*clicking on the pictures takes you to my photo account, where they get bigger!*
Tonight finds me in Carpinteria, CA; a little town currently enshrouded by ocean mist. It’s about 274 miles from San Diego. Tonight we are lodged in a Motel 6; definitely enjoying splitting motel costs with Sean. Since last Wednesday we’ve had wonderful hosts each night-and each day has been incredibly action packed.
On Thursday afternoon we rode from National City to the burbs of San Diego. Our visit in National City was rather uneventful. We passed by the Naval Base and stopped to look at the aircraft carrier that dropped bombs in Vietnam. It started raining and we nixed camping. After grabbing a way overpriced hotel room, although probably cheaper than San Diego, we both did some work. Sure, we could have gone off to Tijuana, it was only 4 miles away, but instead we behaved. I was a bit giddy that the Southern part of the Peace sign was completed.
That was a grueling 2,112 mile ride. I really wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. My relief that it was over translated into my first 8 hours slumber in quite awhile. Tensions along the border are very high right now. It was unlikely that something might happen to me but drug smugglers are literally engaged in blood bath duels with the police. Just the other day, a smuggler was wounded in a shoot out and taken to a hospital. His gang stormed the hospital and shot civilians, doctors and nurses, anyone in the way just to get to him and kill him. Innocent bystanders are irrelevant in these wars. If anyplace needs to be included in the Peace sign, it is our border with Mexico.
We packed up and headed over to our hosts in San Diego, Jan and John. They are the regional area coordinators of the Americans for the Department of Peace. He contacted me on March 25 with an invitation for lodging, saying that, “You have many like-minded peace fans in AFDOP.”
Like minded? My god, yes. I’m humbled by the generosity and welcoming that Shaun and I received. We glimpsed a PEACE sign hanging above the entrance and then John opened the door and greeted us warmly. It felt great from the first second. I had told informed Shaun about the Dep’t of Peace the night before. Like many people, he had never heard of it, but seemed very interested. The dynamic between the four of us was great.
John and Shaun were able to geek out on programming chat. We spent three very incredible nights with them. They had a hot tub for the sore muscles and enough food to feed a tribe. Every single need we had was met without hesitation. They were brilliant, charming, and fun. I had no idea what to expect but was blown away by how fantastic they were.
Shaun went exploring while I worked at a coffee shop. We met up later at the Vespa shop in Hillcrest and talked to Jason for awhile. I spoke with the marketing director at Whole Foods about donating a gift card for food-with no luck, sadly.
Then we explored San Diego by taking the trolley around the city, hopping on and off at spots. Shaun wanted to experience some nightlife and so we wound up walking around the 5th street club area. A bouncer, with fangs, at House of Blues, pointed us in the right direction for some local music. We had a long chat with the door lady, who recommended fragmob.com. It’s a cool website where you send in photos from your cellphone and they are updated almost real time. She suggested posting my photos there as a way to reach out to more people.
We walked into the club downstairs, just as the band was playing “Sesame Street.” After an hour we headed back to the metro; talking and people watching.
In the afternoon we set out to Motorsports, the local Genuine dealership. I picked up my care package that Daphne mailed and we hung out for about 3 hours. Like every scooter shop across America, they were bustling and had few scoots left. Alex Kohn is a really smart, fun guy. We spent some time talking and he asked if I wanted some money. He came back with a $200 donation. Then he gave us tshirts-some of the best quality I’ve seen yet.
Shaun and I fielded questions about our scoots and the Buddy in general from prospective customers. We met Kristal, who has 46,000 miles on his Piaggio MP3, in just one year, just riding around town! Jan and John had arranged a dinner party, so time with the Motorsports guys was cut short. San Diego is a great town to ride around. There are many hills, Eucalyptus trees, flowers, and amazing panoramas. It is a big sprawling city, but the scenery makes the rides go by quickly. Except on Friday afternoons-good old California gridlock traffic had us running in the door for the dinner party; three guests had already arrived.
In the remaining daylight everyone congregated around our scooters. Shaun let a couple of people test drive his, everyone else signed the P.E.A.C.E. SCOOT and asked a bunch of questions. There was a lot of laughter; we felt comfortable right away with the 16 strangers that showed up to welcome us. Inside the table was stocked with wine and food. With just 24 hour notice, quite a crowd showed. Jan recommended us all gathering in a circle to introduce ourselves and say how we were affiliated with Peace. Then she asked that Shaun and I answer questions about the ride. I hope there are more events ahead like this!
One message echoed throughout the circle was that amid the real challenges of life, they were all working to emanate Peace in their own personal way. No one there thought they had the answer, but they were emphasizing the importance of being deliberate and considering how you can constantly seek and choose peace, if just within in your own life. Every person there was very authentic and open. It was an incredibly real experience and I’m thankful the party happened. They were really curious about the ride and amazed by all the nuances. They taught me a lot and it was inspiring for me to meet so many people working for Peace. Shaun handled it all very smoothly. He seemed captivated by the situation.
He ran off for a little while to hang out with the neighbors and I talked to Jan and John. We counted up the donation basket money-all in all $469 was raised in San Diego-that’s $281 for nonprofits!
Despite a very late night, I was up early to meet Peter, the beachblogger. As I posted, we went out posting Peace signs and he shared his perspective with me in a video I have yet to release. We share many views and it was a great 3 hours with a unique artist, peace maker.
I rushed back to the house and we went out to mow my first lawn into a Peace sign. There is still video from that which will be posted soon. Amy was great to let me mow her lawn and I hope many other follow! It was an grand house overlooking the ocean. The local news contacted me but we were never able to coordinate a date.
We spent the evening with Jan and John, who treated us to dinner. Shaun and I were determined to make our 4pm arrival in LA, so we packed the bags up and placed the scoots in the garage.
We still didn’t arrive on time. The distance was shorter than most rides, but the time was the same. Traffic lights killed our time. Welcome to LA and surrounding counties. The first part of the ride was stunning and we ran into 50 scooterists out on a ride to raise money for Breast Cancer Research.
Mike and Jen were very cool about us showing up an hour late. They bought us tickets for the Dodgers game. Sadly, the only time they scored was during first inning. We laughed and hooted, ate stadium food. Three bats were broken during the game, Vince Vaughn was there and laughably, the Cubs have a player named, Fukudome. Shaun’s friends picked him up after the game and I went home with Mike and Jen. They have the best bungalow in Pasadena, chock full of collectables. It was an early night. Last year they lodged me as well. Their bed has to go down as one of the best.
7 hours later I was up, drinking coffee with Mike. We headed to the shop and even though it was closed, we spent the day talking to customers. Just turning on the lights brings them in!
Eric from Modern Buddy came out and we expertly fielded customer questions. The three of us had lunch. Mike is always good to me-he supports me because of the long ride I’m doing-but our personal beliefs are very different. In 2002, he actually rode a scooter up to Alaska from LA. A vintage scooter nonetheless, and in 19 days. Him and Jen always seem to be hosting scooterists-many thanks. Eric gave me some great scooter pins that I had to share with Shaun. 🙂
NBC came by and filmed a piece on alternative transportation and fuel costs. It’s a horrible piece, but you can find it here: http://video.knbc.com/player/?id=261323
Feel free to leave a comment on their website that they should cover more of the Peace ride story!
At 4 pm we were on the road, just trying to carve out some of the ride up to San Francisco. Daphne flies in to join the P.E.A.C.E ride on Thursday, which also coincides with a scooter rally.
I’ll go back and add some photos to this one, but time is short and it’s late-I just wanted to get something up since it’s been awhile!
There are new photos in the flickr account.
Here is a video of today’s landscape: