The Journey

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Monday, June 29, 2015

June 29 Yarnell AZ

It took me over 3 hours to climb the mountain from Congress to Yarnell, a lift of 1,990 feet in 9 miles. Yarnell is the top of a pile of rocks strewn about like some giants playground. 

That's Congress way in the background


This is what much of the surrounding landscape looks like

It is a small enough community that if you don’t put the brakes on right away you would roll right out of town, and that’s all downhill. Yarnell is the site of a tragedy that occurred two years ago. 19 Hot Shots, local young firefighters that specialize in wild land fires,  died fighting a blaze just over this pile of rock. For such a small community this must have been truly devastating, the emotions are still raw. I’m posting from the local internet cafe, Shear Delights. 

What About ISIS, Dan?

Sitting in a restaurant in Yarnell AZ, listening to an older couple’s conversation over their breakfast. They were passing through to Pasadena, from where I did not hear but this is a frequent stop for them. They were talking about the three ISIS attacks just the other day in Tunisia, France, and Kuwait. ‘They have people in all the big cities and can attack us whenever they think they can get away with it,’ is a close paraphrase of their conversation. The other night in Aguila a liberal for these desert communities asked, ‘How do you do peace with ISIS?’ And in early May, even before I was a hundred percent committed to this trip, while traveling with two advocates for Health Care for All from Marin to Sacramento- we were lobbying for inclusive coverage of migrants in California’s Healthcare System- I began to explain my plans to ride across the US for Peace and Environmental Justice. I had laid out my premise; if we are serious about addressing global climate change then we need the cooperation of all of the world’s peoples, that cooperation is the hallmark of peacefulness, therefore we need to end war. The driver asked the rhetorical questions, ‘What are you going to do about folks like the Islamic State?’ ‘How long do you think you will keep your head if you walk up to them talking peace?’ These questions point to the success of the Islamic State’s propaganda, and that of Al Qaeda also for that matter. 
The fact of the matter is neither I nor anyone else has the answer. But I do have questions that we should be asking before we initiate military actions whenever the political pressure to do so grows irresistible. We have the greatest military on earth, but all military actions have limitations as to what can be achieved. Is Military action the appropriate preemptive action or response? Consider the Pasadena couple’s concerns about an attack on the Rose Bowl. Shall we bomb Pasadena? 
The simple answer is to understand the conditions under which groups like the Islamic State are formed and then work to prevent those conditions from happening. I went to St Mary’s College in Moraga CA during the escalation of the Viet Nam War. A professor from St Mary’s came and convinced me and a few other high school seniors that their program for finding truth was the best thing a college bound idealist could do. He was very smart yet he was also of the belief that the people of the world would be better off dead than red. Whether it is the Red Scare, or the Yellow Peril, or the maniacal  nature of some foreign regime, all national leaders of all countries will use the same tactic to gain political support for war. It is my belief as a leading democratic society it is our responsibility to counter these messages of fear and draw away from them their potency. 

Is the Islamic State truly a new state being born in the deserts of Syria and Iraq, or is it the spirit of the day for disgruntled and disturbed young men like our own home-grown Black Block of the left or various permutations of white supremacy on the right? Are there Saudi forces trying to establish a Sunni government to break up the crescent 
of Shite Iran, Iraq, and Syria? It seems to me that diplomacy and policing are the solution to ISIS. As Paul Krugman wrote in a NYTs piece last August, war is mostly a political affair for the benefit of the politicians that want to wage it.
“If you’re a modern, wealthy nation, however, war — even easy, victorious war — doesn’t pay. And this has been true for a long time. In his famous 1910 book “The Great Illusion,” the British journalist Norman Angell argued that “military power is socially and economically futile.” As he pointed out, in an interdependent world (which already existed in the age of steamships, railroads, and the telegraph), war would necessarily inflict severe economic harm even on the victor. Furthermore, it’s very hard to extract golden eggs from sophisticated economies without killing the goose in the process.”
“The larger problem, however, is that governments all too often gain politically from war, even if the war in question makes no sense in terms of national interests.”
NY Times.com-Krugman-Why We Fight Wars - 2014/08/18

We fought two world wars and a forty year cold war in the twentieth century to firmly establish a global economy. It is our task now to end war so as to prevent that economy from destroying modern civilization on this planet. ISIS, Al Qaeda, and many other such groups are symptoms of the real problems we need to address. Environmental Justice means that it is not just the trees and frogs that need protections but that we need fairness in our economic system in order for modern civilization to survive.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Change of Weather in the High Desert

Sunset in Aguila 
Sunrise leaving Aguila

Early monsoon 
While eating dinner tonight in Congress the wind outside turned into a huge dust storm. It was then followed by thunder, lightening, and some rain. This is a few days early for the monsoon season. The locals tell me that all will be clear in the morning this only happens late in the day. In Yarnell where I'm headed tomorrow morning it was heavy hail.

