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, September 25, 2007


Manitowoc and Two Rivers, Wisconsin, seem unique to me in how farm land, wildness, marinescape and industrial meet with an older, more rusted, white brick sturdiness that speak to the industriousness and strength of the people and the struggle to forge lives that aren’t totally dominated by hard labor.

Michael has spent the last week working on the veggie voyager but also playing Scrabble with his siblings, working puzzles, and enjoying his family and the dogs that liven up every get together. (I’m including a picture of Cooper who reminds me very much of Oscar the Grouch but leaving out the prize Frisbee champion Sir Barkey Von Chaser.)

I’ve had a lazy week, borrowing my brother in law’s gas guzzling van each day to go to the library in Two Rivers, 12 miles away. I’ve also gotten in some fine bike rides along the coast trail and a canoe trip foursome along the Manitowoc River out to Lake Michigan to see the salmon. The river water is the amazing impenetrable orange brown color of rust.

We are at a point in the trip where we have many completed books that I wanted to trade out. Yesterday I stopped at a sign proclaiming “used books.” This place though was built in 1850 and is now a museum. Upstairs, in a ballroom with murals and waltz music, lined with the artifacts of disappearing generations, I glided around alone and happy to find five copies of Tricycle, the Buddhist review. In the first one I opened, I found an article entitled “Meeting the Buddha” (Winter, 1995.) In it, the author Andrew Schelling says that the impulse to ramble is as old as human kind…the hunter, the nomad, the rambler and finally, the pilgrim. He asks, “How can we separate the notion of pilgrimage from the primal instinct to set out on a walk, shake off the householder’s dust, and simply see something new?” The word pilgrim, along with its Latin root, “peregrine”, simply mean a person who wanders “across the land.” Another author, in the same journal, Wendy Johnson, wrote that when Thoreau walked through the winter forests of New England, he followed his affections. A town is saved, he reflected, not more by the righteous people in it than by the woods and swamps that surround it.

We are pilgrims who aren’t going anywhere in particular, especially now when we are enjoying where we are in the sense of “a body at rest tends to stay at rest—entropy”. In the almost endless points of place we may find ourselves we are always present to the end point of our continuum. Here in Manitowoc, Michael and his two brothers and two sisters grew up. Our multiplier intersection is the current focus point of my pilgrimage and I am grateful for their acceptance and kindness and for what I discover and enjoy on my own.


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