The by-ways, highways, routes, lanes, and country roads of America reflect a regions culture;  offer up stories to the traveler that can not be found on the interstates. Sure if you need to zoom along from point A to point B, jump on the slab. You will notice that in America, we share an overarching culture, consumerism. If you want guarantees, take the Interstate.

Familiarity is guaranteed. Off the Interstate’s spine clings all the big box stores, fast food joints and commercial hotels where Pakistani clerks name Joey hand you registration cards. Sometimes these consumerist landmarks are a blessing, when all you want is what you already know;  especially after a 400, 11 hour, scooter ride. On the other roads, people will wave to you from their front porch.

Today, tucked away in my road journal I found this (unused??) sheet of directions. I cringed. Note how I highlighted every other line, to make visibility easier. My poor Richards version of a GPS, secured by a donated map clip. Needless to say, I had a lot of patience with this system. Then Chad gave me his GPS in Seattle, but with only 3,000 miles of the trip left, out of 22,000.

However, in retrospect, the perpetual excitement to discover our country, with it’s many geographical and cultural surprises, far outweighed the irritation of always scribbling (or printing) 34+ lines of directions–just to complete a 150 mile drive.


Animoto-domo arigato

Ok, I don’t do tech reviews. I spend enough time using gadgets in some half baked way that works well enough for me-the last thing I want to do is review said gadget.
Other people do tech reviews and there is plenty of worthy buzz going around about Animoto. According to their mission, they hope to acquire Google by next year. That’s bold and with that same zealous energy they created a program which uses Cinematic Artifical Intelligence to make your digital photos rock. Yep.

“Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology that thinks like an actual director and editor. It analyzes and combines user-selected images and music with the same sophisticated post-production skills & techniques that are used in television and film.”

Below is an example of such supercharged videos. Thanks to Dave Mangano, who, as a bold explorer in the podcast territory, has begun using Animoto to promote his shows. Brilliant. If you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, go for it, it’s my very first……

p.e.a.c.e happenings

Warning, there are many plugs in this blog. They all represent good things and people, (except for the part about the sponsor who dissed me) so it is safe and enjoyable to proceed.

Today I met with Brendan, who works at our cutting edge local weekly paper, C-ville news. He had previously expressed interest in covering P.E.A.C.E Scooter. However, true serendipity lies in the fact that the news wanted to cover the recipient of next weeks CLAW tournament. I’m so friggin excited that it’s ME, allowing me a chance to talk about my favorite things; arm wrasslin and peace scootin’. The only downside of the video below is that you can not see the little jack-e-lope over my head-which is stealing my mojo. Can’t explain it-tattoo me, spank me, make me run 5 miles or ride a scooter 20,000-but jack-e-lopes freak me out. Watch for a glimpse of it at the end-if you can take your eyes away from the exciting thumbwrastling match!

Last week I cut a little video trailer for you about the upcoming podcast with Dave Mangano, of SCTRCST.COM. He did a really amazing job, of listening, as I rattle on and on. But there are some pretty hilarious exchanges between us and I hope you take some time to sit back and listen to it. While you are on his site, poke around and explore the other notable podcasts he has up; like interviews with Peter Moore (Vroom with a View) and Matua, from Vespadition.

The past week has yielded some progress with P.E.A.C.E Scoot planning. The grapevine has been buzzing and more kind people are contacting me about housing and even offering donations. The Peace map has seen three new additions this week: Dave Mangano, Steven Davis and Heinz Kramp-thank you all kindly. A friend contacted me and said she has a lawn and I can mow it into a Peace sign. That takes care of North Cackalacky. PJ Chmiel offered up a shiny new 2008 tour postcard that tells the story through last years photos. They should arrive this week.

Three new sponsors have confirmed interest-although I’m not counting the chickens yet. Two weeks ago I had a very promising, great chat with the head distributor from Nolan helmets. He confirmed that CIMA/Nolan would enthusiastically support the tour with a delicious, fancy intercom helmet. And since then he has left the line cold-no returned emails or phone calls. Very sad indeed. Now the search for a good helmet continues.

I sent very few sponsorship requests-I need very little. Instead I’m trying to contact peace, community, and environmental organizations around the country and also companies who can help fundraise. The few I’ve sent out for actual goods have scored about 2-5. At least people are writing me back immediately with their NO’s-the waiting game requires a lot of patience. All in all-I have a feeling that every thing will work out smoothly, no need for worry.

