Pedaling for Peace

On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Baton Rouge, LA to ... Tennessee!?! : ))

Having covered over 835 miles in 44 days to get to Baton Rouge, LA to spend some time with a friend whom I have not seen in 25 years, I have been offered the opportunity to travel with him to spend some time with other college friends kayaking, camping, and possibly even caving in the rolling hills of Tennessee.

Although I hesitated at first, because of the time it would take away from my bicycle journey, I have also had to acknowledge that my last 60 mile push into Baton Rouge really took a toll on me. Coming up on four days now, and I am still suffering from some rather disconcerting swelling of my calves and ankles, as well as a tightness in my chest/diaphragm making it a bit hard to draw a full breath. I am hoping the back and forth of the heat of the sun and cold of the waters in which we will be kayaking today will work their magic to reduce this swelling. Furthermore, there is a big bonfire planned for Saturday night where I will have even more opportunities to talk about my trip with friends and friends of friends.

As suggested above, this is going to take a bit of time out of what I had originally allotted for my cross-country transit to Santa Barbara. Nevertheless, at the pace I've been going, I would have been hard-pressed to make it by July 21st anyway, and, although I have not said anything about it so far, I have always had a "Plan B" in the back of my mind, just in case it looked like I was not going to be able to make that deadline.

So, "Plan B" is as follows: I will go as far as I reasonably can (at this point I am aiming for Tucson, AZ as I already have a definite contact there). Then, I will take a bus from Tucson (or wherever I get to) to Santa Barbara. I will attend the Peace Leadership Workshop from July 22nd through the 29th. Then I will take the bus back to Tucson and proceed west to complete my bike trip. What happens after that is yet to be determined! : )

I have already priced the round-trip bus ticket, at between $212 and $300. I will definitely be looking at other, potentially less expensive options as well, but that is what I have to plan for right now. In addition, one way for me to lighten the load, and therefore to speed up a bit, is to NOT carry as much of my own food with me. However, that in turn means I have to spend at least a little more on food I purchase along the way. I'm estimating those expenses in total to be about $40-70/week. I also need to consider carrying more water and electrolytes (store-bought sports drinks or electrolyte powder from Cliff Bar), as the next several weeks through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona are going to be particularly difficult because of the heat.

In other words, I need to raise between $450 and $750 to get to Santa Barbara in time to attend the Peace Leadership Workshop. This does not include any additional money I might have to raise for the $850 tuition, part of which I Have been able to cover so far with New Member sign-ups (i.e. over 100 names and if I can get those 100 or so people to sign up more people, then I won't need to sign up all of them directly myself). (I have some more direct e-mail work to do in that area, but if I do not have your name, zip code, and e-mail address on my list yet, and you want to be added, please let me know as soon as possible.)

So, that is "where I'm at" right now! A little annoyed with the leg-swelling issues, but hoping the rest and change-up of activities will help with that. Still extremely grateful for all of the support I have already received from friends and "strangers" I now consider friends as well. Still needing more of that support to continue my journey, so please use the PayPal "Donate" button in the right column if you would like to help me along my way.

It has been an Amazing Journey so far! I wish I had more time to write about it, but being able to keep going means, taking more time to focus on fundraising and saving "the rest of the story" for later, and I apologize for that, but that's the reality of the situation right now. Kind of like when public radio stations do their fundraising, you have to "make the call" and help them reach their fundraising goals before they go back to their "regularly scheduled programming"! : )

So, please, "Make the Call" (i.e. make whatever donation you can via my PayPal "Donate" button. : ))

Thanks Everyone! Here's to "Turtle Power" and "Keepin' On, Keepin' On!"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mississippi: Take Two

In the winter of 2003-2004 I was a Navy Electronics Technician stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi attending calibration school for what would turn out to be my last duty station at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, in Bethesda, MD. Lance Armstrong had already won the Tour de France five times. Inspired in part by his efforts and his courageous life story, I bought my first Really Nice road bike, a Specialized Allez Comp, from "Conte's", one of my favorite bike shops in Norfolk, VA. Although, I took my "mule" to start with, I later had my "thoroughbred" shipped to Biloxi, as well. The host I am staying with now, helped me assemble it once I got here, and I think it's kind of cool that I am back here again, after over eight years.

