Reunited and it feels so good

So where has my scooter been for 6 weeks? Did anything happen to it?
Nope. Something happened to my sanity without having it to ride for 6 weeks, but that’s another story. Today I was reunited with Audre.
As a flashback for y’all, my trip started and ended in Washington D.C. and my family and friends were still in VA. That meant I was still 1,000 miles from Maine, where I moved before the trip.

My partner and the kid met me at the finish line and wanted me to ride home with them. Understood. That and I was exhausted. I felt pretty lucky I just covered 22,683 miles without incident. I didn’t want to push my luck–I started imagining a crappy ending to the whole thing. I was told to ship it home and so I did.

That said, today J showed up at the house, heard the situation and got N to loan me his truck. 3 hours later I was in Boston. They loaded the crate into the truck. 3 hours later we were back home and dove into the crate.

MAD PROPS TO SCOOT RICHMOND. They are heroic. They built a crate to withstand a hurricane. They said I would need a crowbar–but really it took a drill. After popping off one side, there she was–Audre.

And she was nestled in so snug, with brilliant reinforcement at every compromising point. Really, the thought that went into the crate was obvious–topped off with two huge spray painted Peace signs.

On top of it, I find a glove compartment organizer decked out with Peace signs, a surprise from Rob Taylor. THANKS ROB!!!

The four of us realized that even if we tossed the crate out of the truckbed–the contents would be fine. But, of course, we just gingerly slid the back end off, and then drove the truck forward for the remaining part to slide off. Easy Peasey.

20 minutes later, after sawing through the reinforcements and releasing the tires–Audre was free.

I checked the oil, poured in some gas. Tried to start her–no diggity.
I checked the fuel valve and it was undone. Put it together, tightened the clamps. Attempted start again, no luck.

For some reason, after loosening the nut above the fuel valve, she started.

And the back tire spun like a caged Kentucky Derby horse pawing the ground. After a 10 minute warm up–the jacket, gloves, and helmet were on and we were off.

It was a chilly, short and BLISSFUL ride home. So good to finally have all my things in one place. It’s the first time I’ve ridden here in Maine, and I’m glad to have a couple weeks of decent weather left to explore.

N was also a hero today, probably because he rides a motorcycle and can empathize with my withdrawals–he helped unload tonight. Did the majority of it actually.

I think he wants me to teach his lady to ride my scooter so she can get one!!!!
Thanks Scoot Richmond. That was an impressive piece of work!
Look forward to those final posts–I’ve had writers block without the scoot!
Finally, all is good again.

I need my scooter, withdrawals kicking in

Ok, I think the recovery period has passed. I’m still incredibly sore, but those wounds should probably be licked in private. I will warn those thinking about riding 11,000 miles in 3 months-you will hurt. But, I have now slept 8 hours a night for three nights, and I feel kinda shiny again.

I’ve come home to lotsa mail, how kind. Thanks to those who sent in the postcards. Turns out that I have some left and if you would like a bunch, let me know. Scott, who helped run Birmingham Community Kitchens, wrote me a wonderful letter and included a check. Did you join the ride late in the game? Scott is in this video.

So, Maine. There was a balloon festival here this weekend. It apparently is the pinnacle of summer and now there is nothing left but a looming winter. Wow. I’m frightened and excited. Snow will be neat.

But, In the South, we still have months of mint juleps, BBQ’s and porch stooping. Last night the temperature dropped to 55 degrees. I hope the scooter gets here soon, so I can show it off in a mainly Harley Davidson town, before everyone begins hibernation.

How I wish I had just driven it home. Now that I’ve rested, this seems possible. 10 days ago,  I couldn’t have imagined another 800 miles.

I just wanted to get off the road before anything happened to me. Covering 22,000 miles without incident on a little scooter is miraculous.

Well, I’m up and at ’em. Now that I’ve spent a substantial amount of time eating, sleeping, and watching movies. My favorite thing about being home, aside from the lady and the dog, is making food whenever I want, without waiting in line for someone to sloooooowly construct my sandwich.

I’ve started research for my series of articles on the Peace movement, which will be featured at starting Saturday. Seems like there is a enough opinion that there is NO movement to help bolster my own claims.

In between blogging, the library (got my new card), the YMCA (just joined) and dog walking-I’ve got things to keep me busy until Audre arrives back home.

For photos of the Scoot Richmond Finale, click on the photo below:


(c)PJ Sykes

Folks, Peace is on the map.

It occurs to me that I should officially post about the victory group ride and BBQ. Two events which can only represent one thing. I’m here in D.C.

2437549657_e575a7f257_m.jpgPeace has been put on the map.

I’m the first to admit that there is a noticeable gap in the blog-from Chicago to D.C.
Well, stay tuned. I’ll tell you all about finally meeting Philip McCaleb and the whole Genuine/Scooterworks crew, as well as the Fourth Gear rally in Detriot, Lake Eerie antics and a visit with an old friend in Pittsburgh.

I left Pittsburgh at 3:30pm on Wendsday, not sure how far I would go until stopping. D.C. was only 270 miles, but I allowed myself plenty of time, figuring if anything went wrong, it would be in this homestretch.

It was a truly surreal ride.

The Allegheny mountains were an unexpected, beautiful sight to behold. Everything was luscious, green and reminded me of home. My GPS is so wacky, and it led me to an interstate, right where the old turnpike converged with Interstate 68. But I went with it and rolled along for 60 miles, up and down steep mountains. I managed to cross into 3 states, Maryland, West Virginia, and then my home, Virginia.
D.C. only 80 miles away, I stopped for the night, driving  an hour into the evening.

VIRGINIA! How beautiful to return home and see the land for the first time. Never in my 34 years have I tooled around those roads! Simply gorgeous! With GOOD ROADS TO BOOT! A dank, earthy night smell, mixed with honeysuckle, filled my senses,

I could barely unpack my bags. It was late afternoon before I could even get out of bed. I’m whupped, but ecstatic.

I’ve done it! What was a dream 14 months ago is now real! We can all rest well knowing that a 22,000 mile Peace sign is on the map. It looks like a four year old scribbled it there, but the stories are wise. I still have so much to tell you!

But, wow, stop and think about it! 22,600 miles later, traveling roads that aren’t fit for a scooter, I’ve done it, carved a huge Peace sign onto the map!

IMG_2595Right now I’m at Union Station. Daphne is coming into town, with Lil C. I had a quiet moment alone at the White House, arriving at 5pm. Just the same as July 15, 2007. At this moment in my life, the White House is only symbol. The fate of our nation depends on the desires in our hearts and the demands we voice. I started here in D.C. as a declaration that our fate depends on us, not just those in charge.