Some Photos From California and Arizona

Colorado River
Leaving Blythe CA at 5AM. The signs says it is 87 degrees

The Colorado at Sunrise



Aguila AZ is named after this rock, meaning eagle in Spanish

June 27 Quartzsite, Salome, Aguila and then Congress

I am writing from Borro Jim Motel on Hwy 60 about 80 miles west of Phoenix AZ. I have stayed at the Quartzite Yacht Club and Shefflers Motel in Salome. By far my stay at Borro Jim Motel has been the most fun due to the friendliness of Bob Cartwright, the owner Kim, and the others who work here. It’s the type of place you pull into for a night stay along your journey and end up staying for 5 weeks as one couple did a few years ago.    Aguila has not much to recommend it, a hot desert hamlet, no restaurants, and a minimalist grocery store.  As I rode into town I was uncertain that this one motel would be open and it reminded me of a complaint I had insufficiently expressed while still in Los Angeles. My trip down Hwy 101 brought me through endless shopping centers filled with the national chain stores and not much else. I had expressed my sense of alienation from this modern life. I have been passed by. These last three towns, and for that matter also Blythe, have uniqueness lacking in all the malls on the West Coast. Friendly folks, unusual businesses, and even some in this very conservative part of the world who do relate to my journey and its mission. 

The motel manager in Quartzsite, her grandfather was a cat-skinner for portions of Hwy 101. “I know California, I’ve hiked up and down the length of 1 and 101 and many other places also.” I hope to have that title correct, a cat-skinner being one who drives the grader that smoothes the highway surface before surfacing. And the Quartzsite Yacht Club is a real trip in itself. I had read that it reminded one reviewer of the old Route 66 places, like the Wigwam Motels, one of which I saw near Pomona. There are no bodies of water in Quartzsite. And in fact I found it difficult to find the promised motel even while standing in front of the office. The QYC is a collection of mobile homes divided into rentals and named after various ships. I stayed in the SS Minnow, of Gulligan’s Island fame.  There was one boat that was also available as part of the motel.

Between Quartzsite and Salome there are several small places mostly RV parks. Hope Arizona is such a place at the crossing of Hwy 60 and 71. It has a gas station where I was able to take a break from riding and from the sun. Salome has the best Southwest Salad I can remember eating from the Cactus Cafe and Bar. I arrived in Salome’s Sheffler’s Motel and was greeted by what appeared to be a family run affair. But the big draw was the food across the street. 


I leave these hamlets or villages at 4:45 in the morning. At dawn nearly an hour before sunrise. I wonder how I might fit in to such communities. These are conservative folk  mostly, bound together for protection from a harsh environment as a historical placard in Quartzsite states. Now, at 9:00 PM this evening the grocery down the street is barbecuing for the locals who are partying quietly enough. I watched all day as four people worked in the hot sun doing maintenance and cleaning of Burro Jim. 
Posting from Congress AZ

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 27 - in Aguila

Still no Internet.

Dan made it to Aguila before the temp. reached 107. Summertime in the desert.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 25 - in Quartzsite

Dan has no internet access again, but wanted you all to know that he's in Quartzsite, AZ.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 24 Too Hot To Trott On I-10

Highway Interstate 10 is way too hot for me to continue this route. Today it was well over 110 in Blythe this afternoon. I will be heading towards Sedona, AZ via Hwy 60, 71, 89 where the temperatures are much less. The tradeoff is that the climbs will be high. That being said I did ride into Arizona today, 30 feet on to the bridge that spans the Colorado river. My ride started out looking for electrolyte supplements and then for Chinese food. I found the first but not the second. So I kept going for a total of 4 miles on to the bridge. When I got back to the west side of Blythe I found culinary preference across the street.



As of today, the 29th since I left Marin, I have logged just over 800 miles, some of them just keeping in shape miles while I figured out where to go. Also Bicycling for Peace and Environmental Justice has over 1,500 page views. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 23 A 104 Mile 2-Day Ride

Yesterday was a 38 mile ride from Indio to the Chiriaco Summit. the first 19 miles was accomplished in 2 hours but the last 19 were all uphill and took another 4:30 hours. Inside the Box Canyon there were chances to find shade but the last 9 miles were on open Sonoran Desert. 

Evening amongst the tanks and rattle snakes of Chiriaco Summit FREE campsite
 There are two places to eat at the summit one a sit down restaurant the other a Fosters Freeze and I managed to eat at both besides getting drinks at the gas station convenient store. 

