Click on the Picture to catch the CNN video coverage! Will update soon about yesterday’s grand adventure, but for now-I’m gonna go splash around in the pool! It’s 90 degrees here in TX! With love, Alix
Remember back in North Hollywood, at the NOHO scooters, I met a guy named Gabriel? Well, Gabriel had noticed that I on my bike I had a sticker of Lululemon, a company that makes yoga gear, and is his employer. I haven’t spoken with him since that day, but today, Gabe sent me this picture.
Thanks for thinking of me Gabe, it feels really good to ride across the finish line with the support of so many friends.
Right now, I am 23 miles away from Crawford. My friend Daphne and her daughter arrived around 9pm. Serendipitously, Air Force One also landed at the Crawford Ranch, aboard was the infamous cowboy himself. Tomorrow’s rally probably just became a little bigger. I know that a group of people from the Crawford Peace House will be escorting me over to the secret service checkpoint so I can mark the finish line of the Peace sign.
This morning I had a very good hour long conversation with Kay, who runs the Crawford Peace House. It was exactly what I needed to clear my head and center my heart. I appreciated her insights and am really excited to meet her tomorrow.
If you can not be with us tomorrow, please join us through a moment of silence at 1:08 pm. Take the moment to envision the future you wish to have, and offer a prayer for World Peace.
This journey has been an opportunity to engage thousands of Americans in conversation about the meaning of Peace. Tomorrow is not just the end of a journey to end a war, instead, I am continuing the movement to create a consciousness in sustainable peace and justice in the world.
I will have more to write soon, of course. At 4pm, we will be driving down to Austin, TX. Steve Guzman is hosting a “toast and celebration,” at Urban Moto. His invite is cleverly written, saying:
“Oh and to put 11,000 miles into perspective. If Alix could ride her scooter from Austin back to the city where her Genuine Buddy was built, in Taiwan, it would only be 7,784 miles. If she were to ride another 1,400 miles after she reaches Crawford, she would have ridden the distance from the North Pole to the South Pole. “
1:08 pm, Texas Time (mountain time)-don’t forget. Honestly, if you don’t synchronize, no worries-just at some moment in your day, think about Peace. And know that I appreciate your support the past 12 weeks!
I pulled into Santa Fe during a storm. The 500 mile drive from Flagstaff had offered breath taking views, fast roads through Reservations, GUSTY winds, and rain. I knew that Santa Fe was close, but could see no lights ahead-until suddenly I reached the top of a hill. The panorama opened up and thousands of lights twinkled below. Good. I could call my hosts and let them know I was nearby. The dark vast, open horizon surrounding Santa Fe was illuminated intermittently with long, white fingers of lightning. Rain began pelting me and I scooted on, looking for a dry place to call Meg and Richard. The air was very electric-my heart began beating faster as lightning struck around me. On my left I spotted Centaur Cycles and Scoots, and I hoped that my hosts lived nearby. Soaked to the bone, my teeth chattering, I called Meg. She asked if I wanted to come to their house or they could meet me nearby for some dinner. Honestly, I could not make a decision-I was tired and cold. They came to get me, Audre was unpacked and left at the shop.
I was really excited to meet these two characters. Earlier that day I had called Roy, over at the Genuine Scooters, to see if any parts were needed for Audre’s maintenance. I always enjoy speaking with Roy, and he let me know he was a bit jealous that I was staying with such cool people. And they are cool, no doubt about it. It’s good to take a minute here and reflect on how good Genuine has been to me.
I had just finished lighting the beautiful yellow candles that I made for Summer solstice when Philip McCaleb rang to let me know, “Genuine Scooter is going all the way,” in their support for me. My original proposal to him offered a wholesale price on the scooter, but he let me know that a scooter was only part of what he could offer. And since that day, I have become aware of what he meant. Most importantly, Philip has stood behind the Peace Ride. My idea resonated with him and we spent hours going over my beliefs and his. I’ve never even met the guy, but I’ve had some great phone conversations and emails with him. He reads the blogs, offers encouragement and makes sure that his dealers take care of me. I’ve had so many incredible hosts because of Genuine.
I originally predicted that many fellow Peaceniks would be throwing open their doors to help host me. I had also anticipated that many Peace Organizations would endorse or support the Peace Ride. For whatever reason, most organizations ignore my requests for help- I have written to many, asking that they help support the Peace Ride. My thoughts were that a link or blip about the Peace Ride on their website would help generate awareness and create a solidarity in the Peace movement. And of course, also help me find housing and support along the 11,000 mile route. I made these assumptions since we are all working for the same cause. And from all past experiences, freedom fighters stick together with their eyes on the prize.
Well, honestly, the Scooter Community and my personal friends are the ones that have provided a network of support. These people have made sure I get housing, donations, haircuts, food and show me around their town. Philip McCaleb told me that they were going to place the Peace Ride on their front page. I was surprised and happy that a company was so willing to take an obvious stance of Peace. Many of the people who have contacted me with places to stay have come to my website through Genuine’s, demonstrating the networking power of information technology. This obvious truth also heightens my disappointment with Peace organizations-who chose not to support an obvious Pro-Peace demonstration. I guess scooterists understand the stamina and challenge of a 11,000 mile ride more than car drivers. Even when I started the ride, I had the mentality of a “cage” driver. Shoot, most scooterists consider 90 miles an epic ride. (to quote PJ) Back in the beginning, I would estimate my time based on car traveling and was ignorant to the power of the elements. Wind, rain, elevation-all those things can drastically change your ride. Which brings me back to Meg and Richard.
They put some warm blankets over my legs and took me back to their house. I noticed we were leaving the town behind and turned onto a gravel road. The next morning I was to see how beautiful the surrounding area is. They have a really nice amount of privacy at their new house. We ate soup and toast and chatted a bit. From the initial moment I locked eyes with them, I knew they were kindred spirits. They are smart and quirky and just so enjoyable to be around. I’ll be honest here, I don’t have any time left on this trip to go into details-but you can anticipate a book with MUCH MORE detail of my escapades and thoughts on Peace and conflict. I slept hard that night and woke up early to go into the shop with them. I’m not the fastest morning person, but I’ve been able to maintain an early schedule since staying at their place. That’s helpful, since the seasons are changing and I’ve been loosing riding daylight.
Richard has a ton of experience with motorcyles and scooters. I learned a lot from him and appreciated going on some rides-back of the bike. That was a new experience for me and an enjoyable way to check out Santa Fe, if only the 8 mile drag from their shop to house. Santa Fe is a beautiful town and full of progressive citizens. I asked Meg what she loved about Santa Fe, and one of the responses was the mindset and identity of its locals. I, too, in my little time there, was very appreciative of the community consciousness. Every conversation was very authentic and people were quite upfront about their viewpoints-personal and political. I appreciated the honesty. Also, I appreciated Santa Fes building code, three stories max I think, which helps maintain a view of the gorgeous surrounding terrain. It was easy to tell I wasn’t in Anywhere, USA. Even the main drag, with its box shops, was more attractive than most places, as the buildings look adobe.
I hung around the shop most of the day. It was a bustling environment, but sporadically me, Hayley, Richard and Doug would delve into a conversation about Peace and War. They were insightful conversations amidst business as usual. I did a lot of work contacting people in Crawford, TX to set up a Pro-Peace Rally on October 13. The scooter (Audre) needed a some work. She was at 9,690 miles when she went into the shop. And running pretty damn good for all the consecutive mileage-especially since I’ve been riding hard the past two weeks. The elevation, 7,000 ft+ since Prescott, AZ had slowed her down a bit. That’s natural.