Tomorrow will be a much louder day. At noon, a group will leave from Vespa Arlington, to join me in a victory lap. On Saturday, I will be in my hometown, Richmond. Scoot Richmond is hosting a victory BBQ and celebration.

There is a Mom to deal with, who has crossed her fingers anxiously for the past 195 days. After that, I’m off to Maine. Philip McCaleb was the first person I called today, once I reached the White House. He told me to step away from the scooter and let him ship it home. Sounds good to me, and a lot cheaper than riding the remaining 800 miles home.

On Saturday, I will film the final raffle drawing. That will go up by Sunday. I want to thank everyone for the tremendous support and encouragement which has kept me going. No one has done this before. Not on a 125cc scooter.

I could have gone around the world by now. Truly, while it makes me laugh to think of all the odds I’ve faced and overcome-I’m humbled. Humbled thinking about the people who are a part of this historical event-who’ve simeoultaneusly taught me and opened their minds.

picture-2.pngThe collective conscious is a powerful thing. Just yesterday I found out that a Japanese man is riding his bicycle around the U.S. He started, with a partner, on April 19, 2008. His goal? To write the word PEACE onto the U.S. map. If you understand Japanese, please, tell me what is happening in his blog!

It’s clear. Peace isn’t just back by popular demand, it never left, but it deserves the spotlight now more than ever.

Really, stay tuned. I’ll recap some spectacular events. The blog will be up for a long time. After all, I started the whole trip to find out how Americans define Peace-and I want to host a million definitions here.

Much Love to you

Vespa Arlington, ride leaves around 12pm on 08/08/08

3206 10th St N
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 243-7700

BBQ and shenanigans, Scoot Richmond, 08/09/08 at 5pm  

217 W 7th St
Richmond, VA 23224
(804) 230-1000

Day 94

Today I am headed out of Cleveland, towards Pittsburgh. But not without paying a visit to Kent State.

Friday, May 1At Kent State, a massive demonstration was held on May 1 on the Commons (a grassy knoll in the center of campus traditionally used as a gathering place for rallies or protests), and another had been planned for May 4. There was widespread anger, and many protesters issued a call to “bring the war home.” As a symbolic protest to Nixon’s decision to send troops, a group of about five hundred students watched a graduate student at Kent State burying a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Trouble erupted in town at around midnight when intoxicated bikers[citation needed] left a bar and began throwing beer bottles at cars and breaking downtown store fronts. In the process they broke a bank window which set off an alarm. The news spread quickly and it resulted in several bars closing early to avoid trouble. Before long more people had joined the vandalism and looting, while others remained bystanders.

By the time police arrived, a crowd of about 100 had already gathered. Some people from the crowd had already lit a small bonfire in the street. The crowd appeared to be a mix of bikers, students, and out-of town youths who regularly came to Kent’s bars. A few members of the crowd began to throw beer bottles at the police, and then started yelling obscenities at them. The disturbance lasted for about an hour before the police restored order. By that time most of the bars were closed in the downtown area of Kent.

Day 94, a goodnight

I haven’t really been maintaining the blog recently. There is so much to tell, that sometimes, at the end of the day, if I don’t offer precise detail, I feel that I can’t do the day justice. Details can be difficult. I say-buy the book. I can promise LOTS of detail in that!

So where to start tonight?


Peace is a strange thing in our country. I would love to offer you a global perspective, but I can only best relay to you what I have experience inour country.

This trip is amazing. First, I’ve talked about something relatively new to me. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone. I haven’t gone around preaching. I’ve just started the conversation with thousands of Americans,by asking. “What does Peace MEAN to you?”

You know, Peace was something I’ve always proclaimed to want, but not something I had defined. Once I defined it, I had more of an awareness of how to work towards it. How to make deliberate actions.

I’ve experienced really warm moments with both believers and resistors. For the most part, I’ve noticed that those who earn a living and spend a lifetime working in the Peace or anti-war groups, have been relatively absent in this mission.

I think this trip rocks the boat. In fact, I know it does. I can’t begin to name off the long list of groups who have ignored my letters. And my requests have been simple.

Can we cross promote? Can you put a link to this project on your website? Can you tell your members so that they can leave their definiton fo Peace on the website? Can we do Peace demonstrations around the country?

Why the absence? I guess there is an equation, and it’s followed by corporations, non profits, social structures, and activists alike.

Said equation:

There is a chain of command. You have to follow it. People have worked hard to get where they are, and don’t want to be challenged. It’s threatening.

Often, people are more comfortable defining themselves by what they are NOT. Like anti war groups. They are working against the war. I prefer to say I am working for Peace.

There is a rampant US and THEM mentality that cripples people. However, many people are entrenched by the operating rules of the very system that they fight against.

If you combine those very basic treatises, the results yield groups whose internal rule structures prevent true progressive action.

This trip is maverick. It’s not really like anything else that’s ever been done. Sadly, most groups that I would have loved to coordinate with just don’t get it. What’s she on?

A scooter. Oh that’s easy.

What’s she doing?

Complaining about the war? Or the President?

NO. Oh, well, where is the controversy??

A group puts on a demonstration and people attend. The group often protests against something. A protest is recognized as successful by how many people attend and how much attention it generates. The most successful demonstrations are those that

A) Have a famous keynote speaker

B) Have a massive attendance

C) Get attention because there was a destructive element

D) Involve some sort of long, epic, Frodo type quest. LIke walking across the country. The March for Peace last year received A TON of support from liberals and the press.

When I set out to complete my dream, I believed in it so much that I thought we could escape these shallow, binary forms of thinking. Believed enough to sacrifice safety and comfort.

I’ve discovered the most important truth-at least I don’t have to remain beholden to that type of thinking. My own philosophies have been put to the test. I now know, with strong reassurances that I haven’t asked anyone to do anything more than I can do.

I have learned so much in my time on the road, from others. From people who will not wind up at a protest, who do not usually eat vegetarian or vegan, who do willingly shop at Wal-Mart, who think homosexuality is a sin, or who classically avoid conversation involving Peace. But they all in their hearts know and admit, that something JUST ain’t right in our country.

The responses are varied.

Some people think it’s a fine system, but people themselves are slovenly.

Some people think it’s a flawed system, but you just have to look out for yourself, enjoy the fruits of your labor and life goes on. Survival of the fittest. Totally detached.

Some people think it’s a corrupt system and judge others who don’t feel the same way as inferior.

I’ve had SO many conversations with people. But almost 95% of the time, the conversation GETS TO HAPPEN. I’ve come along way from holding a sign at a protest, loosing my voice-just desperately hoping to convince someone of the cause. Hmm. By yelling?