I thought that today’s ride was going to be a downhill jaunt of 66 miles. And the first 18 to Desert Center were just that and I covered that ground in an hour. The next 42 miles were generally downhill but only 400 feet over 40 miles. There was a lot of hard pedaling, and for the last 15 miles I was stopping at every emergency call box, spaced a mile apart, resting and drinking. But I made it to Mesa Verde, just a truck stop, 59 miles in 6 hours total from Chiriaco Summit. I spent an hour in the air condition convenient store drinking 3 pints of fruit juice. 

A perfect site for an hour nap

I still had over 6 to go and headed out in the very hot plain. and then something that I had not seen in quite awhile appeared. A grassy tree shaded area on the side of the road. I couldn’t pass it up and slept there for an hour.


I’m taking tomorrow off.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22

Dan has no internet access tonight, but he's alive and well. Camping at Chiriaco Summit.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21 A 40 Mile Test Ride

I went a lot farther than I thought I would today, past Mecca out to and beyond the beginning of Box Canyon Road. The other day Google Maps, which works really well most of the time, directed me onto Tamarack Road. That turned out to be a dirt road. I needed to see if Box Canyon was going to be a paved road or as the road the crosses it, Painted Canyon Road, just a 4-wheel drive accessible track. Turns out that Box Canyon is great. Today I did 40 miles in 4:30 hours over mostly  a flat route. Tomorrow’s ride finishes with that 1,900 foot climb. I will be without internet access for a few days. Bonnie will post where I am and still alive for me.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I am going to give due regard to the heat advisory for the next few days

I will take tomorrow off, but will still do a 26 mile round trip from Indio to Mecca. That’s the route I will be taking when I head towards Blythe. Indio, Mecca, Chiriaco Summit, Desert Center, then Bltythe. This ride will take at least 2 days and I might have my first opportunity to use my tent, sleeping bag and solar power lantern. Chiriaco Summit is the home of General Patton’s tank museum. It is a 1,926 foot climb from Mecca to the museum and 25 miles. 

June 20 Short Ride Today

24 miles to Indio, very hot this afternoon but relatively cool this morning.

Friday, June 19, 2015

June 19 Easy Rider is the Early Rider

The heat of Palm Springs is also in the warm hearts of its inhabitants. I was out the door of my Beaumont Motel at 5:30 this morning and had an easy ride to Palm Springs. Google Maps, which I rely on immensely let me down twice on this 35 mile ride through high desert. 

The wind that powers these windmills also keep the smoke well above where I rode today. 

The smoke from the Riverside County fire lay across my path, but the smoke was high not engulfing the lower areas. I made it the 8 miles to Banning in just 30 minutes. This day’s ride was almost entirely downhill, with the wind at my back. At times I had to use the brakes when I wasn’t even pedaling. But then Google sent me to a restricted reservation. The guard told me of an alternative path between the railroad tracks and Hwy10. Mostly an abandoned roadway but for the first mile it was not much more than a boulder lined stream bed. Eventually I was back on the Google map route when it sent me to a ‘road’ in White Water. Worse than the first off road track today it lead me in a one mile circle of deep sand and gravel. 



The wind is put to good use, not just pushing me along my journey. The landscape is filled with wind farms like this one. 

I was lucky that the gate at the end-beginning was not locked. My only alternative at that point was to get on Hwy 10. That lasted only a few hundred feet to where Hwy 111 splits off. This was a great ride where I nearly never had to work except to keep the bike and myself from being blown over. However I was checked into my motel by 9AM. 


And their warm hearts. After checking in I went out for coffee and breakfast. My first stop was the Christian Science Reading Room. There two wonderful women and I talked about my ride. Next stop was breakfast where the waitress informed me that someone had paid for my meal. How great is that. And then to top the day off I was able to find and purchase an eternal battery charger for my phone, one that works!! The two women at Radio Shack helped me out. The last two such devices I had purchased do not work. 

View outside my balcony
Thank you to all who share and comment on Facebook. 
Here is my page <https://www.facebook.com/dan.monte.39> if you would like to do so. 
So far I have ridden over 600 miles and this blog has had over 1200 page views. This really helps me to keep going.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 18 Yesterday’s Existential Moment

In desert between San Bernardino and Beaumont and I'm told 100°F+ heat at noon wondering how good it would be to be on a train sipping a cool drink and seeing this landscape. I did not make it to Banning which is another 8 miles away. I am a fairly loyal person, persistent, some have even said stubborn or just stupidly fixed to an idea. 


