perfectly sunny day. This was it. The kick off day for P.E.A.C.E, after 45 days of intense planning, gears were switching. Now it was time to learn how to ride.
232 miles round trip-my longest ride yet. Before that-120-but on a little 50c-and only to train for P.EA.C.E SCOOTER. Most of the drive to D.C. winds through rural areas. I had just long enough to smell the flowers, ogle the landscape and revel in the adventure ahead. Then, after passing several Civil War battlefields, traffic began dumping onto the road, and then the road dumped into what way to closely resembled a interstate.
In those days, I was a jittery rider. Not just because of my inexperience riding 4 inches above the ground on 12 inch wheels, but the nature of my ride. Riding alone. Riding 11,000 miles. Riding for Peace. Quite possibly, riding off to do the most brazen jackass thing of my life-with the idea I could serve my country. A tour of Peace. Yea. That and the four shots of espresso had me jittery.
Scooting into the nation’s Capitol, I thought about the people who fill its streets with a call for justice; those who fill its halls with injustice; those who visit in awe; those who just live there in a glaring state of poverty. I felt a rush while navigating the streets of D.C. At least if I was hit by a car on the way home- the journey had been brought from seed to stalk. A rush because I hoped this idea would reach many people around the world. A rush because P.E.A.C.E Scooter felt like the most genuine, direct action I could make as an extension of my personal beliefs- walking my talk.
I navigated the obnoxious streets of D.C. to meet Denise, at the Busboys and Poets Cafe. Denise had contacted me via Crystal Waters. Crystal, ever thoughtful and ever responsive, had posted an announcement on scooter boards to rally up support. I wasn’t disappointed that no one showed up for a ride. Well, not that disappointed. Denise had agreed to meet me and I had decided that the departure date was not about ME, not about the long RIDE, but about the CAUSE. The intention was simply to leave behind the corruption and confusion generated in D.C. Politics and reach the people around America. To ask them to say what they really want for our future. To encourage them to speak it, demand it and practice it. No wonder it felt weird to be in D.C.-in a sense I was working through feelings of futility-distrust and disappointment in my nations government.
Some of those general ideas came up over a cup of coffee with Denise. She was so enthusiastic, so smart and kind. I don’t think she agreed or understand some of the points I made, but it was really exciting to meet her. I was expressing that certain anti-war organizations seem to pandering to the left and working for Peace, while in actuality they are doing little to bring solidarity to the movement-which results in strengthening the right, the conservatives. And to me, its the worse kind of “slight of hand,” magic trick.
Anyhow, she’s a lawyer, and gave me some good advice and also did an interview for the documentary. Now, she would have been the first on film, but the opportunity to interview Samuel, a random “peacer”, arose unexpectedly. Denise did offer her house for the night (thanks) but I had no arrangements set up for Marco Polo, so we went our separate ways and I haven’t heard from her since. I ran into intense rain after stopping by the President’s office on Constitution Street. It felt like a baptism though and I was beaming through it all. While stopped and eating samosas until the lighting passed, I created the helmet face out of reflective tape………………………..So, the rest of the story is to be continued at another time……………..
For now, enjoy the UBER COMPRESSED, uber pixelated video I put on youtube. It was filmed in High Def and the files are just too big to really use youtube. Love ya. P.S. The video features orange as a tribute to Denise, she drives the Sunset Buddy.