As of now I need a helmet, good lightweight travel stove, camelbak, camping towel, raingear, and hopefully some type of grocery store gift card. And phone-great David-my piece of crap refurbished phone can barely make it down the street.

Barista work has all but ceased starting this week-just two shifts this week-a massive relief. I think I might just be able to rejuvenate before the long haul starts. At least my sanity will be preserved. Perhaps no one knows that I have been suffering through shifts since the new cook started. I now work with the chattiest man I’ve EVER met-and I can talk a lot. I lost my voice the week he started.

OH- but good news is that I picked up a new job today, one that I can actually do from the road. I am excited to announce that team lalala has hired me on as a beta-tester. It’s a great team of people whom I admire and who have good energy. Since the software is in the works, I won’t offer details. I’m just really interested in the project and happy to generate a wee little income while traveling. Great opportunity, for reals.

In other news my favorite scooter company owner and vegetarian, Philip, should be back in country soon and I will hear news on the engine plans for Audre. Today-weather gloomy, cold and wet. Good night to watch a flick. Ciao!

Matua and Vespadition

“You can not travel the path until you have become the path itself”

This is the credo of Matua, who will be traveling a long path starting this spring. I heard from Matua in the end of January. PhotobucketHis first letter came to me a month after I had decided to complete the Peace sign this year. Now, I am always glad to answer questions about long distance scootering-I have some debt to pay off for all the people who offered me advice last year. Matua certainly has a long trip planned-30,000+ miles. But, it’s the message he promotes which really caught my eye.



The words in his first email inspired me so much that I’m going to share them with you:

I’m doing it for a multitude of reasons (partly to discover what America ‘really’ is – through its people and NOT its policies), but mainly to perform random acts of kindness. I believe strongly in making a difference. I think those that can should. I’m a Buddhist and a vegan, and try to live my life as compassionately as I can. I’m riding a scooter first and foremost because it is the most environmentally friendly means of motorised transportation (I had originally planned to walk the entire way, but it was logistically impossible). As I travel – strictly on backroads and two-lane roadways – I want to meet Americans in their element, living their lives, going about their days. I want to hear their stories and pay back their generosity of sharing by volunteering when and where I can in the communities I travel through.

Well, right on! Or Ride On…as his journey starts April 1, 2008 and continues….well…for at least a year.
When we first began corresponding, Matua had no scooter. But he had his sights set on a Vespa. In fact, he had the purdy logo all done before he even had the scoot. Thankfully, a sponsor stepped forward to provide the Vespa. In fact, within a two week period many sponsors have jumped on board. PhotobucketMatua is very ambitious, very determined; I wish him the best.

It’s been reassuring to know someone else is digging in their heels and grappling with the hundreds of preparation details. It’s also been really cool to see how thorough one can be given advance planning. Matua had actually planned for quite awhile to walk the route, through 49 state capitals and 8 Canadian provinces. He then recollected the pleasures of riding a scooter and like me, realized a scooter can bring you to just as many people, without harming the environment.

Our communication has so far been really insightful and we hope our routes cross at some point. We have some good ideas cooking for collaboration whilst on our prospective road trips, so stay tuned…

Both of us can’t wait until we are actually on the road-going and doing! I dub this form of social outreach, scoot-a-vism. One thing for sure, we invite you to Keep the P.A.C.E. (PEACE AND COMPASSION EVERYWHERE)

Last year, while I was scooting for Peace, there were 2 Peace Marchers walking across the country. I found a strength in knowing other people were also out on the road, going the distance to support change. Matua wants to make the road his home, replacing comforts with a call to spread kindness, compassion and volunteerism. Three things that help create Peace and strong community-so you know I’m all about it! You will see the similarity and interdependence of our goals and philosophies, but our routes and our approaches will offer unique perspectives.

One of Matua’s many cool designs asks, “What are you doing?” Fair question. My hope is that you will not just love your neighbors, but show some love to Us kind, homeless, traveling folk who might be headed to your town. Another guess is that you will be spending some time following the journeys of two scooterists out to make a difference.