I met a bicyclist about ten years ago on one of those Sonoma County back roads that lead as most of them do to Petaluma. It was a very hot day and he was in trouble. I was driving my pickup with a bunch of camping gear heading back to Marin from the Russian River. He had ridden his bicycle from Portland Oregon almost to SF where he worked as teacher. He had ridden nearly 700 miles and climbed 30,000 feet. And yet he took a ride to the Larkspur Ferry that day 50 miles short of his destination. 


The teacher made the right decision and I believe I did also to stop 8 miles short of yesterday’s goal. Today I am staying over in Beaumont and will take my time approaching the uninhabited desert to acclimate myself and I hope to find a strategy for crossing to Arizona.  I have ridden 587 miles so far and my bike guru is telling me that I can do this, that my goals should be to start around 5AM and ride for 6 hours. Then find shade. If I need to ride some more that day then do it in the evening. This sounds like good advice.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 17 AM Arrived In San Bernardino-Colton

Yesterday I rode with the vision of a meal from the Happy Family Vegetarian restaurant. I got here in time for the lunch menu and was well rewarded. 

I chose the nearby Motel 6 so I was in my room and fed by 4 PM. I might have arrived an hour earlier had I not stopped to help a fellow bicyclist with a flat tire. I might talk more on him much latter. But at the motel another guest responded with interest and enthusiasm about this journey. He and the clerk both received one of my flyers.



At one point, before I had ridden very far, I thought I might follow Route 66 from LA to Chicago but now I thinking just get to the East Coast and save the sight seeing for a time when I am better suited for this activity. Here's a photo of Rte 66-Foothill Blvd in Glendora, and of course Santa Monica is the end point. 

I left Pomona at 8 so that I could arrive at the REI in Rancho Cucamonga before they opened at 10 AM. I have started taking seriously my next destination the deserts of California and Arizona. I needed to get another external battery charger, a head lamp so I can ride in the very early morning, and salt and mineral replacement pills. As I was checking out a customer asked about my journey and he and the clerk both received one of my flyers.

12033 Jack Benny Drive, Rancho Cucamonga

12033 Jack Benny Dr, Rancho Cucamonga


I might be headed to the desert and there might be a four year drought in California but this is a common scene down here is SoCal. 




Last evening I spent hours repacking my bags, charging my new batteries,  and getting ready for tomorrow’s ride. I will leave around 7AM. the ride 24 mile to Banning includes a 18 mile uphill climb of 1,542 feet. And we are having a hot week down here.


Major Castleberry II and His Peace Jersey

Major Castleberry II heard about Bicycling for Peace and Environmental Justice from the Oakland Post article. He sent me 3 Jerseys for my trip. Here they are being worn. According to his website his son is attending my old school, St Mary’s College of Moraga, CA. The website is <http://thepeacejersey.com>



Here is the Post’s article on his Peace Jersey.
Beginning and Creating a Culture of “Peace” Not Violence!
By Post StaffPosted September 28, 2011
Major R. Castleberry II is a Bay Area, United States Patented Inventor. His invention is a product for “PEACE”!
Castleberry is a Navy Veteran whose life work is rooted in one simple yet profound ideal: peace. Originally from Gary, Indiana, in 1982 he joined The U.S. Navy; stationed in Alameda, California, he served on an aircraft carrier—the U.S.S. Enterprise CVN-65—as an aviation flight deck electrician. After being honorably discharged in 1985, Major resumed his civilian life in Oakland and resolved to act on his lifelong dream, to become a patented inventor.
As a patented inventor, Major had always wanted to invent something that would address a real problem in society.
He wanted to address the spiraling problem of violence among the youth.
 Castleberry wanted a tangible, relevant product that allowed the consumer to “sport” their individuality.
The answer to Major’s quest for something that everyone desires was PEACE! 
Castleberry invented “The Peace Jersey!”
Castleberry  says, “‘The Peace Jersey’ was invented to address the senseless violence and murders; to promote peace to our youth, gangs, schools and communities, and also to spread this ‘Jersey’ and Message throughout our world!”
He said the purpose of “The Peace Jersey is to provide a positive product against violence,  making peace “Cool” once again.
He wants to see Peace through new fashion and street wear clothing.
Major’s company is named Major Concepts Co. and his current versions of “The Peace Jersey” feature the U.S.A. Red, White and Blue, and also the Black and Silver versions for Oakland!
Castleberry was interviewed by Chauncey Bailey, the late Editor of The Oakland Post, only a week prior to his senseless murder in the streets of Oakland. Bailey’s  unfinished article featuring Major’s invention for peace , ironically, was a part of Bailey’s “Silence the Violence” campaign, which unfortunately claimed his own life through indiscriminate violence in downtown Oakland.
Castleberry said his Bailey interview was not in vain because the Post has pledged to continue Bailey’s causes, campaigns and unfinished stories.
Castleberry said he was also interviewed on NBC News 11 concerning “The Peace Jersey” and has since received a letter of commitment from B.E.T. (Black Entertainment Television) to commercially market his jersey to their subscribers. Castleberry  is seeking investor(s) to help him finance the commercial marketing and manufacturing of “The Peace Jersey” in six sizes.
Castleberry says that his company will donate a percentage of their proceeds to support organizations and foundations that work to prevent violence. He also has a law firm to help him implement his business and marketing plan.

