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.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Before and After in Dallas Wrap-Up

One thing my mother taught me was to always try to leave a place in better condition than you found it. Thanks to my friend Chas and the trust of his mother-in-law Peggy, I was able to make a big difference in exercising my painting and organizing skills in helping to get Peggy's house ready for her return from a long stay at the hospital.

There was some internal as well as external work to be accomplished. For the external work, I was called upon to repaint the porch, former garage area, and left side eaves. Here are a few before and after photos of that project:

As I told Chas, I had done quite a bit of painting when I lived in Montana and I put my skills to work here for sure. I had to pace myself because I was just barely tall enough to reach the highest points with a ladder, and all of the overhead work put a bit of a strain on my right shoulder especially (the one that already suffered a lot of repetitive stress when I used to work in sewing manufacturing). However, over the course of the month that I stayed there I slowly worked a few hours at a time to cover the entire area. It made me think of when I worked in Montana pulling napweed for Roy and Jody Anderson on a hillside above the road. People would drive by every day and see me there, and then see the bundles of weeds at the bottom of the hill. I felt like the people in Peggy's neighborhood were seeing the same kind of slow and steady progress and I'd like to think I may have inspired one or two of them to know that if you apply a little perseverance, even a project of this size can be completed over time.

There were also projects to complete inside the house. Cleaning up the back room area with its "second kitchen" was a big part of that.

I found a new site on line, that gave me some information on how to assess the expiration dates on some of the food products that I came across. Otherwise, it was really a matter of being willing to apply some elbow grease and again, attention to detail and perseverance when it came to, for instance, getting the vacuum cleaner into all the nooks and crannies especially as the ceiling had been recently refinished and there was still a lot of debris in those places.

At the end of the month though, I was able to offer Peggy my "Thank You Gift" for opening her home to me, and fulfill the agreement I had made with Chas. I was finishing up the last of the painting the day before I left, but, it was all completed and, if the warranty on the brand stands up to its claims, the paint should last for the next 15 years, so I can be proud of the fact that I definitely left my "mark" there!

And so, I said "Good-Bye" to my old and new friends before Chas drove me to my last stop: Weatherford, Texas where I would once again be reunited with my "trusty steed" and prepare to embark on "Stage II" of my cross country adventure.

* * * * *

Post Script, June 10, 2013: Later in the day after posting this blog, I found out that Peggy passed away suddenly while shopping with her sister. Apparently she suffered from a blood clot in her heart, as well as head trauma when she fell to the floor. The clot was probably a complication of her chemotherapy treatment for leukemia which is why she had been in the hospital. Attempts to resuscitate her failed. As I communicated to Chas, she died doing something she loved to do, which is about the best anyone can hope for.

So, here's to Peggy. I'm glad I got to meet her and help her get her house in order. May she journey on in Peace.

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