I concur

I have been traveling about a week and a half now. Those first few days seem really distant in my mind, with the geography and culture of the landscape changing so rapidly. I am getting used to most of the quirks one experiences traveling by scooter.
First, there is the gear, and the packing/unloading of it every night-as well as stopping for gasoline. The best attitude to have is one of acceptance-no need getting frustrated-regardless of grappling with stuff in 90 degree heat. I can strap my gear up blindfolded at this point and I enjoy the moments of fiddling to get everything just right and balanced. If the weight of your gear isn’t balanced, you will be able to tell instantly. The other day I forgot to clip the saddlebags straps to the frame and was weaving a bit on the road. My muscles are also adjusting to the full body involvement of scootering.
Second, there is a tempo to traveling back roads. Finding the right pace that allows you to stop and explore whimsically, while still setting an ETA- and not running out gas. Most maps are misleading and I was constantly feeling lost at first. I thought maybe it was just my map, but I looked into some others and they weren’t much better. It seems the most detailed cartography lies in individual states maps, which would require too much pack space and use up too much paper-in my eyes. I haven’t actually been lost, but back road travel is different than point A to point B interstate travel, where there is a constant reminder of how far ahead your destination is. I have become more comfortable reading the sparse signs one is give discern their location. And I really hate when a road suddenly becomes a highway-it’s a startling wake up.
Third, I am attempting to get an overall good rhythm going. There are many things to distract me though-like cool roadside shops, photo ops, museums, contacting press (no replies so far) uploading pics, blogging, doing interviews. I am a bit of a night owl also, so I haven’t been hitting the road very early. My opinion-it’s better to get an early start-although its fun either way. But early morning travel means less smog to huff, less traffic, less heat. Also, in the South afternoon thunderstorms are common and then there are the tons of bugs splatters on the visor at night that interfere with visibility. And a lot of these rural roads just aren’t lit, covering the many creatures running about for their night’s hunt.
All said though, I am feeling right at home on Audre and the open roads, be them one, two, or four lane routes.

My head was swimming as I left Selma today. The past five days have been spent studying the inspirational, yet bloody, history of the Civil Rights Movement. It was a blessing to put what previous knowledge I had into a geographical context. This morning I headed down for a continental breakfast, as they call it, but for me it’s more a process of discerning what crap I actually want to eat. I had gone down to the lobby in my swim trunks and tank top-and suddenly became aware of my attire. Everyone other patron was in their Sunday best for church. I was considering going to a church service-only because the church played such a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement. Pastors did not have to answer to anyone (like a white boss) so the facilities were safe for blacks to meet. But, noticing how nicely everyone was dressed, I realized my dirty road clothes would make me stick out even more. So I scrapped the plans to attend church and instead scrounged up some change for laundry. With fresh, warm clothes packed up, I headed over to the Edmund Pettus bridge. March 7, 1965 was the day that 300 marchers tried to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge, but cops and the KKK were waiting to beat them severly and push them back. I made the walk across the bridge slowly, imagining the bravery it took to walk into a mob of angry men brandishing weapons. Marching

I took two pictures, one from each side and looked for some people to interview-but none were found. From there I took a peek into the closed Voting Rights Museum; they charge too much though-I wouldn’t have gone in were it open. I then jumped on Audrey and scooted down the Historic Trail, following markers over to the Brown A.M.E Church, which was the starting point of the infamous march. The marchers were finally given protection to march all the way to Montgomery. Third time is a charm, I guess. The final march started with 3,500 people and swelled to 25,000 upon arrival in Montgomery. Once I arrived at the church I called my mom and asked what she was doing March 7, 1965. She couldn’t recall. After our conversation, I sat in the midday scorching sun and did some contemplating. The other day in ATL I picked up a postcard that listed Six Principles of Non Violence.

I decided to send it to the President and question what similar injustice might be right in front of our eyes, that parallels the Civil Rights Movement-that too will seem unbelievable in 42 years. That momement on the stoop of the Civil Rights Movement Head Quarters felt perfect for filling it out and the words came naturally. Non violence tactics were utilized by both Ghandi and King, who was a student of Ghandi’s work-and the mentality was injected into the Civil Rights Movement. In many situations, non violence has proven to be the most effective way of communicating-I have seen it first hand in many protests.