Doug, an experienced mechanic, gave her a thorough inspection. He adjusted the valves, changed the belt and the oil. Then he took her out for a test ride. The oil filter wasn’t tight enough and it came off, the oil ran out, and a piston blew. It was a mistake that Doug didn’t mean to make. He had tightened the filter, then in consideration for the next mechanic, he loosened it a bit. He heard the knocking of the piston, got off the bike, pushed it to his house, loaded it on the truck and brought it back. It was clear he felt awful about it and I didn’t want him to. Ya, we were in a jam, as it was Friday and Genuine was already closed. Columbus Day was on Monday, which meant parts wouldn’t actually arrive until Wednesday. I was expecting to have 900 miles behind me by Wednesday. People are expecting me in Crawford, TX by Saturday. It was a tough situation for us all. There are two things about this situation that I appreciate-and it’s hard to say which one more. Probably the fact that Meg gave me the engine from her Buddy125, because it got me on the road the next morning. But, equally as important was the way everyone handled the situation. We all put our heads together, problem solved and moved on. It was very professional and we made time to joke. I think they were happy that I didn’t flip out-but I saw no reason to-all you can do in a crisis is to solve it. I joke around that now I have Meg’s heart. The “heart transplant” went smoothly. Now, we are into Audre Mac OS X 10.4.11. And it’s an upgrade, for sure. Meg, thank you so much for being the most crucial Pit Crew member as of yet. Audre is burning rubber down the road. It is really amazing how fast she is now-the engine only had 1,500 miles on it when I got her. This engine was broken in at high elevation and maybe it rides faster now at sea level???I’m still learning the feel of this one. I know that the gas mileage isn’t as good as mine was, but that is probably explained by the 6mph speed gain I’ve gotten.
That night Meg and Richard took me out to dinner at Blue Corn Cafe and Brewery. I really adore them. Our conversation was interesting, covering the gamut of sexuality, movies, scootering, evolution, Peace and life stories. What I enjoyed is the way we made room for difference in opinions. I had my first chile releno, and it was so good that I ate two more the next day before I left the state. Richard had told me that he associates autumn with the smell of those peppers being roasted. Sure enough, driving around town the next day, I noticed that lovely aroma.
There is a lot more I can say about my brief time in Santa Fe. I’m in a rush to post this and go meet the scooterist in Oklahoma City. I will update it soon. But I wanted to get something up and thank Meg and Richard for being amazing people. I wound up at Aztec Coffee on my way out of town and hung out with some fantastic locals. That’s also the place were I discovered the Impeace sticker and the barista gave me four to bring along! A guy that I met there called New Mexico, The Land of Entrapment, (instead of Enchantment) and I whole heartedly agreed. Definitely one of the top spots so far, and I WILL write more about it in the near future.
My friends, I have so much to say about this amazing man. Alas, my day is ending now. Tomorrow is a 266 mile ride and today was 270. I will write my ode to John soon, but for today, please visit this website:
Yoko is unveiling a Peace Tower in Iceland in honor of John’s birthday, October 9.
Check it out!
So, as you hopefully know by now, this Peace mission comes up with almost anyone I meet along the road.
I’ve been working on uniting photographs with Peace definitions-and tonight also started editing the videos I have from the trip. (although thats quite a process-so stayed tuned for that).
Here is Richard, whom I met off Hwy 50E, in Lakin, KS. When he found out about the Peace Ride, he made a comment that, “You’re to young to be a 60’s hippie.” To which my response was, “That’s exactly why I am making this ride, because my generation, in fact-all of us-need to redefine Peace outside of the 60’s.” Our technology isn’t stuck back in the 60’s-why should our idea of Peace be? So, I settled for his label, “modern hippie,” instead. Grimace. Thanks Richard, it was good to meet you-hope you stayed with the nice people at the Stagecoach Inn!
“Peace can be many different things to many different people at many different times. But what is most important is what you do with it. I say PASS IT ON! Let your peace be the salt of the earth, it is catching.”
Remember New Orleans? Wow, that was more than two months ago. I met Dustan outside of an awesome coffeeshop with a clever name, Rue de la Course. That was early on in the trip, when I had time to indulge in conversations with many a character. Dustan is a musician and scooterist. He enjoys spontaneous creativity and is known to pack recording gear on his scoot, just in case its needed.
DUSTAN: “Peace is understanding. Not being afraid to step into the unknown, at that fork in the road at life, to find your own understanding and contentment. Thriving on your own riches. Peace is beyond material measurement.”
Per conversation the other day with Jaymii.
I want a world where Peace is the goal in conflict resolution. I want a world where the power of love is much more enticing than the love of power. I want a world that creates solutions with harmony in mind, “power with,” versus “power over.” A world where People love themselves and know how to accept, celebrate and encourage diversity.
I want Press for this PEACE RIDE. This is news, right? One female, 11,000 miles, 21 states, 3 months, on a little scooter-trying to raise consciousness, promoting Peace. I want to know why this isn’t news-why the news chooses to report on tragedy, conflict, danger, chaos, destruction, Hollywood mega stars, ETC.
I want to know why the Marchers for Peace had ALL kinds of press-me-NONE.
I want to generate a buzzzz about P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER. To collect a billion definitions for the Speak your Peace project, I must reach the public.
I want all the hosts I’ve stayed with, and all myspace friends (who always have time for surveys) to take a few minutes-think about what Peace means to them-and define it on the Wall Of Peace.
I want anti-war organizations and Peace organizations to support me. I’ve written Not in Your Name, Code Pink, CIndy Sheehan, Eva Lowery and many others, numerous times- asking them to put a link to my site or endorse the Ride for Peace. This would help rally people for Crawford, TX and would have helped me find more housing also. They always write me back: “Good Luck, thanks for doing this, have fun!” Like I am on a joyride…..
I want to have people join me for yoga and a Pro Peace Rally at the “finish line” in Crawford, TX on October 13.
I want to thank all the people who have opened their hearts to me and provide immeasurable inspiration. A deep, warm bow to you.
Well, that concludes today’s exercise of positive, intentional manifestion. It feels much better to take a slightly different perspective- to focus on what I would like to have, versus mulling over what I do not. It never hurts to ask, and often in doing so, one can initiate their own empowerment of the situation.
Thank you Jaymii, for this wise, timely lesson.
Twenty One Total. I’m at the last state since I’m headed back towards Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Technically the two wheels were in Texas already, even if for just 10 panicky minutes-when I realize they drive fast and furious there. This early morning finds me in Colorado, the last “new” state I will visit.
You can look forward to a Santa Fe, NM travel blog, but for now I’m trucking along. I’m also really BUSY trying to plan for a Pro Peace Rally in Crawford, TX. This is a big complicated undertaking, harder to do alone while riding, talking to strangers about Peace and blogging. I am not sure if anyone but Daphne and Lil C will be there to meet me, but I’m REALLY okay with that. It’s just a technical finish line, as my whole life is dedicated to working for Peace. It was too hard to determine my ETA until two weeks ago, and an ETA is needed to invite hundreds of people to join you somewhere. 😉 Hopefully people will spread the word for me and I invite you to copy, paste and send forward the Crawford Blog post from Friday to Peace Organizations and friends.
Yesterday was a late start, only rode 270 miles, but I viewed some of the most amazing scenery yet. It was a bustling day, I stopped many times, met many incredible people and picked up a unique gift for Wendy, the roomie taking on all responsibility for my dog. There were quite a few U-turns made, answering to intuition, and this led to many cool meetings. Follow your bliss, fer sure! The wind was the gustiest I’ve ridden yet, up to 40mph gusts that had me on the highway shoulder for brief moments.
The heavy winds affected fuel economy pretty noticeably. I ran out of gas just 4 miles outside of my stopping point. I was traveling state route 10E to La Junta, CO, riding an hour into dark. Not a single car was behind me, and few passed, the whole 65 miles on I was on 10E. I could see the lights of town up ahead when Audre sputtered and shut down. Not only did I need gas, the moment required that I relieve myself as well, which was a tentative prospect. I was very sure that someone would only stop as soon as I met these needs out in the field. Alas, the moment was uninterrupted and moments later Debbie stopped for me.