Things have changed though. I was here Before Katrina and the BP oil spill. It is interesting to see how the area has recovered...

Leaving my host's house in St. Martin, I had to make a "memorial" ride to The TatoNut shop in historic downtown Ocean Springs. There is a monthly "TatoNut" bike ride that ends here and for good reason: It is one of the best places to get doughnuts that are actually made from potato flour. I decided to get two for "lunch" and two for the road.

They re-built the Biloxi Bridge. Now it is four wide lanes plus wide shoulders and a pedestrian path on the southern side.

There is a long, concrete boardwalk now. The prior one had been made of wood, large chunks of it in places, all of which was torn asunder by Katrina. Thus released, the wooden beams caused significant damage themselves, being blown by the winds and storm surge. I took my time on that path, even sharing the sidewalk with another pedestrian who became curious after seeing me and my rig. He was gracious enough to take a picture of me when we got to the Biloxi Lighthouse.

Apparently, the laws about where casinos can be built have been changed, so they no longer have to, in effect, float on barges.

There is a HUGE unfinished "Margaritaville" structure, concrete and steel, that is a bit of a blight on the coastline of Biloxi. Not sure what might happen there, but something tells me some creative urban gardeners might be able to do roof top gardens and talapia underneath? Who knows? But, I hope, along with others in the area that it can be re-purposed, and soon.

Most of all though, I especially appreciate the sculptures that have been carved into the trunks of trees, still standing, but otherwise sacrificed in the storm.

So far, it has been a pleasant stay. I've had to deal with some "bank/money issues" that have been a bit of a

drag, and it has taken my time, energy, and attention away from everything else that I need to be giving my attention to right now, but I am persevering.* (The rest of That part of my story will have to wait for the book! : )) There are some long stretches ahead to get me through the rest of Mississippi and Louisiana, and then...there's Texas!

Call it fate or luck, but I do appreciate all the help I have been getting recently from George Throop, whom I met on the way across the Big Bridge just west of the Florida/Alabama state line. He has been walking from Washington State and has left a trail

of friends and hosts in his path, whom I am now getting to network with in reverse (more or less). (Find out more about George here:

Not sure exactly what my path will be through Texas, but I can pretty much guarantee another visit to Austin - this time on my trusty "mule", rather than the "thoroughbred" I rode there in 2004, as a participant in the Lance Armstrong Foundation Ride for the Roses! : ) Looks like Lance just won his first Ironman 70.3, in a while, back in Florida (Lance Armstrong Back On Top).

Too bad there are no competitions for who can carry the most cargo over long distances by bicycle. I think I might be in the running for that one! : ))

*I did determine that I have access to my PayPal funds more quickly now, so if anyone reading this wants to pitch in, I am, as always, open to receive. Thanks! : )

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wonderful Evening at Big Lagoon State Park, FL

Got in the Ocean last night...Finally! At Big Lagoon State Park in southwest Pensacola. FL (no discount on my stay this time : (). Had fun stalking a young blue heron hanging out on the shore, floating and crawling with my hands in the sand through the shallow water. Probably got within four feet before the bird decided it might be better if it moved on. And with the sun going down, it was time for me to move on back to camp myself.

But, Wow! It was invigorating! And as a "V" of pelicans flew overhead into the sunset, I couldn't help but think how Free I am right now, doing what I am doing...It is something I think we ALL need more of, and if so much of our human potential and resources were not being directed towards DEFENSE (against ??? human beings who are NOT naturally violent anyway?), we would have more resources available for Everyone and More Time to enjoy this world and the people around us! : )

With that in mind I offer this quote from General Dwight D. Eisenhower, a veteran of World War II (as found in Paul K. Chappel's first book Will War Ever End?):

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are
not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms
is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers,
the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of
one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than
30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of
60,000 population. It is two, fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is
some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with
a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with
new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I
repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has
been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.
Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a
cross of iron." (Pp:68-69)

(For more on author Paul K. Chappell and to purchase his books, follow this link:
Paul K. Chappell)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jumping in from the Middle of the Story - of Necessity!