After filling out the postcard and taking some photos, I was ready to leave, but I needed to use the bathroom and was hopeful somone might be in the church. Well, it turned out the pastor was still inside and he unlocked the door for me. We got into a discussion about human nature and compassion. He was heavily involved in the Movement and I enjoyed hearing his perspectives. I told him about my project and asked to interview him for the documentary. His answer was very appropriate for a pastor-very beautiful-and I appreciate his offering. He told me that a lot of interesting characters come through that church, and I was definitely interesting! I am glad he thought so, instead of being irritated that I caught him on his way home. With that done, I felt it was time to put some road behind me.
The route was very pleasant and easy to navigate, mainly a straight shot; a two lane road into a four lane road. I made great time, arriving in Mobile right after the sun had set and full moon was rising. There were combinations of ramshackled homes, antebellum homes, deserted businesses, totalled cars, ponies, goats and long rural stretches of green hill. Train tracks ran parallel to the road most of the way. At one point the blaring of the trains whistle was so excessively loud I almost fell off the bike. I was in my own world and suddenly it sounded like a train was bearing down on me, but it was to my left, hidden behind a grove of trees.
Most of the thermometers I saw today registered anywhere from 93-101.
The good thing about intense heat like this is knowing it can’t get that much hotter. Heat and humidity are tolerable to me though, having grown up in the South. I have begun pouring water over my head during fueling breaks, and am being especially attentive to hydration-even though I feel bad about all the water bottles I have used up. A blissful wind hit about halfway through the trip, carrying the promise of rain with it. I looked over to the east to see heavy dark clouds sweeping in, so I spent the next hour scooting ahead of precipitation. The weather was actually better than predicted today, my rain gear was packed on top, and that always seems to hold storms at bay. Despite the heat, I stopped for a late lunch of yummy fried okra. I could smell Church’s fried chicken wafting through many of the little towns, bringing back memories of visiting my pops here in Alabama as a youth. My second break was to take advantage of free wi-fi. I realized the other day that if a hotel sign says “high speed internet,” they don’t usually require a password. In general, hotels can be utilized whether or not you are a paying guest-free wi-fi, bathrooms and often-maps. Around 6:30 pm I started getting really drowsy, probably a combination of hot sun and heavy fried okra. I stopped for a reprieve off of Route 43, about 50 miles outside Mobile AL. It was time to sit in the late afternoon sun, rest the eyes and enjoy the perks of having a travel French Press. I did some writing and fielded numerous questions about the scooter and my purpose for “being in these parts.” I was also attacked by ravenous gnats, but enjoyed the break none the less. I hit the road again, blasting Sound Tribe Sector 9, a live NYC show from last year.
The next 50 miles flew by and then Route 43 dumped right into a Highway 65, to my chagrin-the speed limit was 70. I pulled off as soon as I could-about two miles down the Hwy. A very nice, angelic couple led me from a gas station to a cheap, safe hotel via confusing backroads. Tomorrow I will get an early start for New Orleans, since I don’ t yet know where I am staying-but I have some numbers to call. I really hope to do some volunteer work but I hear they don’t take people for less than a week.

I will do some more backlog posting on ATL-that was a real wild, fun part of the trip. I was roped into visiting ATL’s notorious strip club, the Clermont-the most surreal and cool nightclub I have ever been too. Now I know why 10 different people told me to visit it. Also, Bill of Twist and Scoot offered an oil change, put on my permanent plates, and send me off with two air filters. Thanks for being part of the Pit Crew, Bill. His shop is really sharp, you can tell he knows what he is doing-and has a nice rapport with customers. He also seems to enjoy fun and cool collectibles of various persuasions. I was invited to attend the Wednesday night scoot gathering with them over at the Thinking Man. On my way over there, however, a torrential thunderstorm left me soaked within a minute. I was carrying around all my electronics so I turned back to my friends place. By the time the storm passed, I figured everyone was gone. Sorry, guys, I would have loved to have met you all.

The moon has fully risen, ripe and luminous overhead. It really has been a birthday I won’t ever forget and I am thankful that so many friends took the time to drop me a note or call. Also, thanks Mom. I was going to stay with a relative in Mobile, until I found out that he lives about an hour in the opposite direction of New Orleans-so Mom offered a hotel as a birthday present! As far as gifts go, the family has been really nice to me and so has the Universe…
LuckY DaY

Yesterday, I found $40 on the ground.

You tell me…

If you believe we deserve the right to question the decisions of our leaders? And is it offensive to do so? And do you feel there is value to your opinions?

Is that a scooter in the background, that the cop is riding? Far out. This is a photo from Carter’s inauguration. I’m spending the day exploring the Carter museum and discovering how idealistic this President was. In fact, many of his concerns are hot topic now. Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter + Scooter in Background

“Life ain’t nothing but a good crew, a good mix tape to put you in the right mood”

