Who will grab the torch?

24 Jun 2008 In: Inspiration

Most of today is tied up doing research for my job. While traveling I can only seem to offer it a piddly 2 hours a week, but at the beginning of each month, I need to have some new bloggers lined up. Back in April, while plugging away at my barista job, I was offered this wonderful opportunity.

My two most interesting customers were involved in the design for a website, that is, ” a free non-profit online community BY and FOR people in recovery from addictions of all kinds. We welcome people of ALL stages of recovery using ANY method that works for them.” After reading through P.E.A.C.E Scooter, and even donating, thanks, they recognized that I must have some patience to sit behind a computer for awhile. And even some ability to be diplomatic when approaching new writers!

It’s a great situation, spending hours perusing blogs about how people are trying to improve and understand their life, if only by acknowledging that it is horrible. As Bertrand Russell says,

“The secret of happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible, horrible, horrible– that you must feel that (first in the heart) and then you can start being Happy again.”

There is a gusto, a new respect for living, in these blogs that motivates me to believe past any slight inconvenience and suffering-obstacles are illusions.

One thing I’ve noticed today is that almost every blog has up a Carlin video. The man will live as long as youtube does and rightfully so. He could rant like no other. I have to link to one in particular, though there are many. The tagline caught my eye.

“It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

If you are at work, be mindful that it is Carlin, and turn down the volume some. It’s no where near as profane as some of his other stuff. Just some efffits.

I feel great again, yay!

23 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

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

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

“Actually, it is a P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I welcome you too, Oregon

21 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

Well, I made it through California much faster this time than last year. I visited fewer friends this year, partly due to the split second decision to cut inland. But I’ve surely met some great folks the past couple of days on my jaunt to Eugene.

A lot of people have shown their support and struck up conversation with me. Twice today, the opener went something to the tune that, “Hey, you missed out by a couple of generations.”

And then I (always) respond, “No, Peace isn’t just for the 60’s, it’s something every individual needs to practice, despite their age, political or religious beliefs. Peace needs to be upgraded. It’s pointless if everyone thinks it only happened in the 60’s”

IMG_1260I met two men today whose lives contrasted one another. One fought in Vietnam and the other protested Vietnam. They both said that the worst thing the “hippies” could have done was associate Peace with anti-war and to carry out their message in anger.

Dave expressed what it was like to fight for the country and have things thrown at him as he arrived back home. I said it sucks that the hippies did that because now to say you don’t believe in the war is to say you don’t support the troops. In conservative opinion that is.

We then together came to the realization that propaganda fuels that divisive message. The media fueled, conservative message is busy pointing fingers at people who don’t want the war, saying they aren’t patriotic, that we overlook how the government itself fails to offer soldiers the best support they deserve. And that’s coming from a Vet.
IMG_1255I could sense that Oregon was close, drivers became friendlier, aside from logging trucks. Everyone has been really friendly and one guy I talked to stuffed $20 in my riding glove when I was inside the restroom.

The lack of distance traveled is shocking to me. I’m making horrible time, but at least my cold is gone now. My front shocks are gone, rocked out. I had to remove my sleeping bag, groundcover and towel off the front rack. Usually they are fine, but with the shocks like this, there can’t be any weight. Handling was so bad going around the mountains that I panicked a couple of times.

It’s best to take it slow up to Seattle, where I have shocks waiting. The gear is now riding behind me-giving me little leg room but more stability. I probably could have covered the remaining 100 miles to Eugene by dark, but it would have been close. Dusk brings out the deer. Apparently it brings out lots of things to watch for, as Dave warned me. Visibility also decreases earlier in the tall forests. My decision was clinched after another guy said, “Ya, they like to run motorcyclists off the mountains for fun around here.”

I arrive Eugene Saturday afternoon, if anyone reading this wants to show me your hometown, please contact me.

Over the hills, but not far away…

19 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

click on photos to go to my flickr account.
IMG_1244I woke up twice today. The second time was at 7:45pm, the first at 11am. Last night’s slumber was an 11 hours session; miraculous and needed. I went to the front desk and asked for a late check out. The head honcho was hesitant but the other lady, Jennifer, said, “You should see how much stuff she has to put on that scooter.”

I’ve run across a phenomenon where nowadays most motel chains are managed by Indian families. As a result of their homeland cultures reliance and familiarity with scooters, they are often very warm and kind to me. Many times they come outside and peek at my Buddy and ask a lot of questions.

I woke up still feeling horrible, glands still swollen, throat sore. I packed up, the heat was nice, making me sweat out the virus. Like I said last night, road conditiions improved about 25 miles before Chico. The roads remained the same and the scenery too changed for the best-leaving behind rather boring rice lands and industrial landscape.

IMG_1250Chico is a gateway to some rather substantial mountains. The peak elevation was 5,300 today, quite a hike after remaining below sea level for quite some time. My carb is jet right now for 2,200 elevation, after adding the Prima performance pipe. The scoot is having a hard time “shifting” on inclines and down hills, of which there were many today and more to come. I’m hoping to pull off this trip up to Seattle. Feeling a bit like an ass for not knowing more about my scooter and being reliant on mechanics to help. Yet, I am learning a lot through this ride.

The “freeway” switched from divided four lane to regular two way. There were many logging trucks and rude, speedy drivers.

You know, California, as cool and progressive as you’re made out to be-you have horrible road manners. I’ve seen a lot of violations of the “point two fingers,” philosophy that I employ. And while I might wave at you while you flick me off, just know that in my head there are two fingers pointing at you. I just won’t specify which ones.

I could be criticized of the same driving pre 1998, when I sold off my car, but I never tailgated a motorcycle or scooter. Maybe for selfish reasons-I mean who wants a human hood ornament?

Traffic vanished once I turned onto 36E and I relaxed because I didn’t have to frantically check the mirrors. The view that welcomed me was incredible.

It’s neat to see the inland landscape here in California. The roads were full of switchbacks, some 10mph curves. I swooped around them and then suddenly came to a halt at a gravel road. I thought it worth a noble try so I accelerated to gain momentum for the hill. I started sliding out halfway and carefully turned around and coasted downhill. I stood there calmly looking into the babbling creek, this is not the first time Google maps has led me to a gravel road.

IMG_1251I could hear a large vehicle coming from about half a mile away. And then a Fed-Ex guy barrels down the dirt/gravel road, blowing dust everywhere, and he hesitantly stops. He makes a hand signal that looks like “gun?” I’m thinking, would I tell you, “yes?” He barely cracks his window and I explain that I’m riding that thing 22,000 miles and have just been led to an impasse. I explain I’m on a Peace ride so he’ll roll the window all the way down. He does, finally. I grab my directions, after saying, “I know you guys try to get places on time, but do you have one second to look?”