The former Navy veteran is now fighting for peace. He says his “The Peace Jersey” investment plan calls for $150K to $300K.  Major R. Castleberry II can be reached at (510) 435-9816 or majorcastleberryii@yahoo.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Why I Ride: Reposted

Im Bicycling for Peace and Environmental Justice.
I will be leaving Marin CA for Washington DC on Memorial Day. I view this as a necessary pilgrimage for me. I want to raise awareness that climate change, which threatens our civilization, is only intensified by war, and that there is no solution to climate change that does not include peace.

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report 2013

This is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a demarcation notifying us that industrial warfare can end civilization. Clearly we the people of this earth are at a critical juncture, whether to work in peaceful cooperation to solve the consequences of climate change or whether out of fear we wreak havoc through war. Polls show we have collectively lost trust that our good intentions are the leading motives of our leaders’ actions. My hope lies in the faith that we can change this and that in other countries there are people such as us.

But we are accustomed to viewing issues as independent of each other. War and the environment as not connected. And yet our Department of Defense has been telling us for many years now that climate change is a serious national security threat. Indeed it is a global security threat that is destabilizing our world. We must understand that military force forgoes the international cooperation needed for solving our climate problem. War reverses all of our progress on improving environmental standards. It is extremely carbon intensive. Our task is to stand firm against the evangelists of war and to reject their fear mongering. The rejection of militarism is necessary - it is the only course towards climate solutions.

The effects of climate change are not limited to melting Arctic ice sheets.
Climate change drought is causing civil strife and provoking war. A multi-year drought in Syria caused the migration of the rural population into the cities and threatened the stability of their imperfect government that has turned into ‘a major civil war with international involvement.’ Scientific studies report that in Sub-Saharan Africa there is a 30-year correlation of climate changes ‘with an increase in the likelihood of civil war.’ Additionally food shortages caused by climate change have been found to be a contributing factor in the Arab Spring uprisings. Scientific American, March 2, 2015

The world population is on course to increase 30% in the next few decades. Many countries are now incapable of producing enough food for their current population. Overdrawn aquifers and drought have depleted once abundant land. Additionally sea level rise will diminish many productive river deltas from food production.

Americans have a special role to play in world affairs.
The US accounts for nearly half of all military spending worldwide. Our leaders are correct in telling us that we are the strongest military power on earth. What they leave out is that this great force is limited to destruction and chaos as evidenced by its recent use in conflicts from Afghanistan to Iraq from Libya to Syria. We have given the whole of the 20th century to perpetual war. How much time can we give to peaceful solutions, to negotiated solutions?

It takes significant fear-mongering to turn people towards war. The images of the World Trade Towers falling and the beheadings of innocents are such propaganda. These are real events, horrifying, and they terrorize us. What we fail to see is that our interventionist policies and militaristic actions are part of the cause and are not the solution. It is our responsibility, if we are serious about reversing climate change, that we face our fears and question closely what alternatives there are for this violence. What outcomes are forgone by following the path of war? What are the unintended consequences? What can be gained by peaceful initiatives? International cooperation, the hallmark of peace, is necessarily part of the solution. We cannot wage war or threaten to do so and at the same time expect to receive the assistance we need to reverse the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

We can chose leaders that have a track record for constructive action.
We have to demand of our leaders that they abandon acting like 19th-century imperialists, militarily dominating others for their resources. It doesn’t add to our security and in fact it puts us in greater jeopardy. And it is completely unnecessary in a global economy. We need to end war as it is the antithesis of the peaceful cooperation we need. Climate change is the real threat to our security. Environmentalists need to assert that there exists no military path to climate security.

Peace,
Dan Monte

I will be posting at: <Bicyclingforpeace.blogspot.com>, and linking to my
Or give me a call 707-393-1948. I do email too, danmonte33@gmail .com. 

I’d love to hear from you on my journey

June 16 in the AM Pomona to Colton

Our family reunion was filled with lots of warm emotions and making new friends. Parting was more difficult for me, hence the delay in setting out Monday morning. I made it to Pomona yesterday even though I started very late and the temperature was in the high 80’s almost 90. Align the way I stopped in an air-conditioned Subway for juice and water. I met a man and his two daughters, 4 and 6, and talked about my own two daughters, now wonder women. He was very excited about my journey and took a leaflet. I hope to hear form him as I head eastward.

