Jackson, MS

I’ve entered the Bible Belt of America, where an abundance of churches dot the landscape and redemption lurks everywhere. Right now I’m writing from Jackson, MS, and God help us, they need better roads. I feel like I’m riding motocross with all the cracks and pot holes. It’s good preparation for New Orleans, where the roads were in bad shape long before Katrina. I did see the coolest thing today though-motorcycle/scooter parking. I want to see more of this-everywhere!

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Cities should help encourage alternative transportation by creating more designated parking spots. I’ve been fielding a ton of questions and comments about the scooter, more than last year it seems. Soon there will be enough of us out here to justify such accommodations. Seattle is one city that has taken this request to their City Council.

I’m here in Jackson to visit my father, on Mother’s Day. He took me to a local recovery program/shelter that provides three free meals a day. I helped serve food and clean up after lunch. There is so much poverty here that my heart breaks. It is hard to believe this is America. Before I leave in the afternoon, I will visit again to help serve, just hoping to offer a little help. I was put on the spot today and asked to say the Grace. I took a deep breath and made it up on the spot; emphasizing the importance of community and nourishment. The exchange between people at these shelters has been amazing.

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I have not seen my father since college graduation, four years ago. He has experienced a lot of health problems in the past year, and it was nice to visit and help-even if just by listening. He was really supportive of the Peace ride and seemed very proud. This meant a lot to me, as my father has never been a part of my life, other than summer vacations as a kid.

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I do wish he would leave Jackson and go back to BHAM. Jackson is so poor and reminded me a lot of Montgomery, AL. Both have downtown areas near the Capitol that are empty on the weekend. Both have boarded buildings mixed in with Southern ante-bellum beauties, mixed with long stretches of every corporate chain store you might desire. No culture. No arts. Nada.
Except a two block area that I discovered cruising around. Below is a picture of the funkiest thing I saw the whole time in Jackson.

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