He gives me the scoop and says be careful, lots of tiny roads, tight curves and big logging trucks. After cruising up some sharp twisties on Wilson Road, I hit the most direct stretch of good road, gorgeous scenery and perfect conditions since probably somewhere in East Arizona. I was on the Lassen Peak Hwy, which is rich with life and color from the volcanic soil. Years ago the mountain blew. Before NASA sent the rover to the Moon, they had to test it on Earth, and so it was done here, in Lassen Park-the closest terrain to the Moon.

I stopped to get gas and realized there was no way I could go another 131 miles. My fever was still strong and I just wanted to lay on the sidewalk beside the scooter. Which I did for 5 minutes. I then called my couchsurfing host and explained the situation. She promised that if I could just get there they would heal me. This sounded tempting and needed. However, at least 3.5 more hours was in front of me, riding through forests and over mountain passes in the dark.

So here I am in Burney Falls, a grand total of 131 miles traveled today. In fact Burney was my destination last night. I would give myself a hard time but the truth is I’m sick and delirious. I’m very bummed that I’ve paid for lodging the past two nights, but at least I have free hosting in Eugene, Portland and hopefully Seattle. And besides, you try driving a scooter 300+miles with a fever. 🙂

I talked to the hotel clerks for half an hour and then collapsed on the bed. I’ve had a lot of great conversations today. Two themes have been the military and peace. I constantly make the disclaimer to most people, that, P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER in not anti-war, it is pro-peace. This statement actually lets down a lot of guards.

Except for those who are militantly anti-war. But, hey, those are the same ones who never respond to my emails about promoting the peace ride. Guess I’m not angry enough…

On my way out of the motel, Jennifer asked about my next stop and where I came from. I told her all about the ride and we talked about the Dep’t of Peace. Which she agreed sounds like a great idea. It turns out that she had served in the military and she said that her experience there helped her grow.

She said, “I grew up in a town of 400 people. Before I joined the military, I had never seen a black person. I got to travel the world and so did my kids.”

Well, I don’t think that’s enough of a reason to keep sinking trillions of dollars into Defense, but that’s not the point.
She understands Peace and does agree that the word itself means more than the absence of war.

She did mention that we must have a military to exercise our freedoms and I mentioned that we might need protection but look at Canada.
She says, “yes, many nations have a military.”
And I say,”Right, and they don’t go starting wars.”

Imagine if our military was paid to keep Peace. Think that’s weird? During Roosevelt’s term he engineered something brilliant. The CCC, which was more of a work relief program during the Depression Era. The CCC took care of domestic things until war disbanded the Corp.

IMG_1245Basically, the military here is an industry. People have always profited from it, and some good things have come from it. For one, women finally getting work in WW2 and then emerging into the workforce. But in present times, not only is this war costing taxpayers trillions of dollars, we are paying even more at the pump than ever before and it is clearly documented that big business is in bed with our administration.

Jennifer agreed that the reasons for this war are less than savory. In fact, 80% of the people I meet are of the opinion that this war serves the interest of oil companies.

In fact, after our conversation, I went to Starbucks for a coffee and picked up the New York Times. (I go to Starbucks when I’m on the road. They’re easy to find, they fill up my CamelBak for free-with filtered water, and often they give me stuff for free. Otherwise-support your local coffeeshop-the coffee and the atmosphere will be better.)

So in the headlines today is an article that negotiations are close to return four Western Oil companies to Iraq. Not just returning, but with no-bid contracts, which is very unusual.

And there, near the top of the article;

“There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract.”

Hmm, what are the odds? I don’t know? Small oil rich country, resistant to Americans, with some Islamic extremists??? Sounds ripe for the picking.

“The Bush administration has said that the war was necessary to combat terrorism. “

This article complemented the one I read last night, which I ripped out of the paper, but in order to avoid ripping it off, I urge you to read it. It’s one of the best articles I’ve read in a long time.
http://www.newsreview.com/chico/Content?oid=677833

It explores the idea of the word, ENEMY, and how our current Administration has capitalized on its use. It mentions that Enemy has classically applied to someone we are at war with, but now you can find this word being applied to nations who don’t agree with us, or who sell arms to another country.

“In other words, a country can supply weapons to your enemy without becoming your enemy. Which, considering that the U.S. is the world’s largest arms merchant, is a good thing. The last thing we need is more enemies! (Not that we have any now.)

Within this propaganda, an idea is shaped concerning our Patriotism.

Which affects me greatly, like when I travel through states that are conservative, or areas that send a lot of their kids off to fight. I worry about my safety in some places, as my riding jacket is decorated with Peace signs.

And if the public mentality has been recently shaped by the “for us or against us” crap then I must not support the troops. Which is a lie and also a terrible social mentality. Tonight I spoke with the hotel clerk, who protested in the 60’s.

He said, “we made a terrible mistake to be so angry and associate peace with war.”

“I know, that’s why I’m out here asking people how they define it-because Peace needs an upgrade.”

“I don’t know what motivated so many of us. But people seemed more compelled to act.”

“I think it was the draft. You interfere with people’s destiny and their pocketbooks and their voices get loud.”

I guess what I’m asking you tonight, is can how can we avoid all of this?

Can we avoid see things that are different from us as bad? Can we be motivated to improve the world before the point where our pocketbooks get hit?

I noticed today that Starbucks has something called Coffee for Soldiers. You can buy a bag and personalize it, Starbucks sends it out to Iraq. If you decide to buy one, I urge you to put www.peacescooter.com on it. SInce I’m hosting one million definitions for Peace, we sure could use some soliders’ perspectives.

Well, that’s all from me, back to sleep. I didn’t even bother to unpack.

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Back on the road again

18 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

This is a photo from when the Bay Bridge collapsed.
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For those of you not in the Bay area, the Bay Bridge is one of wo/mans more successful attempts at mastery over nature.
9 long miles over nature.

Were it not for this bridge, my re route would be 88 miles around the Bay, to arrive at the same point.

Riding high above the Bay and above the East bound traffic is the West bound traffic. It’s a double decker bridge. Oh, did I mention there is a tunnel, too? There is no where to go should an unlucky bloke have an engine problem. Traffic is zipping by at fast speed and the heavy wind from the Bay is often there to greet you.

So basically, that first ride across it, for a scooterist, is no small feat of mastering our own mastery over nature . Last year I rode the Bay Bridge, and before doing so I searched scooter forums for tales of terror or triumph. I found both. Ok, fair enough. Many scooterists in the Bay Area approach it as no big deal.