I will not make the late departing mistake again today, nor in the future nor for some time to come. My ride will be mostly through desert. I have been told to start riding when I can first see and plot my route according to water stops. So I will stop in Rancho Cucamonga (part of or near San Bernardino) to buy a head lamp for the bike and extra external battery charger for my phone. 

I have also updated my itinerary to align with water in the desert. I won’t be going as far south instead from Palm Springs/Palm Desert towards Mecca - Patton Museum - Desert Center - Blythe. Essentially Interstate 10.
I made these changes when I realized named places on the map do not necessarily have people and water. The rides will be a little longer but I will be able to refuel along the way. The ride from Desert Center to Blythe is all downhill. From Mecca to Desert Center is a climb, but I can stop at the Patton Museum if need be. From the Patton to Desert Center is downhill. Here are the corrections:
Los Angeles, CA to Pomona 36
Pomona to Riverside 25
Riverside to Banning 42
Pomona to Colton (San Bernardino) 28
Colton to Banning 31
Banning to Palm Desert 43
Palm Desert to Bertram 46
Bertram to Brawley 41
Brawley to Mesquite 30
Mesquite to Palo Verde 43
Palo Verde, CA to Blythe 21
Palm Desert to Mecca 37
Mecca to Desert Center (Hwy10) 46

Desert Center to Blythe 56

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My Plan For The First 28 Days

880 Miles and nearly 20,000 feet of climbing. On average 31 miles per day and 715 feet of climbing. If I can do better then I will, if I need some rest I will take it. Since most of this is desert I hope the rest will be by the side of a pool.
Bicycling 40 +/- miles per day Miles
Los Angeles, CA to Pamona 36
Pamona to Riverside 25  
Riverside to Banning 42
Banning to Palm Desert 43
Palm Desert to Bertram 46
Bertram to Brawley 41
Brawley to Mesquite 30
Mesquite to Palo Verde 43
Palo Verde, CA to Blythe 21
Blythe to 
Quartzsite, AZ 23
Quartzsite to Salome 39
Salome to Aguila 28
Aguila to Wickenburg 28
Wickenburg to Mirage 35
Mirage to Tempe 33
Tempe to Apache Junction 25
Apache Junction to Queen Valley 22
Queen Valley to Superior 15
Superior to Miami 18
Miami to Periot 28
Periot to Bylas 23
Bylas to Pima 25
Pima to Stafford 17
Stafford to Duncan 35
Duncan to 
Lordsburg, NM 36
Lordsburg to Deming 62

Deming to Las Cruces 64

Day 21 June 14

Tomorrow I set out from LA towards the Atlantic. I am starting from LA because the family is celebrating, a reunion and gathering of new friends. Five of us will be bicycling to the Pasadena Flea Market today. This will be my first ride with others. Their average age is half of mine. 25 miles and almost 900 of climbing. 

But I still am concerned that my preparations are not complete so I will turn around and head back to my motel and take my final readiness steps. Clean the chain, adjust the brakes, re-attach the lock holder, and just a once over inspection. Do the laundry and pack my bags for a very long trip.


I have charted my stops along the way to Albuquerque, which I will post this afternoon. I take many more miles to avoid places I would love to see, like Flagstaff and Sedona which are 7,000 feet of climbing. I have the route down to only a few days that require over 1,000 feet of up, and just a few that do not have habitation forty miles from a days starting point.

Friday, June 12, 2015

June 12th Day 19

To keep my heart and legs and brain all in this game I am riding everyday. I rode another 24 miles in 2:15 hours today including 15 miles on the flat LA River bike path. Also the blog has over 1000 page views!!  I’m still trying to find the most flat route across the western desert.  I hope to have the first stretch, LA to Chicago, complete this weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day Eighteen Ride Along the LA River

When  I embark on the eastern direction of my pilgrimage for peace and environmental justice I will change the day numbering to just the date. But for now I rode along the LA River today. Before arriving in LA I always thought of the river as more of a concrete drainage ditch. But in the last few days I have learned a different story, and one local folks are trying to make even better.




Here is the concrete armored river and


here are folks fishing, successfully from the river.




And most significantly for a bicyclist, here is a coffee and repair shop right on the trail.

15 miles in 2 hours today.