Allowing the conversations to happen. NO JUDGEMENT. NO PREACHING. Authenticity. Showing, by example.

I guess to the people of America, they see one girl riding hard, really hard, hoping to raise awareness.

Those Peace groups that haven’t supported me-SHAME ON YOU.

I’ve reached the people- and that’s who you need. The ones scattered all over the country.

Because they are the ones who enable the real critical mass we need to move our country forward.

I’m not sure what’s after the P.E.A.C.E ride. Because I’m still on it. I wish I had more time to write-but I’m sleepy.

I want to leave you with a thanks. Thanks for those who are supporting this. To those who say you never thought of yourself as a Peace maker-but who took the time to define Peace. To those who said-how can I help you complete this trip. To those who have challenged me. To those who joined me on the road.

It’s our Peace sign on the map. Let’s keep it there.

Racine, Wisconsin

Cool elevatorPete contacted me last year to offer compliment on the “Hell A to Joshua Tree” blog. He also agreed that my host in Pasadena, Mike Frankovich of NOHO scooters, is a great guy. They scooted Route 66 together awhile ago and called it Scoot 66. A writing compliment from Pete is an honor, he’s a retired journalist, publisher, editor. Check out his article on PEACE SCOOTER, here. After meeting him, I want to resume my long ago abandoned dream of professional journalist.

I heard from him again in January, as people began sending me random pictures of Peace signs. This one was especially moving, as it involved a group uniting to form a Peace sign in Racine, to address violence sweeping the city.

He then told me about his solo Vespa tour from London to Athens and back. We went back and forth sporadically over the months. His emails were always perfunctory and witty. He had the feel of a newsman. I expected him to be a wise cracking chain smoker. I got half of it right.

It just so happened that this year’s final round included Racine, and Pete agreed to host me. The trip over to Racine took a leisurely hour. A warm welcome was extended by him, the wife, and the puppy. The house smelled tantalizing. Lasagna was in the oven. People were coming over.

alixandmatadors.jpgSome of the Matadors scooter club members showed up and we talked for a couple of hours. I enjoyed the company and the cozy bed that took me prisoner for 10 hours.

Hmmm. I woke up with hesitation about packing and leaving immediately for Chicago. These two were interesting folk and my schedule is holding up. The morning danish and delicious food that Louise kept providing also made it hard to go.

The SC Johnson headquartersPete and I saddled up for a tour of town. As I mentioned, Frank Lloyd Wright is from Wisconsin. Racine hosts some of his experiments. Really, he is an aesthetic visionary, although some of the engineering is flawed.  The door to the SC Johnson building was open, so we tentatively peeked in. Definitely a masterpiece.

There was a mini vintage car show in the town square. Fridge doorI walked around and ogled these cool, strange contraptions. Pete is a local celebrity, so I met some folks. I had to assure people I’m ok in the head. Most people think it’s crazy to make this kind of trip.

It’s hard, but not crazy. Why in America is such commitment to anything but the dollar seen as weird?

alix3.jpgI met Paulette Garin, a Democrat running for the congressional district. We shook hands. It was neat to feel caught in a photo-op with a politician. Literally caught. I suppose the savvy politicians hold a long handshake for a number of reasons, one being photo ops. We chatted awhile and she generously donated some gas money.

After we arrived back home and enjoyed a long, chatty lunch, I had no choice but to stay. Once I power napped off my food coma, I set out to do some work at a coffee shop. I accomplished a little, but spent a good while talking to George, a Harley biker.

When the shop closed at 9, I headed back to the house. We sat around together casually, all immersed in our own projects, making occasional banter.

Their guest bed is the best yet on this tour. Thanks Pete and Louise.

*Note, I just took a moment to read the post from last year, the one mentioned at the top. Wow, I used to blog A LOT. It was a little easier to add detail last year, as I stayed in more hotels. Thankfully, many kind people have hosted me this year. So, my time is spent experiencing, and I’ll capture it in more detail at the end. When, you know, I write the book.*

Milwaukee, WI

I have Milwaukee on the mind because I just watched the Brewers suffer a major loss to the Cubs. Just five days before the game, I was riding around the Miller stadium with my host Dave. Who I kept wanting to call Mike, although never did out loud. For some reason I was under the impression the Brewer’s weren’t a good team. But they’re almost evenly matched with the Cubs.

Thursday was decreed a play day, all day. I showed up at the house and spotted it immediately; with a black Stella out front and a nice man drinking coffee and waving at me. Cool.

RIDE WITH THE SHIELDDave was remarkably laid back for a man whose wife was expecting a baby at any minute. We had a full house. His Mom was also visiting. Dave contacted me back in April. I’ve been really excited about exploring all of Wisconsin. After chit chatting for awhile, we zoomed off to see the town. Before leaving, he showed me his Corazzo jacket-only a little hole after a 100ft slide! Amazing!

He’s good to ride with, at stops he lays out the immediate route ahead, turn by turn, punctuated with snippets about the area. He knew when and where I might want to pull over for some photos, which is nice. We wound up at the Ale House for lunch. Wisconsin is known for beer, brats, and cheese. I indulged with all three.

Conversation was thoughtful, playful, political, philosophical and rapid. I’ve been really lucky to meet great people all around the country and lucky that they open up to me right away. When Dave was a kid, he met John Lennon. He actually went to lunch with John and Yoko. I was so excited to hear that, because that one quote by John Lennon inspired my whole trip. “If a billion people were thinking about Peace, there would be Peace in our world.”

IMG_2493We scooted around the city some more. I enjoyed the cream colored buildings; they made nice contrast to the heavy industrial feel of the city. I know that industry is a hot topic there, but I wasn’t too fond of it. I get really freaked out when I think about the by products of industry and how the ground and rivers soak it up, and its impact lingers for decades.

Dave took me to Milwaukee Art Museum; really amazing building both inside and out.

We stopped for coffee at the independent spot in town, Alterras. I tipped the barista a post card and she came outside to find me. Rather shyly, she explained that she is working on a book of collective definitions for Love. Really cool! IMG_2492

I’ll leave her my definition when she leaves me hers….just kidding….maybe.

The rest of the night went rather fast. We cooked up some quesadillas, ate in a rush and headed over to the local Vespa shop. We hung out with the Reina family for awhile. They are from Sicily and signed my scooter in Italian. Wisconsin delightsChris decided to join us for a twilight ride to meet the family for custard. I’ve never seen a state have such gusto for custard. The line was out the door. Websites update flavors that each shop is serving, through the state of Wisconsin. You don’t get 10 choices of flavors. You get three. 2 standard, one daily special. I had a small cup of turtle-I don’t usually do dairy.