I had to push Audre 2 blocks up to a house and ask to leave her there while we went to get a gas can. It turned out the man of the house had some gas, although it was for two stroke engines. I put just a splash in, a bit hesitant, and Debbie said she would follow me to the gas station. Four blocks away from the station, Audre sputtered out again. She sure isn’t a easy lady to push around! Debbie and I talked for a bit, it was nice to hear her story and I knew a bigger reason was behind the event timing. I haven’t actually completely run out of gas this whole trip, just came close, and Farmer John back in KS helped me out when I knew it was going to happen. Back then, the next gas station was 60 miles away-a big whopping 180 miles in between stations. It turns out that Debbie never stops to help people, as it can be dangerous to do, at night, as a female traveling alone. It also turns out that this day in time, she had been called forward as an angel to someone else, and Debbie was reveling in the day’s events. She was pretty amazed at the miles I’ve traveled and for my dedication to World Peace. Thank you for helping Debbie, and making sure I got to the motel safely. I wish you the best! Very appropriate to run out of gas on my last week, my last “new” state, and my last 1,000 miles.
I’m headed back to Salina, KS, a 330 mile ride down the country roads. The weather is chilly, with a promise of rain. Time to pull out the rain gear, finish the coffee and roll out! I want to leave you with a picture that moves my heart. This is Meg and Richard in 1969, touring Europe on his Vespa. Thirty eight years later, they own a motorcycle/scooter shop and are still very obviously in love.
I am about to complete an 11,000 mile ride for Peace. Almost 3 months ago, I left from the White House, headed to Crawford, TX, on a scooter. My route, with just 1,500 miles left, will create a Peace sign on the U.S. Map. Throughout my travels I have experienced extreme changes, in both climate and culture. The scenery and people have been spectacular and have opened my eyes. Many have offered many personal stories, food, hugs, homes, and donations. I have ridden in temperatures from 105-40 degrees; ridden in the rain, hail, lightning, and heavy wind.
Perhaps many of you have never ridden a scooter, but trust me, it’s no simple task to ride 11,000 miles on 12 inch wheels going 55 mph. Nor is it always easy to talk about Peace.
What I have discovered while traveling is a dangerous polarity concerning Peace-in the same vein as “you are for us, or against us.” That polarity can make dialog between strangers very daunting. I made deliberate efforts to leave politics and religion out of the conversation. Instead, I made it fundamental, asking, “what is YOUR vision for our future?” and “how do YOU define Peace?”
My goal is to generate dialog with everyone about Peace. Only an inclusive outreach will allow us to co-create change. I have visited communities with very conservative Bush supporters, but they have taken the time to define Peace with me. This is a vast country, and an even bigger world. For us to know Peace, we must celebrate our diversity, using it to strengthen the common ground we do share. I have traced a Peace sign onto the US soil to remind us of our common ground, our interconnectivity.
I am opposed to this war and disgusted by this administration’s blatant abuse of my rights. Three months ago, I reached a point in my life where I could no longer settle to go about my daily life as I knew it. I was absolutely aghast by the level of apathy, fear, and anger that runs rampant in our country. There will be no Peace in our world, until we all integrate Peace into both the personal and political spheres of our lives.
I was driven to bring awareness to Peace and experiment with a new framework. I say, “Don’t point one finger, point TWO.” Point two for Peace. But also point two- as in one at yourself and one at the things you don’t like. How can YOU improve the world? How can YOU make purchasing decisions that don’t support the war-or that better benefit your community? How are YOU accountable for the injustices in our world? Because change, does, truly start with YOU. There is no time to be apathetic, preoccupied, angry or judgemental. Other movements and revolutions have fizzled. If you want Peace in our world, work with me to embrace the idea of abundance. Change will come when we believe there is enough change to go around.
When I began this journey, I consciously set aside my political beliefs in order to listen more objectively. At the end of a long journey, I still firmly believe that while we might always have conflict in our world, it will not be solved through war. The bombing of nations and massacre of our soldiers and theirs has to stop. My journey has taught me to find strength in differences, friends in strangers, and to envision viable solutions for our future. And to never stop imagining or working for more Peace.
Whether you are anti-war or pro-peace, you, too, are driven by the idea of change.
Please join me, at a pro-peace rally, October 13, 2007, in Crawford, TX. Join me in demanding both an end to this war and accountability through the impeachment of an abusive President. Let’s demonstrate that change is possible and that, collectively, we are acting up to design a better world.
Peace, Alix B
“In seeking Truth, you have to get both sides to a story.”
To my suprise, I keep falling in love with landlocked states; Tulsa, OK, Missoula, MT and Flagstaff, AZ.
Thought I was strictly a coast girl, but am starting to realize I only visit the ocean once or twice a year. Both Flagstaff and Missoula are within reasonable travel distance to the West Coast. My hometown is only four hours ways from the Outer Banks, so it’s easy to get away for a couple of days. I think a week long exodus to the Pacific would substitute nicely. Besides, there would be many things to preoccupy my time in those towns. Flagstaff is easy access to the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. There is a big emphasis on outdoor recreation- biking, swimming, rock climbing, hiking. I also appreciated that there is a unofficial rule in town to not drive your car at least one day out of the week. That’s a start! It was very bicycle friendly, although surprisingly, no scooter shops. At least there is one 100 miles away in Prescott, AZ. That’s were I met Jim, who had contacted me awhile ago. I’m always grappling for more time in the day, so I didn’t spend anytime at all with him, as I had originally planned. I want to thank Jim for the hearty donation to P.E.A.C.E SCOOT! The drive along Highway 89 and 89A up to Prescott, Sedona, and Flagstaff is absolutely stunning. The dry beiges of southeastern California changed into greens that I wasn’t expecting to see in Arizona. The buttes and mountain peaks are gorgeous and altitude is very high, providing terrific panoramas. It’s a ride to make on two wheels! Especially if you enjoy switchbacks, which I do.
I had some friends in Flagstaff, Katie and Portia, fellow employees from Omega. Their house was very warm, a good sanctuary. Portia had just recently attended a retreat with Thich Nat Han and had some keen insight to offer me. Katie is one of my favorite people in this world. She willingly drove me out to see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, a first for me. It was a 120 mile trek round trip, the longest time spent in a car in some time! Of course, that’s soon to change since I’m riding home from Texas with Daphne and Lil C! I was a bit jittery in the car and wistful for my scooter when I noticed all the motorcyclists along the route. The nice thing about a car is the stereo system. Katie is my music buddy. She has an amazing voice, mad guitar skills and grew up around a famous musician-her dad. Apparently, one of the Allman brothers said her dad taught him well. Music is a huge part of my friendship with Katie and we kept playing songs for each other, singing loudly along the way. It was fun.
I’ve been cross country seven times and always passed over the Grand Canyon, so I had a lot of anticipation. I wasn’t disappointed, except that we didn’t have much time to stay. That was my fault though, as I had a radio interview scheduled at 2pm on Sunday, which was the only day we could go. Anyhow, we had enough time to see the South Rim, though I understand the North Rim isn’t as touristy. No worries though. I also understand the views are different at each. The South Rim reminded me a lot of the Badlands in South Dakota, one of my favorite places. We were there as the sun was beginning its descent in the sky. This made for terrific lighting, the shadows enhancing the canyon, making the lines really pop out. They would have been bleached out in the mid day sun. A shuttle bus is the only way to pick up some of the trails, so we head over to Kaibab Trail. There was no time to hike all the way down, but we took a good walk. It was the most exercise I’ve had since Seattle, when I walked all around Bumbershoot. The altitude is really high, in Flagstaff its 7,000 feet. The sun had set so we used the camcorder light to navigate the twisty, rocky incline and to avoid donkey poop.