Days 15 & 16 Rides

I had some issues finding a room and had to change from one motel to another. That’s taken care of for now, but it impacted my ride on Monday June 8. I made the mistake of setting off on a late in the day ride. The day was hot, in the high 90’s, and that I had not ridden the two prior days. I could only manage 10 miles for training. I rode to the LA Bicycle Kitchen or Bici Cocina. This is a very busy urban store with lots of bikers and it looked to me one overworked bike doctor. I pumped some air into my tires and headed out. I found a grassy spot in a nearby park and rested until it cooled down some.


Tuesday June 9 I corrected all of those conditions. I started early- on the bike at 6:30, I rode yesterday, and the weather is wet and in the 60’s. I headed off to Santa Monica which would have been a 20 mile ride if I hadn’t detoured to Hollywood and Vine and to the Sunset Strip.


I put my bicycle in the Pacific today. 



Here is my bicycle on the Santa Monica Pier well into the Pacific Ocean.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Alive and well in Glendale, CA

Later today or early tomorrow I will be posting more. Today is administrative stuff charting courses across the US and dealing with the DMV for the car I will be leaving behind, finally.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Day Fifteen

Still in LA for another week. 
A quick search of the web confirms that by no means am I the first to connect bicycling and peace. My task until Monday 6-15 when I dip my rear tire into the Pacific and head for the Atlantic is to plot a route, identify cities and groups that might be interested in this process. 

I am linking a post in Bicycling below because Viet Nam has been an issue for me for since the late 50’s when my teacher had our fifth grade class debate it for a current affairs lesson. But also because the final quote of the article expresses my sentiments perfectly. 

War is an outmoded form of human interaction. The question is will we survive this industrial form of destruction. Seventy years ago the US and the industrial north demonstrated just how destructive war can be with the detonation of a nuclear bomb. 

I do not reject our modern civilization, indeed I am striving to preserve its wonderful accomplishments while at the same time create the awareness that the social conditions that control its development have escaped the democratic process. We are seeing environmental degradation leading to conflict play out across the earth. It is my belief that this is also a result of the degradation of the democratic process in the highly industrialized countries. “The Next System Project” is an attempt to address these concerns. In Marin the Wolff Pack is a discussion group that is also exploring options. 

Politically Syriza in Greece and PODEMOS in Spain are examples of a democratic re-awakening. Bernie Sanders is trying to create such a movement here in the US. 

Here is the posting from Bicycling, another’s ride through Viet Nam in 2013 by MARK JENKINS
It Means Peace
“The bicycle, a Vietnamese war veteran explains to the American cyclists pedaling the Ho Chi Minh Trail, “was our secret weapon,” thanks to its simplicity, durability, and versatility—qualities that just might bring the cyclists some ­measure of harmony.”
Ong ­replies politely: “I have devoted my life to serving my people. And as for the U.S., our countries are friends now, as we could have been from the beginning. I want only peace.”

The full article here:

<http://www.bicycling.com/culture/travel/it-means-peace>

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day Thirteen

A pause in my journey. I am far enough south to call this portion of my journey a success. Thanks to my friend Kevin I arrived much sooner than I thought possible. He is now on a train from Santa Barbara home. I will begin my cross country journey in a week, around Monday June 15. With my trip around SF Bay and some other training I have ridden the bicycle well over 750 miles since May. I will easily make it across the US.

A New Language For Peace

Yesterday I was interviewed for the third time. The Oakland Post printed the interview (Day Four post). I haven’t heard back from EFE and I am curious as to wether or not the fellow I met from Indiana will find anything further to do with our conversation. 

Pushing up the Nojoqui grade along Alisal Road from Solvang to the Pacific Coast I refined my mission statement a bit. Many people that I have met along the way have responded with frustration with the deniers in government. they believe that we must address climate change. There has not been much response to my peace message. I am trying to develop a language by which we can address what in my mind is the most critical foreign policy issue, wether or not civilization will continue at our current level of development or will we, as Einstein once believed, go back to the Stone Age because we allowed our development to destroy our world. 

Who will make this decision for us? The industrialized Northern Hemisphere spent the 20th Century fighting two world wars and then another 40 years of cold war to institute a global economy for us all. There still are those, in fact the majority of those that we elect, who believe that we must exert control through military power. But Iraq, for example, was very willing to sell its oil, there was no need for that war. 

We need a new language to confront the fear that others in far corners of this world want to harm us. The globe has no corners, not anymore. Its round and covered by an industrialized economic system whose efficiency has made war and much labor obsolete. But that efficiency perseveres with the 20th Century notion of conquest. We must confront that notion with the prospect that when the seas rise we will no longer be able to feed ourselves. 


The new isolationists deny climate change and refuse to engage the rest of humanity in our struggle with this condition. They preach fear and threaten others away from our borders with our military. Americans must demand alternatives to military solutions to what are essentially at their roots economic and environmental problems. This is what we must say to our evangelists or war, if their plans do not address our real survival issues then, no we won’t fight your wars!!!