Crazy Chris and his P2We scooted back home to sit on the porch and talk for a couple of hours. Chris asked me a lot of questions. He’s a legend in his own right, having gone the distance. He said, “I don’t disagree with anything you’ve just said,” when I told him why I’m riding for Peace. Apparently, he came by to check me out and thought I was just a hippy and wound up approving, but more importantly, understanding the trip. He rode off to meet his ladyfriend and I crashed for 9 hours.

The next day was laid back around the house and Dave made the long anticipated stuffed peppers. We went to the Post Office so I could mail home a BUNCH of stuff. Bags are SO much lighter now, what a blessing!
It was a brief, but well done visit. Three hours after I left, Jen began contracting. I think she had a championship labor of 15 hours and then birthed Levi into the world- where the coolest big brother ever waiting to meet him on the other side!

Here’s the family photo, minus two cats.
Fam #3

Day 88 on the road, with a birthday

Today’s photo content will be live from Scooterworks and Genuine Scooter Company. And of course, there is always the unexpected.
If you want to see the actual galleries on fragmob then you might have to get an account. Warning, it’s addictive. That out of the way, COME ON. What’s one more FREE account. Besides, I’m doing this for two more weeks.

What do I want for my birthday? For you to leave your definition of Peace.

Birthday present

Jennie is cool. She mowed her lawn into a Peace sign, knowing I wouldn’t be able to make it out there to see her. Which is a bummer, but let’s focus on how great that Peace sign is!  Thanks for the Birthday present Jennie!

The peace sign turned 50 years old this year. Happy Birthday to it too!

That makes my day!  Can we get 5 more today? Or am I being greedy? Nah. Maybe 1 a day until 08/08/08.102_09812.JPG

P.E.A.C.E in the news


Trekking for Peace. That’s cool. You’ll notice, though, if you click on the photo and squinch your eyes at the bottom text, that Scott misquoted my mileage. He wrote, “2,500 miles.” Or else someone misprinted it. Perhaps they thought-oh, no, that would be impossible. Not so my friends! The odometer nears 22,000 right now!

To check out a piece of GREAT WRITING, click on the photo below or follow the link. I was hosted by Pete Selkowe, of Racine, WI and it turns out he is a professional journalist. Man, I wish we saw more of his style in the press these days. He’s old skool.
More on my visit to Racine, but check out the article.


Be the lamp

So, where did I leave off? Oh, right,  a 300 mile ride that brought me into Madison, WI, as evening fell. That’s probably the longest stretch of riding I will do until I make the drive from Washington D.C. to Maine. For now, there are many stops along the way, driving 50-200 miles at a time.

I was up very early, for me. Usually, my biochemistry doesn’t allow anything before 8:30 am. Doesn’t matter if I’ve had 8 hours of sleep, taking a flight to Hawaii, or am headed to work at the coffeeshop- an 8am rising will make me groggy all day long. The exception is the Dalai Lama.

Groups of families and individuals clustered around the entranceway into the Coliseum. Many people were wearing beautiful custom dresses.  It felt like I was attending church, until I took my seat on the third tier, in the noseblood section. The coliseum was just too big of a venue for this occasion.  My ticket in was free. A gentlemen clutched a handful of them and serendipitously began handing them out as I walked up.

This was great, as tickets were $55. I was going to go either way. This particular event has never happened in the US. The Dalai Lama was not there just to offer a speech to the public. He was there to teach. I was given 2 books, translated into English, and a pretty bag to carry them around.

First, I was frisked more attentively than any airport security ever has. Very high security! No cameras allowed.


This event coordinated the teachings with a Tenshug. Tenshug is a long established Tibetan Buddhist tradition. It not only strengthens the bond between the spiritual teacher and disciple but also motivates the teacher to live longer. Those who participate in this offering ceremony do so with pure motivation and dedication.  The Dalai Lama just celebrated his 73rd birthday. From a distance, his body is small, and his back bent. As though he has slouched too long. His voice and presence, however, are strong and powerful.

I was deeply affected by this leaders desire to empower, educate and foster his people. I have seen or studied no religion which places so much energy into educating it’s followers how to be better people. Expanding the thought,  a religion which is very firm that there will be non-judgement placed on others.

 “Be a lamp onto yourself” — to examine and test the truth of religious teachings before accepting them.

Buddhism is most concerned with whether an action is helpful, based on good intentions, and freedom from harm. Thus, a specific act can sometimes be either permissible or not permissible, depending upon its context. This differs from the positions taken by Christian faith groups. They often evaluate a specific action itself, based on whether it is good or evil according to a system of morality derived from that group’s interpretation of the Bible.”

I felt many emotions while at the teachings. One was complete awe for the infinite gratitude the Dalai Lamas people have. I watched them prostrate (pray) over and over again. The act of prayer involves stretching down to the ground, completely. Monks sat around his feet in brightly colored robes. From a distance they looked like flowers opening petals. And the stage was so commanding, with its vibrant colors, back drop of Buddha and a 15 foot throne.

We stood everytime the Dalai Lama stood. He read from the texts in Tibetan. This put me to sleep a couple of times. His voice is hypnotic. I would jump awake when the translator began speaking.

Every passage he read from and examined, are topics that have been on my mind. Not that he did it for me, but I was in the right place, indubitably.

Quoted from the books and explored in depth by the Dalai Lama:
the perfection of zeal
“Uprooting its opposite in this way, one should strive to increase one’s zeal with the powers of aspiration, self confidence, delight, letting go, dedication and determination.”

One should apply self-confidence to these three: actions, secondary mental afflictions and ability.

“I alone should do it” expresses self -confidence with regard to action.
***not egotistcal  pride but self confidence says the DL.
This was helpful because I’ve wondered if I had rushed to make this trip, doing it alone as a consequence. People ask why alone? They seem judgemental sometimes-as though another rider would make my sanity legit. I never stopped to think hard about waiting for another. I felt this was the mission and it had to happen right away.

the perfection of meditation
thus, although working for the benefit of others, there is neith conceit nor dismay; and on account of the thirst for the single goal of benefitting others, there is no desire for the result of the maturation of one’s karma.”

***SO, you don’t practice kindness to build credit for yourself. You don’t do it based on any incentive other than to selflessly help others, help improve the world.

Training the mind and compassion.
In which he mentioned that part of pursuing your goals is to know when rest is appropriate.

I mingled about the grounds after the four hours of teaching and met some new friends.

Then I went over to Amy’s house, my host for the night. I met her through It turns out she actually won a raffle prize awhile ago. Neat. i had forgotten.

She seemed very nice from the minute we met. Since my riding pants, my only pants, were destroyed, we went shopping. At Goodwill I found a pair. Not perfect, but roomy with pockets and only $4.

