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, June 30, 2014

Boy toy Birthday

 The eve of my 67th birthday found us at the Roseville REI, marooned by a leak in a fuel line.. in the morning we made it up to Loon Lake on the edge of the Desolation Wilderness. We found a good spot by a campground boat launch to hang out for the next few days.
 Michael had done a lot of research on boats that would work well for us with some of the effects of aging and illness. He came up with a porta-bote, a foldable polypropylene boat that is very strong and stable and can carry an electric trolling motor. He built the simple but ingenious rack for it on the side of the VV and fashioned the dog cart to transport it.
We had good luck with the boat but the trolling motor battery didn't hold a charge well (or rather, the charger wouldn't fully charge either on our solar or on our neighbor RVer's generator) and so we had a nice long paddle with the feeble assist of the dying motor across a broad sweep of this beautiful lake the second day returning to the VV.
 I think it is ironic for me... hater of plastics and styrofoam-- to have this boat but it really does feel secure in choppy water and I like that.. putting that trolling motor on the canoe seemed very tippy.
 We love Loon Lake. We first went there with our friends Linda and Ann back in 2001 right after the tragedies of 9/11. That week helped us have some peace and distance from what the nation was experiencing. We've been back a number of times since. I think it is the most accessible large high mountain lake in the Sierra with the most interesting topography.. those great granite boulders and sloping granite slabs.
 I took many photos to get this one of this small elegant butterfly.
 On the fourth day we had to come home and naturally that was the hottest day... 104 degrees by the time we got down to the valley but first we had to have a flat and poor Michael, of course, changed it. The brakes tried to burn out coming down into the American River canyon south of Auburn and we had no air conditioning, of course. We stopped to swim at Stumpy Meadows Lake and again on the Sacramento River in Marysville.
We mostly forgot it was my birthday in any candle-fancy way but it was a precious time and I am very grateful to have achieved 67 years especially with my creative and hard-working spouse by my side.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Environment of Beale Air Force Base

 The Burma Sign team of Shirley, Barry and Lorraine were busily staking in recycled campaign signs extending about half a mile down from the Beale Air Force Base Main Gate... Our theme this month was "Green" so Shirley made half the signs about environmentally destructive things (thus the "Instead of..." and the second, positive things a force of able bodied peace warriors could be doing.)
 We are always graced with our Veteran friends from Veterans for Peace and this banner really hits home about the burden of the Vet.. "There are no unwounded soldiers." Such a weighty thought as the US plans attacks once again on Iraq after 23 years of failed military intervention in that country.
 Meanwhile, our efforts stress doing what is right vs not doing what is illegal and illogical. Often times the people entering the base look straight ahead and appear deadened to our presence... or any spark as they head off to another day of work. However, there are always the ones who flash us a wave, a peace sign, even a kiss... the undercurrents we stir up within the base community is an unknown to us but that is where the faith in the rightness of our presence, the enjoyment of our camaraderie and the over-whelming desire for a peaceful world all come together.
 At a certain synergistic point we had an unpremeditated soft blockade of the road... causing consternation in many. These actions are not so clearly effective nor accepted, even among our group and I won't argue the logic of either viewpoint. It is complete and rests in the history of spontaneity.
 Meanwhile the songs of Peace (here with Flora and Jeffrey) buoy us and keep us aware of our place in the movement for social change. The songs extending across time and the millions that have sung them. The words embedded in our hearts and minds.
 Toby and I were the only ones who completely pulled off the Green theme. The link between the Military Industrial Complex and the Extractive Industries is most easily seen at Beale where U-2 spy planes and other jets are constantly taking off and landing.. consuming untold numbers of gallons of jet fuel and spewing kerosene particulates and other toxins through the air.
 Although our main focus is on the damage caused by drone air strikes in poor countries of the Middle East and Africa we pause to acknowledge and call out what the legacy of wars in our generation have spewed onto the earth, our only home, home of our children's children and a very finite and perfect place.
Please do your part and say NO more Military Intervention in Iraq or Syria. President Obama's number is 202-456-1111 and our Representatives can be reached via the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121. We each carry the Love of this Planet and the Responsibility to Protect It.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice leanings

