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, October 31, 2011

Beale, bunny, babe et watermelon

Nice warm afternoon bannering and leafleting against the U.S. robotic drones that are killing so many these days and specifically against our own little multi-million dollar slice of the war machine, the Global Hawk. We were few but representing many geographic areas and peace affiliates. The word is spreading and people are realizing we need to exercise our rights not to be rabbits waiting for the hawks to take us out... see Toby as precious pink bunny below.
And speaking of precious, here is my own Orien. She showed up rather abruptly but it is a treat no matter what the occasion. In this case she needs to get the Vulcan "Live Well and Prosper" fingers a little more crisp but otherwise she is a wonderful Trekster.
Once again I was forced by the garden to use a watermelon for my pumpkin but I like its scary (bloody) innards that shine out into the night.
While I don't take the commercial Halloween too seriously I do appreciate the Day of the Dead and the sense of winter closing the door on light and warmth. In the radiant stillness something quieter emerges, a clearer link with that larger space where all life and death reside on a continuum. I heard a guy on radio say about gardening- the plants die back of contentment when their season is done. It's that contentment we seek in the living, in the searching, in a "good death,"as well as in the spirits of those who have gone before us who we sense out this time of year. Not by any fool's errand Global Hawk but by our own listening, in silence.

Who are the VVers Now?

This is a very short transition to tell about since it happened so fast. The VV camper shell has rotted out. The materials were flimsy to begin with and our driving habits didn't help keep water from finding its way in. Michael can rebuild it but its sorry state brought up intense discussions about our next steps in the world of road voyaging. There was an ad online for a well-made cab over made by the Bigfoot company in Canada. The questions remain-is it too heavy for our old Ford Truck? Is it too high? We drove up to Chiloquin, Oregon to find out this weekend and.....

The main issues besides the financial ones are about how we transition the Veggie Voyager lifestyle into something this pristine. Will we start adding oil cans to the back and pods to the top? What about the canoe? The white carpet? All I can say is that I will love not getting dizzy when I cook, having the insulation when it is freezing outside, not having the big climb into a tomblike bed, having room to cook and not step on the dog, having a seat where I don't have to twist sideways. Humans and our comforts... Will this stop us from driving the bad roads? Will the mileage be terrible? We are dazed and amazed about our jump into this upgrade. In shock. Delighted.
Where the road of life takes you remember this Hallomas that life is short and complex and that each day of good health is precious. Love to the living and those who have gone ahead.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tomorrow it's my brother's 60th Birthday but I note on FB that is also the Birthday of the wonderful Anna Kastner of KZFR's Native Song program Mondays 6-8am, shown here with the equally wonderful Laurel Avalon, host of the Peace and Justice Program every other Friday 11:30-1pm. It's Pledge Drive and I think it would be great if folks would call the station early tomorrow in honor of Anna's Birthday--530-891-0131. Laurel had John Trudell on as well as yours truly who was also womaning the phones.
Last weekend we got away to ride the second portion of the Rails to Trails from Goumaz to Susanville. We camped at Goumaz one night and one night on Lake Almanor and also paddled around Juniper Lake, shown here with Mt. Lassen poking up behind it. The fall colors along the Susan River make this a very good time to bike the "Bizz."
Meanwhile Occupy Chico continues with lots of energy. Linda Furr (with the Honk sign) shown here with Susan Samadhi received the Peace Center Peacemaker award at the Annual Dinner for her dedication and involvement and for carrying forward the Chico Peace Endeavor for the last six years.
And Renay Davis of Code Pink sent me some photos from our Creech arrest. I was singing in this shot and look pretty dumb but it was a dramatic time as I think you can sense from the photo. I'm next to Jim Haber of Nevada Desert Experience and others from the Catholic Worker. (I got to know and enjoy the women from our jail booking but not the men since we weren't allowed to communicate with them at all.)
Things otherwise are pretty quiet. Michael built me these fire salvage log raised beds and with the continued warm weather my winter vegetables are doing great. Today I planted garlic--they say to plant on Halloween but I couldn't wait to fill up the last spots of the beds. It's good to be home. To meditate, eat waffles with our land partners, clean up a bit, dry apples and freeze strawberries... we are very lucky, I know it.
My job is threatened but I haven't been thinking about that...yesterday did 7 hours of clinical breast exams for the Free Mammography Day with the local Soroptomist group and North State Imaging. There were many stories of women losing their jobs and health insurance and that is why I keep our garden and preserve food, because you never know.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Delights of the Desert