For all my Blog Followers and especially those of you who may not be seeing my posts on Facebook:

I am alive and well in Pensacola, FL! : ))

I think I'm over the 400 mile mark now from Jacksonville Beach, FL having traveled through Baldwin, Live Oak, Madison, Monticello, and Tallahassee on HWY 90. From Tallahassee I took the Tallahassee - St. Mark's Historic Rail Trail south to Crawfordville. There I stayed with Couch Surfing hosts, Lesa and Mike. Mike's farmer father lived next door and once they had a chance to look at my trailer and wheels, Mike's father gladly volunteered to weld them together for me since they had come off no less than four times during my travels to that point, with the last time being while I was pushing my bike up Mike's gravel driveway. Thus far, there have been no more problems of that nature, and I am deeply grateful for their timely assistance. In addition, I got some "tweaking/realignment" of the frame from Juda, who knew how to handle a crow-bar, at Big Daddy's Bike Shop in Santa Rosa Beach, so just want to say, "Thanks!" again to the folks there.

From Crawfordville, I continued around the lower peninsula of northwestern Florida with stops in Carrabelle, Apalachicola, Port St. Joe, Panama City, Seacrest, Fort Walton Beach, Navarre, and now Pensacola. So, in other words, I am waaaay behind on this blog! ... And I apologize for that!

I have come to the hard earned understanding that this trip is taking more time in many ways than I could have anticipated. The riding itself, I kind of expected. However, the time involved in unpacking and repacking has taken A Lot longer. Trying to find computers to upload pictures to this blog, also a bigger challenge than I thought it would be. And then there is necessary computer time for planning my trip as well as continuing to contact others to fundraise so I can keep going.

So, at least for now, I've decided to go "photo free" for a while. (My apologies to the more "visual" types among you, I promise I will ADD pictures as soon as I can.) I just feel it is more important that I keep up with my story a little more in sync with the unfolding of it, if for no other reason I've been hearing rumors that people start to worry about me if they don't see posts here for a while. I certainly do not want anyone to worry about me (although, granted, I don't have control over others that way, but if I can minimize their feeling the need to do that by posting more regularly, than that's what I want to do. : )) For the record though, (and actually for safety reasons, since this is a "public" blog) I will still be writing more about where I have been rather than where I am going.

To Catch-Up: Overall, the trip has been going really well. There seems to be a persistent statistic of at least one guy, per town, in the passenger seat of a van who feels compelled to yell "Get on the sidewalk!" as they pass me even when there are (Bicycle) "Share the Road" signs everywhere, and maybe one or two people per town, who feel they have to honk before they pass, even though every other car that goes by me manages to do so withOut honking. All of which, from a social scientist's perspective, I actually find quite amusing! : ) Otherwise, everyone seems to be getting around me just fine, and with all the gear I'm carrying, the trucks don't even move me much!

What has been Really Great though are the "chance encounters" with the many "strangers" I have met along the way. For instance...

...The t-shirt artist at the River Front Festival in Carrabelle with whom I conversed for quite some time.

... While at Harry A's listening to my Carrabelle host's girlfriend play music, I met two other curious musicians and a group of "good ol' boys" from my home state of Kentucky, one of whom gave me a generous donation.

...Then there were the hotel clerks in Port St. Joe who were very accommodating and the young firefighters standing watch who let me cool off and get some water in the middle of a particulary long hot day, on my way to Panama City.

...As mentioned earlier, I got some more help with my trailer, a free smoothie, and great conversation with one of the mechanics when I stopped for chain lubricant at Big Daddy's in Santa Rosa Beach.