Today’s crossing was worse than my first time. The weather conditions were great though; sunny, warm, no wind. See, now I know exactly what it’s like. Before, I was slaying the dragon with every rotation of the tires, today I was counting seconds and statistics. Like the first games in a World Series-it’s too early to predict the outcome based on just one victory.
Perhaps lunch right beforehand was a bad idea.

After six days off, it was quite a way to get back in the saddle. I threw a victory fist as I exited and thought to myself that the worst part of the day was done, early. Not so.

Pushing East past Oakland, I entered into beautiful canyons. The curves were fun and tight, tighter than Hwy1. The temperature went up 10 degrees and the smell of Eucalyptus trees filled my helmet. I had been warned about gravel on these roads by Laura, who knew firsthand about wiping out on them. After viewing the first pile I dropped my speed. I was cruising slowly, not worried, thinking I would make up time down the road.

Emerging from the canyons I was shuffled into heavy traffic moving around the burbs and then onto an industrial stretch. Here the roads became horrible. Oh, wait, they were just like the ones in San Francisco. Except that I needed to travel at least 55mph over them. The asphalt was uneven, there were potholes, big gaps outlined the train tracks and large cracks replaced smooth roadway-all pretty hazardous. I won’t travel this road again and I don’t recommend it for anyone on a 125cc scooter with my amount of gear.

IMG_1240The google route steered me onto the Freeway, apparently the only way to navigate through the farmlands, aside from Interstate 5. Freeway translated into 2 lanes on the same dangerous roads, with no shoulder. People were speeding at around 80. I was doing my best to keep a steady 55 while peering ahead for bumps, cracks and potholes. When I could safely pull over on the occasional dirt driveways, I did. Traffic was piled up behind me and people flicked me off and honked hysterically. I missed Shaun. Together, two scooterists command a tad bit of respect. Alone, we can be targets.

And then the bridge near Antioch-which was actually neat, but SO HIGH up that the wind gave me white knuckles. Phew, this had to be the worst of it. Then, two steel grate bridges-longer than any I yet traveled.

But it was hot. And that’s why I’m on this route, to avoid a damp, cold ride up the Coastline.

I was feeling very nervous, there were freeways still ahead for awhile. I was trying to check in with my intuition. My mind was anticipating all kinds of horrible crap and this has never happened. The brain is such a powerful weapon-and mine was running amuck. The lady who found my wallet, Constance, had given me a Gremlin Bell-for protection. The bell had fallen off the bike as soon as I crossed the Bay Bridge. My good friend Jess, of 20 years, texted me out of the blue, saying she was thinking about me. I shifted my thoughts into a positive direction.

Then I realized, stopping for my fourth liter of water- I’m just sick. My glands are so swollen I can barely swallow and I’m lightheaded. I realized the bike is probably handling so horribly because my suspension is off. After 17,000 miles, it’s probably time to have a look at that.  The bike has been harder to control lately and my feet seem closer to the ground now-and I haven’t switched shoes or grown.

IMG_1237To end on a better note-San Francisco was a great visit. The owner at the Hotel Maribelle basically gave me my money back today by donating $200 to the “scooter tour.” I said my goodbyes at the San Francisco Scooter Center. I went by this morning after saying my goodbye to Shaun. I needed a group photo of the lovely SFSC crew. Wonderful, smart, entertaining people over there. If you ever stop by, ask Barry if you can have the tour of his museum upstairs. After seeing so many Lambrettas this past week, I’ve developed a bit of a need for one.

I had a quick lunch at Whole Foods, who donated a $20 gift card. On the way in to the store, I noticed this grafitti. It reminded me of the conversation Barry and I had 10 minutes earlier.

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The roads stayed the same until about 25 miles before Chico, where I am hanging my hat tonight. The goal was 311 miles, but with all the treacherous going, I fell short by 100 miles. For now, it’s sleep and Vitamin C for me. And some more of Peter Beagle’s book.

Halfway point

17 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

this is the route ahead

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My tempo feels a bit off today. I’m leaving early in the morning, bound for Oregon. I’ve been here in San Fran for six days and it’s time to go. The land legs are back and there has been time to rejuvenate. Recognizing that I’ve reached the halfway point is making me a bit introspective. Breaking the tempo is good and bad.

Living out of two saddlebags sometimes creates a sense of claustrophobia. Six days at the Hotel Mirabelle has offered the perfect reprieve for a halfway point. My stuff is now hanging up in a closet in a very normal fashion. My shrine is lit. My toiletries are spread about and even the bedspread is carelessly frumpled. I have, in a sense, a room of my own, a recollection of home. Finally, after 10 days, ahhhh, a laundromat. Daphne gave me a hard time that my clothes reeked of campfire. I don’t think anyone else noticed over the 2 stroke smoke at the scooter rally….

I’ve even just simply sat in here and fallen asleep while reading. On Friday we went to City Lights, the notorious Beat Poet bookstore. It’s a San Fran landmark. They had every single book on my list that Barnes and Nobles never has. So I splurged and bought I see By My Own Outfit, by Peter Beagle. So far it’s a well written, inspiring account of two men traveling cross country by scooter, in the 60’s. When I’m not scootering, I want to read about it.

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Once I gear up the scoot and start riding my reality will be normal again. Earlier in the trip I was able to volunteer more. Then my focus became surviving the South West.

Next, it became coordinating the ride for two people. Shaun commented the other day that I never stop “doing.” I was becoming overwhelmed by the amount of logistics that must always be done, yet impressed at how much I can do when I put my mind to it.

Maps, lodging, blogging, driving, eating, friends to see, strangers to meet, volunteer orgs, Peace orgs, raffle tallies, email responses, promoting, video.

I don’t have a lot of gusto for all the planning, it’s just something I do. Sometimes the strapping and shoving and balancing gear feels like a waste of time-as though all day is just spent preparing for the Peace ride. I want to talk about Peace. I want to volunteer. I want to fundraise.

If you can help me with these things-please send me an email. Can you coordinate a group ride for Peace if I’m visiting your town? Do you know where I can stay? Do you have a radio show contact? Can you send out an email letting your friends know about the website?

Can you help raise funds? I am a bit shy of reaching the 50% mark.

The odometer hit 17,000 miles the other day. It humors me to say- “Oh, only 5,000 miles left,”-a proper cross country trip in itself. There is still much to look forward to, especially the North Midwest and parts east of Chicago, like Kent State-places I’ve never really explored.

Those who have contributed to this ride are a continual inspiration to me. I miss the many folks I’ve met while arriving at this point. I’ve received a few kind emails letting me know I have family in those parts shall I ever return.