That was the big outing in Flagstaff. Otherwise, I slept a lot, did a bunch of writing and good eating. In my days there I had yummy Thai and Indian grub and even did some cooking for four people. I enjoyed being back in a kitchen and was glad my dish didn’t burn! Also part of the rejuvenation was hot tubbing. A certain hotel in town has a great swimming pool and hot tub that’s easy to access. Tiki torches surround the hot tub and they even provide complimentary towels. I just thought it was funny that the only people in the tub were locals. People came and went without any problems. The heat and jets relaxed my stiff muscles and I slumbered hard that night. The local coffee shops made great espresso and provided some interesting characters. I preferred Macy’s but at Late for the Train I met Mike Haverly. I was having a great catch-up conversation with Philip McCaleb until my phone ran out of juice. Mike overheard the conversation and asked how far I had traveled. He was excited because he has thought about making a cross country ride to bring awareness to people with diabilities living below the poverty line. He’s a real character, a survivor with charm and wit! Although he has a physical disability, he rides motorcycles-without modifications. I was totally inspired by our talk and his gusto-I wish him the best! Here is a comment he left on the website. I am posting it to serve as a reminder to not dream-to live out your intentions.
“After meeting you in Flagstaff AZ my wife and I discussed my undertaking a coast 2 coast ride on my ninja to highlight the needs of the disabled. We have decided to dedicate ourselves to making that happen. YOU have been an inspiration. I had been wanting to do my ride for over a year and it somehow always got shifted to the back of the to do closet. Many thanks, many group hugs, and a whole lot of love to you from us! “
Good luck Mike!
I wanted to stay in Flagstaff longer and enjoy the cool town and my lovely friends, but the finish line date is set for October 13, so I’m sticking to a tight schedule. There aren’t a lot of pics in this post, but check out the photo sets on Flickr. I am 200 miles away from Santa Fe. Yesterday I had a big, scary ride through the Indian Reservations. The landscape changed back and forth, from green forests to sprawling desert lands to red rocks and buttes. Many a chief has offered us profound quotes. I wish one chief had said, “Behold the girl who scoots for Peace, she travels our land sowing seeds and must not be run over.” Perhaps then I would be more like a white buffalo than a sitting duck. Which is my way of saying there are some CRAZY drivers on the roads I took. I was going the speed limit, 55-65, but that was apparently 20 miles under par.
Right now I am writing from the Courtyard Marriott. Of course I didn’t stay here but awhile ago I realized these places offer up free wifi and coffee. 😉
Currently talking to a gentlemen named Paul and we are rapping about the monks in Burma. He feels a bit of despair that monks are missing and being beaten. I do as well. I also respect that the monks are demonstrating non violent principles. Revolutions based on non violent principles are always the most successful. I admire that they are seeking out truth and willing to go to the lengths that we see as “extreme.” My thoughts and blessings are with them.
Yesterday when my friend Katie got off work, we took a scooter ride up Mount Humphries. The elevation is 9,000 at the look out point-the peak is 13,000. Audre handled two people and the incline really well, bottom speed 35mph. We couldn’t have gone much faster though because of curves. We were able to make it up in time to see the end of sunset. It was a chilly ride back, but we both had look of contentment and sniffly noses when we arrived home. Somedays I don’t sit and do my meditation (gasp)- instead meditating on the vivid scenery I see. Eyes open, soaking it up, shape shifting to become part of it. The peace scoot is my daily meditation in practice I suppose.
Both me and Katie needed that ride-our eyes were glowing afterwards. I hope you see something beautiful today and it shifts your mood, brings hope and peace to your reality. Look for it-it’s there-I promise.
We came home, Katie crashed out and I watched a movie. The Lives of Others. I was completely absorbed by this movie-it is so well written, acted and directed. And it’s a conscious movie viewing experience. Definitely check it out!
From the Wall Of Peace:
“There are [at least] two ways to look at life and the world. We can see the good or the bad, the beautiful or the ugly. Both are there, and what we focus on and choose to see is what brings us feelings of joy or feelings of despair.”
-offered by Skipix
This is completely cut and pasted from my inbox:
Many of you know about the non-violent protests in lead by Buddhist monks, nuns and working people. You may have heard that they have been chanting a prayer as they slowly walk the streets and face the guns of the military dictatorship ruling their country.
Below is a translation of the metta sutta prayer. It’s become a global prayer for the people of . Please read the prayer to yourself in support of their historic effort to make change without violence. Not since Gandhi or MLK has the world seen non-violent civil protest on this scale.
The Metta Sutta Prayer
This is the way of those who are skilled and peaceful, who seek the good and follow the path:
May they be able and upright, straightforward, of gentle speech and not proud.
May they be content and easy wherever they are.
May they be unburdened, with their senses calm.
May they be wise and not arrogant.
May they live without desire for the possessions of others.
May they do no harm to any living being.
May all beings be happy.
May they live in safety and joy.
All living beings, whether weak or strong, old or young, man or woman, smart or foolish, healthy or disabled, seen or unseen, near or distant, born or to be born, may they all be happy. Let no one deceive or despise another being, whatever their status. Let no one by anger or hatred wish harm to another.
As parents watch over their children, willing to risk their own lives to protect them, so with a boundless heart may we cherish every living being, bathing the entire world with unobstructed and unconditional loving-kindness. Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, in each moment may we remain mindful of this heart and this way of living in the world.
I want to thanks my hosts in Pasadena-Mike and Jen. They have a wonderful bungalow with two super cute dogs. Between Jen and Mike the bungalow boasts tons of cool collectibles: pinball machines, rally posters, atari, and a tiki mug collection.Jen has the finesse of a certified interior designer, pulling together all the elements to make their home dazzling, yet really cozy. It reflects their lifestyle-and scooters are a big part of that. Mike owns NOHO scooters and he’s busy building up quite an empire. I can tell the shop is a hub in the scene! Mike contacted me awhile back and offered up a space and bike maintenance. My initial assumption of him was wrong-I had pictured a 40+ conservative, tan, L.A. man. I was relieved that he had a wife and that they were so fun. He’s a brilliant guy with a lot of style and a big heart. He’s always fixing up old arcade games; both the house and shop have some. Mike also seems to help a lot of people out. His wife Jen is a perfect complement to him-more outgoing and a wonderful hostess.
All of my hosts have always been really considerate that I am a tourist and want to make sure I see the sights. Honestly-I’m pretty low maintenance. I’m not very star struck, nor am I am big consumer-both of which make L.A. thrive. I was really happy to just make the drive through Hollywood Hills and back down through the canyons-to see that classic sign. Rodeo Drive, Melrose, blah blah-whatever. I’m of the opinion that most of my friends deserve stars on that Hollywood Walk of Fame. Perhaps if I had a lot of money and time I would put on the tourist cap. Otherwise, there was some basic maintenance work to do on Audre. Then I spent Monday evening hanging out with Jen and Mike. My friend Lissa from Oberlin happened to be 2 blocks away from the shop, so she came by for a hug and postcard. The highlight of my trip was meeting Linda, the peace activist who wears something with Peace sign on it everyday, and has since George W. Bush was inaugurated. She gave me a terrifically gaudy pink peace sign necklace that I adore. I came to the realization in my conversation with her that the focus of this Peace mission is to obtain 1 billion definitions-a project I dedicate my life to….