My first Grand

As I write this, the clouds hang heavy in the sky, casting some grey light on today’s departure to Atlanta. Appropriately though, as recently I can’t seem to leave on a sunny day. My friend calls it the “Truman Ride.” It’s not that bad really, 2 for 2. However, when I left Charlottesville, VA on Thursday the 19, it was the first time Audrey the P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER was fully gear laden. Every time I started to load up, a severe thunderstorm would roll in. Philip Mccaleb called to say Hi and wondered why I wasn’t on the road, until he heard the heavy thunder in the background! I was really fidgety and wanted to get some miles out of the way, plus Jaymii in Asheville was expecting me the next day. At 5pm it seemed like the skies were good and clear-even the weather in Danville, 120 miles away said “sunny.” I was on the road by 6pm, stopping off at my favorite local places for a cup of espresso and goodbyes. Only 15 minutes outside of town the rain started lightly, eventually developing into hail. I did not want to be deterred though, so I pushed ahead. There was a lot of stop and go, and the weather would cease, until I got back on the bike-then it would start right back up! It was a good test run-all my gear stayed totally dry! I was riding in the dark, something I prefer not to do, but haven’t developed a good rhythm yet-so it happens. The storm hit a severe level-lightening was hitting closely all around me, hail was falling, there was flash flooding and I was only heading into the moist heart of it all. I jumped off the byway, unfortunately, on to another byway (i hate that) and found a florescent mecca for shelter. The rain let up and I scrambled to find a cheap motel. I got a look at the weather forecast and it seemed the storm system was only hovering above my two destination states!

The next morning I rose early, prepared for a soggy day, but there was only a bit of rain. It seems if I keep my rain pants on, the rain doesn’t fall-oh irony! I cruised 29S over to 58E. I have done a little over 400 miles now on 29, named after the 29th Infantry Division-it’s the South afterall. This road covers substantial terrain, and will abruptly transport you from rolling countryside one laner to a four lane metro byway. I was headed over to the Blue Ridge Parkway and really excited about taking it the Southern route all the way into Asheville. Once I hit the entrance I fueled up-fuel is really scarce on the parkway. There, a curious gentleman approached me and struck up a 30 minute conversation. Grover was a great fella to talk to and he warned me there was no way I would hit Asheville by evening. When I came out of the station, he handed me a $20, saying I was doing something he always wished to do. It turns out he was correct. Even though the actual mileage to Asheville was 180 from the entrance, it took me another day to get there!

I am completely in awe of this drive along the Parkway, and its been in my backyard this whole time. I kept thinking of Laird Van Dyck’s cross country drive on the BRP, cruising a Metropolitan 2, nonetheless, at top speeds of 20mph. Thankfully, a lot of conservation effort has gone into this 469 mile stretch through astounding terrain. I only hope that we put this much energy into conserving the rest of America’s beauty. My first appreciative observation was the absence of big, obtrusive road signs and tacky billboards. The signage was quaint, limited to the necessary and tiny. No one was in a rush, and I reveled at the lack of traffic around 5pm- rush hour time in some big city on a Friday! I talked to a couple of cage drivers and it was taking them about 8 hours to cover 120 miles! I started to suspect that I would need a place to camp….you don’t want to fly past all this beautiful scenery. It was really magical.

Ghost Mountains

I have never made a ride like that by myself. There are tons of bikers out on the BRP, and they were all very nice to me. A few just looked away, but most were inquisitive. One biker said, “9,000 miles-you’re just as crazy as me!” I did head into a biker bar to check it out and grab dinner. Hydration and food are key to these long trips-I am discovering-it is more important to relax about the ETA and enjoy the journey itself. Every one was friendly at the bar and the lady running the place said, “oh thats different,” when I told her about my trip. I recommend their Station’s Inn as a haven along the BRP. It felt safe and clean, a lot of experienced bikers were there after enjoying the ride! That night I headed back to ten miles to the Doughton State Park Campground for a long slumber in my new tent.

The ride down the BRP really developed my relationship to the new bike! The route is two lanes cutting through summits and plummets, with no guard on the sides. There was no barrier between me and the beautiful country. Scooting makes for easy on and off, so I snapped a lot of pictures that others had to wait for pull-offs to get. The turns were sometimes tight-sometimes gentle and long. The road is a bit bumpy, but totally comfortable for scooterists-even though I saw no others. The bike made people really curious-I couldn’t even get out of the park for 3 hours after I woke up! But I had some really good talks with other campers and especially connected with a family who are members of the Church of the Brethren. It turns out this is one of the historic Peace keeping churches, many members have been conscientious war objectors. The church even decided not to offer refugee aid in this Iraq war, a first ever, because they did not accept the political modus operandi. Michael, Christopher, Madeline and Louise were so excited, encouraging and even financially supportive of the P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER. This trip is meant to be inclusive; to avoid the often restrictive nature of political and religious perspectives; to find a common ground-and we did.

