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

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jude and Tom

Do you know how it is when you Love a friend and that love has cultured for years in your memory without much input?
Then you are together again and WOW! They are real and living such a sweet delicious life and you could just gobble them up?
That’s how it is with Jude. We loved her Tom and her way of Life and her work in the world and her art and yard and all the little nuanced things like water conservation and fasting for the planet.
We have taken advantage of them for showers and laundry and meals and now internet. They are so gracious and kind. (Makes me want to give too. All I have are seashells, driftwood and rocks and my dishwashing skills.)
Ah friendship. We are so lucky to be with friends and to be friends. Loving Always.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


We camped through chilling gusts next to a icy reservoir that was very low. (Boulder’s water supply?) In the morning we left Nederland and traveled down the bouldery road to Boulder. Once there we walked around and I took pictures for you…
It’s been awhile since we’d been in a city. The pull of the cool things, like the tea house given by the Boulder sister city in Tajikistan. The neat stores with expensive things. The special things that give character and provide fun for kids.
The homeless.

We are lost in the urban landscape but Michael has truck repairs and I am doing this in a coffee shop (where I reel even with the variety in the humming cooler next to me and the stuff on the walls and the people around me and the packaging and....)
Soon we’ll visit an old friend and my heart is ready to drink her in.

Out of the mountains

We’ve had a couple of days of snow before it cleared. We camped at Peru Creek and followed a single track for over a mile and when the track stopped so did we. I was isolated in my own bubble of turtle sliding, feeling the adaptations to cold coming through me as my body constantly adjusted to the wind, cold and terrain. It was good to be satisfied in each moment.
After we left there we went back into “civilization.” Michael picked up veggie oil at a sushi restaurant and I got groceries. Before that was done it started snowing heavily and we ended up camped at a trailhead near the freeway.
In the morning Loveland Pass was still closed so we took Hwy 70 East. We cut off on a northerly course but when we stopped to ski the wind had scoured many places bare and left deep drifts in others. The wind continued throughout the day, making it difficult to will ourselves out onto other trails.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Michael from Mountains

I'm acclimating! Michael's world. The world of the mountains and snow. Lovely powder and the freshworld of incredible beauty.

I'm not going to write much because the internet is uncertain right now but I want to Thank Michael for getting me out here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Salimos from Salida with snow falling and spent the night at a boat put in on the Arkansas River which runs north-south. In the morning the Sawatch Range was glorying in a new thatch of snow.
We took a divot in toward the mountains so I could go to the Princeton Hot Springs and Michael, the Spartan who had bathed two days ago, could winterize under the sink in hopes of keeping the water pump from freezing again. Late in the day we got to Leadville, and got a map of the area.
We decided to ski at Turquoise Lake, where Turquoise used to be mined. I exceeded my wimp-0-meter readings with fear of skiing across the lake, fear of the dark and storm closing in but it sure was beautiful!
Michael is processing veggie oil in the library parking lot. (I’m sure this does not surprise you.) We have both been concerned about the environmental crisis this town is undergoing. Leadville, (even the name is ominous to an old public health nurse,) is the home to many mines. After WWII the Bureau of Mines built the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel to help drain local mines of water. The Bureau has never taken responsibility for the water and now there is a crisis. Over a Billion Gallons of acid and metal-laden water has formed an underground pool on the east side of Leadville (by a mobile home park housing many poor including people from Mexico who work here.) A tunnel blow out is feared. An emergency plan has never been developed and now there is a scramble to test sirens and come up with a plan before spring thaw. The bureau continues to say they have no responsibility to test or dispose of the water. State Senator Wiens has been predicting a major disaster, “the most significant environmental catastrophe in the history of the American West.” Days before we arrived, in the midst of huge community turmoil, the EPA had said they would start pumping the water to the Bureau of Mines existing wastewater treatment plan. Lake County remains in a State of Emergency. (You can follow this story at

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Salida way

Did ya get to see the eclipse?
We spent one last night on the backside of Crested Butte and skied in the morning up a beautiful valley before heading east. (The shutes on this photo aren't a ski area, they are from avalanches.) Quite unexpectedly we came on a sign for Waunita hot spring 9 miles off the highway so we took the plunge and it really paid off. We were the only ones there for hours. Michael made an expressive snow angel in between mellow laps in the 100 degree pool.
After that we stopped at the Monarch Ski Area. It was starting to snow hard by the pass so we didn’t stay, just headed on down out of the mountains in hopes of getting some clear sky. In the last of dusk we found a small road into a wildlife management area. We hardly saw the surroundings but knew to level off and stay the night.
The eclipse at first seemed like a wash as the full moon rose through clouds but then the sky overhead cleared and we were able to see it. The best part, when it was all over and the moon was blasting like day on the snow patches, a traveling coyote band let out their appreciation song, much more expressive than our own.Today the storm continues in the mountains.
We are delighted that the pump and water drain have unfrozen and we are in Salida, (pronounced like saliva,) a really eclectic high plateau town with a Laundromat and other delights. Once we’ve regrouped we’ll head up again but it’s nice to be relatively warm.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Crested Butte

The 100th posting! Wow, all Light to celebrate!