 Michael bought an electric trolling motor that goes 4 MPH and we trialed it at Black Butte Reservoir with Selkie co-piloting yesterday evening.
 It was a hot valley day and the water of the man made lake was a perfect temperature... the slant of the brilliant sun and it's fiery plunge into the Coast Range were the perfect everything about these wicked summers we have... being on or by water is the only way to go and when you are in the right place you know and appreciate it.
 Today, the actual Solstice I rose later than the sun and was out weeding and deadheading weeds by 8am but it was already broiling. At mid-day I was out with the Chico Peace Endeavor vigiling against yet another invasion of Iraq. (I don't know if anyone reads this but PLEASE call President Obama on Monday and say NO to Drone Strikes and Bombings and Troops 1-202-456-1111.) has more photos of our small but sweet vigil... linking wills with peace loving people around the globe who demonstrated for Peace around the world.
 It seems that things get more intense... Michael's CT scan showed good treatment effect with his current chemo but we remain sober about how persistent it is in the lymph glands. My second closest male friend just showed up with a very elevated PSA test. Frack Free Butte County, with our 10,000 petitioners, untold hours of work by dozens of people, had our petition thrown out by the County Clerk because of unbolded font and the lack of the words, "The People of Butte County do Ordain..." This due to a legal warning from the Oil and Gas Industry lawyers... they waited til one day after we had submitted the petitions but we just found out and are stymied with grief and anger.... Meanwhile, we drift into the sunset of the year's longest day with such tenderness and concern and longing for life and health...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Palace of Life

 I spent the better part of five days up in Butte Creek Canyon meditating with other facilitators of the Complete Self Attunement practice. We get together twice a year with our teacher Don Kollmar and update our consciousness with intensive sensing into the fabric of the universe.
 It heals the body and releases the person in so many ways. If you want a space that helps your body and your anxieties but is more than you than look at csaprocess.
 Meanwhile, on the breaks I took photos of the butterflies and bees on the sage and lavender. Up in the canyon there is lots of wildlife but I was grateful for these incredible but pedestrian creatures.
 Look how the pipevine swallowtail holds down the petals of the flower so it can better sink it's proboscis-- all this while fluttering, never landing.
 I loved being there for the full moon, for the ease of being, for the sweet mornings. I stayed in the VV alone. Michael was at home and I relished the stillness of my time.
 But we went out to Fathers Day dinner with Orien, Sheldon and Penni when I got home tonight and I was so happy to be reunited with Michael... to have him near and to go on with our open eyed lives. The meditation has better prepared me for staying grounded in the springs of life and in the energetic fabric of aliveness but my heart is always here, with Michael.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Beating the Heat

We are both slowing down and wanted just to have an easy time of getting out of the heat.. I think it was 104 degrees today at home. We made it eventually to upper Butte Creek... not a secluded spot but a cool one with this big rugged rooted oak above us.
 Along the way we walked along the flume above DeSabla Reservoir and cooled down in the cold waters.
 Selkie has lived a sheltered life and doesn't know how to dig herself a cool spot but she does look good in the local greenery and seems to enjoy getting wet and cool although her lab part that should love swimming isn't very highly developed.
 It was a lovely day... hopefully we didn't get poison oak and we did manage to fritter away a enjoyable day in a relaxed and summer-filled way.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Frack Free Butte Hands over the Petitions!

 We worked so hard for this day! We started this campaign last summer. The language was pretty much done in January but not good enough for some legal opinions so our clock was ticking on signature gathering started in earnest in March. We trained people and they showed up or they didn't.. new people inserted themselves and the passion and commitment just built and built. It was like a tight fitting puzzle...everyone trying to do their part with-out fraying anyone else. And the tag teaming! When I took over when Chuck got sick it was only to hold the center until Grace took it from me when I had to back off. It was truly wonderful.
 Plus, we organized in the whole county...not just Chico but Oroville and Paradise. Not to mention our wonderful Steering Committee and Coordinator. It's just warmed my heart. The next step... Board of Supervisors and Victory Party but the end game is November 4th in the Ballot Box. We know we qualified though because we checked every single name!
 Back home summer deepens...Bruce's onions dry in the shade.
 Michael keeps my car going on bio-diesel... this is what a filling station looks like at our house. Note Selkie's luxurious hair.
 She was definitely embarrassed to be shorn with a scissors by an amateur but after the 230$ fox tail vet visit last week it seemed the vet was right... get it all off... Poor girl.. I wonder what it is like to be see from one's whole eyes after a life of sifting through heavy locks to see out to the world.
She doesn't look too happy though does she? Today is much better.