I left for Palm Springs early Tuesday morning. Mike led me out of town and then I had about 70 miles of congested roads ahead. The drive was torture. The smog in Southern California is absolutely disgusting and I’m concerned for its inhabitants-especially growing children. The smog intensified as I got closer to San Bernardino. Audre also started stalling out when I would deaccelerate. The first time it happened, no worries, she started right back up. Then she began stalling out every other light. The beautiful part of the ride was just ahead, down Tim Mateo canyon, through orange groves and out to the desert. I was hesitant to push on though, as the next scooter shop was 500 miles away in Prescott, AZ-through lonely desert roads. Mike confirmed that it would be better to turn back at this point, than get too far away and backtrack anyhow. It took 5 minutes to start Audre after I got off the phone with him. I cautiously drove her back to Pasadena, arriving safely. I was a bit disgruntled and continually reminding myself to accept that traveling yields many suprrises. At least it was better to trek back 70 miles than be stranded in the desert. The traffic on the ride home was truly disgusting and I was disappointed there was no good scenery. I don’t think that emissions control is going to fix CA’s smog problem. People need to stop driving! Or buy scooters! It isn’t like anyone ever gets over 45 mph on strips like that-a scooter would be just fine! By the time I reached Pasadena my nose was bleeding from the smog and my breathing was labored.
The next morning we loaded Audre into the shop truck, which Mike had driven home the night before. I wager that he was thankful I had made it back to his house without incident. I heard that once he had to pick up a helpless girl who was stranded on the same route, but out further by the CA/AZ border. Apparently, she had been ill prepared for the trip, was recklessly riding a 49cc scooter and was halted by the intense wind. Mike’s a nice guy to rescue her from 300 miles away-he didn’t even know her.
Everyone in the shop huddled around her and the diagnostics began. We felt like the compression was fine-and my valves were recently adjusted. The spark also seemed fine and the problem didn’t have classic electric symptoms. Process of elimination left fuel/air; maybe not getting enough air. The petcock and spark plug were changed and the carburetor cleaned. While the mechanic drove her around, I met Gabe. He was interested in purchasing a scooter and was shopping around; the Green Series Italia caught his eye. I spent awhile talking to him-he says I should work for Genuine selling scooters. Riding this scooter for such a distance gives me some strong selling points, fer sure. The SHAD case on my scooter is my “non-corporate giant” bulletin board. Gabe noticed that I have his company’s sticker, Lululemon, pretty funny. It was enjoyable talking to him and other scooterists that came through the shop. Anyhow, it was mid afternoon and I had many miles to travel. I saddled back up the bike and headed for Palm Springs, Take 2.
I drove like I was on a racetrack, having absolutely no patience for the traffic and poisonous air. California is the only state where I’ve seen motorcycles driving in between cars; pretty unsafe since people tend to put their cars into drive and their brains into neutral. All it would take to get crushed is a cell phone driving fool to swerve the slightest bit and bump into a cyclist. On this particular day though, I gave it a gander and was elated by the amount of traffic I put behind me. Not like I recommend risky driving like this, but I also don’t recommend exposure to such thick smog. The nasty stretch was quickly out of the way and I was laughing about how much time I saved.
Mike had helped me plan my route out of L.A. and there was a tricky part where I jumped on the highway, then went down a small dirt hill off the on ramp, down to a service road. The service road itself was in horrible condition, huge chunks of asphalt were missing, but it ran parallel to the highway. I turned around to see another scooterist coming up behind me. This was pretty random, in the middle of the desert, on a road that I thought was my secret.
The sun was setting behind me, so I stopped to watch and bid goodbye to the West Coast. Turning, I noticed a round luminous sliver poking up from behind a hill. In awe, I watched the full Harvest moon rise into the sky. Never in my life have I experienced this conjunction, a setting sun and rising moon. The wind was really starting to whip up, something Mike had warned me about. There were windmills everywhere, to harness electric power, so I figured the wind gusts could probably be a lot worse than they were.
Despite the exhaustion of hard riding and physical irritation from heavy smog-I felt very serene. The desert landscape provided new scenery. It was enchanting- the full moon outlined sparse shrubs dotting the landscape and the hills in the distance. Huge palms were jutting up to meet the many stars that were out. I looked forward to daylight driving the next 350 miles or so through more desert terrain. Traffic picked up as I pulled into the glamorous Hollywood annex of Palm Springs. My host in Atlanta was Tiffany, someone I met years ago at Amma G’s ashram in San Ramone. Her grandmother lives near Palm Springs and it worked out brilliantly that Tiffany just happened to be visiting her. I called Tiffany to let her know I was nearby and she gave me directions to their gated community. We were excited to have a re-convergence, from East to West. Tiffany was really looking forward to showing me the little known bizarre attractions in the area. She told me she had gone shopping for some healthy food and would greet me with some Holy Water. I asked to skip the Holy Water and greet me with a beer instead. And she did. I got the Holy Water on the way out!
After eating a huge delicious salad we walked around the neighborhood. Tiffany kept moving me away from shrubs and warning me to stay in the middle of the road and walkways. It turns out that Palm Springs is home to many creepy crawly things-namely black widow spiders, brown recluses, rats, bats, snakes and lizards. I counted 5 black widow webs in her courtyard and I was worried about the Yorkie terrier they had inside. The poisonous creatures gave a whole new meaning to Tiffany’s comment, that, “Palm Springs, it’s where people go to die.” Of course, she meant its mainly a retirement demographic, nonetheless my jumpiness was heightened by the amount of times she jerked me away from the shrubs. Her house was incredibly nice, there were signs of affluence every where. I was unsuspecting- from the outside, all the homes were simple rancher style. The resort seemed empty, there were no signs of life, until the next day, when all I saw where Mexican workers. All the cars were garaged and the design of the homes offered no glimpses inside. It felt very spooky and very private.
We were walking and talking, catching up on events since Atlanta. The conversation switched gears suddenly, when Tiffany commented that, “I seem to take Peace pretty seriously.” She indicated that to engage people in Peace, I need to make it fun. I asked if she reads along with the blog and she said No. I was pretty irritated that she was criticizing my approach to this trip without knowing anything about it. She then mentioned that I should read Abbey Hoffman, because she considers him a genius. While it was pretty neat that he helped orchestrate an exorcism of the Pentagon, and a 120,000 people showed up-I’m not sure that had any lasting results. Anyhow, I tried to explain what my goal is to her. You might not be able measure the direct outcome of two people getting to know one another and discussing Peace. But something is accomplished when we open ourselves up to the idea of Peace and carry it away with us from that meeting. We begin to build it in our everyday lives, which affects the way we treat ourselves and others. Peace is a dangerous idea, and that is worthy of investigation. The Buddhist monk, Thich Nat Han was just allowed recently allowed back into Vietnam, after thirty years of exile. He is a well known teacher of mindfulness, compassion, love, and Peace. Martin Luther King Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Why would he be considered a threat?
Peace is a dangerous idea. But what is more dangerous is that it has become passe. Tiffany also informed me of this and said that it just doesn’t matter to people as much as it does to me. Now, we had warned one another before meeting that we might be cranky-but I wasn’t expecting her attitude to be quite so negative or demeaning. She joked around that if I wanted this project to have any attention I should host an event called “Strippers for Peace,” or something that would really appeal to my generation’s attention span. None of this was coming off as very funny to me. I realized that Peace might be passe to my generation because we don’t really know War or Peace. Peace is an idea that known through the lens of other generations and probably rejected because there is no personal investment in it. Peace has been taken from our personal lives and placed into a framework that the media and politicians own.
I dealt with her onslaught of criticism for awhile and challenged myself to stay open minded and even tempered. I wasn’t that successful. In fact, I was pretty disappointed that a friend was saying these things to me and she commented that I needed to hear it all, that most of my friends just sugar coat their support for this project. The drama went on into the night.
