Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

9 days of veggie voyaging ..

Michael processing veggie oil in the rain in Arcata...
Veggie Voyager

Unraveling backwards isn’t as easy as keeping up with the road as it unwinds. We left Chico amidst the graceful warm waves of our neighbors Wendy and Hjalmar on Sunday, July 15th. It had been a forced struggle to get out of town, Michael with his multitudes of tasks to do with the truck and his extensive stuff and me with the house and a drip system for all my plant/tree charges. It was hot and unrewarding and lasted two weeks after I’d formally retired.
Actually rolling a little further back, I’d been working for Butte Co. for 12+ years and had committed myself to retire at 60. Even though I loved my PHN work at Adult Protective Services it was grueling and very wearing on my spirit so, after some last minute round and round over health screening issues, we decided to leap free.
I started my time away with some wonderful good byes with my co-workers who I really admire and miss. At the same time, I didn’t do the usual rigmarole with retirement stuff with my own Health Department crowd so didn’t get the formal retirement party that most people experience. That worked well for me but there were some definite cliff hanger’s moments trying to complete things and do the correct paperwork for my meager benefits.
Anyway, I ended it with a meditation retreat with my Complete Self Attunement group. Our friend Keith Siebeck had had a brain tumor for two years and decided just before the retreat to stop chemo and radiation and prepare for what came next. He and his wonderful wife Linda came and many of our meditations and interactions revolved around creating spiritual and physical support for Keith in his next step of healing into wholeness. He died four days after going home and we have all experienced great peace and sweetness in the wake of that separation. It was an incredible experience and has grounded me completely in my meditation practice as I see what it means to have such a state of grace in one’s life.
After the retreat I went immediately down to Point Reyes with Orien, instead of to Tahoe as I’d planned, since the little cabin I was going to rent from a co-worker was immediately threatened by the huge wildfire that devastated a large area of the south western side of the lake. Orien and I had spent my 50th birthday together in Puerto Angel, Mexico, so it was only fitting to be just the two of us on my 60th. We hiked an 8 mile round trip which was really beautiful. I just loved being with Orien and walking to the mother Ocean. It was a delicious day except for my feet. They complained bitterly to me about what they considered abuse but it was really an easy trail so I’m not sure what their problem was. We ended up eating a simple, fabulous, terrible meal of parmesan, garlic fries and Pilsner in Pt. Reyes Station and then returning to our simple Tomales Bay digs in Inverness for the evening. For me the whole thing was gravy, relish, and icing, whatever you want to call the excess of bliss that comes with just being delighted.
So, back to the thread, Michael and I left of the 15th and spent the first night at Jelly’s Ferry under a bridge accompanied by the chittering of bats. I dunked into the Sacramento River in the morning and we dunked again into the Trinity in the afternoon. By evening we were in Arcata with Angela, Raymond, Jet and Lin.
That family lives what seems a Spartan life of simplicity and restriction but I also experienced the great generosity of spirit and interestingness there. They are so unique and lovely. I won’t paint a picture but I love that I saw a fox in the yard, bucks leaping fences and was able to move a baby bird out of the road while I was there, as well as experience the Arcata Recycling Center store (!), the bathroom in Raymond’s bike shop, the forest across from Suzuki camp… so much and Great Food too.
After we left them we spent a night at the Pistol River in a grove of incredible rocks that called to me. We’d heard of the Yurok rocks that protect the mouth of the Klamath and I sensed that these behemoths are also part of that great waiting force that is rekindling the spirit of the older times to guide us when we are ready to listen.
By the next night we were in Corvallis with my old Guatemala Women’s Campaign buddy Valori, her partner, Courtney, son, Aaron and grandson, Ben. They moved up from Pacific Grove, the fog lands, and Val is really in the lap of Luck to have her two children and now grandchild as well as mother there, not to mention a wonderful Love. Their little house is surrounded on two sides by bulging blackberry jungle and they have ideal plantings for a very well fed life. My favorite thing was the bike ride into town past llama, covered bridge, OSU campus, into the fun world of DaVinci Days, which is a human powered vehicle “race” that happens every year. Just major fun. All my impressions swirl around me with all the talking we did and the political struggles for a healthy, just planet that they reinvigorated in me. Val is working on Middle East Peace and Courtney on non nation state human centered exchange and reinvigoration of the Commons. I don’t say that well but their blogs explain— and (Courtney showed me how to get started but didn’t instruct me to ramble on like this so Thanks to him and Sorry from me.)
Michael will write later.
We left Corvallis yesterday. Had a very vehicle centered day. We are running on vegetable oil (see for more on that..) but had problems with our centrifuge. So then we had to use jumper cables to get out of town on the battery and also had to go to Costco to buy new tires on the mighty I-5 dreaded corridor. Lastly, we were stuck in rush hour raining traffic in Portland and arrived at our friends’ John and Helens’ with a thud. We backed into a heritage tree limb and shattered the back of one of our storage pods on the roof of the Veggie Voyager (monster cab over camper.) So, today, instead of processing oil or seeing the sights, Sigh, M is inventing mends for friable fiberglass/plastic (whatever that stuff is.)
The Osts live on a bluff above the Willamette and below them on the flood plain of the river is a creosote superfund site. I have no faith in this industrial society and the way these sites are cleaned up but it does provide open space which is good for the feral spirit and whatever wildlife can survive the pollutants.
I rest my case gazing out on a beautiful Portland day. We Thank the kindness of friends and hope soon for the kindness of strangers. This may be our last stop with indoor plumbing for some time, unless we go to Vancouver Island but passage on the ferry is out of our price range so we are undecided on that. Peace to you, Chris
p.s. time I will post is all new to me.