...When I stopped in Destin for a bite to eat at Panera's, I met other interested and generous people (and realized that my "signage" on my bicycle was working to draw their attention : )).

...A few miles later, there was a young man sitting outside the Wal-Mart, waiting for a taxi, and he gladly watched my rig for me while I went in to buy a camp shower. When I came back out he was full of questions about what I was doing and why, and I was glad to answer all of them (although his taxi driver got a bit annoyed while waiting for him), and he gave me a warm and enthusiastic hug before we parted.

...I stopped for bite to eat at the Tom Thumb gas station on the eastern side of Navarre, and ended up talking with another store patron for maybe an hour or so about the NAPF, Paul's Peace Leadership work, and my personal mission. She shared her concerns for her own children and for the young people in her town with few job options but to join the military and how ill prepared they were, emotionally, for the challenges of almost inevitable deployments to the Middle East.

...When I stopped at a McDonald's to use the bathroom on my way to Pensacola, I met and talked with another man looking for a new mission for his own life after the recent, tragic death of his girlfriend.

...Finally arriving in Pensacola, and trying to figure out the last streets to follow to my hosts for the evening, I talked with a woman sitting outside the Shell station taking a break from her inventory work.

And then there have been the more extended discussions I have been able to have with my hosts, and sometimes with their friends and family members as well. I am very grateful for their openness and for what they also have shared of their lives, their fears, and their own hopes for a better future for themselves and for their children and others they care about (especially those who have people they know considering military service, retired from military service, or actively serving).

What I have come to recognize and appreciate is that, for the most part, people in this country Are Open to new ways of "doing business", both at home and abroad. People are "Waking Up" to the much brighter possibilities of change that are available to us, even when the propagandists of our times might lead us to believe otherwise.

Consequently, in my quest to inspire hope and better understanding, I am also being inspired and coming to a better, very personal and direct understanding of the people I am meeting. I am learning first hand that it really is true: Most human beings are compassionate, generous, curious, and hopeful about what lies ahead for All of Us on this Amazing Journey!

And, even more than that, many of them are also looking for ways that They Can Be Involved in making the world a better place for All Beings. I am more than happy to offer them one way to channel their energy for change; i.e. to give their support to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and to learn more, especially from Paul K. Chappell, about how to Wage Peace!

The positive feedback I have been receiving is the Human Fuel that keeps me going. And so - I will Ride On - also looking forward to what lies ahead! : )

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Good Time to Donate If You Can - Thanks!

Dear Friends and Followers,

I am now three weeks and well over 300 miles into my journey (details to follow in future blogs, as computer access allows). As a Warm Showers host has commented: "If you've made it that far, then you can make it the rest of the way." (And this from an older gentleman, with lots of cycling experience of his own as well as through hosting other touring cyclists. : ))

Honestly, I have been intentionally hesitant to ask for financial support beyond specific things, like the two-wheeled trailer, until I could show, to myself and to others, that I really can do this. And even though there have been some hard days, I am persevering and getting stronger and stronger as I go.

For the record, I have contributed all of the financial resources I could personally to "get this show on the road". Now, I am going to need more support from others to keep going. Furthermore, although I can make it a few more days, if you choose to use the PayPal "Donate" option, it will be approximately 30 days before I can have access to those funds.

In other words, if you can make a donation, NOW is the time to use The Button (over there - >> in the right hand column - >> : )).

However, if you would like to get money to me more quickly and without any deductions, PLEASE CONTACT ME DIRECTLY, via e-mail (see info in the header) and I will give you additional information for how to do that.

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed already! Although it has been "tight" at times (and this is definitely one of those times), things have worked out, and I feel they will continue to do so, but I also know I have to do my part to Let You Know what my needs are along the way.

In return, I will keep "Pedaling for Peace" and sharing the message that Paul K. Chappell and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation are also working so hard to spread. It is a Great Message! And I am glad to have this opportunity to serve the cause of both Local AND World Peace!


AKA: The Blue Turtle