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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Trinity Veggie Alps

This has been a work trip and I’ve done trainings for the Cancer Detection Program in Weed, Yreka, Happy Camp and Weaverville. If you know that loop you know the I-5, Shasta dominant part of it then following the Klamath to the Trinity and back around to close the loop at Redding but you don’t know about Michael’s enthusiasm for obtaining veggie oil. This old tanker truck is currently carrying 110 gallons that he picked up along the way!

We are at the trail head for Long Valley in the Trinity Alps. Yesterday we hiked straight up for four miles until the forest parted and we were in the spring emerging meadow below the pass, surrounded by snow patched peaks and cruising clouds.
I realized why I can’t write well about our experience on the Veggie Voyage is because I don’t have a relationship with the shifting day length anymore. When you live mostly inside you miss the fawn wandering around without his mom. How he is deviled by bugs and flips his ears and tail as he wanders around on his colt legs until Sasha wakes up from her dust lair under the VV and scares him off.
It’s the little things, the strategy of the wild iris to bring bugs to itself, how the yellow lupin celebrate light against shadow, how a cloud can look like Miss Piggy onstage. I just can’t pull up the details of that long journey. I see the map and the places and it all gets blocky and stiff. (See the archives for the original story that I’m now haltingly trying to assemble into a book.)

As we did my work loop we camped at a pass above Greenhorn Park high above Yreka and the second night in a mosquito-rich glen along a feeder creek of the Trinity River. After that we camped at a boat-in camp ground along the Trinity Reservoir. The red earth of the scoured tub ring cut deep to the lake far below. Then last night we were here at this trailhead. We never saw another vehicle or another person until some souls came in this morning. Tonight we’ll be home in the heat with the laundry and unpacking and a new week staring down at us. While one should never complain about Riparia Farm it still isn’t the high country or the wild country.

Having the time to mull, to walk a very long way and feel the ache of it, to be amidst diversity and up where the dogwood is still blooming… and to get there on veggie oil. It’s a good and complete feeling. Now it’s time to go look for a swim.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial to Home

It's Memorial Day and I already did my Memorial Day so I'm just gathering up some photos to back up my claim to being present and accounted for in this dizzying world. This year I was so busy I missed out on the cherries before the birds got them all... that's a big shift from last year when I grazed for days on them.
Beauty still reigns in the columbine world of our front yard where these butterfly like flowers dance above their delicate lattice of leaves.

There's a lot of new life... the tiny buds of grapes and below, our dear friend Ema is six months pregnant. She and Orien were best friends since they were wee girls and now Ema stands on the threshold of being a mom. It's amazing and humbling.

The poppies on the side yard mean May to me. This California Native has extended it's roots and now is a grand, glorious and gay sight as it has spread and grown larger each year. I think it's ok to remember what we want on this day of Memory and Memorial. Blessings to the Peace Makers, Peace to all those who struggle and fight.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bay to Valley

As I sit here with my forearms sticking to the wood of the kitchen table it's easy to reflect back on this hot day. We celebrated our friend Ann's birthday at her straw bale-solar home out on the Vina Plains this evening. It took me most of the afternoon to get back up the valley though.

Today, on this brilliant day, Orien and I walked against the current of the Bay to Breakers race. My illusions of a fun filled San Francisco happening were shattered by the trash the event generates... that and me not being able to keep up, not being equal to all the energy and stimulus of thousands of young bodies on the move. Still, now I've seen that... one less thing to see.

The best part of being in the city was being with Orien. She is camera shy but I got this fighting stance of her powerful Batwoman room-mate, Suman, another gorgeous human being.

The night before we ate outside as the sun was setting on downtown SF and the light and shapes were really striking. It was our Mothers Day dinner and movie and I was so happy to be with her, in her city world. As now I'm glad to be home with Michael in the quiet of our world, here closer to the pulse and warmth of the night lulling me to say good night.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

Slumdog Millionaire. We watched it last night on the eve of Mother’s Day. A point in there is that the mother is killed by religious intolerance. It was also true that the context of the children’s lives, where they must exploit every opportunity and are forced into constant danger was more a function of poverty, than losing their mother and becoming homeless. I can’t think of any other children today than those street children, the fear and toughness of their lives. If I embrace them I realize the need for stability, for parenting, family planning and education and public health and employment and community.

I remember my mom with many regrets. As I look into her poor sick face I can’t still imagine how our relationship would have been better. What can only be is the love of her from that part of me that yearns and appreciates beings as they are. She did her best but there is something more than providing a comfortable home, the stability, education and etc. There is also the enculturation of the heart and sharing that in the primary dyad. That’s what I’m a bit weak on. Orien is another matter. My heart is full with the Love of her and I’m grateful to be her mother. Despite our blind spots I hope we can build our relationship from the loving foundation we have.
Lest we forget…Julia Ward Howe’s creation of this day:

Mother's Day Proclamation
Arise then...women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts! Whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: "We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, For caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, Will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs." From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice." Blood does not wipe our dishonor, Nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil At the summons of war, Let women now leave all that may be left of home For a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means Whereby the great human family can live in peace... Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, But of God - In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality, May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient And the earliest period consistent with its objects, To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions, The great and general interests of peace.

“Only the thinking of clouds keeps the world on its untroubled course” Kenneth Patchen

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Faire, friends and creeks

Today Michael and I did an outlaw ride along Comanche Creek. We found that in one long section it had been spayed with herbicide right up to top of bank, that elsewhere preliminary flagging for the bridge we are determined to stop was in place. Once upon a time there was a a house along the area of the creek we are trying to preserve and the guy who lived there let loose yellow irises that now almost choke the creek in places. Sure pretty though.
On an earlier walk along Big Chico Creek today with Laurie, we stopped at One Mile Dam, by what is called Sycamore Pool and that's what this picture demonstrates.

Last night there was a Celebration for Laurel, who is peeking between her verbally engaged friends, peeking out like an Elf Queen. May she be happy. May she be healthy. May she stay strong.

It rained like crazy all day of the Endangered Species Faire. It was too bad but also too good. We so desperately need the rain. The kids in the covered display above were very serious about saving orangutans so I respect that commitment enough to repeat, if you can't see their sign, "NO Biofuels from Palm Oil!)

The One Heart Celebration went on but onstage where it was covered. This is a representative of fire. My heart is a bit burned tonight so I am going to go make like a cinder in order to blaze again soon.

Friday, May 1, 2009

One Year HOME

Mayday and it's raining. In the afternoon I went to One Mile to find the Immigration March. Only 9 of us showed up but one was Rev. David Moss from Trinity Methodist, a man who is firmly on the path of Christ's teachings.
I salute the people who struggle with being here illegally and know we need to make it easier and safer for people to get here and to stay. At the same time, we must do something about our birthrate.. here and everywhere.
I transplanted sunflower volunteers out of the garden today. My plan is to take them to the Endangered Species Faire tomorrow to sell as a benefit for BEC, who won't have a very good crowd if it is wet and cold.

It's been a good year. Exactly a year since we returned from the Veggie Voyage. I still miss the road and was following the trip of "this time last year" throughout this year. Now that's over. I'm going to keep blogging awhile longer because it helps me chronicle my life. Even if it doesn't mean much to anyone else it gives me a way to capture time, even if just in short hand.

So Goodbye to a certain relationship with the past. I'm working on a book about it though, so, in some ways I'm more engaged with the story of the trip than ever. It will be a few more years before we voyage again but in the meantime, another chapter closes. What matters is that the Book of Life is still open.