Not only will this be the largest Peace sign created in history, it will be the best, because of the people who helped create it with me.

It’s time to start wrestling with the gear and say goodbye to the charming Hotel Mirabelle.

IMG_1227The latest collection to my riding gear comes from Dainese. Barry convinced a raffle winner at the rally to give me the prize-a pair of cargo pants with knee/shin armor that slips in easily. They are fancy pants and I adore them. All of my possessions right now are mostly functional things.

Today I went by the Dainese shop and spoke with Shelley for a couple of hours. This lady has really put some road miles behind her. She offered a lower back support brace. Oh, on Sunday I won my first rally award, for longest distance scooted-although I would have impeached someone had I not won. But it was a thrill and one of my cool prizes was a new orange safety vest. THIS PHOTO was taken with just a camera flash, all the lights were off.

The road promises an early salutation, so I bid you goodnight.

San Fran Scootin

17 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

Covers our test drive up a massive hill and then rally footage from Saturday and Sunday.


San Fran-Scootin from Alix Bryan on Vimeo.

I’m so happy that I mostly get to write positive blogs!

I sat in Cafe Trieste with Shaun for hours today. We left at 9pm. I had used my wallet at 8:45 pm.  At 11:00 pm a call came through; didn’t answer, didn’t recognize the number. Checking my voicemail I discover I’ve lost my wallet. But it’s been found, with ALL THE MONEY IN IT.  My hand frantically smoothed over my back pocket in confirmation, yes, I’m the Alix Bryan missing the wallet. This hand check also confirmed my back pocket is way to shallow. (then again, so is my wallet!)

My wallet sat on the corner of Haight and Market Streets, for one hour-untouched.  Constance-thank you for finding it, thank you for spending an hour hunting me down, and thanks mucho for reuniting me with the little cash I have to get me up to Seattle!

Everyday of my life confirms that the world at large is just not the one reflected on our TV screens; people are good, people want to help and they are pretty damn fun too. Whenever I actually sit still long enough to watch TV, I get this overwhelming suffocating feeling of negativity. I say get out there and live life-open yourself to the wonderment that occurs!

And Constance-yep, she is a scooterist!

I believe in community. There is a proverb that goes something like, “One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.”

Or, as Sandra Day O’Connor once said, “We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone … and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.”

I know that P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER would be neither successful or fun without YOU-you all. And this is why I decided the ride should raise funds with a focus on others. In the breakdown I decided that 10% of the money would be split between two organizations that directly reflect community. Community unselfishly utilizing resources to improve a situation that hurts the community at large. Like breast cancer.

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There were already two recipients chosen:
The Peace Alliance
Last Mile Ride,
sponsoring Crystal Waters

Now I would like to introduce to you another group of scooterists riding cross country for a cause:
Scootin’ for a Cure explains their intention and you can click HERE to enjoy the blog. Of course you can donate directly to them, but I will also be contributing a portion of raffle money/donations/tshirt sales to this cause.

So far, we have raised $253 to be donated towards the ride to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer! Rock On!  You can donate by purchasing a raffle ticket or tshirt, or by making a flat donation, HERE.
I am still searching for the environmental group to support. You get it right? A Patriot’s Exhibition Advancing Community and Environmentalism=P.E.A.C.E

Thank you to those riding for this cause! Ride ON!

June Gloom and the inland decision

16 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

Alright folks, I’m gearing up to offer you some fantastic updates. I’ve taken a four day vacation to attend the Scooter Rage 22 Rally, where they passed out Red Ryder BB Guns to some lucky winners. (Don’t shoot your eye out Ralphie)

And to visit with Daphne, who flew out on Thursday. I have a bunch of great footage from riding around San Fran that I’m editing. This time I had a camerawoman, for all those who write with concerns that I’m filming while driving…..

Today she flew home and I actually slept a bunch. Between me, her and Shaun-we split a hotel. It was miraculously just $240 a week. And it’s not a brothel. Hotel Mirabelle is a secret treasure that Barry Gwyn let me in on. Reminiscent of a European hotel, we share bathrooms and showers with everyone else on the floor. So what! It’s central, clean and quirky.

My original plan was to stay with San Francisco Scooter Girl Lauren Harp. These ladies are impressive, fast and fabulous-visit their site and buy a calendar. I’ll be raffling off a Calendar of their’s next week. Anyhow, when my entourage grew, I made a choice not to crash her pad and overstay our welcome. Now that me and Shaun have the place until Wednesday, I’m taking care of planning the rest of the trip out.

P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER is at the halfway point and I’m humbled by the generosity, enthusiasm and community I’ve experienced so far. I’m missing people from states all around the country and looking forward to meeting more.

I’m enjoying getting my land legs back, aside from some incredible city rides! I couldn’t believe me and Daphne were taking 18% grade hills-downhill and uphill. The weather has been chilly-even the natives say it’s a bit colder than normal. Today I decided not to take the coastline up to Eugene.

No matter how much bread and pasta I eat, I can’t get enough skin on my bones to stay warm. Daphne brought out my heavier Corazzo jacket-now the third jacket I’ve worn on this trip due to temp. changes. The coastline temps are forecasting highs of 60 degrees. Throw in the damp mist for 8 hours of riding and I predict it will feel like 48-50 degrees. Brrrr…. I miss the SouthWest heat.

I’ve seriously contemplated this all day and am now choosing an inland route. My regrets to some fine people I won’t be able to meet, like Kelton, who has supported P.E.A.C.E since June last year! And the Slug Rockets, a scoot group in Arcata. However, I do still need a place to stay in Eugene if you know of anyone….

Now that the decision is made, I’m moving on to some video for ya! Here is a wicked weird one of me and Daphne walking to the Pacific for her first time.

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When I was in Austin, Scott and Liz came up to meet me. Scott said he likes to meet people who are following their dreams. He made a dream come true for me-by mowing his lawn into a Peace sign. See how great it looks! Your lawn could look like that-if you want-I’ll even mow it for you! Imagine  starting an awesome trend in your neighborhood!

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Shaun completes part one

12 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

We arrived San Fran at 8pm. And by 9pm Shaun had his first fall. Holy Crow! The sound of your fellow scooterist companion hitting the ground is not cool. Actually, it was the scooter hitting the ground that I heard through my full face helmet. We came up on a stoplight with a patch of uneven, rough asphalt and he had the misfortune of braking while going over it. Despite adrenalin pumping through me all day, I found another reserve of it as I turned to see Shaun lying in the road and traffic coming.

