The Journey


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 29 My Meeting With My Congressman

Folks have asked me about my meeting with my representative Congressman Jared Huffman. Yesterday’s cry helped me a bit to break out of my funk, so here goes.

Meeting with Jared, his aid Scott Rasmussen, and all of his office staff beforehand was a very pleasant experience. Our meeting was friendly. And the Congressman was very busy he talked to me even though others were also waiting. I guess a 3,500 mile bicycle ride earns one some benefits. 

My intended audience of my message was environmentalists and the need for their support for looking closer at our foreign policy and how our government’s decline into war power over negotiations was hindering attempts to solve the global issue of climate change. Jared Huffman is certainly a very effective advocate for addressing our climate change crisis and I am happy to watch him mostly be an advocate for the reduction of the use military force. I thanked him for his efforts regarding the push to bomb Syria over chemical weapons and for his support for the Iran nuclear agreement. And Jared alerted me to the just breaking then news that Russia and  the US were starting to talk again since their frozen positions on Ukraine.

We talked about my ride and its challenges. Jared grew up in Missouri the state where I first had hills too steep to pedal. I told him of the Katy Trail, a rail to trail path, that was developed after he had left Missouri. In the fifteen minutes we, or more accurately I, mentioned quite a few issues and groups that I had met in DC. 

Here is a item list of topics mentioned:
My ride and the Hills of Missouri
Syria and a Russian initiative for negotiation
The Congressman’s support for the Iran nuclear agreement
The Congressman's position last year on bombing Syria
The development of the Ukraine civil war 
Carbon farming in Australia
The Progressive Round Table monthly meeting
Code Pink and Cheney's presentation at the American Enterprise Institute
The Civic Center Watershed Restoration project to float an island in the CC Lagoon
My support for the effort to bring a bill for a Department of  Peace Building

The Clean Energy/GreenJobs Resolution supported by Raul Grijalva

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28 My Schizophrenic god

I woke this morning to my god who does not exist
My schizophrenic god who does not exist
My god that sets Sunni and Shia Protestant and Catholic at odds
I am sitting in a room of warriors who have come home
I am sitting in a room with their loved ones offering them comfort
A poet warrior professor reads of picking up a mustached lip off an Iraqi street
I am listening to a mother of the man whose body was stepped over to get to other soldiers
I am listening to that soldier who had much of his head removed by an IED and yet survived

I woke this morning to my god who does not exist
My schizophrenic god who does not exist
I am listening to my god shooting a Vietnamese in half as he runs up a hill
I am listening to my god interrogating a Palestinian in an Israeli cell
This morning my god droned a teenager as he sat al fresco drinking coffee 
This morning my god strafed and leveled a Salvadoran hamlet in one pass
This morning my coffee is wakening me with tears of rage 
This morning my god who does not exist is fading now

I am having a hard time trying to write a finale to my bicycle pilgrimage
The John Wayne McCains the Rambo crowd is clamoring for more war
In the Arctic in the Baltics and Ukraine in the Middle East and Africa they want more
I took in hope when the Peace Pope came an talked poverty and environment 
But the god fearing warrior class wants more blood from their projects
Riding a bicycle nor even Francis could not get us to stop them

I am immobilized now by my tears of rage

My schizophrenic god who does not exist knows no peace

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September 8 Why I Ride reposted

The Lincoln Memorial as I rode into DC 

Why I Ride

I repost this piece every month so that those who come upon this blog will know why I am riding, and because it has my contact information in case you may want to communicate with me. 

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 possible 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.

Dan Monte

I will be posting at: 
You can find me on Facebook <>
or email me directly at
Give me a call 707-393-1948. 

I’d love to hear from you on my journey

Sunday, September 6, 2015

September 6 Enough Already

Here is the proof that I am here. 
More in the next few days after I get settled.
A rough calculation of this journey to DC

Days from San Rafael: 105
Days from LA: 84

Miles from San Rafael:  3426
Miles from LA: 3000

Feet Climbed from San Rafael: 68090 

Feet Climbed from LA: 58577

September 6 first Stay in Hostel A Success

View of the Potomac from Little Orleans

Lots of fun hearing and telling stories on the travel of each’s choice. Now I ride.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

September 5 Happy Birthday Bonnie

Arriving in DC on Sunday
I will spend my last night on the road in The Harpers Ferry Hostel, and then my first day in Washington DC in the Washington DC Hostel in Georgetown.  

I have cousins to see and a friend from my San Francisco days to see and stay with. I am hoping to be able to leave, fly home, on September 22. Before then I want to meet with folks working on Peace and Environmental causes, and my  representative in Congress.

Friday, September 4, 2015

September 4 One Hundred Miles Left

I couldn't get out of bed today, so I am staying put.

I am just too tired from these 3 months of riding that today I will just post pictures.

Along the trail today I nearly ran over this snake and turtle.

Also this deer seemed as interested in me as I was in her and she stood still enough for me to get their pictures.

Here are some pictures of the locks on the C&O Canal Towpath. This one has grass where once was water. Those that still have water also have water moccasins.

And running parallel is the Potomac River the border of Maryland and West Virginia
Peace from Hagersville-Williamsport MD

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

140 miles from DC! On the Potomac in the hills of Maryland.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 1 Evening In Frostburg

Aren't all newts endangered?

Mom and her ducklings

Mississippi and Potomac watershed divide

Mason Dixon Line the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania

Just 201 miles to Georgetown area of DC. I will be there by Saturday September 5, maybe sooner if it really is all downhill as the locals are saying.
Today was a great ride and met lots of couples and groups on the road. Here are some cute pictures and some geographically significant.

Peace Dan

September 1 There’s A Big Difference Between Miles And Climbing

Trailside produce and cold drink stand

I did not see FLW’s Falling Water yesterday but I had a great ride all the same. Here are some trailside pictures from the GAP. Sections of this recreational trail are owned and maintained by volunteer run non-profits. Folks love their trail. Given how difficult it is to ride the hills everywhere else in this part of the world it is no wonder that they do. I passed this encampment early yesterday where freshly grown produce seems to be given away for free. 

The climb to Mill Run where Falling Water is located was too much for me. I made it half way there and came to terms with missing this opportunity. When I got back to Ohiopyle, the small community closest to Falling Water I learned that if I had known I could have been ferried up to the site. 

The two kids taking my picture with their mother

But all was not lost, I headed down the trail to the next town 11 miles away, Confluence, and leapfrogged a group of riders. they finally stopped to talk to me as I was about to pass them again. The mother of these two kids had a notion that I might be interesting to talk to. She and her family live in Pittsburgh and she is definitely an activist on local and global issues, from the county deciding to frack a park to memorializing the bombing of Japan 70 years ago. We talked the whole ride into confluence. 

Peace, from my last day in Pennsylvania 

Here’s my contact info:
You can find me on Facebook <>
or email me directly at
Give me a call 707-393-1948. 

I’d love to hear from you on my journey