There were a couple of entries and photos not documented. WARNING: this entry is twice the length of my typically long travel blogs. Maybe enjoy in two parts.
I came across a box from OKC as I was packing up my stuff in preparation for the ’08 Sc00t. It contained some items sent ahead to lighten my load-mainly gifts from others and a nice silk scarf for my roommate. Also nestled on top was a video tape with note attached that said, among its warm salutations, “The news edited the shit out of it.” Of course they did, just as CNN chose to do, down in Texas, with 30 minutes of interview time.
Shoot, CNN not only interviewed me, they doggedly kept the cameras on while introductions were being made among activists at the Crawford Peace House. Then they followed as me and Kay took our walking meditation around the Peace Labyrinth. The conversation with that particular sage should be considered news worthy- I wish CNN had broken out of the box to show the footage. It saddens me that our media is only hungry for conflict and that mainstream news overlooks many newsworthy events. Anyhow, I digress.
Pam from the Atomic Brown Scooter (ABS) Shop had called a family member to tape the blip that aired on OKNews Channel 9. That was really a kind gesture, just one of MANY that ABS made to me in my brief visit. In fact, ABS was one of the few places able to get the news out to the shop.
I pulled into OK City as the sun was setting, often the case last summer, when sundown marked my quitting time. Cruising into town from 81S, a straight shot, bumpy, two laner, I was reminded of a line from one of my favorite bands. The Flaming Lips happen to hail from OK City. “Do you realize the sun doesn’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world going round.” I placed this into context that PEACE Scooter was coming to a close for 07. OK City was my next to last stop and I was exhausted-also a little stressed about the final stop ahead in Crawford.
The 261 mile ride had been a pretty straight shot South, through tiny towns with bad names like Assateria. The past week people had been asking me: “What’s after PEACE Scooter?” Perhaps move to Kansas, I thought, to open a gas station, and charge $6 a gallon-as I wouldn’t have any competition. Of all the 21 states visited, Kansas is the one I recommend carrying a gas can through. I managed to run out of gas there three times. The thing that prevented me from actually picking up a gas can was, well, lack of space, and the abundance of farmers with extra gas around.
The starting point of the drive was Salina KS, the only place I visited twice-it was the bellybutton of the Peace sign. Salina is that place where good ol’ American tradition lives. Where you can find Peace in baseball games, watermelon slices, messy hamburgers at local BBQ’s, Fourth of July; a night time grasshopper symphony, and bluegrass music. It struck me as a good, safe place to raise kids. It’s predominantly white, Christian, middle-class and agrarian. Driving around the neighborhoods over to Jerry’s house, I wondered if it really was that safe-Salina might be a hard place to do anything but conform. My host Jerry, though, is a interesting fellow, someone who has a connection to Crystal, of www.girlbike.com. I really appreciated that he welcomed me so generously. He had asked if I liked pizza, and said he was craving some. I had expected delivery but there was a tasty homemade pizza waiting when I arrived.
We spent dinner discussing the importance of buying local food. I expressed my disdain for shipping food in from other countries, especially if it can be grown in the states. He explained that eating out wasn’t something you really did growing up in rural Kansas. We talked about arts, and debated when culinary trades-preparing coffee, making wine, food, etc. can be considered art. After dinner we moved into the living room to talk about music. He is a bluegrass enthusiast and shared his collection of ‘pickin greats with me. It turns out he attends an annual local festival that features some really talented known/unkown musicians. Our conversation steered into one about spirituality, namely about a book called the Celestine Prophecy.
I read the book back in 1993 and suppose I never saw how pivotal it was in my life until the conversation with Jerry. I think he enjoyed being able to share his perspective with someone. At least I can hope so, because it was enjoyable to listen. The conversation was fitting, the main character in the book is on an adventure to find and understand nine spiritual truths. These truths are rooted in ancient Eastern psychology and spirituality.
I’ve taken the time to list them below. Also, remember the warning, this might be the time to go pee, stretch your legs and get some H2o
1. Feeling restless? You’re not alone: Everybody’s starting to look for more meaning in life. Start paying closer attention to those seemingly “Chance Coincidences” – strange occurrences that feel like they were meant to happen. They are actually synchronistic events, and following them will start you on your path to spiritual truth.
2. Observe our culture within its proper historical context. The first half of the past millennium was spent under the thumb of the church; in the second half we became preoccupied with material comfort. Now, at the end of the twentieth century, we’ve exhausted that preoccupation. We’re ready to discover life’s ultimate purpose.
3. Start to get acquainted with the subtle energy that infuses all things. With practice, you can learn to see the aura around any living being and to project your own energy around it to give it strength.
4. An unconscious competition for energy underlies all conflicts. By dominating or manipulating others, we get the extra energy we think we need. Sure, it feels good – but both parties are damaged in the conflict.
5. The key to overcoming conflict in the world is the mystical experience, which is available to everyone. To nurture the mystical and build your energy, allow yourself to be filled with a sense of love.