Several cars stopped to see what assistance we needed, but Shaun was already up and apparently ok. It’s important to lay there and do a pain check before jumping up-which he said he did. Sadly, his Buddy took some cosmetic hits-but better the scoot than him. The headset is all damaged but the headlight works just fine. The right mirror stem broke off. The Givi has some battlescars too, but his Listerine remained intact!

I can’t believe he survived the gravel that almost potentially catapalted us over a cliff into the ocean, only to crash as soon as he reached his first goal. The second is getting back home, alone, to Tucson. Hopefully, y’all scooterists can jump in and offer lodging on the mans way back to Tucson, if he is on your path. Quite a feat arriving San Fran for this newbie- he just hit 2,000 miles today!

I’m still looking for a Gatorade pitcher to toss over him, which might just happen at the Scooter Rage 22 Rally that kicks off tomorrow! Finally, my schedule coincides with a rally! And on top of it-Daphne flies in tomorrow as well!

IMG_1074After packing up the campsite today, we rushed along the coast, taking very few pictures.

We did, however, meet Curtis on Hwy 1. You can’t help but notice his bright yellow Peace machine. It’s not getting quite the mileage as mine, but his mission is going the distance. The distance being New Orleans, multiple times, to deliver donated goods.

We face a moral crisis as a country as as people.
I just want to help Our Country, by following what’s in my heart.
I am about people helping people here in the United States.

I don’t know much about his org, but check out the website. http://www.followyourheartactionnetwork.com/Volunteer.htmHis lady friend offered us some water and chocolate and then we were off. Stay tuned for the insightful definition of Peace that Curtis offered. I don’t know anything about his operation-but he was very kind and drives a spectacular yellow truck.

The day has been long, the past 10 days long. I’ve gotten used to seeing Shaun in my rearview mirrors, it will be strange to adjust to his absence. I’m grateful to have shared part of his life experience and glad I could be there as he learned more about riding and about Peace in our country.

I’m here in San Fran until Monday or Tuesday. Come out to the rally and say Hi-it’s gonna be a good ol ruckus by the Bay!

Shucks, that’s Gravel!

10 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

Day8 Shaun
Day 38 Alix

Distance traveled 201 miles

We geared up heavy today for the ride, it was freezing. We waited until noon for the big fog cloud to burn away. Apparently, the sun wasn’t hot enough to do so. And apparently, there is a name for this phenomenon-June Gloom.

June Gloom chills to the bone. I navigated us through Santa Barbara, and when we reached the edge of town we stopped to look at traffic on Highway 101. A lady at the gas station said it was the worst time to be on there. We confirmed that it was way to busy to be a pleasant ride. We jumped on San Marcos Pass and the temperature went up about 15 degrees.

The Gloom disappears inland. We crossed some gorgeous mountains, with a bad crosswind and heavy traffic, but not hardcore at all. Our road ran into Highway 101 and we shed a layer before jumping on it. Traffic was steady, but we held our own. The wind had ceased and didn’t restrain us. In fact, both of our scooters performed better than ever before. I was hitting 73 easy. The hills were perfect to slingshot ourselves on the incline. 62 miles later we arrived San Luis Obispo.

Looking at my clock, I saw that we made it in real time, automobile time. We were both joking that 55mph just wouldn’t be the same again. Seriously, I’m doing this on the 125cc to prove a point, that we use big machines when they often aren’t needed. If I can ride this scoot 22,000 miles, you can ride one 20 miles to work, etc. But if I ever do a long trip like this again, ha ha ha, it’s got to be on a 250cc. That blissful moment today, without wind and in the perfect air temperature, rocking hills-getting the full top speed from my scoot-well I want that without hoping.

IMG_1072We picked up the coastal highway and let it rip. I let Shaun take the lead and was impressed how he handled the curves. I think he’s learned a thing or two about riding. I have some of the most gorgeous scenery to upload later. We were stopped by a roadblock outside of San Luis Obispo because a helicopter was filming a scene from a movie.

We are camping tonight in Big Sur and there is no internet. We stopped in this cafe for food and to watch the 4th quarter of the Laker/Celtics game. Although it is beautiful in this area, the locals capitalize on it. I just paid $6 a gallon for gas. Usually I say point two fingers, but this time-I’m pointing, er, one.

And to celebrate that we are uninjured. Highway 1 has numerous curves, runs along the ocean and the road usually meets air-plummets 500 ft or more without guardrail. We were on the mountain side though, with the ocean on the opposite side. There were several Land Slide area warning signs that usually indicated rocks lying like dice thrown.

However, one particular curve was hosting an 8 ft stretch of gravel, about 1 ft deep. The sun in our eyes, we had no time to see it. And it was masquerading as asphalt anyhow, black gravel. I was so pissed and am actually looking for someone to tell about this. They are going to be picking up bones off the highway from that patch. It is miraculous that we both knew not to hit the brakes-and actually fought the impulse. The weight of my bags pushes the scoot around and I just held on while the bike moved back and forth on the patch. All I thought about was which leg might break. Fortunately, all is well and we get an adrenalin rush when we talk about it. 17,000 miles and I’ve never seen an ambush like that!

We are off to stoke the fire and set up tents. Peace! Those of you reading in San Fran-see you soon!

Highway 1 from Alix Bryan on Vimeo.

*clicking on the pictures takes you to my photo account, where they get bigger!*

Tonight finds me in Carpinteria, CA; a little town currently enshrouded by ocean mist. It’s about 274 miles from San Diego. Tonight we are lodged in a Motel 6; definitely enjoying splitting motel costs with Sean. Since last Wednesday we’ve had wonderful hosts each night-and each day has been incredibly action packed.

On Thursday afternoon we rode from National City to the burbs of San Diego. Our visit in National City was rather uneventful. We passed by the Naval Base and stopped to look at the aircraft carrier that dropped bombs in Vietnam. IMG_0960It started raining and we nixed camping. After grabbing a way overpriced hotel room, although probably cheaper than San Diego, we both did some work. Sure, we could have gone off to Tijuana, it was only 4 miles away, but instead we behaved. I was a bit giddy that the Southern part of the Peace sign was completed.

That was a grueling 2,112 mile ride. I really wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. My relief that it was over translated into my first 8 hours slumber in quite awhile. Tensions along the border are very high right now. It was unlikely that something might happen to me but drug smugglers are literally engaged in blood bath duels with the police. Just the other day, a smuggler was wounded in a shoot out and taken to a hospital. His gang stormed the hospital and shot civilians, doctors and nurses, anyone in the way just to get to him and kill him. Innocent bystanders are irrelevant in these wars. If anyplace needs to be included in the Peace sign, it is our border with Mexico.