Amy has owned her St. Tropez for just a brief time, but is a confident rider. She showed me around town and took me to a fantastic diner. Walking in, I thought I would only find pancakes and greasy spoons. But they had a wonderful selection of organic veggies, vegetarian, meat and vegan dishes.

It was an early night. I forgot to take a picture of Amy for my collection. I snapped one of her dog, with my camera phone. He looked like my dog’s big brother. Which Daphne says, “Is hard to think of him having any family other than humans.” Because my dog acts like one. But he has a brother in Madison, i tell you.

Day 5 in the Twin Cities

****If you scroll down, you will find 5 entries about Minneapolis. Right now I am in Milwaukee. My focus isn’t going to be the blog. I have just two weeks left on the road. I’ll check in, but I won’t have time to write the longer pieces. I hope you can help spread the word about the trip. I will arrive D.C. 8/8/08.****

Sunny skies were with us again on Sunday, fortunately, because we had more riding planned.

Kate typed up a press release for me and I sent it out to a few people. After boring admin stuff we left the house.

There was a meet up at Pizza Luce and then a rehearsal ride for the Twin Cities upcoming rally. Nathaniel needed to be there early since he is a blocker. If you don’t know, a blocker is a designated scooterist who helps control traffic so that the formation of scooterists can all clear a light, or turn.  They literally block the intersection, with hands out, until the scooterist pass. They are crucial in a group ride. Nathaniel hasn’t been into scooters all that long, but it’s impressive to see how he has delved deep into the pursuit.

IMG_1668He’s very knowledgeable and he’s just so smart that his passion for scooters is like everything else he does, he does it well. I’m going to miss riding around with him and Kate, for sure. A respectable number of people were at Pizza Luce,  I had a chance to meet some new people and pass out postcards and stickers. I even sold some keychains. They are almost all gone at this point. It was nice to hear the favorable response. People understand why I’m riding. They are thankful it is happening. I’m honored.

Joe said, “Hey, I’m a government official and I couldn’t be happier about what you are doing.”

We rode about two hours and then I had my awkward collision into Nathaniel. Not his fault, the guy in front of him slammed on the brakes. Ironic that before the ride I had been asked if I’ve ever crashed. Also ironic was that during the ride Kent had given me a nice, quality sticker that says, “Start Seeing Scooters.” I don’t suspect it’s meant for scooterists, but the joke was on me later.

But once I battle rammed Nathaniel, we were there, right in front of our destination- the Bryant Lanes Bowling Alley, Theater and Bar.

IMG_1698The little establishment sure had some noble aspirations, but seemed to be pulling it all off quite nicely. Kent took over seating us and we settled in for some food, gags and conversation. In honor of my wreck they bought me a Surly beer. Lots of breweries in the Mid-West.
Really laid back crowd. Kevin and the guys seem to have been friends for awhile. There really is never an awkward silence with them around.

Rochelle, Joe’s wife met us at the bar, arriving in a Smart Car.

Or as the guys dubbed it, “a 600cc scooter with windows.”

IMG_1692I asked if there was a Bob’s Java Hut. Jak from San Fran wrote it on my scooter, but I couldn’t remember if it was in Minneapolis or Milwaukee. Everyone enthusiastically decided we should go and off the flock went. Bob’s is a cool place, with a motorcycle theme and strong coffee. Strong like crude oil. IMG_1693Delicious stuff, although my ice coffee was $3.75 and that’s just too much. That’s the price of a gallon of gas in Minnesota. But it was tasty.

We sat around and joked some more and two bicyclists had an accident in front of us. Much like the one I had an hour before. Eerie. Gravity wasn’t working right that day. Kent joked on me a little bit more. Then I got to drive the Smart car! I have some video of that to upload, at some point, as well as group ride footage.

It’s a tough call, between the Smart Car or the Prius. For my family needs, a Prius offers more space. For couples or solo driver, the Smart car is perfect. Brilliant, even.
Cool feature-You have the option to change it from automatic to manual.
It’s pretty cool to see how consumer trends are now demanding the kind of technology we’ve had for awhile. And to see the bar being raised. We are quite capable of some amazing technology.

IMG_1679Stephen pointed out a guy who drove a moped to the Black Hills. That’s about 1,200 miles! On a moped! Going 45 mph, with none of the sweet suspension that I have! I went to day a quick HI before leaving. The old timer monopolized me for a bit and I didn’t have the chance  to say a proper good buy to Lora. Kind of a bummer. She was another Scooterville employee that made the visit exceptional.

We didn’t get back home until 9:30. We watched a movie and I had a sense of disappointment that the visit was wrapping up. Kind of awkward sometimes to instantly click with people and then have to quickly click off and move on. Nathaniel made a large donation and I didn’t want to accept it, because they had refused to let me pay for anything when I was there. He compared it to tithing. You know, I’ve heard that idea discussed before in some of my college classes. The idea that even if you don’t belong to your church, saving 10% of your income and donating it to charity helps out your community.

My two hosts signed the scooter and offered to ship home the fender, so I can have the souvenir. It has a lot of signatures on it….

Never enough time, I was up very late trying to contact people on the remaining route. It looks like I’ll be able to ship home my tent soon, I have places to stay almost every stop ahead. That will surely make a difference in the scoots handling and clear up some needed space.

Thanks to everyone in the Twin Cities who showed me how great your cities are, and your character. More peace per capita!

Day 4 in the Twin Cities

It was a late night. Nathaniel and Kate were enjoying sleeping late on a Saturday morning.
How weird. A day off. A weekend off. Holy Crow. A normal schedule. I’m not sure I will be able to handle a 40 hour work week when the ride is over….
It’s gonna have to be a good job after all the things I’ve proven to myself that I can do.

Beans. We needed coffee! What better way to wake up than smelling strong, delicious java. Have I told you yet how cool Nathaniel and Kate are? I’m so thankful that Nathaniel contacted me in April.

Cap't BobWe had plans to meet some Lora and her husband at Scooterville, to ride around town when she was done with work. I get to see a lot of things tourists don’t. I’ve got access to all parts of the city, not just the major tourist spots. Although, Minneapolis seems pretty accessible, by light rail.

In fact, they also encourage biking with The Green Trail, which is a converted train thorough fare that runs the main artery of town. There are a lot of cool spaces in the city. Like two major lakes, city center. On any given day people are rollerblading, biking, running, walking, swimming or wind surfing. I suspect having an outdoor recreational space smack dab in the city promotes a direct appreciation of green spaces and the awareness to conserve them.