6. Childhood traumas block our ability to fully experience the mystical. All humans, because of their upbringing, tend toward one of four “control dramas”: Intimidators steal energy from others by threat. Interrogators steal it by judging and questioning. Aloof people attract attention (and energy) to themselves by playing coy. And Poor me’s make us feel guilty and responsible for them. Become aware of the family dynamics that created your control drama and you can focus on your essential question, which is how to make of your life a higher- level synthesis of your parents’ lives.
7. Once cleared of traumas, you can build energy through contemplation and meditation, focus on you basic life question, and start riding a steady stream of intuitions, dreams, and synchronistic coincidences, all guiding you in the direction of your own evolution and transformation.
8. That evolution can’t be done alone, so begin to practice the new “Interpersonal Ethic” by uplifting those who cross your path. Talk to people who make spontaneous eye contact with you. Avoid codependent relationships. Be there for people. Call attention to other people’s control dramas. In groups, speak when the spirit (instead of the ego) moves you.
9. Our purpose here is to evolve beyond this plane. Fewer people (a result of reproductive abstinence) and more old-growth forests will help us to sustain our energy and accelerate our evolution. Technology will do most of our work for us. As we begin to value spiritual insight more and more, we will pay those who bring it to us, and this will eventually replace the market economy and our need for paid employment. We can connect to God’s energy in such a way that we will eventually become beings of light, and walk straight into heaven.
Looking back through those, and looking around at even the mainstream news, I notice that our culture has begun to embrace these ideas. These ideas are no longer as “fringe”today as in 1993.
My evening in Salina ended with a deep slumber. The next morning before I left he showed me his personal Peace-a Chevy. Wish I had taken better notes, at this late point I can’t remember the dang details. I know the price he paid for 2 decades ago was mainly for the hood ornament. Insert full hearted WOW in though, as I saw the before pictures. Jerry transformed this truck and in many ways made his own personal transformations while doing so. Not knowing much about antiques, or cars/trucks in general, couldn’t keep me from recognizing this as a masterpiece.
It was October 9, in four days I would reach Crawford, TX. For 3 months, all around the country, this life defining experience, creating common ground with strangers; discussing transformation, community, and Peace-despite our diverse religious and political backgrounds. Riding into Oklahoma, I knew I was one state closer to the stopping point for ’07, yet I wanted to stay present. What I did, without a reply from the ABS shop, was check into a cheap motel and fall promptly asleep-and snoozed for 12 hours. At some point I woke up and caught the Daily Show on TV, I laughed so hysterically that a prime video clip is included at the bottom of this entry.
The next morning I reluctantly climbed out of bed and went to visit the folks over at ABS. They are a very cool, diverse group of people. As I discovered earlier in the summer, with a stop in Tulsa, Oklahomans are a unique breed, very fun to be around. They went out of their way to help with anything I needed-so insistent to help that I felt a bit shy. I mean everything was taken care of-lunch, coffee, scooter ride, dinner, beer. Even a haircut-they took me to a shop owned by a lady named Estrella, who rides a Stella. Steve, shop owner, also has a special limited edition Stella, issue number 2, and we know who has 1-Philip Mccaleb.
ABS/OKCSC scooter club won a P.E.A.C.E Scoot award for seemingly able to drink more beer than anyone else I met. However, they were also some of the most enjoyable people to be around. Dinner and drinks that night passed the time rather quickly. I met Marke, another long distance scooterists, who had ridden about 9,000 miles. Steve is also Buddhist, although he has studied longer than I. This winter, I studied a lot, inspired by our conversations.
The clock was ticking away, my friend Daphne was driving from Virginia with her daughter, to meet me, and others at the finish line in Texas. I was beginning to experience some anxiety, wondering about the political climate ahead in Crawford. The source of this fear was that P.E.A.C.E Scooters intent might be contorted. ABS let me voice these unnecessary worries and helped me keep my head on straight. They also gave me their number saying I could make that late night call if I had to-that get out of jail call….
David did some work on the engine before lunch time, my scooter was running really rich. The speed had been a noticeable 5mph faster. Steve offered to escort me down to the Alfred P. Murrah Memorial and then I would make my way out of town.
We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.
In 1995 my friends and I stopped through OK City while crossing the country. It was 4 months after the attack. The town was subdued and we were overwhelmed by the palpable weight enshrouding the city. Rubble was still being bulldozed, signs were posted in every shop asking citizens to report any leads to the FBI. This visit back through OK City, a memorial had been constructed and I went to sit and meditate at it. There are many pictures you can see by visiting my flickr. I was emotional, thinking about the innocent lives lost, at the hands of an American terrorist. This thought was compounded by our current involvement in a war to fight terrorism, and recognizing the amount of terrorism here in our country, within a decade’s time. My meditation was also a prayer, that people visiting really take heed to the statement, “may people who leave here know the impact of violence.” Violence that I pray we learn how to avoid-in our personal lives and in our institutional systems that often breed it-whether deliberately or not.
I left town after two encounters with the security guard, a paranoid fellow who almost confiscated my riding jacket that I left behind while taking photographs. But, first, I placed a P.E.A.C.E Scooter sticker on the Memorial shrine and prayed that we make history by creating peace, than become history in its absence.