Thursday:
IMG_1010We packed up and headed over to our hosts in San Diego, Jan and John. They are the regional area coordinators of the Americans for the Department of Peace. He contacted me on March 25 with an invitation for lodging, saying that, “You have many like-minded peace fans in AFDOP.”

Like minded? My god, yes. I’m humbled by the generosity and welcoming that Shaun and I received. We glimpsed a PEACE sign hanging above the entrance and then John opened the door and greeted us warmly. It felt great from the first second. I had told informed Shaun about the Dep’t of Peace the night before. Like many people, he had never heard of it, but seemed very interested. The dynamic between the four of us was great.

John and Shaun were able to geek out on programming chat. We spent three very incredible nights with them. They had a hot tub for the sore muscles and enough food to feed a tribe. Every single need we had was met without hesitation. They were brilliant, charming, and fun. I had no idea what to expect but was blown away by how fantastic they were.

Shaun went exploring while I worked at a coffee shop. We met up later at the Vespa shop in Hillcrest and talked to Jason for awhile. I spoke with the marketing director at Whole Foods about donating a gift card for food-with no luck, sadly.

IMG_0973Then we explored San Diego by taking the trolley around the city, hopping on and off at spots. Shaun wanted to experience some nightlife and so we wound up walking around the 5th street club area. A bouncer, with fangs, at House of Blues, pointed us in the right direction for some local music. We had a long chat with the door lady, who recommended fragmob.com. It’s a cool website where you send in photos from your cellphone and they are updated almost real time. She suggested posting my photos there as a way to reach out to more people.

We walked into the club downstairs, just as the band was playing “Sesame Street.” After an hour we headed back to the metro; talking and people watching.

Friday:
IMG_0985In the afternoon we set out to Motorsports, the local Genuine dealership. I picked up my care package that Daphne mailed and we hung out for about 3 hours. Like every scooter shop across America, they were bustling and had few scoots left. Alex Kohn is a really smart, fun guy. We spent some time talking and he asked if I wanted some money. He came back with a $200 donation. Then he gave us tshirts-some of the best quality I’ve seen yet.

Shaun and I fielded questions about our scoots and the Buddy in general from prospective customers. We met Kristal, who has 46,000 miles on his Piaggio MP3, in just one year, just riding around town! Jan and John had arranged a dinner party, so time with the Motorsports guys was cut short. San Diego is a great town to ride around. There are many hills, Eucalyptus trees, flowers, and amazing panoramas. It is a big sprawling city, but the scenery makes the rides go by quickly. Except on Friday afternoons-good old California gridlock traffic had us running in the door for the dinner party; three guests had already arrived.

IMG_0987In the remaining daylight everyone congregated around our scooters. Shaun let a couple of people test drive his, everyone else signed the P.E.A.C.E. SCOOT and asked a bunch of questions. There was a lot of laughter; we felt comfortable right away with the 16 strangers that showed up to welcome us. Inside the table was stocked with wine and food. With just 24 hour notice, quite a crowd showed. Jan recommended us all gathering in a circle to introduce ourselves and say how we were affiliated with Peace. Then she asked that Shaun and I answer questions about the ride. I hope there are more events ahead like this!

IMG_0991One message echoed throughout the circle was that amid the real challenges of life, they were all working to emanate Peace in their own personal way. No one there thought they had the answer, but they were emphasizing the importance of being deliberate and considering how you can constantly seek and choose peace, if just within in your own life. Every person there was very authentic and open. It was an incredibly real experience and I’m thankful the party happened. They were really curious about the ride and amazed by all the nuances. They taught me a lot and it was inspiring for me to meet so many people working for Peace. Shaun handled it all very smoothly. He seemed captivated by the situation.

He ran off for a little while to hang out with the neighbors and I talked to Jan and John. We counted up the donation basket money-all in all $469 was raised in San Diego-that’s $281 for nonprofits!

Saturday:
IMG_2185Despite a very late night, I was up early to meet Peter, the beachblogger. As I posted, we went out posting Peace signs and he shared his perspective with me in a video I have yet to release. We share many views and it was a great 3 hours with a unique artist, peace maker.

IMG_1005I rushed back to the house and we went out to mow my first lawn into a Peace sign. There is still video from that which will be posted soon. Amy was great to let me mow her lawn and I hope many other follow! It was an grand house overlooking the ocean. The local news contacted me but we were never able to coordinate a date.

We spent the evening with Jan and John, who treated us to dinner. Shaun and I were determined to make our 4pm arrival in LA, so we packed the bags up and placed the scoots in the garage.

Sunday:
We still didn’t arrive on time. The distance was shorter than most rides, but the time was the same. Traffic lights killed our time. Welcome to LA and surrounding counties. The first part of the ride was stunning and we ran into 50 scooterists out on a ride to raise money for Breast Cancer Research.

IMG_1030Mike and Jen were very cool about us showing up an hour late. They bought us tickets for the Dodgers game. Sadly, the only time they scored was during first inning. We laughed and hooted, ate stadium food. Three bats were broken during the game, Vince Vaughn was there and laughably, the Cubs have a player named, Fukudome. Shaun’s friends picked him up after the game and I went home with Mike and Jen. They have the best bungalow in Pasadena, chock full of collectables. It was an early night. Last year they lodged me as well. Their bed has to go down as one of the best.
Monday:
7 hours later I was up, drinking coffee with Mike. We headed to the shop and even though it was closed, we spent the day talking to customers. Just turning on the lights brings them in!

Eric from Modern Buddy came out and we expertly fielded customer questions. The three of us had lunch. Mike is always good to me-he supports me because of the long ride I’m doing-but our personal beliefs are very different. In 2002, he actually rode a scooter up to Alaska from LA. A vintage scooter nonetheless, and in 19 days. Him and Jen always seem to be hosting scooterists-many thanks. Eric gave me some great scooter pins that I had to share with Shaun. 🙂

NBC came by and filmed a piece on alternative transportation and fuel costs. It’s a horrible piece, but you can find it here: http://video.knbc.com/player/?id=261323

Feel free to leave a comment on their website that they should cover more of the Peace ride story!

At 4 pm we were on the road, just trying to carve out some of the ride up to San Francisco. Daphne flies in to join the P.E.A.C.E ride on Thursday, which also coincides with a scooter rally.

I’ll go back and add some photos to this one, but time is short and it’s late-I just wanted to get something up since it’s been awhile!
There are new photos in the flickr account.
Here is a video of today’s landscape:

Shaun and I were scooting along through the hills of So-Cal. I was stopped to flip my page of directions and suddenly we spot a scooter. Then another and then a whole friggin pack.

Those guys were riding through wine country to raise money for a cure for breast cancer. We just happened to pass them. Everyone stopped, very awesome of them (since they hadn’t made it to the vineyard yet), and I met a bunch of great people.

