I feel great again, yay!

A father and daughter just rode past the porch where I sit, typing and drinking coffee. The daughter was on a scooter also, the Lil Rascals kind and she says, “Dad, look a scooter!”

“That’s a Peace Scooter honey!” (they see the signs on my seat cover)

“Actually, it is a P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER”

The morning finds me in Portland. My health is much better now; made better also by the pace at which I’ve been able to travel. Once outside of Chico, CA the roads and drivers were friendlier. Thank you to all the well wishers who wrote encouragement!

IMG_1266In Oregon, they drive at a “reggae pace.” Also helpful is the speed limit, set statewide at 55 mph. Friday night I stayed at the Featherbed Inn, in Chemult, OR, near Crater Lake National Park. After the unwelcome patch of gravel that made me wipe out, I was greeted warmly by a $30 room, dogs, cats, and horses-oh and a comfy featherbed. Neither myself, nor the scooter were hurt in the spill. The saddlebags protrude so far from Audre’s flank that nothing else was harmed. I attempted to catch my footing and push us both upright, but we were on an incline, so at the last moment I bailed, landing upright.

I fed the horses and took some photos. I joked with the owner, Don, about trading in the scooter for his horse. It was a fantasy many years ago to ride cross country on what Tom says,” is the original scooter, one horsepower!” Chemult, OR is a town, or village, maybe one mile long; flanking the road are just a few restaurants, hotels, gas stations and a trailer park. In September, Chemult will be flooded by Japanese mushroom hunters. They are hunting the Maitake, known as the “dancing mushroom, ” because people would dance in celebration when they found it. Why? Well, it is worth its weight in silver.

People pay $35 a pound for it, sometimes more! Maitake has also proven itself as an effective cancer fighter and anti-viral, also used to regulate blood sugar levels. My research show that IT IS NOT a Japanese virility supplement, which I was told. Good, that restored the image of the Featherbed Inn as a quaint, little, rough around the edges but thoroughly charming motel. I don’t want the image stuck in my head of Japanese tourists desperate for an organic viagra!

IMG_2197Time meanders along here in Oregon, slipping slowly into a simple future. Of course, things are probably different here in the big city of Portland. But somehow I wake up and always have an seemingly extra four hours; taking time to relax, read, and enjoy the abundance of health food markets. And to enjoy the routes through gorgeous forests, like the Willamette National Forest, or sprawling farmlands where the greens and yellows of crops stretch for miles before bumping against tall blue and green snowcapped mountains.

IMG_1278My hosts in San Diego, who I miss very much, tried to secure hosting with their sister in Eugene. Sadly, the timing didn’t work for us, but Josna helped recruit a host for me. Jill seemed hesitant, but curious enough to open her small space for me. I arrived to Eugene in time for the Saturday Market, the main reason to visit the town. Many years ago I dropped out of college, ignoring my scholarship in order to experience a different type of education.

Raised mainly in the burbs, I felt a calling to uncover truths that were hidden among all the expectations of what a smart, successful white high school grad should do with her life. Success meant nothing to me if I couldn’t explore what failure meant. In the process of traveling I redefined what success really meant to me; it was the beginning steps of developing my own character, which had been shaped in part by a consumer culture. I lived on the streets, basically, and camped in forests with groups of people. I rarely called home and I found ways to support myself; although I would live on just $10 a day or less.

In the process of removing myself from the culture I was raised in, I became judgemental when I saw other people embodying that culture. I saw them representing the things I had just escaped. That is a natural mindset for many people who begin to experience a drastic change. Of course, anger and judgement are pointless. Really what changed my ways were accepting and forgiving myself-that it took me so long to become appreciative, humbled and deliberate about the way I spend my life here on this Earth.

While visiting Eugene, I saw many people who were searching and had a similar mindset to me years ago. I also saw a lot of stoned hippies and was saddened that it is often easier to get high and let the world and those suffering in it just slip away. People medicate themselves in many ways though, throughout all classes and cultures. I personally feel that the first steps in spiritual awakening are to heal yourself, but then to recognize the intersection between spirituality and activism.

IMG_1279The Saturday Farmers Market takes up four blocks; four blocks full of farm fresh produce, handcrafted wares, street performers, food vendors, stage music and hundreds of observers. I ate a delicious tofu salad on the courthouse steps while taking in the drum circle. The market has been in full swing since 1970.

There is a demand from locals to have local food. There are many benefits. Imagine how tasty and fresh the goods are-chock full of the nutrients you and your kid need. There is less gas used in transport, friendlier for the planet also with less CO2 pumped into the air. This also lowers the price AND your money stays within the community.

