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, March 23, 2014

Snow above 7000 feet

 We made it to Shasta last night and the photo above is out of sequence from lunch today at the base of the wide bowl of Panther Meadows. The photo below is from 7000 feet, from Bunny Flats. The lot was full of people and cars... many from Washington and Oregon. Apparently these snow chasers couldn't find much of what they craved north of here either. There's been a lot of rain up there but not much snow.
 We just went up the road this morning. It was icy in the tree shadows and pocked with snowmobile and other tracks. The day was bright and warm but the air was sweet and it felt complete to be toiling along on the uphill and just gliding along on the down.
 I was reminded of two days before when I'd gotten into a heated discussion about Sierra Pacific Industries clear cutting with an SPI patrol guy who was kicking us out from where we were already leaving from our over night camping spot. The old growth trees, especially the gnarly old ones near the edge of tree line, are always such characters. I can't help but wonder what this summer will bring to the forests, both wild and "even aged" tree farms that are passing more and more as "forests."
 The snow locked into the freeze-melt cycle up here where the nights still freeze is really one of the last reserves California has for surface water in Shasta Dam and the Sacramento and the Delta and many points south. The mountain stands so silently and so immutably above all the concerns we have about drought.
 On the ski down Michael insisted on a photo of me. Ok. Now there is a photo of me too. It's too bad I missed his poetically beautiful telemark turns through the trees.
It was a long drive back down to Chico from Mt. Shasta. Michael processed 35 gallons of veggie oil to make the trip possible and drove the entire way. Now tomorrow it is back to the indoor veg out of chemo. I wish I could bottle the air from Shasta to infuse all of our days.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Back country

 There's some disagreement if this is Kosk Creek or the Pit River but it's a lovely hot springs and Michael caught my best aspect in this first shot... so good to have the stress cook away in the cool air, hot water and rolling clarity of the waters. Faithful Selkie had trouble with finding a comfortable spot but she also seemed to settle more calmly into her new family's eccentric but fun wanderings this trip. 
 Spring is doing what it always does, despite the dryness. The dogwoods are shooting leaves out the tips of their twigs and small flowers are quickly blooming and disappearing. The north side moss, worts and succulents aren't as deeply moisturized as they like but they have that persistent look to them-- a bring-it-on patience.
 We found more name changes at the Cabin Creek trailhead that was labeled Squaw Creek on the Pacific Crest Trail signs. We hiked up to the Trinity Divide and felt the free comfort of being in the woods without a care on the down-hill.
 In nature there is time for silence and time to even out the fears and hopes with a sense of just being present to what is, as it is, in the harmony and wonder of it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Our Message to Governor Brown!

 People flowed in to the Capitol today from all over the state and they spoke with one voice, usually in Spanish and English to Ban Fracking in California. There is a lot of disappointment in our so-called environmentally friendly Governor who is obviously in the pocket of the Oil and Gas Industry. What I loved was the large number of outspoken young people.
 As you can see (badly) from this map-- the interest of the fossil fuel industry will extend up our rich agricultural heart-land and will include the Sacramento Valley where we live in Butte County. We have initiated a Fracking Ban Ordinance which will now get qualified for the ballot in November. It's been a lot of work but the human energy is there, doesn't require millions of gallons of fresh water nor toxic chemicals and doesn't have health consequences beyond our own over-work.
 There were thousands of people in Sacramento today and I couldn't capture a fraction of them here but I am reassured with all that I heard and saw. We really are going to stop this. On the state level SB 1132 which will put a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas, in the state and off our coasts, has been introduced. If you read this from outside Butte County that's where we need your help. Please read about and support this legislation.
 It is for our Mother Earth that I ask your help-- for her rich farm soils and remaining clean aquifers. It is also for our little people... especially for them.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


 Whew. I'm breathless with the frenzy of house cleaning. This spring has Popped into full on after the rains, especially the last one this weekend followed by warming and full sun. I worry every year that the fruit won't set if it rains too much while the flowers are blooming and then I go round and inspect for the little bumplets of fruit after the flower dries up... it looks like so far so good on most of the trees.
 Compare the grass down Estes Rd. that these goats had to graze through on Sunday vs how it looked out my bedroom door yesterday... two days apart.
 On top of spring's madcap growth cycle my life is crazy busy too. I noticed the space of all of it in yoga today... how the mind wanted to put a spin on it when all it is is the same life energy coursing through me.
 I'm glad to be tasting the sweet greenness around me with my eyes and other senses (yes, allergies soon.) While we live we live fully.

Friday, March 7, 2014

An interlude in the Plumas

 We got away from our cell phones and computers for a few days. Went up to the Spanish Ridge area above Quincy. Slogged up to Silver Lake in about 5 inches of snow after the V.V. wasn't safe to drive further. First we relied on the truck tracks of other intrepid wanderers but after awhile it was just us trudging up the trackless snow-covered dirt road. It was beautiful and worth the haul to feel healthy and alive up there with no other humans anywhere near.
 We camped by the side of the road that circles Bucks Lake and were able to ski the next day on a north-west shaded road that follows the lake line. Again, no one around and just fits and spits of light rain until we returned when all hell broke lose with the skies and Michael seemed to have food poisoning and we weathered a long night with me deep in worry. In the morning he was well and we headed back the way we had come and got this shot of the lake from the deserted but more built up side of the lake.
 We headed home down along Hwy 70 in the treacherous Feather River Canyon. We stopped for a stroll when there was a break in the rain to wander up roaring Rock Creek. While we waited in the VV we saw a number of long strings of railroad cars go by on the trellis overhead...many seemed to be oil tankers, a very frightening and dangerous prospect if there is ever an accident.
 The earth has loved this rain and it was good to see a California newt out enjoying it. The drought hasn't gone away and neither have our health concerns but we've had a respite, a chance to feel a cleansing of spirit and a deep soak of what we need for whatever comes next.