We headed out to Palm Springs to have a drink and wound up in a bar after hours. Some other bartenders came by and the conversation was one that drunken people have-aggressive, opinionated and sloppy. I was laying low, seething a bit from the earlier conversation and also really exhausted from the ride. I was still blowing blood out my nose and wheezing. I shouldn’t have been out on the town. A guy noticed my shirt, which says “Stop Killing People,” and he yells, “Do you really believe that?” Great. After telling him yes, I do believe that we should stop bombing people to death, it was on. I listened to a tirade of comments, the main one that sticks out in my head was, “when people die, that’s just more water and electricity for us.” I mentioned that it might be better to conserve resources like water, electricity and people.
Of course I asked how they define Peace. Tiffany seemed embarrassed by this whole scenario and gave me a hard time, saying my questions were pointless. I told her if I’m going to listen to a barrage of insults, I might as well interject a few positive questions of my own- nothing gained, nothing lost. The night ended with the four of us on a corner and everyone criticizing my attempts to discuss Peace. Sure, there were numerous ways the dialog could have gone, but I didn’t see anything wrong with having a debate. Tiffany mentioned that I was pretty “aggressive,” to be on a Peace tour. I had commented that people like that guy are boring-which she said was judgemental. ANd I said, “No, um, apathy is pretty boring.” I can make all kinds of Peace in this world and still call people out. Where is there room for accountability in Peace? I think first it starts with an open heart and mind…which allows for us to ask the hard questions and demand justice.
My chops were feeling pretty busted and I couldn’t tell if my eyes had been opened or jaded. There was obviously something to learn from it and in all my travels to date I had not yet experienced this much negativity.
We continued to bicker on the way home. I made a decision to leave the next day, which would create yet another argument-case in point for leaving. I woke up after a poor rest and met her grandmother. She was the nicest person I met in Palm Springs. We chatted while she took the time to make me breakfast. I felt really comfortable around her and it was pleasant to start the day off with her. I told her I was going to leave that day instead of taking the trip to the Salton Sea. Salton Sea is apparently similar to Mad Max Thunderdome. Slab City, at the Southern end of the Salton Sea, used to be a military base. It was demilitarized and has since been inhabited by nomads. There is no running water or electricity, but a village of people now live there. There is a strange culture down there, that consists of artists, druggies, hippies, musicians, tweekers-all living off the grid. Also, there are cave dwellers in the Chocolate Mountains who come down at night to raid people. It’s hard to believe this place exists in America-I had never heard of it. I was also willing to never see it-if it meant 3 hours in a car with Tiffany, bickering like we had the night before. After trying to soothe ruffled feathers, to no avail, and dealing with even more personal attacks-I left for Joshua Tree.
I was so happy to get out of there. It was an exhausting trial. I was bummed that my friend and I acted like stubborn children. I held myself accountable for my own actions and defensiveness and then I just let it go. Joshua Tree wasn’t very far away and it was perfect day for riding. The blue sky stretched out without any clouds and the heat was around 85. Fortunately the wind was pretty tame as well. The curvy climb at the beginning of 29 Palms Hwy was rugged-steep and windy. I found the Joshua Tree Inn and talked with the innkeeper, Kim, for a while. She offered a generous discount, thankfully, so I unloaded the bags into my cute room. Kim considerately offered me her National Park Card so entry into the Joshua Tree was free!
I have waited years to visit the Joshua Trees. They only grow in two places, California and Jerusalem. The trees have such a distinct appearance, that fits perfectly into the desert landscape. The desert was a welcome place for meditation, a place to of solitude and peace. I just barely drove into the park, dusk came quickly. I was now much further East than I had been for thousands of miles. This realization led to simultaneous feelings of joy, sadness and accomplishment. The fifth, and longest part of the Peace sign had just been finished and I was beginning the journey back home, back East. I sat in the desert for a bit, checking out all of the different trees and marveling at their resilience. Joshua Trees only grow an inch a year. I compared this slow growth to the pace of change in our world and once again contemplated, “how do we measure peace, the worth of man, and progress,”-and are these things merely subjective.
Then I went to a strip club. Just kidding.
By the time I left the park it was dark, which showcased the moon and stars. I had not seen this many stars in years. I could hear coyotes in the distance. The setting was very raw and beautiful. The local cafe had a lot of characters. I picked up a free postcard, left one of mine and offered one to the server. She goes, “oh, scootergirl, someone is looking for you.” Which I could only assume to be Tiffany. I went back to the hotel and did some writing while enjoying the courtyard. The night was slightly warm, with refreshing intermittent breezes. I really felt at home in this little hotel and I hung out with the two cats, Sky and Moon. I was on the look out for a particular ghost as well. The JT hotel is where Gram Parsons overdosed and some say his spirit lives there. I never once had a spotting of his ghost, but Tiffany did come around the corner and startle me.
Since it’s already been a long post, I’ll spare all the details. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours in the hotel courtyard, watching the moon and the cats and making jokes. We circumvented the earlier drama-it came up once but there seemed to be no resolution. We both thought we had valid points and no apologies were made. We simply strove to put it behind us and enjoy the Peace of the desert. That was my desert rose, forgiveness happening inside conflict, friendship triumphing over different beliefs. She took me for a ride on some crazy winding roads, with her dark punk music playing, looking for a little bar called Pappy and Harriets. Apparently, you MUST go to this bar if you are in the Joshua Tree. It’s in Pioneer Town, an old Hollywood Annex, where all the Westerns used to be filmed. It was closed, however, by the time we arrived. It was a late night spent cracking jokes and then I left early for Prescott, AZ, a 277 mile haul through more desert.
So it occurred to me today that I ask people to be honest, with themselves and with me. Asking people to define peace is personal. I have the honor of witnessing people open up and share a moment with me. Likewise, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m drained. I rush everywhere! Today I reminded myself to lay in bed for 15 minutes, take 5 minutes to do my meditation and then to groom. Man, I haven’t even shaved my legs in two months. And that might not matter to some people. I never used to shave my legs, but I like too-I like to show off the tatts and muscles-and that’s ok. Busy women just don’t have time for this stuff.
Yesterday was a beautiful ride, clocking in at 280 miles, through VERY windy desert terrain. And honestly, I didn’t want to write a blog, although I did upload and label pictures. Instead, my friend was online and we watched some youtube videos and laughed-many many states apart but still sharing a moment. Here are the links to a couple of the videos that we watched (profanity warning):
Anyhow, it was the FIRST time this whole trip that I didn’t ride hard, unpack my stuff and jump to write. I caught myself thinking back a lot yesterday, to all the states I visited 2 months ago and the people I met. Two weeks from today, three months from the start, I will pull into Crawford, TX. Daphne and her daughter Courtney will meet me there. In fact, they are driving from Maine to support P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER -which astonishes me. I’m totally moved that someone I met through this journey is just as inspired as myself-and willing to go the distance. They will drop me off in VA-but I still have to figure out how to get Audre home. I think a trailer will be to expensive to tow her.
I have lots of things to tell you about and plan to catch up on the blog entries, over the next couple of days. I also need to contact some of those Peace making organizations and see if anyone wants to rally with me in Crawford. Any suggestions on that? My good friend Katie is in Flagstaff, AZ, where I’m headed in just a minute. I plan to stay there until Tuesday. Funny how my perspective has changed this trip- Flagstaff is only 155 miles down the road and that seems like cake to me. I keep catching myself saying “Oh, only 2,500 miles left.” Only???!!!!
Right now, I need to stay in the moment, I still have many states to experience and many strangers to meet. So, thats where I am now-in the moment-being honest that it’s hard to stay grounded. Hope you all have a good weekend!
Hey friends. Wow! The Wall of Beliefs has seen more posts in two days than it did in two weeks! That’s great! Help us reach the goal of 1 billion definitions.