The desert is often sacrificed as if life didn't thrive there but it does. We went wandering where diversity thrives in the foothills and around the springs where there is fascinating variety. We also had fun with the odd things we found--like Eleanor with this "Portajane" (perfect for Code Pink.)
We went above a sprawling Nevada prison (in line with Yucca Mt., the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, Nellis AFB and Creech AFB down that long Hwy 95 corridor into Las Vegas) into joshua tree and wild horse country to watch the horses from the road as they watched us back. We joked about the dead horse that wasn't-- one was flat on her side without even an ear twitch and her belly looked bloated. We were very sad about her until she stood up and walked away...
This is a line-up of earthly Code Pink goddesses of this high point of my life.. Funny, creative Liz; thoughtful, grounded Renay, the already praised Toby, Maggie who I didn't get to know well, and pragmatic, fabulous cooking Eleanore.
Lastly, I want to mention that which is foreign, that which frightens or keeps us hesitant. This goddess statue of Sekhmet ( I felt that distance from--thought it edgy and weird. Right before I left I spent a short time in the Goddess Temple and had a really strong resonance about my own life power (what gets in the way, the particular strain of who I am and how power expresses through me..) and just want to quote to you what the plaque at the base says: MAY WOMEN TAKE OUR POWER AND BE STRONG AS THE LIONESS GIVING BIRTH TO THE FUTURE. These are times when we need to know our resources and make use of them. Each has a responsibility and a calling.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Code Pink Vigils at Creech

This is Toby. I don't like to say that she is the most committed and most focused activist of the Code Pinkers I've met because everyone cares deeply but she does definitely stay on task and inspire others and consistently stays on message about the negative aspects of war and especially drone warfare. We were arrested together, hand in hand, before the open South Gate. We had a choice of crossing onto the base and incurring Trespassing charges with a lengthy sentence vs. stopping short of going onto the base and getting a citation. I certainly wasn't prepared to cross the line so we ended up with guess what? Jaywalking citations! (This is because the military doesn't want to get publicity about what it is doing at Creech.) The 5 hour booking procedure at the Clark County Jail in Las Vegas was a real eye opener, filled with interminable waiting, nonsensical requirements and many uncaring abuses of ordinary people. I'm going to ask to do an article about it in so please watch for it--there's so much more to say.
The Code Pink banners remind the air force personnel and the civilians who work on the base that they aren't just going to an ordinary job each day. It's urging them to think about what they are doing and challenging them to consider the loss of civilian life and the costs of doing war. Over the week that Code Pink was vigiling twice a day they all would have had plenty of opportunities to see us and many miles to think about what they were participating in-- for me a very worthwhile use of my time out on Hwy 95.

Here's Ming. He's not Code Pink but looks grand in Pink! He's an RN, an organizer and a very knowledgeable and agreeable person, currently with Nevada Desert Experience. He's standing right where the military turn into the South Gate of Creech each morning. The Code Pink gals got us out there well before dawn to be there for the shift changes. I set my intention to each motorist (usually driving alone up from Las Vegas, about 30 miles south)- Peace to you. Peace to you. Peace to you. That and the peace sign and a smile...what else could one do during those long hours of "bannering?"
This is where we hung our words and bodies for the afternoon shift coming out of that same gate.
Liz and Maggie came up from Phoenix for the vigils and Leslie flew in from SF; Toby came from the (Stop the War Machine) actions in Washington, D.C. We were a keen feast of peace mongers and we also had a very good time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The most bombed place on earth

