Whilst lagging around in Asheville to coordinate a visit with my Aunt later this week, I was able to line up some volunteer dates. Volunteering is something I mentioned doing last year. I studied non profit administration in school and have done a lot of volunteer work. For those of you who are new to this site, last year I rode 11,000 miles with just 40 days of planning-to secure the scooter, create a website, get the gear, raise some funds, etc.
With ample planning time this time I can work with organizations who focus is on community, peace and environmentalism. I have work arranged with Habitat for Humanity, the Nature Conservancy and a food kitchen. This is a good time to mention that Matua is traveling around also, focusing on volunteering. His mission inspires me often as I’m traveling and I hope we get to meet up. I celebrate the additional people traveling on scooters for good causes!
Monday was Cinco de Mayo so after “work” I went about town with my friends Hannah and Jaymii. Somehow I still didn’t get to sleep until late, and was up early for the ride to ATL. Bags packed, coffee consumed and then I was off. It was an idea day of riding until I reached the outskirts of ATL and faced traffic. I zoomed up and down the Appalachian Highway, with Blue Ridge Mountain crests surrounding me and curves seducing me. There weren’t as many as I might like, but it was fun nonetheless.
Even with all the gear, the scoot is handling impressively. The route, US 23/US 441 is worth driving if in the area. It is scoot friendly, 125cc and up. There appears to be a lot of camping available and the scenery is spectacular. It could be a good day jaunt, as a second choice to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs the other direction, north and east. I made great time, since it was a straight shot, speed limit 55-65.
Memories were flashing through my head since I went this way last year, however I was a very “green” rider. I enjoyed the ride much more this time, not tensing up whenever a truck loomed in my mirror. ATL is notorious for their traffic since experiencing a population boom since 1992. Once actually moving, not gridlocked, the pace is fast and furious. Glad to have on my gear and glad to be in the Sunny, Warm South-but those two aren’t the best combination. Arriving in town I was dehydrated and couldn’t wait to strip off the long johns I had needed in the morning and wrestle off the leg armor.
I’m being hosted by two fabulous, kind and interesting people. The location really couldn’t be better, in Little Five Points, just down the street from my favorite piece of street mural art. I’m looking forward to hanging out with them tonight, as last night we all had plans. I found them through couchsurfing.com, an international database for travelers who need lodging. It’s a community in and of itself, with an unofficial moral code that you be good to one another. It’s my first experience and so far really amazing-the house is one of the best set-ups I’ve ever seen and I have a lot of respect for my hosts.
I met a great guy last night, Dave, who approached me about the scooter. We chatted it up excitedly for 40 minutes; art, activism, war, greed, photography, and the Flaming Lips. I was euphoric from the Alice Walker event and happy to meet a random stranger with such high hopes for the world. Peace does matter, and the more people I talk to not only confirm this, but are working towards it in their own small way. Dave decided last night to do a photography series based on how he defines Peace. I look forward to seeing it and hearing from him.
I wearily made my bed and slept a delicious seven hours. Had a horrible dream about my dog getting hurt but otherwise the best sleep I’ve had in awhile. Today I’m off to explore ATL.