I must get some miles behind me, and will update later tonight. Hopefully, I exit California today, after two and a half weeks of adventures. Of course California welcomed P.E.A.C.E SCOOT, but it’s time to say my goodbyes to the Promised Land. The desert views are amazing, right now I am in Joshua Tree. On my way to Palm Springs, to stay with Tiffany, I witnessed the most beautiful thing….
More to come: LA, the scooter, Palm Springs madness, and Joshua Tree. For now, here is my JT album cover photo!
PEACE is: the perfect random shuffle on my iPod.
A conversation with total strangers
Knowing that change is happening
being that change
a 277 mile ride through the desert
A late night passed quickly into an early morning. Bobo, Jen and I chatted late into the night and I fell asleep while finishing up a blog entry. My sleep was deep though, after a long haul down the coast to the Endless Summer Rally, followed by a long drive over to L.A. The bungalow in Pasadena was a fun, cozy spot though and it felt great to sleep on something other than a squeaky hostel bed.
Mike and I headed over to NOHO scooters were I met up with Tammy, my tour guide for the day. Scooting around a new city is the way to tour! Original plan had been to bypass L.A. and go to Long Beach. However, the route over to Joshua Tree would have me puttering through L.A. anyhow, so I accepted NOHO Scooter’s offer to host me. Ultimately, this was a sound decision! Mike, Jen, and Tammy were greats hosts. I’ll write a bit more about that later tonight. (I’m writing from the road) Tammy took me up to Hollywood Hills to snap that classic shot.
They have a mutual friend, also a scooterist, Linda, who is dubbed, “The Angry Hippie,”. She’s really not angry. She is more like a quirky hippie. Since the day that George W. Bush was inaugurated she has worn an item with a Peace sign on it-going on 8 years now! We spent some of the afternoon hanging out and exchanging ideas. I’m really glad we met!
L.A. is over the top but I enjoyed my brief time there. Two things came out of this trip. “Speak your Peace,” was coined. Linda asked me how many people I am trying to reach. That is a question I have wrestled with the whole trip. If you have read along the whole time, you might remember that back in Selma, AL I was reading a MLK book, “The Measure of Man.” Here is an excerpt from that journal entry:
“Some years ago a group of chemists who had a flair for statistics decided to work out the worth of man’s body in terms of the market values for that day. They got together and did a lot of work, and finally they came to this conclusion: The average man has enough fat in him to make about seven bars of soap, enough iron to make a medium-sized nail, enough sugar to fill a shaker, enough lime to whitewash a chicken coop, enough phosphorus for about 2, 220 match tips, and enough magnesium for a dose of magnesia. When all of this was added up in terms of the market values of that day it came to about ninety-eight cents. Now, I guess, since the standards of living are a little higher today, you could get about a dollar ninety-eight for the average man. (and now days that would be about 3.98)”
This is interesting. Think about it. Man’s bodily stuff is worth only 3.98. But can we explain the whole of man in terms of $3.98? Can we explain the artistic genius of Michelangelo or Alex Grey in terms of $3.98? Can we explain the spiritual genius of Martin Luther King, Jr. in $3.98? Can we explain the mystery of the human soul in terms of $3.98? There is something within man that cannot be explained in terms of dollars and cents.
Well, the same questioning is applicable to the mission of P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER. How many people do I want to reach? How do I measure the “worth” of this trip? Do I hold the success against the money spent doing it? How do I even determine the catalytic scale of the trip? Do I ruin it by saying, “Oh, it’s successful if we pull out of Iraq?” or “If George W. Bush defines Peace, it’s is a success.” It’s an accomplishment just to ride 10,000 miles on a scooter-for that matter-8,300 miles. Is not the transformation of one person a “success,’?
But when Linda proposed the question-it all clicked. Remember, the impetus for this trip happened while I was at the John Lennon Instant Karma exhibit, and saw the quote, “If a billion people were thinking about Peace, there would be Peace.” And I thought-that seems easy; why aren’t people doing that; and maybe people don’t have a definition of Peace. Hmmm, I will travel and ask people to visualize and define Peace. Suddenly it was crystal clear, I realized- ONE BILLION definitions of Peace, on this website-that’s what I am seeking. So, game on-forget one million-that’s too trendy-let’s aim high world. Tell everyone you know-and take a moment to leave us your personal definition. What we are creating here is a forum that offers insight to one another’s perspective. We have a common ground-a place to celebrate diversity.
When I talk to people about this trip, I say: “America is great, right, look at all the different cultures and ideologies coursing through the country…but often we separate, create factions based on our differences-let’s step forward and generate dialog about our similarities.” Share your personal idea of Peace and your vision for the future-its a simple, civil way to bring different, new ideas into the light-and hopefully celebrate diversity. Diversity is a strength-not a weakness. Judgement is divisive, acceptance is unifying.
So there it is-Speak your Peace is born and will live past the finish line. I JUST did a google search, and it seems that Speak your Peace has been coined before. Crikey. Well, I’m gonna look into it, guess I should contact them. 😉
I’m headed to the Joshua Tree for all kinds of weird adventures. Tiffany, my hostess in Atlanta, GA is now at the Joshua Tree, so I have a place to stay. Apparently, strange things happen out in the desert-keep you posted!
A deep bow to the new Peace definitions over on the Wall of Beliefs! It’s very nice to meet people and then see their definitions posted. Many warm thanks and blessings to the people sending donations. Please, keep them coming-even $5 is a 225 miles or so of gas!
Photos will be posted soon, but the internet connection here is miserable!
A quote I keep seeing everywhere:
“When the POWER OF LOVE overcomes the LOVE OF POWER, the world will know PEACE.” Jimi Hendrix
September 22. After spending the afternoon meeting people and exploring San Luis Obispo, it was time to hit the road. My destination was Santa Barbara, for the Endless Summer Scooter Rally. Usually, I fail to have good timing meeting up for local scooter rides or rallies. A couple of days ago, Mike from NOHO Scooters contacted me with the rally dates and it seemed feasible. So, off to my first rally! I’ve been hauling down from Berkeley, making the already planned stops along the way, but trying to reach Santa Barbara by Saturday.
I left San Luis Obispo with only a two hour ride ahead, tops. The ride quickly turned from a perfect Southern California sunny day into a rainy mess. I found myself waiting the storm out at a gas station in Los Alamos, for about an hour. Pushing on, down Highway 101, the road began a steep ascent and offered some tight curves. Traffic was much heavier than anticipated, Audrey was full throttle the whole way to keep up. I finally cruised into Santa Barbara, later than planned, and headed over to the hostel. Two hostel in two days. Hostels are great for numerous reasons. Their rates stay the same, whereas hotels jack em up on the weekend. I also enjoy meeting travelers from around the world and its a nice way to get some company. Often, they are located in the downtown hub too, making it easy to get around. Also bonus for a traveler on a budget is the kitchen access. Last thing: they aren’t usually corporate! Of course, they aren’t always as clean as I would like-but they make up for that in character.
Tried locating some rally people but it seemed they were all at a private party over at the Orange Tree Inn. Since I didn’t know anyone yet, I figured it was better not to bust in on a private party. Instead, I enjoyed a long conversation with D., took a long shower, and hit the squeaky bunk bed.
The morning yielded a perfect riding day. Honestly, my first impression was that the route was pretty short. I thought it through and realized, first, it was round trip, second, there were about 50 riders to coordinate. From the second I pulled in, my hesitation slipped away. Before this ride, I wasn’t involved with the scooter community. I had recently given up 9 years of bicycling to ride scooter. So now I’m getting the chance to experience this tightly knit, although immensely kind community. From the first moment everyone was friendly. I expected the kudos for such a long ride, but really appreciated that people wanted to talk about the Purpose of my trip. I don’t really just want to talk about scooters. I’m on a Peace ride, and that work doesn’t ever stop. That’s the beautiful simiplicity of my trip-my intention is to talk to everyone, everywhere and ask them to give Peace a chance.
