This article was written in June 2020 for Scooter Zine. The publisher reached out to me for an interview, found out I was a journalist and asked me to write it myself.
Thirteen years ago, I wrangled gear onto a small motor scooter, started up the engine and vroomed off to create the largest peace sign in history.
My scooter, named Audre in honor of activist Audre Lorde, is a 125 cubic centimeter engine Genuine Buddy capable of steady travel around 55 mph â€“ though I hit top speed at 72 mph.
Thirty miles was the longest distance I had traveled prior to this journey, and I was only bitten by the two-wheel travel bug two months earlier when I bought a 50 cc Honda Metropolitan. The route ahead would stretch coast to coast and north to south, through the backroads and byways of 32 U.S. states.
It took 189 days and approximately $1,000 in gasoline, but at the end my route traced a 22,000 mile peace sign onto the map. I was inspired by a quote I saw at the traveling art exhibit â€œCome Togetherâ€ of Beatle John Lennon: “If a billion people were thinking about peace, there would be peace in the world.” I set out to ask people how they define peace, feeling that it must be more than merely the opposite of â€œwar.â€
David Lynch. Yes, THE David Lynch responsible for cult classics that often examine the disaccord in one’s soul. Well, do you know about the other pursuits of David Lynch? Transcendental meditation, Peace palaces, World Peace, Peace, and more Peace. Very impressed with his dedication and insights, I wrote to the David Lynch Foundation. I received an email back, forwarded from their secretary, “please commend Alix for his dedication to Peace.” But that’s really neither here nor there. Click on the video and watch one of my heroes discuss Peace rather profoundly, yet simply. And I must say-if these guys had long hair, leis and tie-dyes-I bet they wouldn’t be taken quite so seriously.
Both require elbow grease. Bad jokes aside, I was in for a bit of my own punishment the other night. If it makes you feel better, laughing at my own bad jokes was my own demise the other night- I was disqualified from my first round wrasslin.
My first CLAW (Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers) match proved what I knew-that my *mongo* muscles have suffered from time spent behind keyboard. My mouth has not suffered, I’m surely still a degenerate and I had fun putting my mouth where my arm wasn’t. CLAW rules are a hybrid of official league regulations and comedic interpretation. Although celebrity judges say I was laughing at my own jokes, I protest. I was not. I was being polite and laughing at my opponents joke, whose back was to the judges. No laughing next time. Period. Cowgrrl Sady-istic, my character, went on first against Magellan. Initial nerves passed quickly and the fun rowdiness of the crowd became contagious.
I did question at one point how truly bizarre my last haircut was-the whole reason I wound up wrasslin’ for charity. From one chair to the hotseat… I couldn’t be happier to have participated. This was Revenge of the CLAW, match #2. I’m always fascinated with the power of community resources as a solution to lack of funds and as a motivation to cultivate community pride. I plan to carry the same spirit with me on the upcoming P.E.A.C.E ride-comedic, sassy, and altruistic.
So the tally of money that came in this month? $585 bones from the CLAW! Proudly, CLAW, will present these monies to Community Bikes in Charlottesville, VA. They are a women started and run organization who help maintain a gender balance in bike mechanics and repair-meaning their intent is to teach ladies how to fix and maintain a good bicycle. See how all the goodness works?
Ladies=CLAW=fundraising=Community Bikes=bike sustainability=smaller carbon footprint=healthy world. CLAW is helping save the world???? Hmm, well, they are definitely making Charlottesville a better place! Enjoy the video below and next month I will be filming.
Also, next month, the group has decided proceeds will go to the P.e.a.c.e scooter pit crew fund-helping me travel 9,000 miles. And in turn, my personal goal is to raise 10,000 dollars through the Peace ride, which is why the gorgeous new map is up and running on the website!
All praises go to Bryan and Meghan, and if you scroll around the map (it’s fun, do it, but go through the homepage) you will see they sponsor the section around New Orleans. We can fit multiple sponsors in each section and you can donate as little or as much as you would like-as many times as you wish! This map was my conception last year, but I had no time nor resources to create it before P.e.a.c.e started. Also many praises and claps to Meghan for upgrading this website and making it so purty.
There is also a new contact table added, to make it easier for you to find me.
Notice on the drop down menu that “Mow a Lawn” is a selection, because I’m taking on the horsepower of mowers (more than my scooter) this summer and mowing lawns into Peace signs. Don’t forget, America Needs Work. Yardwork. You provide the tools and I’ll help trim the lawn and maybe the bushes. Just no Edward Scissorhands requests, please y’all.
