Tuesday July 16. Minneapolis, MN

Greg had dropped me off in St. Paul, on his way to Wisconsin. The scooter was unloaded at Scooterville, MN and then we managed to find a random, cheap hotel. He wasn’t sure how I would get back to Scooterville but this is where Dave enters the picture.  Scooterists are amazing people. On the road, I’ve become comfortable with the amount of help I’m constantly offered. It’s one of the things I’ve had to work on-accepting help. I prefer to help people.

This trip would be completely different without the far flung scooter family. I wonder if it is this connected in Europe? Dave had contacted me to let me know he had taken a 2 day reprieve from work to escort me around the town. He arranged a BBQ at Scooterville, found a volunteer gig for me and notified the local media. And he was on his way to extract me from St. Paul. He said, “old guy, green jeep, arriving 10 minutes.” I said, “okay, green guy, old jeep, see ya soon.”

While I waited, Cort told me a lot about the city. He said there is a divide between the Twin Cities and that many people never cross into the other one. I said that scooterists are bridging that gap. He said that,”St.Paul is the last city of the East and Minneapolis is the first city of the West.”

Dave is far from green or old. He came across as a gentlemen displaced from the South, known for its hospitality.  I let him know that I wanted to stick around the scooter shop to see what was going on with my scooter. I like to get in there and help where needed.  I think this might have surprised him, but he gracefully changed the tour plans into a day of hanging out with the crew at Scooterville.

I was in a exhausted daze, still reeling from the difficult travel days. IMG_1656

Scooterville has a reputation. An oasis smack dab in the MidWest, where winters get down to 40 below. Bob somehow remains the 3rd dealer in the country. I’ve read about their events online before, they seemed like a great crew. I knew Audre was going to be in skilled hands. Famous Ed used to work there, before Genuine snatched him up and put him and his dog in the Love Bus; now they are Genuine Scooter ambassadors. Genuine has Peace and Love on the road!  Ed seems to be notorious, a great guy, and I wish our paths would cross. But I was in good company all around.

IMG_1641Olivia, Johanna, and Lora offered enthusiastic welcomes. The guys, Nick, Stephen, and Coleman had Audre up on the rack within minutes. Bob,  the ringmaster, ran around much like Batman.  Honestly,  one minute he’s standing beside you and the next he’s gone. The shop was bustling but no one seemed stressed at all. They get it done and keep the jokes coming. FOX news called, another reporter called, David Harrington called and someone on spot started interviewing me.

Gosh. What a welcoming.Alix Bryan 065

Jeremy, who writes for a local monthly paper, Triangle Park Creative, showed up. He talked to me for a few moments and then left to go get a better camera. We did some fun photos, and used Bob’s Stella. Bob made the shoot easy, he was totally candid and we talked about the war and fuel supply while driving in circles  and up and down the street.

Jeremy asked a lot of great questions and I was worried about him scribbling all the answers on paper. He realized his recorder was needed, so I loaned him mine. He hadn’t really planned on doing a big story until he found out more about the P.E.A.C.E mission.

We talked for almost two hours. I think he’s going to try and take the story to another level. And he should. I trust him and our conversation was the best I’ve had yet with any reporter.

IMG_1660I was completely drained when he left. Dave and I went to eat. He had a nice little place to show off to me, the Red Sea, an Ethiopian restaurant. I was finding that the Twin Cities in MN share many similarities with my Twin Cities in Maine. One being the Somali refugee population.

We spent awhile discussing Somali’s- their pleasant disposition, intelligence, community and plight. Dave had far more energy than me-I just wanted a nap. We said goodbye to everyone at the shop and he took me out to Eden Prairie to meet my hosts. My new family. My dear friends Nathaniel and Kate.

Dave took the long way and bombarded my brain with info about the area. You can’t get a better tour guide. I was surprised that this city was so big, so cultural, so funky. We made plans to volunteer the next day.

Kate and Nathaniel were immediately cool. They had great laughs, great wit and two dogs to lick me adoringly.  They recently sealed the deal and married and they’re totally perfect together.  Kate shared some of her past and perspectives with me. They were both really active Adventists and Kate not too long ago became disenchanted with the lack of equality the church perpetuates. I had a lot of respect that she left her job because she felt there was a structure in place that creates a glass ceiling for women.

Our society doesn’t recognize that women still get paid .75 cents to the dollar and in many organizations, a man with the same or less experience will make more money than a woman. In addition to making less money, women pay more for things. Let’s see. Tampons are ridiculously expensive considering they are made from cotton. Viagra is covered by insurance, but rarely is birth control. In our 30’s, insurance goes up because it’s prime baby making time. Whether or not you want to have a kid or even have a same sex partner.

Conversation about this only came up in college. I guess to prepare us for making less money. Ha. But I am constantly surprised when people want to brush over discussion about this glaringly obvious truth.

Kate does deserve more, she’s genius and so is Nathaniel. It is very cool that she began to question practicing a faith that won’t allow women to preach. Although, they are both very spiritual.  It was nice to be staying not just with scooterists, but people who support peace and are politically informed.

Most of the night is a blur, but we talked for awhile. The Psychology of Batman was on the history channel and made for an interesting watch. Nathaniel told me about the Stephen Colbert speech at the White House Correspondents Press dinner. It’s basically a roast, but certified genius dinner theater. It is from 2006, but I’m behind the times when it comes to TV. If you are also and never heard of this gem, take 24 minutes to watch it yourself!

I’m still trying to figure out if it was planned. I worry that the White House coordinated some of it, thinking it would show the American public that this administration can laugh at themselves and get us to simply soothe our frustrations by laughing at ’em. Otherwise, I don’t understand how Colbert, a known Bush critic, got away with his punches. The public tends to just laugh at Bush and call him stupid. This is dangerous and feeds apathy. And in no way does it substitute for an informed, active citizen body.

I made my way to the guest room and slept hard, wanting to snooze through the alarm that came too early the next day. What a first day! Which means there is more on Minneapolis coming up…….