One thought that is marinating in my head as of late, is,” let’s make the political, personal.” The mantra I have always heard and incorporated, was,” let’s make the personal, political.” I feel as though its time for us to stand back from the hazy political framing of social agendas and personally define peace. Of course the way we personally choose to live out our lives becomes a statement, whether or not we intend it to. But, often our personal lives have nothing to do with politics. For example, I know great people who are anti-war (politically wanting peace) but who are still sexist, bullemic, on anti-depressants and throw their cigarettes on the ground (personally and environmentally-not peaceful). I read in Kalle Lasn’s, Culture Jam, that something like 75% of Americans are diagnosed with a mental disorder of some sorts-be it depression, weight complex, insomnia, etc. Now, that might be an example of how the personal is political, because our big businesses and the government should be held accountable for selling myths or providing inadequate health care. There in is the personal though, because we NEED TO SEE THROUGH THIS AND DEMAND MORE-after all-it’s ALL OURS. And we have been taught to expect more, more, more all the time. Why aren’t we demanding more of the good stuff? Why aren’t we demanding policy designed to benefit ourselves and others? Why is it idealistic to think we can deserve the same quality health care Canadians have? Thats why I think it’s time to make the political personal.
We must personally reckon with the limitations and injustices our nation continues to accept. We do. The end!
I know I am asking myself “why would I continue to accept this standard of living?” Some beautiful soul wrote on the Wall of Beliefs, “It is no coincidence that the people of this nation are by and large, far too busy keeping their heads above water to take a stand against a government which acts against their will, on behalf of many, in the interest of few.” (by the way-use the Wall of Beliefs if you haven’t already-its a WE space)
It’s a culture of Peace that I am talking about-how you relate with yourself, others, the environment-even a Higher Power. Its how you treat an animal, a child, a neighbor, a stranger, a friend, a forest. It has to do with diet, health, goals, compassion, sense of self,

It amazes me how many people are having such a strong reaction to Peace-I notice most people find it Political-first and foremost. Trust me on that statement-I’m out here talking to a lot of people. It’s sad enough that most of my generation are apathetic to politics-but now this clever thing has happened where Peace has been branded political-and people are apathetic to it as well. It’s for hippies. It’s for protesters. It’s for the idealists.

I THINK IT IS WHAT WE ARE ALL TRYING TO GET-EVEN IF WE TAKE DIFFERENT ROUTES THERE AND DEFINE IT DIFFERENTLY. I am happy to be seeing Peacemakers everywhere though, I met some great ones along the BRP and I saw a lot of signs for Peace in Asheville.

I finally made it here to Asheville before sunset on Saturday. I just put my first grand on the bike, about 865 miles towards P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER. I met my hostess, Jaymii, working at Omega Institute. I was pretty delirious by the time I arrived, but amped from the beauty of the BRP. We eventually made it out to a veggie restaurant that stays open until 3am. Pretty cool, its usually hard to grab healthy, yummy food after bars close! Sunday we tried to take a tour of Asheville, but went to the wrong pick up point and wound up chasing the LaZoom bus around for a couple of blocks before giving up. The town feels similar to Charlottesville, with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, a progressive scene-lots of music, arts, community and veggie eating. The time spent here has been really appreciated, her house is beautiful, the bed is sooooo comfortable and I get to love on her dog! Although my tent did make for a nice cocoon! As far as gear goes, by day two on the road, I made some adjustments, cleared up foot space and have everything totally set and balanced! The saddlebags are working out so well and all I have to do to fuel up is wedge the H20 bottle in the seat to access the fuel tank. Oh, and another one of Jaymii’s talents-she sews-SO the peace flag is now flying on the bike. It's Up

The sky looks like the storm is clearing, so I am gonna try to make a move now…
Next vector on the Peace sign is Atlanta. After that Montgomery. I wrote to Ava Lowery, twice now, to see if we could meet in Montgomery, but she just keeps ignoring me. I still think what she does is inspirational and amazing, but I don’t understand why she won’t contact me back-at least to say she is busy. I would love to interview her for the Putting Peace on the Map Documentary. Otherwise, I am going to see my family there, visit the Dexter Church where MLK was pastor and check out the Rosa Parks museum. Thanks for wasting some time over here on the site….


“But peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.”
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

I think this is a funny picture below, but I disagree-our future is sooo bright, we gots to wear shades!