After an hour of milling around and meeting people, handing out stickers and taking photos, we saddled up. The smell of two cycle smoke was heavy, and for the first time, enjoyable. The group was split up within a few minutes and regrouped in front of a gas station. That’s when I realized I was “that girl” who had no gas in the tank. Fortunately, other people were gassing. Of course, they don’t have a ton of gear to unpack either-but I clocked record time. We proceeded on to the canyons. Group riding was exhilarating, and I loved all the stares in our direction. It’s gorgeous to see all the different colors and models in formation. Santa Barbara is a beautiful town, I had driven in by night, so it was my first view. The canyon ride was quite curvy and as we climbed up the hills, beautiful views opened up. On one side were valleys and then the ocean stretched out on the other. It was hard to point and shoot, but I did some tricky filming while navigating the scooter down curvy roads. There is actually more filming of the rally than pictures……
Our destination was Cold Springs Tavern, a historical landmark. Very cool that within three days I’ve visited two cool landmarks. ( alice’s restaurant) This place is also a classic bikers destination and the place was packed. 200 years ago it used to be a Well’s Fargo Stage Coach Route-a stop for fresh horses, women, supplies and poker games. There was definitely a Wild Wild West feeling in the canyons-like an ambush could be waiting around any corner. Gravel could also be waiting around any corner, but no one went down, fortunately.
The bikers were very friendly and inquisitive about all the scooterists pulling in. I met a lot of characters, it was a really unique place. It’s amazing how many people have ridden this country by bicycle, motorcycle, or scooter. I had the joy of meeting Bobo Vespa and hanging out with him most of the day. He’s done the Cannonball Run before (with Heather, who I almost met in Portland) and tours the country extensively by scoot. Bobo has a great laugh and attitude, he was also attentive from the start, making sure I was welcomed. Mike and the NOHO crew-his wife Jennifer, Tammy, Andy and Aran also found me early on and kept an eye out for me. I took a lot of pictures of and fully enjoyed the whole experience. I showed up at just the right time, one day was enough since I’m on such a tight schedule now.
I’ve been putting some miles behind me again. I rode over to LA with the NOHO crew after the rally-about 100 mile ride. We had a support truck following us, so I unloaded my gear. It was a rush to take the long ride on a “naked bike.” Mike and Bodo took the lead, on 250cc’s, but I kept up with them really well. Everyone complimented the Buddy’s swiftness for such a low CC. It was probably the first freedom ride I’ve had yet-no heavy gear, no maps and no worrying about traffic since we had 2 support vehicles following us. This route was very scenic too, zooming down canyons with a pretty turquoise lake to the right and puffy clouds in the sky. I’ve been fortunate to see new parts of CA this time out West. Riding into LA was very painless. We dropped the bikes off at the shop and ate some authentic Mexican. I was pretty jazzed from such a great ride- It had been a long, but rowdy day for everyone.
Mike and Jen are hosting me and Bobo at their snazzy bungalow. Bobo and I explored the unique collectibles in every room and talked with Jennifer for hours-both of them keeping the conversation going while I blog(ged). It’s interesting to be around old school scooterists and hear talk about their past rides and characters around the scene. Bobo, too has ridden for a cause, he helped raise money to get service dogs for the blind. He’s heading back to Maryland early Monday morning-I plan on seeing him once I get back to the East Coast-he’s a classy character. My plan is to explore LA, do some riding and sightseeing. Tuesday puts me en route to Joshua Tree.
All and all, an action packed day. I’m gonna grab some zzzz’s
I coined the term “Speak your Peace” today. Speak your Peace is now the official name of the ongoing Peace Project. I want to collect one billion definitions of Peace. Even when my ride stops, the Peace website will stay up. I bought the server for 2 years, but I’ll find away to keep it running!
Please, leave your personal definition of Peace up on the Wall of Beliefs. Speak your Peace!
OH! Now the fifth piece of the Peace sign is complete.The outer circle on the left side is done! Peace is being put on the map!
I’m a little crazy. Not sure where I acquired my lust for adrenaline? You and Dad seem a tad more conservative than me. Perhaps you should have consumed more chamomile tea during pregnancy. You might not want to read any more of this entry, by the way. I broke our rule, a couple of times this trip, actually, and I rode in the dark. What follows below is the account of this!
September 21. Since I knew Santa Cruz pretty well, I decided to find a new spot for coffee. Coffee houses are one of the places I where I talk about the project. I get access to a wide variety of people and a sense of a city’s “pulse.” I wound up at Ugly Mug’s, about 5 miles outside Santa Cruz. And it’s a whole other world there. I really enjoyed both the coffee and the space. Had fantastic conversations with people and typed for about 3 hours. Then it was time to get to San Luis Obispo. Of course I was leaving later than planned-but this blogging stuff takes up some time!
The route was still undecided from the moment I got on Highway 1-which would split in 12 miles. Highway 101 had been recommended to me by several people. My original plan was to ride along the Coastline as long as I could. We just don’t have a road like Highway 1 on the East Coast. This is where our country ends. It’s breath taking and thrilling to ride, even in a car. So I decided to do it. There are tons of switchbacks, curves with 15mph turns. The lanes are small and if there are few guard rails-even those look incompetent from a scooter viewpoint. I trudged along in traffic for a bit, inhaling exhaust. Then I sped along crazily in traffic, actually pulling over and calling people while waiting for it to subside a little.
I would be driving in the dark. But that was ok. I still had 3 hours of light left to work with. I also had secured a reservation at a hostel in San Luis Obispo and they told me checking in late was fine. Eventually Hwy 1 became 2 lanes and the curves started. For whatever reason, my bike was not balanced. I tried numerous things short of repacking the saddlebags over completely. In places the wind was gustier than others. Of course I stopped to take many pictures, and since I can’t type long today, I’m gonna post a bunch of ’em here, the rest are on my flickr account.
It was the most fantastic, meditative ride I could take. How I considered, for a second, any other route, I do not know. It’s harrowing. You must be safe. You must watch out for crazy drivers. And you must watch out for the edge-as it plummets down hundreds of feet to a rocky ocean. You must know how to ride a bike and handle wind while taking extreme curves. But the view will reward you, seduce you, make you smile huge under that helmet. If you are in it to ride. If you are in a hurry-don’t bother.
Google maps UNDERESTIMATED the time by about 2 hours. Then add some time for me, because I rode in the dark. And it started raining. I rode over tight curves on careening cliffs, with wet roads, in the dark. It was amazing! It was one of the first times I rode at night and felt no fear. I don not know why the human mind takes a fear and runs with it, or becomes so easily conditioned; but I am de-programming these fears. Of course, I don’t think you should ride this road at night. I saw NO motorcycles at night and very few cars. I did however see 2 ambulances. Stopping for gas, the clerk warned me to be careful. There had been a double fatality two hours before. The road was warm with death. That could have freaked me out. There weren’t even places to stop if I had wanted, other than pullouts along the road. Basically, I rode 110 miles in the dark. Mainly at an average speed of 25 miles per hour. I was cold, wet and WIDE EYED when I reached the hostel. I eventually went to sleep- feeling like a bad-ass. Just won’t ever do it again-I promise, MOM.
I’ve spent the day in San Luis Obispo and I love it here. Here is a link to an article about SLO’s stand against corporate takeover. It indicates that smart, conscientious citizens inhabit SLO and that despite some differences they want to make this a good city to live for all.
Heading to Santa Barbara now, to meet up with some people at the Endless Summer Rally. Tomorrow I will ride back to L.A. with the NOHO scooter gang. This is exciting and means I can throw away the map for once and just enjoy the ride!