Perhaps those of you who have been along for the ride since last year are noticing a theme emerge. Hmmm. What’s that word, ah, experience, or insight. So, now you can see the route and contact me easier. I put the route and miles up against some dates and gave myself MUCH more travel time than last year-taking into consideration general chicanery, mechanics, photo taking, interviewing, mowing, and road conditions. And this time, I’m just NOT riding more more than 200 miles in a day. That said, the itinerary is probably optimistic, nonetheless, it will be posted here soon, but, May 2-July 30, I’m on the road.
Enjoy the video, if you are near Cville, come to the match next April 8. And if you can recommend some worth Peace waging organizations, please please do. I’m looking for recipients for this years fundraising!
The past week I’ve been movin and shakin. Whew. Glad I have unlimited access to espresso at work….
I’m really happy to present some news to you about….
Obviously, the beautiful reconstruction of the website, with more upgrades on the way, plus a big surprise soon! I was fortunate enough to cross paths with a great designer, Meghan, who is kindhearted and humorous too. I discovered her through Matua. I still would like to tell you all about his trip, especially since he is leaving REALLY SOON, but for now, head over to his site when you are done reading here…
Working 9 days in a row, 40+ hours means life is a whirlwind right now. In between shifts, I’ve been teaching myself the ins and outs of all my tech gadgets I have. That could make a person grumpy, but I’ve fastened the seatbelt and watched hours fly by while video editing and learning what the heck “codecs” are. The p.e.a.c.e scooter video featured earlier in the month has been remade. The message didn’t reflect my heart, so I went back in and produced a video short that I’m really pleased to offer you.
GENUINE SCOOTERS is back on board, Philip having giving his blessing to p.e.a.c.e scooter 2.0
I hadn’t really spoken in extent to Philip since Flagstaff, AZ and enjoyed our two hour conversation that delved through many topics. He’s a great guy and I find it bizarre that I haven’t actually met him, for the amount of insight he has brought into my life….that being said…
I am so happy that Genuine is not just supporting the mechanical aspects of the p.e.a.c.e ride, offering tune-ups along the way, but they are also endorsing it. I received far more than just a scooter when I submitted my first proposal to the company and it’s great to know they have my back. Genuine is helping fund some graphic designs, which means the talented character PJ is back on the pit crew. He’s a hoss in his own right, also part of the 10k scooter club, after completing his R.A.M.B.L.E in ’06. Within the week I will be able to show you some of his goodies. Basically, they are lending me an initial helping hand so that I can print tshirts to raise funds for the trip. Many thanks for helping me in a tight spot!
I noticed that Genuine has a Love Bus on the road, so it’s nice to know they are sending out some “Peace and Love,” to America!
That’s a brief update for now-time to go sling espresso. But please, check out the new video, hosted by vimeo, which excitedly, is the most hassle free, high def, video host I’ve yet used. Their site is just the all around best! Peace!
Hey ya! Let’s meet tomorrow. Right now I am only in Gulfport. It has been a crappy day of meandering, confusing detours, crazy cage drivers almost hitting me, bridges with steel grates and severe thunderstorms. I am waking up early in the morning, to make the rest of the drive. I heard Pass Christians bridge is back open, so thats good news. I didn’t want to make the rest of the drive in the dark (I hear there are absolutely no lights on 90) or on the highway, so I am settled in for the night. Gonna go eat and then do a post on the day.
Lookin forward to meeting you all!
P.S. How about a number to make things easier? Thanks!
This is an excerpt from my correspondence with a very cool, supportive female scooterist in D.C. We are trying to get a ride in place, if not with a bunch of people, at least a chance to meet one another. Anyways, I am posting my response to make my modus operandi a bit clearer to the public.
I wanted to respond to, “but so far I don’t know which of the scootin’ folks are sufficiently opposed to the war to be up for riding with you.”
“The message behind this trip is Peace, first and foremost. I am trying to do something where the war isn’t the focus, but Peace is. Hopefully, if we start from that perspective, we eventually all get to the same point-that war doesn’t seem to solve conflict, it just establishes power-power over and not power with-which is what a democracy is supposed to be. But the more we focus on war- even “anti-war” the less we are really getting to the heart of what Peace is and what it means to the individual. Make any sense? Thats why this summer I am just asking people to define Peace. The individual who takes the time to define something has just empowered themselves and created a way to measure results. P.E.A.C.E.SCOOTER is meant to be more inclusive than an anti-war event, a lot of people won’t go to those- but that doesn’t mean they can’t define Peace for themselves. I can’t think of anyone who would truly say and mean that they don’t want peace for themselves in some manner…and I’m just riding around trying to figure out what those personal definitions are. ”
Try this statement: I am at Peace when we are at War. That just seems weird.
Mother Teresa always said something like “you won’t see me at an anti-war rally, but throw a pro-peace rally and I’m there!’
I would rather us make history by creating Peace, than become history in its absence.