We were invited to join, but were committed to LA for a Dodgers baseball game. Now that’s a good day-two choices, between wine country with scooterists for a good cause and a Dodgers game with other scooterists.
Scooterists rock.

News article on NBC

10 Jun 2008 In: interviews, P.E.A.C.E 08

Watch closely, you’ll see P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER drive by….

I can’t believe how crappy this article turned out. Mike from NOHO Scooters had a lot of great things to say that were edited. So did I, but at least she worked in, “Alix Bryan, crossing the country for Peace.”

People constantly ask me if the ride is getting press, and NO, NO it’s not. Even when NBC interviews me, they cut out my responses. Of course, the article is about gas prices, not scooting for Peace. We just happened to be at the shop on the one day it’s closed, and Mike just happened to answer the phone, and I just happened to be there.

But you know, what speaks loudly to me is that the press doesn’t want to cover this ride.  It means there is something complex under the surface, something volatile and hard to confront-which only affirms the need to put Peace on the map.

Anyway, here is the article.

http://video.knbc.com/player/?id=261323 

Hey there, Daphne here. In Maine, that is…

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Here’s a picture of me with Alix in Missoula, MT last year…stay tuned for one of us in San Francisco next week!

I’m on the wings here at peacescooter.com and I have to say I’m enjoying the ride. I can see many of you are Read the rest of this entry »

San Diego

8 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

It’s been awhile since my last update. Right now I’m nodding asleep while writing. The four days here in San Diego have been action packed-lots of exploring, a Peace dinner party, superb hosts, Peace actions, visit to the local scooter shops. We leave early in the morning for LA-bags are packed and ready to go. Mike and his wife Jen will be hosting us, even taking us to a Dodgers game.
Our time there will be brief, arriving tomorrow, leaving Monday. Shaun gets a tour up to the Hollywood sign and we get to meet Eric, who created Modern Buddy.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting BeachBlogger-who I’ve waited months to meet. We went out freeway blogging.

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Peter is a interesting character. He’s been on my radar through OMPS, where I discovered his lovely form of Peace art-writing messages in the beaches around San Diego. He welcomed me this morning with fresh squeezed orange juice from tree in his yard and a super cool hand made sign.

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After interviewing him (will be posted here) and a Japanese lunch, I zipped on over to North County and FINALLY MOWED MY FIRST YARD. Lots of “blogging” today.

Fortunately, the method that we brainstormed to create the perfect circle worked out really well. We measured out the diameter, folded the rope in half, and staked the rope in the center. John walked in front of me with the rope to the front wheel of the mower. The sign itself was perfect. I admit being a little nervous for the first one-but it’s cake now.

The grass varied in length however and so the sign isn’t that clear. Pat and Ami promised to “cultivate Peace” all summer long by mowing over the spot-hopefully we will get an update on it with pictures.

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Will write a catch-up blog….but here is a video of a great hill ride. Riding around San Diego is great fun; dashing up and down hills with panoramic views of the mountains and water.

Hi! I'm Shaun… from Tucson! I met Alix a few days ago and decided to join her for a portion of the P.E.A.C.E. Scooter ride around the country. I started in Tucson, and I'll be riding to San Francisco with Alix. I will then do the trip home, along a different route, alone.

Along the way, I'm going to try to blog regularly about my thoughts and experiences. I guess I should start by saying I'm new – very new – to scooting. Prior to joining this ride, I'd logged roughly 600 miles on my very first scooter, a Buddy International, St. Tropez. 4 days into the trip, I find myself in San Diego, with about 1,300 miles on the odometer.

So what is a brand new rider doing out on the open road, riding a 150cc scooter on a large leg of a cross country trip? Is this a healthy idea? Well, yes and no, I believe.

Strictly from a riding perspective, a trip such as this one would definately NOT be something I'd suggest or recommend to a rider of my experience level. I knew going in that I was submitting myself to a baptism by fire, taking varied and non-trivial risks by placing myself into situations that were beyond my skill level. A disclaimer is definately warranted: DON'T try this at home! 🙂

That said, I've always been someone who likes to push the edge of the envelope. So, being cognizant of the considerable risks that a new scooterist would be exposed to on a trip like this, and weighing those risks against the reasons why I wanted to be here, I elected to accept them.

Back to my original question though, why exactly am I here? In a word, I'm here to learn.

Clearly I will become a much better scooterist during this process. I already have in many ways, but I still have a long way to go. More importantly though, I hope to arrive back home with a pleathera of knowledge and perspective on a topic that I've not been exposed to very much;

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the peace movement. I also hope to meet many fellow Americans on this journey, gathering perspective on what it means, and what it IS, in a broad sense, to be an American citizen in 2008, through the eyes of others.

Education is of such fundamental importance. I don't think we should ever allow ourselves to cease learning and become apathetic. When we stop learning, we stop living.

I hope that the people I meet on this journey will learn a few things from me as well. One thing which is exemplified by this trip is that transportation really can be sustainable. I really think the best way to teach is by example, and I hope that by seeing scooters on the open road, people will come to see them as less of a toy or RV, and more of a sustainable, affordable method of transit.

So that's a bit about me and what I'm doing out here on the road with Alix. I hope you enjoy my posts, and I'll try to write a few more along the journey. Please feel free to leave me comments. I love to read them, and I'll probably be pretty active with you in the comments section of my articles!

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An unexpected pit stop

5 Jun 2008 In: P.E.A.C.E 08

Day 2 for Shaun, Day 32 for me
Miles covered:150 miles
Starting temp= 100
Ending temp=52

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Shaun being appropriately initiated with an almost 300 mile ride, this ride was supposed to be easy-about 211 miles.
We each had a fair amount of gas and planned to gas up on the outskirts of town. But that happened rather quickly. And then suddenly we were also at the Mexico Border. The clue was “Last U-Turn.” Oh, and the massive Corona beer advertisement. The google directions were horrible. We retraced out path, looking for a frontage road. We found it. Here it is:

IMG_0916

We should have gone back into Yuma for gas. Feeling brave from the night before, we jumped on I-8. I don’t promote Interstate travel; 6 lanes of traffic and two shoulder separate you from the landscape. The back roads are rich with true culture, not a homogenous American consumer culture. I was itchy though-this last leg was meant a huge portion of the peace sign would be complete- 2,112 miles covered from New Orleans!