I walked around and handed out postcards and then went in search of a scooter shop. Mike was parked next to my scooter and after talking for a bit, offered to lead me to the Triumph shop. It turns out they sell Genuine. The mechanic, Hunter, was very nice to fit in a gear oil change free of charge, on such short notice-they closed in 30 min. I spoke with the owner, Rod, for a few minutes.

IMG_1283He started off his piece by saying, “Well, our political viewpoints differ greatly, but I think it’s honorable what you are doing.”
“Wait, it’s interesting that you have no idea what my political beliefs are, but you think you do because I’m on a Peace ride.”

Grrr. We had a 5 min. conversation and he was right, our beliefs do differ, but I can’t emphasize enough that this ride is NOT about politics. In the 60/70s there was a huge cry from the women’s movement, that “the personal is political.” I’m reversing that to say, “the political is personal.”

After the oil change I went back downtown, enjoyed a Rogue beer at the brewery and caught up on some email. THANK YOU to everyone supporting the raffles. I’ve been hearing from those starting to get their prizes and I”M SO STOKED by your happiness! As I was checking email, Logan walked by and asked to use my computer to check his email. I said No at first, I had little battery power and then I changed my mind and said go for it.

He sat and we talked for a bit and I must have freaked him out because he left without taking the postcard. I said, “Hey, that was a gift.”
“Well, I feel like you are trying to teach me something.”
What was this? The origin of my disappointment went back to my time there in Eugene as a kid. Here was a guy that obviously understands community, rejects consumerism, appreciates living simply and purposefully-but he was angry. Angry that other people don’t get it and judgemental because he does. In a sense, that is being entrenched by the same system that you reject. If, as Ghandi says, “The end is inherent in the means,” then anger doesn’t generate love. If you want people to love themselves and others more, then you can’t hate them because they don’t.

If you think someone is too material, yelling at them about it doesn’t really open their mind, nor teach them about the alternatives. I listened to him judge people who walked by and even my server, Danny, who was a genuinely nice guy. I asked Logan when the last time someone yelling at him made him change his ways. He said never.

He wished me “Good Luck in Eugene,” but in a way that felt passively aggressive. I was lucky however, my host was truly a delight. After eating yet another salad in a field, in the long light of a Solstice day, I headed to Jill’s house. She wasn’t home yet and I took turns reading and catnapping on her couch. IMG_1284I was a little nervous about meeting her, but only because she seemed a little nervous. Like she was asking herself, “what did I agree to?”

Visiting with Jill added at least another 5 years to my life, in just 3 hours. I began asking her about her lifestyle, after noticing bottles of herbs, grains and juice and trays of sprouting seeds. She is a dedicated raw foodist. Nothing she eats has been heated over temperatures of 80-120 degrees. Perhaps it seems difficult to maintain a lifestyle like that, but I’m under the impression that once you begin to experience the health benefits, you are motivated by the way you feel. Like any new behavior, there is transitioning.

But live juice! And vegetables! And sprouts! And fermented cabbage! It was all so tasty! Jill made me lots of samples! I was so excited that she was excited to share information. And she wasn’t critical of me at all- my smoking occasionally and avidly drinking coffee! IMG_1292After I told her how complicated it was to sprout while on the road, which I tried last year, she gave me a sprout bag! A burlap bag that makes it easy to grow sprouts. Now I have a traveling salad bar! Sprouts are like power pellets for Pac-Man. They have tons of anti-oxidants that prevent DNA destruction; they protect against cancers, disease and bone breakdown! They could almost be considered a fountain of life! YUM!

IMG_1290We stayed up until 1 am talking about healthy lifestyles and the problems in the world. And how they just might be related. It was so nice to leave politics out of the conversation; instead talking about actions, like eating and shopping.

We celebrated that health, within just the past 10 years, has been recognized as something you have to pro-actively, daily, cultivate. Before, you just got sick and then got healthy. Now, people are realizing that food=health! The best part of Eugene was my time with Jill. I left the next morning after packing my stuff, including info. she printed out for me on all kinds of stuff, like how to make your cell phone safer. I can’t wait to get home and start eating with more focus on raw foods!

IMG_1297In the late afternoon, after a complicated, but beautiful drive, I arrived at my friends, Mary and Erika. A young, spastic deer ran in front of me. I stopped to photograph it and it came closer. There were many unmarked roads making the drive confusing and even some closed ones! IMG_1301I will be here until Thursday. I have a foozball game and defeat planned at one of my sponsors, Corazzo. I must defeat Chad because back in April, he sold the last pair of Carbone riding gloves,which meant I didn’t get any! If you are local, shoot me an email-let’s explore! The submit button is now working again on the contact form. OOPSIE! Use it NOW!

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