The Guthrie TheaterThe Grand Rounds are parkways that circle the Lakes. The speed is set just right for gazing at all the fancy homes. None of them were overtly pretentious. Just beautiful, old stone work. Our plan was to ride the rounds. As soon as we got to the shop the clouds let out some heavy rains. We all hung out until it cleared and decided to first visit the Guthrie.

Troubled Bridge over waterIt is located in the Mill City historic area which reminds me a lot of downtown historic Richmond, VA, where I grew up. We too are a port city and had a lot of industry moving in and out. The Guthrie however, is a majestic modern theater that somehow, doesn’t seem out of place next to its dilapidated mill neighbors.

7 scooteristsIt is the antithesis of commercial Broadway. You can go in wearing jeans of tuxedos. You can roll in with a pack of your scooterists friends and goof off on the different levels or you can take a date to dinner and a performance. But that will cost you. Looking about and goofing off is free.

There is a wonderful observation deck to view the city skyline, the bridge being repaired and the Mississippi River. Interesting that just two months ago, I sat by the Mississippi while in New Orleans. Completely different atmosphere, one river.

My many facesThe museum design makes great use of angles and lighting. The third floor is yellow and made me feel pleasantly lightheaded.
Edgy                     There are some really great pictures on my flickr, check em out.

Two Wheel GangSFrom the observation deck we spotted a Segway tourist group. This is now all the rage, touring cities on Segway. Ya know, one guy rode cross country on a Segway and made a movie about it, 10mph, which won an award. I’ve seen it, it’s good. As we left the building they rode past and we followed them for a bit. They asked if we were Hells Angels.

It’s fun riding in a pack. People always look so happy to see a pack of scooters. I feel like we are a parade. A Genuine parade that is, with almost every model in their line up present. Day TrippersAfter frolicking around dinner was to be had. Conversation flowed well. These Minnesotans are really giving Southern Hospitality a run for the reputation. Nathaniel and Stephen geeked out a little, but I enjoyed it.

They were talking inventions and I’m encouraging Stephen to build one in particular. I don’t want to spoil the prototype, but I will tell you that this particular video came up. Check it out below.

We split out after dinner and went back to the house to lounge around.  Good day!

Day 3 in the Twin Cities

July 17th, the day Americans anxiously await the release of the Dark Knight.

My Minneapolis recreation activities director  had returned to work after a brief vacation with me.  I had many things planned though and was happy to have my own transpo. I even felt pretty comfortable getting through the big city. Eden Prairie, where my hosts live, is a 40 minute drive into the city. I forgot this and was running late.

Electric BobI was heading to Scooterville to meet Bob and attend a Green Fair being hosted by the biggest law firm in Minneapolis. Bob was invited to showcase scooters, especially his electric pride and joy, the Vectrix.

Read this thorough review of the Vectrix to find out about a really cool machine that has ZERO emissions and takes pennies to operate after the initial purchase.


It was an interesting two hours. I actually took the scooter up to the 29th floor, on the freight elevator.
I was asked if it was going to leak everywhere. I said, “No, she’s housebroken.”

I was impressed that the firm offers an event like this to their employees. There were about 15 booths, with information ranging from alternative transpo, to efficient lighting, recycling, composting, organic food. I talked to just a few people who knew more than I did. Not to sound smug, I’ve just been pursuing a sustainable lifestyle for a really long time.

I found out about potato spoons though. That makes the potato even more exciting than ever. You can eat a baked potato with a potato. That’s cool. And then you can compost it and fertilize the ground to grow more potatoes. Brilliant.

Each exhibit was given a liaison, someone who worked with the firm helped promote our booth. Ours was a fellow two wheeler and she really helped educate people about P.E.A.C.E Scooter. People signed the scooter and were really cute and awkward about it. Somebody asked, “what’s some cool scooter lingo? What do you say to one another?”

“Rubber side down. Shiny side up.”
So he wrote R.S.S.S.S.U

IMG_2380I ran around and collected info to send home to my mom, thinking she might learn a couple of things. I applaud the steps the firm has taken to be sustainable. They have made a firm commitment and  they have the money to do so and if other firms and corporations follow their example the price of these new technologies will drop. One cheerful, talkative lady made a good point. She said, “in most cases, to get people to listen, you have to separate conservation from environmentalism.”

Meaning that most people are willing to conserve resources when they realize it’s beneficial to them-that they will save money.  Just like the scooter frenzy taking place. People are willing to choose a fuel efficient, low emissions vehicle now that they are getting hit in the pocketbook.

But I know what will happen. They’ll wind up having fun on one. They might even drive 22,000 miles. I mean, I only had my 50cc for 350 miles before I decided to do this trip.

I’ve found lately that heavy duty conversation wears me out and I loose my voice quickly. I still love what I’m doing. I’ve given a lot of energy to thousands of people; listening, helping, learning, teaching, writing, riding. It’s made my life better and brighter. The work itself regenerates me, but it’s my body that is starting to hurt.

When we arrived back at the shop, David Harrington was there, of And wow, talk about energy. That man is solar powered. I told him I had to eat before I could manage an interview.

It was easy, he’s an informed conversationalist and smoothes over any rough moments.  As we were taping (you can hear the two strokes in the background) people started arriving for the BBQ. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we raised $180. Many thanks for the donations and great conversation.

I don’t think of myself as the celebrity that people make me out to be. I feel awkward when people call me that.  I don’t want to be ogled, I’m a little shy like that. I think everyone should know that following your dream is a relatively simple undertaking. The biggest thing that prohibits someone is that they focus on all the things stopping them and not the things there to help their dream along.

Also, I guess I don’t want someone who travels to talk about Peace to be a hero, because I would rather that our world never got to this point.

Nothing means as much to me as new Peace definitions on the website. And actually, the fine people in the Twin Cities have been leaving a lot of them.

There were the usual round of questions. About my butt. About housing.
And then, the most interesting question yet.
“Do you ever cry?”
“Yes. I did. Recently.” I told him all about it. “Do you cry?”
“No. Men don’t cry.
“I think of it as exfoliation.”
“Like a face mask. Rubbing the dead skin cells away. When and if I can cry (doesn’t happen that easy) I am getting out what is weighing me down and making room for what can bring me up. ”

C-FoamThere was an abundance of food and conversation. Herbert was stealing the show with his funny one liners. He gave me the Lake Wobegone Mints. Kent stole the best in show with his mod Stella beauty, C-Foam. I met a lot of great people that night, thank you all for coming out and making the long road a lot more bearable. I wish every city could offer the same amount of support!!!!
Then, it was time for the Dark Knight. I’m not a movie reviewer. It’s a brilliant movie, if you can get past Batman’s silly voice. Go see it.