Future Tense

Post office, shower curtain, and peace flag

A few things on the TO DO list. My friend, baker at the Mudhouse, Eliza, has made me a peace flag for the trip. I am zooming out to grab it and have some pizza at Dr. Ho’s thats been planned for awhile now. Otherwise, this is it, the excitement is swelling to a massive level. I leave for the Peace Tour in the afternoon tomorrow (Thursday)-after a swim in the river with the pup and a yoga class. Looking forward to meeting good people and talking about Peace all summer! The White House kick off put me in touch with Denise-a very cool lady-who bought me a cup of joe and offered a reprieve from heavy scooting. She’s another Buddy owner for Peace!
Two Buddy owners for Peace

Peace! Alix

Gear Test Run

Hey y’all (southern girl after all)

Alright, alright. Today I experimented with the gear, throughout the week everything arrived for packing up! I am a pack master-but have never applied the skills to a scooter.Test Run

This scoot has some crucial accessories that make packing easier. All in all, I don’t plan on taking a whole lot-I’ll acquire stuff on the way- and what I do have is pretty compact. Traveling in the summer makes clothing weight really manageable. These Rev Packs hold a lot and I am totally enamored with them! (Eric thanks for the heads up)
Oh the space
They are also very adjustable to each individual’s bike. I managed to secure them in a way that meets the Buddy’s needs. There are two straps on top, connecting the bags and two longer side strings for securing the packs down. After some experimenting I found a perfect place for them-they are a number of inches above the hot parts. They also have foam pads on the back (cost $9 extra though) to keep off scratches. The set up I have right now allows me to pop the seat for fueling. Every time I stop to fuel the bungees, tent and back pack will have to come off-but thats relatively easy. The tent is probably getting switched to the front anyhow and the bookbag will be light so I can take my valuables with me on a jaunt. I’m sure I won’t be rushing anyhow- a reprieve will be necessary after 80 miles. Rev Pack securing

The Shad is probably going to hold the electronics and I found a good piece of foam that I can customize as a nest for the laptop and camcorder. That foam will also double up as a pillow for my slumbering.Puttin on the Shad

I had originally considered a milkcrate for the front rack-but right now it doesn’t seem needed. Just my sleeping bag is up there, keeping weight from the front and distributing more to the middle. Besides, milk crates are abundant in all 50 states, or else the world is just hellish. As you can see, the yoga mat attaches perfectly to the pegs and I still have room for several different feet positions.

Well, that still leaves the compartment under the seat! As soon as I can figure out the heat level in there, I will decide if the stove gas cannister will ride there. Otherwise, the compartment is for some road snacks- I am inventing a little cooler action. Also, french press and coffee supplies, stuff I will mainly need at night or early morning when I am already unpacked!

That concludes today’s test run. It feels good to get that out of the way-even though I won’t be fully loaded up until Wednesday. Since D.C. is only 3 hours away, I won’t be needing full gear on the bike-and I just don’t trust all that stuff in D.C. Maybe I am being hesitant because I would hate for the kick-off to start with a scoot jacking!
Enjoy the pics! Write me if you have questions and look for some more detail to be posted soon-I have a dog waiting to go the river and Bob Weir hitting the stage in a couple of hours! Have a good weekend y’all

Crunch Time

I have been sorting through a bunch of last minute details-some sneaky ones popped up. One of my sub-leasers backed out after seeing the Doberman next door, who is harmless, old and couldn’t outrun a fast turtle. So, the Craigslist post has gone back up and the house is open once again for interviews. Really, most everything I am doing is a “last-minute” detail since I only decided to do this May 23, and at the point I had absolutely no plan-other than to quit my job and make a peace sign on the U.S. map.

It’s nice to celebrate the steady progress. Yesterday the postcards came in, right on schedule and they look magnificent!
1,000 definitions

Some of you hardcore scooterists might recognize PJ Chmiel’s bad-ass stylistics. Thats because he stepped in to help with my time sensitive project. Thanks for the late night design endeavors PJ! This week everything else arrives, the topcase, REVPACK saddle packs, and stickers. By tomorrow, Friday I should be able to put up some gear pictures and detail my strategy for 2 months+ of scooter living. The bike won’t be as personally customized as I like, but I look forward to breaking her in and putting some sass on her.