Hope everyone had a good “Interdependence Day.” Me, the highlight was playing with white gas, not fireworks. I tested out my traveling barista kit: one stove, one Bodum French Press tumbler, a collapasible pan set, and some fair-trade, organic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe beans. It’s amazing how technology creates these wonderfully small gadgets. Bless Mountain Research for designing the Whispa Lite stove. I am quite fond of powerful things in small packaging. Scooter travel packing makes me feel like Luke Skywalker meets Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It’s cool, I’m ready for my metrosexual Jedi status and have already accepted that the Juiceman and Wok just can’t come along. But, with the camping stove donation I will be able to have my morning oats and Mud! Still trying to figure out the rest of the gear. Really hoping someone in town can trade tents with me-my three person Eureka Sunrise for a 1 person. Then I still have to figure out top cases, saddlebags,racks, oh my! I will post some pics as soon as I get it figured out and in place! Ahar, today the roomie Wendy leaves for her summer adventures. She be heading North to run the Omega Teen Camp Kitchen and those thar rabble rousing children. I can’t wait to see her again in September, when we take over the lease together! She came to stay here about 3 weeks ago and transformed the house. Within an hour of her arrival there were herbs planted and bread baking. In exchange for the lodging she has kept me sane and fed-encouragement and homemade goodies galore. This girl has skills! Now there is an garden right outside my bedroom window with basil, tomato plant, cucumber plant, oregano and chives. Hopefully the new tenants will feed it and be fed from it. On July Fourth, the final sublease deals were taken care of, a big relief. Not only are these angels watching over the house, they are Marco Polo’s new auntie-mommas. I offered them some reduced rent in exchange. A lot of other things happened this week, the stickers and postcards are being printed, a news article came out about the trip and Genuine put up a link to my website. It means so much to me that people support this-the PEACE cause! Also, PJ has been great with his late night design endeavors. The postcard is now up on this website, so feel free to print it out. I leave in one week/2days and still have a bunch of things to do and things to acquire. I will keep you posted! Feel free to check out my wish list under “donate”-to see if you have any of that stuff laying around the house…..
What a whirlwind of activity my life has been since May 23rd.
I came across a quote the other day that really resonated with me: “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Numbers and Musings: 1 month. 13 days. Attended the Instant Karma art exhibit in town. Read a quote by John Lennon that said, “If one billion people were practicing Peace, we would have peace.” Which immediately led to my response, “Why wouldn’t one billion people practice Peace?”
Responding to myself: “Do people know how to practice Peace? Do they need to define it first?” One month. 4 days. Since I decided this journey must happen, despite the odds. (first step.)
13 hours. The amount of time it took for me to be on the phone with the owner of Genuine Scooters after sending him an email about the journey. When I hit “send” I knew my life was changing. (staircase) Philip, the owner of Genuine Scooters has been incredibly supportive of my idea. For this I give many thanks. Ironically, my friends suddenly believed I was going through with it once I said I had a sponsor. But, I was ready to ride 30 mph on my Met, if I had to. 6 days ago. Summer Solstice, Genuine Scooters/Scooterworks U.S.A offers me official sponsorship. 3-5 days until I can pick up my sweet new Buddy125 from Scoot Richmond, 217 W. 7th St in Richmond, VA. Thanks Chelsea and crew! Every 2 days. The rotation of my yoga practice, to prepare my body for this journey. I would love for that number to change, but that happens in 1 week. I have been doing Kundalini, Hatha and Bikram Yoga. I will be seeking teachers in the states where I visit, and doing yoga daily on my own. If you can recommend good teachers along my route…lemme know. Two weeks. 4 days. Until I start this epic journey. The kickoff is July 15, from the White House. I can’t express how much work has to be done before then. Bear with me until I get on the road. It will be a lot easier to update the website once I have ordered all the supplies I need, find a dog-sitter, sub-leaser, get the logo designed, the postcards/stickers/tshirts printed up, quit my job, get the scooter, etc.
3 days. And I will no longer be a Ninja Barista at the Oasis d’ Mudhouse. www.mudhouse.com I will have flung myself into the world of unemployment. The brave new world where people pay for espresso.
12,013 days. Birthed into this grand world. How do you measure Peace in your life? The past 36 days of my life have been the most exciting and rewarding. And trust me, my life has been full of zany fabulous moments. But I have experienced a shift in the amount of depth I want to have in my life. And I have discovered it in the amount of selfless service I offer this world. I read somewhere that “activism is our rent on Earth.” And so it is. This summer something is happening. The staircase is being built…. 3 barks from my dog, Marco Polo, while I was writing this.
“Peace-making is a healing process and it begins with me, but it does not end there.” Gene Knudsen Hoffman