They call California the Promised Land-maybe the homestretch wasn’t supposed to be easy. The road was busier than the night before. We still felt pretty comfortable, but the wind was hurting our top speed. We kept our emergency signals on and hung together. For miles, the pinkish beige sand was shaped into various, careless piles by the wind. The wind was whipping heavily through the dunes that surrounded both sides of the Interstate. I saw an exit with a state road that I knew would take us north. We took the exit, but stopped to look in all directions and decided there would be NO fuel ahead. So we pushed on.

And there was no fuel ahead that direction either. I mean, REALLY. It’s preposterous to me that these areas are so under developed. One godsend exit appeared, proclaiming no more services for 39 miles after. Not godsend at all really. Unless you stop to speculate that maybe we avoided a worse fate by our delay. The delay that happened because the only fueling station in the middle of the Sahara was closed-closed for three hours.

Nothing left to do but keep scootin. Since it looked doubtful for Shaun, we agreed to just pull over on the shoulder when he ran out. It happened. There is a 30-40 mile difference between our tanks. When he is out, I have yet to hit the red zone on mine, which can get me about 20-30 miles. I considered pushing ahead and picking up gas. This would mean braving the Interstate alone, with a top speed of 55-60. And a 30 mile roundtrip. We decided to see what would happen first.

IMG_0925Being so close to the border means that Border Patrol cruise the area, in abundance. Yet, the only two we saw where on the back of tow trucks. The sun was branding us and water was running low. One guy who stopped had no gas, but gave us 6 bottles of water. Jeremy stopped next and offered us a sweet situation. Godsend. He was delivering equipment and had a lift, moving blankets, tiedowns and space. And was going to the exact exit as us. As a motorcyclist, he sympathized with our lot. 15 minutes later, we were ready to roll.

We lost about 2.5 hours there. We pushed on after lunch, coffee and lively political conversation with the locals in El Centro. I was feeling optimistic that we would make it. Outside of town the wind almost toppled my scooter. It was the closest I have come to wetting my pants-instead I was screaming in the helmet. Not in panic, but in frustration. I stopped to adjust the saddlebags, bringing them up higher. This seemed to help, but the wind was still wicked.

Once we turned onto the road that winds through Anaz-Borrego national park, traffic disappeared, and we could drop to a safer speed-about 45 mph. Shaun seems to have less problems in the wind and I suspect this has to do with all my gear. I couldn’t even stand in place when I stopped to film some of the landscape with the wide angle lens.

The terrain however, was stunning. Although, I do miss the cacti of Western Arizona, which had faded by Ajo. There were mountain chains running beside and ahead of us, with desert pushing up to their base. The sun was low, it was after 5pm. The straight away began to curve through hills; hills made of little boulders. Soon we were taking sharper curves through mountains lush with green trees. Great curves. Really, aside from the wind, you couldn’t ask for better riding. This national park has 500 miles of well developed trails. For some videos of the rides, I’ve created a set through my flickr account.

We passed a road leading to Borrego Springs and I thought about Chris McCandless, Into the Wild, and his odyssey-his grand journey to seek truth and change his life. I wanted to go visit and soak in the springs. I wondered what experience Shaun was having-wondered actually, just who this guy is. We barely know one another. It was quite an honor that he wants to be on the P.E.A.C.E SCOOT. The mountains were pretty steep and as we climbed, the temperatures dropped. It’s been hot since New Orleans. This was cold.

I was zooming along through the curves, lost in the smells and sights of a forest-it’s been awhile since I’ve seen anything but desert. I noticed Shaun wasn’t with me. Julian was 2 miles ahead and I thought he would meet me there. I pulled into the gas station and see it’s closed. We were counting on this petro stop. We hadn’t fueled since El Centro.

Then I get a text from Shaun-out of gas.

I set about asking the locals for some tips. Turns out the closest place was 7 miles. Not bad. Just then a girl says,

“Hey, My Mom will help you-I’ll make her.”

Thus spoke the future Ms. Julian pageant queen, Amanda. I walked over to the scooter and called Shaun to let him know it would take a while, but we would be there with gas. Carrie screeches up. I ask if she is the one helping me. I get in the car and then we get out of the car and I follow her into the store and then we get back in the car and she got back out and went into the store again- I stayed put that time. Then, we were on our way. We were careening down a mountain, rather fast. Amanda was talking about her day at school. Just chit chat, as though I was someone they had known for awhile.

It was a rather entertaining situation and I felt bonded with them right away. This somehow seemed like a perfectly normal thing. I was in town 10 minutes before a total stranger offered to help. Everything in Julian and surrounding Julian shuts down at 9. They tell me this as we are on the way to get Shaun-it was 8:45. We have no food, no lodging. 60 miles of mountains were ahead and the temp was 50 degrees cooler than what we were accustomed to.

Carrie wanted to turn around and take me to the store, but I was pretty fixated on getting Shaun out of the remote area. We found him with an audience, met them and gassed up. I rode his scoot back, he’s not used to night riding and curves. On the way to get him a truck almost killed us. I was on the phone with Daphne, asking her to search hotels/campgrounds for us. Turns out the tourist trap priced hotels at $90 a night. Amanda overheard my conversation and asked her neighbor to house us.

After grabbing my scooter we went over to Blind Dave’s. It’s hard to believe he is blind, he moves remarkably well throughout his house. It was a humble trailer and he offered us everything in it. Including tootsie rolls. We ate tootsie rolls with him and he told us about his ramblin days and career as a singer. Carrie popped over with a pizza. Then came back with provisions, water, Sprite and sweatshirts for Shaun. Shaun hadn’t anticipated colder weather than Tucson and had no long shirt.

Can you believe all this generosity? It was really cool to watch Shaun have a life defining moment. I told him today over breakfast that I first truly realized how to be good to others when I started traveling. To treat those you love with kindness is easy. To trust a stranger and to be compelled to help them, even if it means interrupting your own day,is a profound measure of compassion.

We slept very well and woke early, but couldn’t go anywhere. The fog was so heavy that the trees collected it and showered water on us when the wind blew. It made traveling the mountain impossible. About noon we set off, very content with our unexpected adventure.

The ride was incredible, with many curves winding through a burnt forest. There were no guard rails and the cliffs plummeted down about 500 feet.


We arrived in San Diego around 3 pm. Not sure what to do, we drove along the harbor. It began raining and we coughed up some cash for a hotel room. I have hosts here for the next two nights, and will attend some Peace events. I’m looking for somewhere to volunteer and I might have a lawn to mow into a Peace sign.

My host is with the Department of Peace chapter here in San Diego. It’s exciting to be back on the West Coast. Gas will be easier to get, but not cheaper!

Here is the completed Southern route:

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WALL OF BELIEFS

Add your own...

  • It's nice to see this still kicking around. We need every little bit, more than ever. Never stop raising dust. -d
    Daphne