Sunday, August 12, 2007

Love on the Blues Hiway

In the last couple days we've pedaled from the home of Robert Johnson to the home of Muddy Waters. In the process we've come to deeper appreciate the spirit of the blues. Ironically, I've also had a case of laryngitis, giving me a raspy blues voice. We're playing with it.

Ninety-five degrees with ninety-five percent humidity is Mississippi Delta normal for August, but it kicks me harder than anything we've experienced along this trip. I came close to collapse, sweating profusely, short of breath, and dizzy. Love saved me.

First there was the love of a complete stranger. Paul was on his way to visit the family of a recently departed friend, but he took time to express his concern for me. He helped us to get oriented to the locale, suggested a good place to rest, and stopped back later to see that I had recovered.

Then there was my love for the two girls I was hauling in the bike trailer. I wasn't about to let them down or put them at risk. I found the reserves of energy I needed to carry them to a safe spot by drawing on the love that has surrounded me since birth. All the love of my family, ancestors, and more was there for me.

But it was Michele's love that finally set me onto the road to recovery. I swear she pays more attention to my hydration and nutrition than she does to her own. When I continued to struggle with riding in the heat, she insisted that I switch trailers, lightening my load and solving my problem.

I've recovered and we've switched trailers back to make better time, but I have a new awareness of the never-ending source of strength that love provides.


SEPT 22-29
Washington DC - Los Angeles

National March on Washington SEPT 29

Stop the War at Home & Abroad
Troops Out Now!
Impeach Bush & Cheney for War Crimes!

from Protest to Resistance...
It's time to Occupy the Occupiers!

It's time to turn up the heat! Funding for the criminal war in Iraq will expire on October 1. The month of September will see the next big struggle over war funding, but this time the antiwar movement needs to be there to demand the immediate cut off of all war funding.

We have all seen that the Democratic leadership in Congress, despite being elected with a clear mandate to end the war, has completely capitulated to the Bush Administration. We cannot wait for politicians to end the war.

Let's bring the occupation to Washington! During the week of September 22-29, antiwar activists will erect an encampment on the Lawn directly across from the Capitol. The site of the Encampment is a square of land directly in front of the Capitol, where we will maintain a determined, visible 24-hour antiwar presence as a direct challenge to the politicians - both Republican and Democrat - who voted for the war and vote to continue to fund the war.

Activists, military families, veterans, trade unionists, and community organizers from activists from across the U.S. are planning to erect a tent city, in Washington, DC, which will be a center of organizing, resistance, and action for the week.
At the same time, activists will also be converging in Los Angeles for a West Coast week-long antiwar Encampment and March (see for more information and to get involved.)

If you want the social justice issues you are fighting for to be seen and heard around the world and by the national media, then bring your displays, art, graphics and signs to the week long encampment.

Many local and national organizations are planning to have their own tents for the Encampment. There will be actions, protests, and speak outs organized by health care activists, military family members, immigrant rights organizers, and more.

Each day will have a variety of different activities, focused on the impeachment of Bush and Cheney for war crimes, student and youth action, political prisoners, Katrina, stopping a war against Iran, and more. Each night will feature "Culture and Resistance," including spoken word artists, musicians, poets, and more.

We have commitments from several hip-hop groups and other musicians for resistance music at the encampment each evening - if you or your group is interested in performing at the Encampment, see for details.

Carlos Arredondo will be erecting a tent with boots and crosses in honor of his son, who died in Iraq. Other members and chapters of Military Families Speak Out will be a determined presence with exhibits and demands to bring their sons and daughters and ALL the troops home now. Code Pink, the Green Party of the US, World Can't Wait, and other national and local organizations will be on site and organizing creative confrontations in the halls of Congress.

Many of the working people that Michael Moore featured in SICKO are planning a special candle-light vigil for all those who have died for lack of health care.

Youth are meeting and planning resistance actions in the congressional office buildings and streets of DC.