We are in Crested Butte. I don’t think I have ever had as many physical complaints as I have here. I took the day off from skiing yesterday to make soup and meditate while Michael skied. This morning I had an unending litany of parts that were either unbearably cold or hurting.
It’s a brilliant cold, dry, sharp day again today. Michael is processing veggie oil at the town Nordic track where a stream of dump trucks are going past to dispose of the town snow. The snow is so deep its almost impossible to see the houses as the piles of snow are higher than our heads. Ice, slush, mud, snow…ahhh, more to complain about.I did go to the Visitor Center for the bathroom and to get directions to the library. There were stickers there to Save Red Lady. What that is about is that the other mountain besides Crested Butte, that towers over this town is Red Lady. It has a huge pure white bowl near the summit and appears pristine and lovely. It was sold by the National Forest for 5$ an acre to a Wyoming mining company who sold it to a Canadian company that plans to mine Molybdenum (a metal hardener for tanks and such) there.
This is a beautiful little town, all cutesy Victorians and fantastic views in every direction. The people are hardy and mostly young. They are fighting to save the mountain and their quality of health and life.

Black Canyon

We came through Montrose and then headed east but took a northern detour to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River, a national park, simply because it was nearby. Geologist Wallace Hansen wrote, “ Some are longer, some are deeper, some are narrower, and a few have walls as steep, but no other canyon in North America combines the depth, narrowness, sheerness and somber countenance of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.”

We arrived at the visitor’s center at dusk, donned our cross country skis and followed the park road to the next look out beyond where the road was closed. The sky and the changing light were much more amazing than I could capture. We skied back to the voyager in the bitter cold bright moon light.
Colorado has experienced 250% of normal snowfall this winter which has caused a lot of problems for wild animals. On the way we saw dozens of wild turkeys feeding on hay seed in cattle lots, deer huddled right at the edge of the roads, even great elk making their way through the snows.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Red Mountain Pass to Ouray

We are in Ouray. Last night we went to the hotsprings after a long ski up Red Mountain Pass (+11,000 ft.) among the hostile buzz and stink of wayward snowmobilers and a sudden snow storm. The snow continued through the night and I tried to get internet at a coffee shop without success this morning. Seems like a nice town. Historic mining site surrounded by sheer cliffs dripping icicles. Sweet!

Skiing Silverton

It was 33 degrees in the camper this morning even with the catalytic heater on low. Our water pump is frozen and there is heavy frost on the inside windows as I write this. It was 5 below at the grocery store when Michael and Sasha walked up to return the video, Away From Her, an elegant if somewhat fanciful portrayal of Alzheimer’s dementia. My mentation probably isn’t improving with high elevation and propane overexposure. We have been seven months on the road now and it’s still an adventure. Right now I can see through a sliver of window that it is a bright blue day with a piercing sharp quality…another perfect day.

Yesterday we followed a snowshoe track eastward from the Silverton community owned ski and skate area. It took us through snow laden pine and alder along the flank of a mountain that we could never really see. Throughout the day we heard reverberating explosions as the Avalanche control folks detonated charges on the most dangerous slopes. We hoped to “get somewhere,” but then, you never really do. We ended up getting “cliffed out” and having to slide down a steep embankment through pillowy deep snow onto a flat littered with mining debris next to the head waters of the Animas (not Animus) River. (The Animas, “the river of lost souls,” is the only free flowing river that remains in Colorado.) We had to cross the shallow but fast waters over a snow bridge and Michael roped Sasha to him in case she fell through. (At times she would go into a hole and I’d just see the back of her head and her long nose sticking up through the snow.) Once we crossed the river we were home free to ski up an old road to a boarded up mining operation and a plowed road. There we got a ride on the tail gate of some ice climbers all the way back to the voyager, probably the most dangerous part of the long day.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Silverton eve

Yesterday, in a gloomy rich dusk, I skied up one street and down the main street for the length of the town. Usually I don’t get excited about buildings but in the soft snowy eve they just looked beautiful. We treated ourselves to a motel room for Valentines Day. This is how the VV looked from the balcony…