the right side

She (Audre, I think) is pretty rigged out with back/front racks, bug-in-teeth protection (windshield) and a sweet cowl protector with foot pegs. She’s pimped with some chrome, people and we’ve been getting some long looks! It’s really a landmark moment-my first brand new motorized vehicle-only 12 miles when I got her! My last scooter, Margot the Metropolitan, had 323 miles on her, and was two years old at that point. Before that was the Chevy Nova (wrecked), Ford Ranger, Freakjuice-the 84 Ford Econoline Conversion Van, and my *sigh* Jetta. A side note-I loved that Jetta, but I decided to become a bicyclist, sell the car and survive without out. I am really happy with my decision to upgrade from bicycling, I have a fullblown love affair with scooters. After selling Margot, it took about 2 weeks for the Buddy125 to arrive-in which time I became reacquainted with my quads-biking in a mountain town makes you appreciate scooters even more. The ride home from Scoot Richmond was pure bliss-the bike rocks, the view is great and there were some interesting things to look at. Route 250 stretches the full distance from RVA to C-ville and this time I didn’t have to pull over to let farm trucker speed demons pass me. Halfway out of RVA I stopped to see my Moms before the big trip and we had the long “safety” talk. Safety is important, for sure, and I keep hearing a bunch of “horror stories” that I would rather not hear. Mostly, they involve carelessness-drinking, no helmet, inexperienced riding. I plan on posting some “Scooter Rulez,” when I get some time, I think it’s a good idea with all the scoots out on the roads. I’ve learned to ride defensively from my nine years of cycling and tried to reassure the Moms. Anyhow, she wouldn’t get on the bike, so I said my goodbyes and kept onward. The trip was just perfect for the first cruise, not too fast-not too slow. I didn’t want to totally open up the throttle for the whole ride, not without my full face helmet (dang bugs) and since she’s new. But, oh yes, I opened it for a bit, to see what I am working with. On a completely flat road I was at 72 (generous speedometer probably)-and the jump from 45 to 72 was remarkably smooth. I know this bike was the perfect choice for all the terrain I will cover. She didn’t loose any speed as I approached the Blue Ridge Mountains that envelop C-ville. Weighing in at only a buck+15, I won’t have to worry about any speed loss once I get her packed up. Although I can’t wait to see how she handles those West Coast climbers!

Gas Tank Aside from the speed and roomy seat I have been most surprised by the suspension. I’d gotten really used to teeth jarring, head bobbing, nerve racking moments on my Metro. But, I’m thinking that on the Buddy, bridges, bumps and dirt roads wont’ impede my journey.

Well, I have to head out to take care of all these loose strings: packing up the house, camcorder problems and hard drive, journal and sock buying. I will be in D.C. to kick off the PEACE Tour on Sunday July 15 and July 16. I am trying to meet the CODE PINK ladies, who have contacted me back, to participate in some of their daily activism and I would like to make a big human Peace sign in front of the White House. Peace-Alix

A response with my ethos

This is an excerpt from my correspondence with a very cool, supportive female scooterist in D.C. We are trying to get a ride in place, if not with a bunch of people, at least a chance to meet one another. Anyways, I am posting my response to make my modus operandi a bit clearer to the public.

I wanted to respond to, “but so far I don’t know which of the scootin’ folks are sufficiently opposed to the war to be up for riding with you.”
“The message behind this trip is Peace, first and foremost. I am trying to do something where the war isn’t the focus, but Peace is. Hopefully, if we start from that perspective, we eventually all get to the same point-that war doesn’t seem to solve conflict, it just establishes power-power over and not power with-which is what a democracy is supposed to be. But the more we focus on war- even “anti-war” the less we are really getting to the heart of what Peace is and what it means to the individual. Make any sense? Thats why this summer I am just asking people to define Peace. The individual who takes the time to define something has just empowered themselves and created a way to measure results. P.E.A.C.E.SCOOTER is meant to be more inclusive than an anti-war event, a lot of people won’t go to those- but that doesn’t mean they can’t define Peace for themselves. I can’t think of anyone who would truly say and mean that they don’t want peace for themselves in some manner…and I’m just riding around trying to figure out what those personal definitions are. ”

Try this statement: I am at Peace when we are at War. That just seems weird.
Mother Teresa always said something like “you won’t see me at an anti-war rally, but throw a pro-peace rally and I’m there!’

I would rather us make history by creating Peace, than become history in its absence.


B-U-D-D-Y oh M-Y

So, I’ve been riding. The end. I will get back to you about the new scoot real soon. For now, here’s two pictures that might explain what’s happening. Let’s call the first one “Wanna Ride?” and the second “Ridden!”P.E.A.C.E. SCOOTERFirst Buddy Ride

With gratitude, Alix