Blue Skies over Lake Wobegone, finally

Minneapolis July 17. Day 2

I didn’t want to get out of bed. I did. I had some coffee. I wanted to go back to bed. The sky dumped torrential rain. Thankfully, no driving. I can’t think of a day in the past year when I’ve pulled back the blinds to see rain and promptly snuggled back into the covers to hibernate.

Dave called right on time. Man, he is surely a recreational activities director!  We discussed the afternoon BBQ. I was told that Minnesota weather is as fickle as a presidential candidate;  it will change every 15 minutes. A conference with Bob confirmed that we should do a raindate and Friday might be better anyhow.

Ok. I should have gone back to bed.
By the time Dave picked me up, it was gorgeous and sunny.

IMG_2372We went in search of People serving People, the only family-focused shelter in Minnesota. I wasn’t sure if Dave was dropping me off, watching me work, or working with me. I was so incredibly happy that he decided to put on a hairnet, apron, gloves and serve food next to me! This is what I’m going for- action!
It’s one thing to tell me you think the ride is cool, but I want you to jump in and define Peace, to help volunteer, and to do it even when I leave your town!

If you are Minneapolis, People serving People needs you, and for a variety of services. They serve approximately 300 people a day, three meals a day. Dave portioned out carrots and became a health Natzi when the kids came back from 2nds-of cookies. “Did you eat your carrots?”
No one really did, he should have been the cookie man-more popular.

IMG_2374The cookie man was actually from the company that provides a lot of financial support to the shelter. So was the chicken and baked potato man, Tom. Pretty cool, donating money and labor. A lot of places have told me that it is actual people that they need as much as money. The food looked good and they provide really valuable services.

It was hard to see so many children, but I know that the shelter is providing many, many services for them. Lynette was the conductor of the whole thing and I liked watching her in action. She was very good with the kids and took aside many mothers to encourage them. Dave and I kept the jokes rolling and he seemed to enjoy the whole event.
Hmmm. Where were all the Dads? Maybe trying to work? I hope. I saw maybe 6 men the whole time.

After I swept up, we went to grab the scooter! Apparently, I was beaming. Dave even texted Daphne to let her know how happy I was to have it back.
I have gone back to completely stock engine. The performance pipe is gone. We felt that this was best since my elevation keeps changing. It’s a great pipe, though, and now my engine is ninja. So quiet in comparison, but probably better on the eardrums and long term hearing. Hearing is only something that can be lost, not gained back!

Kate's sketchWhat better way to celebrate than a drive out to Lake Wobegon, err, Lake Minnetonka. Nathaniel seemed impressed that all I want to do on my days off is ride, but they happily got on their scooters to show me around. We took a nice cruise and everything was so green, smelled so good-after the rain earlier.

I really like riding with Nathaniel and Kate. They know their bikes, know how to ride and like to play at stoplights. We rode very harmoniously over to the India Palace, their favorite. Everything on the menu looked so good! I went with a paneer and somehow finished it. Kate drew a P.E.A.C.E Scooter sketch and received compliments on her art and her pink scooter, from the employees.

Volunteering, riding, Indian food! Makes you sleep good at night! Seriously, if people could just turn off the TV for 2 hours a week and visit their local shelter-they would find it is a rewarding feeling and that their help is greatly appreciated!

Arrival into Minneapolis

Tuesday July 16. Minneapolis, MN

Greg had dropped me off in St. Paul, on his way to Wisconsin. The scooter was unloaded at Scooterville, MN and then we managed to find a random, cheap hotel. He wasn’t sure how I would get back to Scooterville but this is where Dave enters the picture.  Scooterists are amazing people. On the road, I’ve become comfortable with the amount of help I’m constantly offered. It’s one of the things I’ve had to work on-accepting help. I prefer to help people.

This trip would be completely different without the far flung scooter family. I wonder if it is this connected in Europe? Dave had contacted me to let me know he had taken a 2 day reprieve from work to escort me around the town. He arranged a BBQ at Scooterville, found a volunteer gig for me and notified the local media. And he was on his way to extract me from St. Paul. He said, “old guy, green jeep, arriving 10 minutes.” I said, “okay, green guy, old jeep, see ya soon.”

While I waited, Cort told me a lot about the city. He said there is a divide between the Twin Cities and that many people never cross into the other one. I said that scooterists are bridging that gap. He said that,”St.Paul is the last city of the East and Minneapolis is the first city of the West.”

Dave is far from green or old. He came across as a gentlemen displaced from the South, known for its hospitality.  I let him know that I wanted to stick around the scooter shop to see what was going on with my scooter. I like to get in there and help where needed.  I think this might have surprised him, but he gracefully changed the tour plans into a day of hanging out with the crew at Scooterville.

I was in a exhausted daze, still reeling from the difficult travel days. IMG_1656

Scooterville has a reputation. An oasis smack dab in the MidWest, where winters get down to 40 below. Bob somehow remains the 3rd dealer in the country. I’ve read about their events online before, they seemed like a great crew. I knew Audre was going to be in skilled hands. Famous Ed used to work there, before Genuine snatched him up and put him and his dog in the Love Bus; now they are Genuine Scooter ambassadors. Genuine has Peace and Love on the road!  Ed seems to be notorious, a great guy, and I wish our paths would cross. But I was in good company all around.

IMG_1641Olivia, Johanna, and Lora offered enthusiastic welcomes. The guys, Nick, Stephen, and Coleman had Audre up on the rack within minutes. Bob,  the ringmaster, ran around much like Batman.  Honestly,  one minute he’s standing beside you and the next he’s gone. The shop was bustling but no one seemed stressed at all. They get it done and keep the jokes coming. FOX news called, another reporter called, David Harrington called and someone on spot started interviewing me.

Gosh. What a welcoming.Alix Bryan 065

Jeremy, who writes for a local monthly paper, Triangle Park Creative, showed up. He talked to me for a few moments and then left to go get a better camera. We did some fun photos, and used Bob’s Stella. Bob made the shoot easy, he was totally candid and we talked about the war and fuel supply while driving in circles  and up and down the street.

Jeremy asked a lot of great questions and I was worried about him scribbling all the answers on paper. He realized his recorder was needed, so I loaned him mine. He hadn’t really planned on doing a big story until he found out more about the P.E.A.C.E mission.

We talked for almost two hours. I think he’s going to try and take the story to another level. And he should. I trust him and our conversation was the best I’ve had yet with any reporter.

IMG_1660I was completely drained when he left. Dave and I went to eat. He had a nice little place to show off to me, the Red Sea, an Ethiopian restaurant. I was finding that the Twin Cities in MN share many similarities with my Twin Cities in Maine. One being the Somali refugee population.

