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, February 28, 2013

Back in Florida for "Round Three"

After a hectic but very satisfying last week in Santa Barbara, CA, I managed to get my room full of "stuff" packed up and distributed in part to my friend Eleanor's storage unit (Thanks, Eleanor!), and otherwise into my Uncle Jim's hard-sided Samsonite suitcase that I used to get from Texas to Santa Barbara (Thanks, Uncle Jim!), and another big duffle bag, the largest I could find at the K-mart store. After the long cross-country flight, I was grateful when one of the baggage attendants at the airport in Jacksonville offered to help me to the curb with my nearly 100 lbs of luggage, especially since I was also carrying my back-pack, lunch bag, and change of clothes in my "custom" clothes bag cleverly disguised as a large black trash bag with the pull-ties wrapped around the hangers! I tipped the attendant the cost of a cart, $5.00, preferring to pay him rather than the machine.

Just before leaving town, and in part because it was near the storage unit, I managed to say my last good-byes to my former co-workers at Jordano's, leaving them my business cards with this blog address as promised. Helen, for whom I had filled-in during the month of January, offered me her support with an on-the-spot cash donation for which I was very grateful. (Thanks, Helen!)

In addition to letting me borrow her bicycle while I was in Santa Barbara, letting me use some of her storage space for the clothes, etc. I needed to leave behind, and letting me borrow her kitchen on occasion to bake cookies, mix-up my stir-fry and green smoothies, Eleanor was also generous enough to chauffeur me to the LA airport. I knew I was in good hands as she was a resident of LA for a long-time and knows her way around. She also new what time we needed to leave in order to make my 10:30 am flight, so in spite of the fact that I left my belt at the security check-point and had to go back to get it (!), I still managed to board my flight on-time. (Thanks, again, Eleanor!)

With a long day prior to my departure, I thought I might keep to myself and even sleep on the plane ride, but the woman who sat in the middle seat next to me turned out to be really friendly and she was also going all the way through to Jacksonville, so we kept each other company for the entirety of the trip. She was even generous enough to treat me to a meal during our stop-over in Houston. (Thanks, Vicki, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!)

On the flight from LA to Houston, I also shared the row with Kirk Kirkland, proud father of eight-year-old Mimi Kirkland who recently played the role of "Kristen" in Safe Haven. Apparently, Mimi has something of a photographic memory for learning her lines as well as good intuition when it comes to improvising. Needless to say, I'm going to make it a point to see Safe Haven as soon as I can.

Last, but certainly not least, my friend Alisa picked me up at the airport and has once again opened her home to me as I finish the Third Round of my Sorting Through and Selling-Off My "Stuff" since early 2011 when I originally conceived of riding my bicycle across the country. (Thanks, Alisa!) I can only hope that, in this case, "three" will be a "charm" and this will be the Last Time I will have to do this to any significant degree.

To be honest, I am growing more and more comfortable with the idea of "starting over from scratch" when it comes to re-establishing myself in Santa Barbara at the end of this journey - keeping things simple, staying on a "cash" only payment plan for whatever I might need there, and continuing to use my creativity, ingenuity, and newly found willingness to exercise self-discipline by "delaying gratification" in order to meet my needs as cost-effectively as possible. Everyone speaks of the "high cost of living" in Santa Barbara, so, as they say of New York, I figure, "if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere", and I'm sure there will be much to be learned from rising to that challenge. Having lived there for the last seven months, I know of all of the Good Things I also have to look forward to, so I am willing to make the effort!

In the mean time, it's back to the trenches for me! Time to "dig through my stuff" once again, get some of it up on E-bay and Craig's List, out to the local flea market, and maybe even stage a few more yard sales here at Alisa's house. While doing all of that, I'll also be planning the second major stage of this cross-country bike trek, with some help from my friend George Throop, who has already covered the territory by foot during his ongoing Walk Across America. (Thanks, George!)

And Thanks to All of You who continue to follow this blog and offer your support in so many other ways. There has been a lot of "effort" all around and I understand what that really "means" now even more so than ever before!