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

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ground the Drones!

This is amazing Toby of Bay Area Code Pink and her "nickleharpa" (if I have that right.) Organizer, activist, creator of banners and Musician for Peace. It's Thanks to Toby we Chico Peace and Justice Folks are finally organizing around the drone program at Beale Air Force Base and other places.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that at least 2,292 civilians have been killed and at least 1,100 wounded in drone attacks since 2004 in the name of the war on terror. However, nothing can be more terrifying than to live your life in fear of this kind of sudden death.
And you may not know that Italy, Hezbollah, Israel, China, Britain, India, South Korea, Iran and Turkey all have drone technology? It is past time that the citizenry of the world stop seeing this as a convenient way for us to wage war and keep our soldiers safe. We are breaking the international laws of war and bankrolling a continuously escalating beast that is robbing our civilian sector blind. The U.S. government funded $335 billion in military contracts in 2010...We have to reverse this because the government won't.
It was so wonderful to be together with all these activists from the Bay Area, Alpine, Solano, Nevada Counties... Plus, we got a gorgeous rainbow and sunset, owls all night, a beautiful sunrise and morning meadow larks... there's a lot to be said for overnight camping at the Beale West Gate.
Hope you'll check out or "friend" me on Facebook if you can get involved. We need your help, each and every one of you.

The space of a day

Earthdance in Cedar Grove was an opportunity for a huge circle to join in a World Peace Prayer. There were demonstrations of alternative technologies, vendors, food, dancing and community Thanks to Eartha and Tanya (below) and many others.
I'd taken the electric bike to 5 Mile for a picnic with Randy Larsen, his friends, mom and grandmother. Our topic was "beauty" and some said what Beauty meant to them, others read poems or sang but Randy's mom spoke tearfully about her mother's hands-- the work, the love, the creativity of them over 90+ years, now so fragile.
Along the way was this devastation as road crews kill trees in preparation to widening Hwy 99, something that is really not needed at all. The only life soon to be left is the depiction of life on the cement girders.
And on the way home Michael and I looped the downtown plaza park where Pastels on the Plaza had taken place, finding this gentle reminder about the need for Peace in Congo. Thank you unknown peace person for reminding us about this forgotten tragedy. The more we know of the world the more we love it and the more responsible we are--near and far.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting to the Coast

We got over to the coast at Navarro but the river doesn't make it out to the sea. It blunt noses into the bank of sand and grows wider but no more insistent as the summer ends.
As evening came on we had to settle out in the paid campground or go wandering and we decided to hunker down in the fog and just enjoy staying put after such a long journey.
It is just such a treat to sink into the warm sand and have a bit of a nap-- I just couldn't let a summer pass without getting out to the sea and Sasha, looking becalmed here, liked it too.
On Saturday we did the creek clean-up in Chico. Michael spent most of his time hauling tires from three separate locations where they'd been dumped in ditches feeding Comanche Creek. I spent my time in a long hot ditch pulling obnoxious strands of gray plastic from the mud/clay soils. Then on the way to the ocean we cleaned a section on Cache Creek where we stopped for a night and then did the post ocean clean-up of odds and ends at the beach. We saw the film, "Bag It" on Friday night which spurred us onward in our efforts.
And all this was to coordinate with picking up the unsold consignment copies of the Veggie Voyagers book (see the center orange spined books?) from Real Goods in Hopland. I was sad about that reality but with the love of the land firmly with me in each new adventure the fate of the book isn't quite so hard. We combined it with wine tasting and organic garden walking at Campovida nearby which lifted it another notch into idyllic but still some realities seem clear. Clear Lake isn't clear, it's green with algae. The sky in the valley was filled with smoke and not clear either. Perhaps we shouldn't have gone but I avoid regret--this was our time to do it and I'm grateful we were able to do it on Bio-diesel.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years 9/11

A sweet group of activists now grown old, a tree and bench that are going away because they provide too much shelter to homeless, a strict heat and lots of activity yesterday. Today is stillness and listening. When we circled after the Chico Peace Endeavor Vigil yesterday the whole ten years struck like circles around a stone which were the 9/11 murders, all the suffering of the occupations, terror, war, injuries, mourning--it was like the last visions of one's own life but all of it based in travail.
Before that I'd participated in the Critical Mass bike ride in solidarity with the students who are pointing out the stupidity and injustice of the new parking structure being built on campus. The structure which the Associated Students overwhelmingly voted against will encourage more cars and will be built with their tuition money. They have every right to be angry that their tuition has risen so it is mostly unaffordable to go to college now. There have been injustice piled on injustice in these last ten years but none worse than the redistribution of wealth away from the middle class and those barely surviving below.
Despite all this I look at the sleek glee-filled smile of water and forest activist Jim Brobeck to know it is better to be dancing or tooting our horns, jingling our bells, or quietly planting out our delicate onions and broccoli like I have been this sacred morning.
As in meditation this morning, I surrender to gratitude. To our unity, to the pricks of adversity, to dryness, age, stiffness and to a full and open heart.

Michael and I picked up 55 gallons of waste veggie oil up in the Lassen area, camped a night up on a quiet summit, wandered around on Mill Creek and on the back side of Wilson Lake but I left the memory card at home so hopefully the memories remain in the mentioning.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ten Year Loon Lake

We had hoped to return to Loon Lake with Linda, Ann and Paula on the 10th anniversary of our first visit but Ann broke her ankle and it didn't seem right to do a group visit without her so just Michael, Sasha and a big chunk of humanity also went. We got up to the lake (by biodiesel) at dusk with crazy Rubiconers below where we were parked on the spillway. We spent the night there and the next morning we paddled out to where we hoped we could camp where we last went two years ago with Ann and Linda but that was taken. We paralleled the high granite rocks almost to the end of the lake until I spotted the possibility of a trail and that turned out to be a fine spot with a level place for the tent and some built up rocks for cooking, a fire ring but not much shade but beautiful views out to the lake, privacy and vast slabs above for wandering on.
That first day we just wandered around and swam and got settled into camping which has many different challenges than the comforts of veggie voyaging. Organizing the food, being comfortable for the scrabble challenges, getting the foodstuffs high hanging off a branch at sunset.... just to name a few.
On Sunday we hiked to Spider Lake which isn't a hard hike but neither is it easy.. my knees are stiffer now than ever before and the hike we hoped to make, to Buck Island Lake, got called due to topography. I recall how bummed we were by the Rubican 4WD people after the horrors of 9-11 but also how it seemed somehow constructive for people to be out challenging vehicles against the environment. Now it was just background and didn't really phase us. I hope the commemoration can be as psychologically easy but I doubt it--so much has been lost in these 10 years.
Each of us makes our perch in the rock and searches deep for sustenance. We are alone even in the midst of everything that distracts us. The struggle itself is intense, beautiful and recognizable. I'll see what I think next week in the thick of it. For now, nature soothes.