We spent awhile discussing Somali’s- their pleasant disposition, intelligence, community and plight. Dave had far more energy than me-I just wanted a nap. We said goodbye to everyone at the shop and he took me out to Eden Prairie to meet my hosts. My new family. My dear friends Nathaniel and Kate.

Dave took the long way and bombarded my brain with info about the area. You can’t get a better tour guide. I was surprised that this city was so big, so cultural, so funky. We made plans to volunteer the next day.

Kate and Nathaniel were immediately cool. They had great laughs, great wit and two dogs to lick me adoringly.  They recently sealed the deal and married and they’re totally perfect together.  Kate shared some of her past and perspectives with me. They were both really active Adventists and Kate not too long ago became disenchanted with the lack of equality the church perpetuates. I had a lot of respect that she left her job because she felt there was a structure in place that creates a glass ceiling for women.

Our society doesn’t recognize that women still get paid .75 cents to the dollar and in many organizations, a man with the same or less experience will make more money than a woman. In addition to making less money, women pay more for things. Let’s see. Tampons are ridiculously expensive considering they are made from cotton. Viagra is covered by insurance, but rarely is birth control. In our 30’s, insurance goes up because it’s prime baby making time. Whether or not you want to have a kid or even have a same sex partner.

Conversation about this only came up in college. I guess to prepare us for making less money. Ha. But I am constantly surprised when people want to brush over discussion about this glaringly obvious truth.

Kate does deserve more, she’s genius and so is Nathaniel. It is very cool that she began to question practicing a faith that won’t allow women to preach. Although, they are both very spiritual.  It was nice to be staying not just with scooterists, but people who support peace and are politically informed.

Most of the night is a blur, but we talked for awhile. The Psychology of Batman was on the history channel and made for an interesting watch. Nathaniel told me about the Stephen Colbert speech at the White House Correspondents Press dinner. It’s basically a roast, but certified genius dinner theater. It is from 2006, but I’m behind the times when it comes to TV. If you are also and never heard of this gem, take 24 minutes to watch it yourself!

I’m still trying to figure out if it was planned. I worry that the White House coordinated some of it, thinking it would show the American public that this administration can laugh at themselves and get us to simply soothe our frustrations by laughing at ’em. Otherwise, I don’t understand how Colbert, a known Bush critic, got away with his punches. The public tends to just laugh at Bush and call him stupid. This is dangerous and feeds apathy. And in no way does it substitute for an informed, active citizen body.

I made my way to the guest room and slept hard, wanting to snooze through the alarm that came too early the next day. What a first day! Which means there is more on Minneapolis coming up…….

Rip, crash and a new state!

Ok, so I’ve slipped from this blogging gig as of late. And quite frankly, the previous week and a half was chock full of some bad events. So why bother?

It feels really good to be back in the saddle. Although I was up at 8am, my departure from Minneapolis, or Mini Apples, wasn’t until 1:30. There were two cute pups to walk, bags to pack/load, and mail to send out. Mail home that included my alternate pair of pants. With just 3 weeks left on the road, the bags could be lighter.

IMG_1716My decision was poorly timed. No more than an hour after I sent the extra pants home, my riding pants ripped. Ripped in ways that brought a blush to my face when interacting with strangers at the gas station. The fancy pants have failed the road test. I’m thankful they were won in a raffle, because they didn’t live up to the $100+ price tag. Anyone know a good thrift store in Madison, WI? The pants ripped JUST as I mounted up to leave Scooterville. What an exit!

I was there for an oil change and front tire “fender” replacement. Not sure why everything is falling apart these days, but I am personally responsible for the crash which ruined my front “fender.”

The locals were doing a rehearsal ride for their upcoming “Rattle my Bones” rally. All went well until the LAST turn, when we made a left. I was looking in my mirror to see if people cleared it. I looked back up, just 2 seconds really, and there was Nathaniel-at a complete stop in front of me.  Why everyone had to stop so suddenly in the road is beyond me. Bad move.
I slammed on the brakes, full force. The back tire lifted, I was standing completely upright on the floorboard. Blammo, perfect tire to tire collision. IMG_1666Somehow I landed on my feet, taking down the scoot as gently as one might when not even cognizant of the motions.

My favorite quote from that awkward situation was, “That’s not what we meant by blocking Nathaniel.” His scoot was fine, thankfully, except for the P.E.A.C.E sticker he put on the back, which I managed to rip.

Fortunately, Scooterville had a parts bike laying around and they fixed me up. I owe them big time for all their work on Audre! After goodbyes, Bob suited up and rode me out of town.

The best course of action was to put a lot of miles between me and Minneapolis. Were the Dali Lama not teaching here in Madison, I would have stayed longer. It’s a great city and will get it’s own proper blog.

Today, day 80 on the road, I covered 300 miles. Highway 55 began picking up speed and traffic after Bob and I parted. There was a fork in the road and either way would get me to Highway 61. I took Highway 52S after watching traffic from the side for a few minutes. It seemed to be the road less traveled.

IMG_1707Two lane divided highways are nice when you are in a hurry but don’t want to compromise scenery by taking an Interstate. The Minnesota side was rather fast and slowed down in Wisconsin. I made very respectable time today.

Unexpectedly, I came across some curvy roads and steep climbs. The terrain reminded me of Virginia, except for the hundreds of acres of farmland. It smelled like Nebraska or Kansas, but there were more pine trees and little mountains than either of those states. The sun was shining brightly and reflecting off of the Mississippi River. Gorgeous, mechanical trouble free riding today!

Wisconsin is another state that I think I’ve been through, but probably just stopped for gas and rations. I crossed into the state on Highway 14/61. Basically, just three roads today. The Mid West is really easy to navigate without taking the Interstate. The first sights were a massive beer brewery and signs for cheese and brats. Gas prices went up, but stayed below $4 a gallon.

IMG_1714I noticed a Scandinavian influence and spotted some lawn vikings.

There were many noteable things worth exploring, but daylight was short. Frank Lloyd Wright built his home in Spring Green in 1911. I imagine it would be cool to see the evolution of his design work on the 600 acre property. Near Spring Green I saw signs for “House on the Rock.” Which is strange, because my favorite sci-fi/fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, talks about House on the Rock in his novel, American Gods.

I was busy thinking about that book when Madison snuck up on me. Just in time. The GPS had gone into nightime mode and I couldn’t see the roads very well. They really are in bad shape around here, with long but wide pieces of asphalt missing. Those kind of grooves are dangerous to 10inch wheels.

I can’t help but think those mechanical failures were proof that fiascos can lead to opportunity. If I wasn’t behind by five days, I wouldn’t be around Madison to hear the Dali Lama. Tomorrow, I have school; 4 hours of teaching from the Dali Lama, His Holiness, Peacemaker!
So lights out!