More On Climate Change

As I left the motel room in Solvang, Amy Goodman’s show  Democracy Now was on. She had two climate scientists talking about the climate change drought in California. Water is a big part of the agricultural valleys, including the valleys I have traveled so far. 

I spoke with a man who assists farmers and well drillers find what they need to grow those wonderful salads I have been eating on this ride. Their wells go very deep. What decisions will California make this summer? We are in the fourth year of a drought. NOAA says we have a one year supply of water. Sao Paulo Brazil, a city with a population proportionate to California’s, just went through a period of water service twice a week. 

As I left Solvang on Alisal Road, I crossed the Santa Ynez River bed. It could be that it is always this dry in early June, but when I then passed golfers at the River Course at the Alisal the combination of these three events was striking. Dry river bed, green golf course, and Democracy Now speaking about the devastation that is prolonged drought. Will we save the natural environment or will we divert the delta waters to feed ourselves? That is what those looking for water want to know. 

My only response to the man in the Salinas Valley is that we too are part of the natural world. We are its product. It is something we must protect.

Musings On The AIDS LifeCycle Riders

Some of you reading this may know that I have worked in the past at the San Francisco Suicide Prevention Hot Line. I volunteered twice each for a year. I the first year was in the mid 90’s. the AIDS anti-virals were not available yet. I spoke with many people who were certain of their imminent passing. I was in my late forties, trying to get out of construction, taking classes at SFSU. 

A decade later I went back to SFSP just to do it. I was amazed that folks I had spoken to 10 years earlier were now very optimistic about their future. These survivors are heroes of the the human spirit. Those riding for them are amazingly strong standard bearers for that strength. They come in various shapes and sizes, costumed as one would expect in a SF parade, riding 80 something miles in a day. I left King City the day they were arriving. Today  they head out toward Santa Monica, ours ways parted.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Day Twelve

Today was 35 miles of hills, 1495 up, in 5:15 hours.
I stopped riding in Isla Vista, and eat at the salad bar of Rusty’s Pizza. We are spending the night in Ventura, so I will need a ride back to Isla Vista tomorrow morning. the AIDS LifeCycle riders are a hearty bunch and rode 85 miles over very similar terrain.

I learned an interesting thing today. I gave up before my legs did. I was so upset about my slow pace today that I rode up hill in the next to highest gear screaming at myself for going slowly. That worked for about a mile. I wanted to take tomorrow off but will finish the trip to Ventura instead about 40 miles.

When I get back from dinner I will try to write some of today's thoughts on climate change and its manifestations in California.

Day Eleven

The ride to Solvang was only possible because I had already  traveled over 410 miles. The legs are stronger, my breathing is strong enough to force oxygen and CO2 in an out sufficiently for the legs to work, and a buddy from more than 50 years has been telling me that I can do it. Find a gear, set a pace, and just don’t stop pedaling until you get to the top. Twice on the Foxen Canyon route from Santa Maria that became invaluable advice. I left the motel about 7:00 AM and arrived in Solvang around 3:00. But I had a leisurely lunch in Los Olivos - a salad, always a salad at every meal on this trip, and then it was all downhill to Solvang.
Thursday, day eleven ride, was 40 miles in 5:45 hours.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day Ten

Yesterday I learned the meaning of quads, the leg mussels used to climb hills. I do a lot of stretching on this trip. Forward folds and backward bends. And to the instructors at Yoga Garden of San Anselmo I have even done the Cat-Cow bends while riding down the rode at 10 miles per hour.

Starting out at Flanders Bicycle shop in San Luis Obispo, John was very helpful with directions to a bike route to Santa Maria. WiFi connections are intermittent at best. I need a connection every morning to find my way and one in the evening to book the next day's room. Once in LA I will get an app, RideWithGPS .com. Yesterday in Atascadero I stopped at a bicycle shop, K-Man Bicycle and Run, and Steven helped me find my way over the mountain using RideWithGPS. He and his wife, Brittany, rode across the country for her cause -CyclingforWater .com using the southern route. I will definitely check that out. I have just taken a quick look at their site, but it looks like a great effort for a very worthy cause.

Today was slow riding, 30 miles/5:30 hours, touring mostly flat routes from SLO to Edna, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, until Santa Maria. Zack at Trinity Cyclery in Grover Beach was very helpful with a map for the last bit of this ride. The AIDS Lifecycle ride caught up with me. They are some fantastic riders, covering in 4 days what took me ten. Today they rode from Paso Robles to Santa Maria almost 90 miles on a route that included the Evil Twins. I made sure not to go that way and took two days. Tomorrow Slovang.