At the end of the week, activists at the Encampment will join activists from across the country for a massive March on Washington on September 29. Buses, vans, and car caravans are coming from more than 55 organizing centers, with 80 buses already scheduled, and more being added every day.

We need your input planning giant displays, literature and organizing tents, skill sharing sessions, and acts of creative protest and resistance. Please contact us to share your ideas and to volunteer to help organize for the encampment.

Over the next few days, we will be posting a calendar of events for the Encampment. If your group would like to organize a tent, protest action, teach-in, etc. please contact us.

We are developing a list of inexpensive housing in the area and will be posting it soon -- activists who are able to join us all week, should also line up housing in the area. We can be a presence on site around the clock but we can not actually sleep at night or cook on-site.

If you are in the Washington DC - Maryland - Virginia area, we need your help with housing, food, transportation and help on set-up. Please contact us online or by phone at 212-633-6646.

Yes! I am planning to participate in the Encampment to Stop the War

I can volunteer to help with the Encampment

My group would like to organize a tent/ action/ teach-in/ activity during the Encampment

I can donate to help with the Encampment

I live in the DC area and can help with the Encampment

If you can't join us at the Encampment, you can send someone in your place.
Your donation can help send a youth or student organizer to the Encampment for the week -- Please consider making a donation online at

Friday, August 03, 2007


Catalysts of HOPE
Frequently Asked Questions

Where are you riding from and to?
We rode our bicycles from Portland, Oregon to Ventura, California, where we turned left. We crossed the high desert between Twentynine Palms, CA, and Parker, AZ, then turned southeast to El Paso. We rode across the center of Texas to Camp Casey and down to New Orleans. We'll continue up the Mississippi to St Louis, then cross to Washington, DC, for a week-long encampment in front of Congress that begins Sat 22 Sept, World Car-Free Day. After that, we'll go down to Georgia, perhaps Florida, and back to Louisiana and Texas.

Doesn't it take a long time to travel this way?
Well, we could choose to spend our time earning the car and the insurance, the gasoline and the maintenance, but the kids like it better when we spend time with them. Bicycling is human scale travel. We take time to appreciate where we are.

When are you going home?
When the troops are home. When everybody's gone home to New Orleans. When the Palestinians have a home and the prisoners come home. Until then, these bikes are our home. The whole world is home.

Don't the twins get fussy?
Of course they do. They're two-year-olds. But they spend a lot of their time in the trailer napping, singing, or playing harmonica. We laugh and talk together as they push me down the hills. And we stop when they need it.

What do you do when it rains?
Generally we get wet. Of course, we get wet even when it isn't raining. The warm rains of the south aren't bad, so long as we can keep most of our stuff dry. We have some pretty good panniers and bags. The babies have a rain cover.

Don't you get tired from all that work?
Yes. Then we rest. Each hill makes us stronger for the next one. It's an invigorating lifestyle. Bicycling, like swimming, is low impact exercise, as long as your equipment fits and you avoid contacting the pavement.

What do you hope to accomplish?
World peace would be nice. In the meanwhile, we're just showing folks that it's fun and easy to live without oil. As long as they want to fight over it, we want to try not to buy it.

Where do you stay?
We often depend upon the kindness of strangers. We've enjoyed the homes of many kind folk along the way. We also carry our camping gear, so we can stay in campgrounds and backyards. Sometimes, we stay in motels, if we can afford it.

How can you afford to do this?
How could we afford to pretend a normal lifestyle works? We accept donations. Like most Americans, we've over-extended our credit cards. We try to live simply and minimize expenses.

What kind of work do you do?
Besides pedaling heavy bicycles, we facilitate community discussions. We help neighborhoods to become more sustainable and to communicate peacefully.

Can we come with you?
Sure! Go to your local community bike shop and assemble a rig that will carry the few things that you really need to live on the road. You're welcome to ride with us or set your own pace and meet us along the way.