On Sunday, October 9th our Code Pink contingent went up to the Nevada Test Site to join Western Shoshone Nation representatives, the Catholic Worker Gathering and Nevada Desert Experience in a prayerful and powerful symbolic action at the Nuclear Weapons Test Site.
In this photo the Western Shoshone headman addresses the military across the line about the stolen lands, the contamination of the land and the common good. Having the leadership of the Western Shoshone people, their drums, smudge, and wise words really touched me. I could sense their heritage as true caregivers and appreciators of the desert lands and it gave me a deep understanding how things could be.
The Catholic Worker folks had come together from all over the nation for their time together cumulating with civil disobedience at the test site as well as at Creech. These are the people who follow the voluntary simplicity and lives of service begun by Dorothy Day in the 1930s. They live and work among the poor and walk the walk.
While some sashay the walk and get there just the same with unique spirit, strength and caring. This is Nancy from Code Pink and Marcus from Nevada Desert Experience. Check out his postings on

And some people were quiet heroes and icons of the peace movement. Above, Father Louis Vitali who has been jailed so many times for peace he does not recall the number anymore. Below is the granddaughter of Dorothy Day who read from the writings of her famous grandmother and I'd like to just write that out below from the liturgy that day, prior to the 50 people being arrested.... Her reading had me sobbing, considering at a gut level the horrifying potential and history of nuclear weapons (which rely on testing.)
"Mr. Truman was jubilant. President Truman. True man; what a strange name, come to think of it. We refer to Jesus Christ as true God and true Man. Truman is a true man of his time in that he was jubilant. He was not a son of God, brother of Christ, brother of the Japanese, jubilating as he did. He went from table to table on the cruiser which was bringing him home from the Big Three conference, telling the great news; "jubilant" the newspapers said. Jubilate Deo. We have killed 318,000 Japanese..."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The journey to Creech

I'm going to tell the story of my visit to Creech Air Force Base over the next few days. The saga physically began on Friday, Oct. 7th when Elenore and Renay and I met up at the Sacramento Airport and drove I-80 to the Nevada Hwy 95 corridor down to the Goddess Temple at Cactus Springs, a journey of 14 hours.
The photos are all turned around, as usual, so I have to jump the story around to tell it. The first photo was of the labyrinth and this is the Goddess Temple, built in appreciation to the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet. The photo was taken after a ritual there the first night of our stay at the guest house and I don't know what the camera was doing with the candlelight and moonlight through the door and roof but it was magical.
This is how the outside looks in the stark blueness of the desert daylight -- still magical.
About three miles down the road is Creech Air Force Base, where the opposite energy prevails. Creech is one of the places where the U.S. targets unmanned drones against people in other countries who surveillance drones think may be enemies, often times raining absolute terror out of the skies onto civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan. It's a rogue and exquisitely expensive technology that is against International Law and a weapon of Terrorism and we had come to take a stand against the Drone Program.
This is the very mundane looking south gate where I was arrested with 17 others on Sunday.
And this again is the natural beauty of this part of the desert, north of Las Vegas with 11,000 foot peaks in the distance...the first photo I took from the Goddess Center. Below is Candace, the kind, wise, easy going and thoroughly sane priestess of the temple whose hospitality I appreciate very much.
I just got home and need to work tomorrow so more on this tomorrow. Peace to you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Somethings fishy

We went to San Francisco and visited the Academy of Sciences with Orien. They have a newly designed bio-dome with rainforest conditions. The roof is a habitat too. Orien's room mate feeds the sharks and told us about behind the scenes care for the many fish and other species. I was so struck by the beauty and variety of not just the fish but the anemone, the coral, the sea horses...
We did lots, even went to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, speaking of erosion. Up here on Turtle Hill in the Grandview Park you earn your fantastic views out in every direction with a long stair climb but the poor tree roots are so eroded at the top they are losing their grip. I took photos of that too but when you have so many shots you just want to show the "good ones."
Before I left, after work on Thursday I went along the Feather River and shot pictures of salmon off Bedrock Park and also up at the fish ladder before the first impassable spillway, I was going to do a whole post-- and it would have been a sad one--on the wondrous salmon and how they are artificially spawned these days. Here they are in their ancient beauty though as incredible as any around the world.
Lastly, Orien has come home with us-- I'm so grateful for every small visit. This was a good one though--lots of delicious food, down time for movies and football, even the beach and World Vegetarian Day! I did try to find the encampment for the Occupy San Francisco people too but didn't have good enough directions to locate them... All our city miles were logged on foot or the muni... great to leave the car quietly sitting except to come home in (on Biofuels Oasis biodiesel.)