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VETERANS FOR PEACE
Humboldt Bay Chapter 56

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Cycling from Eugene, Oregon to Seattle, Washington
July 25-August 8, 2006

"We are transporting ourselves to the Veterans For Peace Convention in Seattle without using petroleum to make a quiet statement about the connection between our lifestyle addictions and our nation's addiction to war. We believe one of the most radical things people can do is to stop consuming while re-creating local, sustainable, community-reliant economies."

For more information about the ride, or for information on obtaining high-density copies of any photos on this page, please send an email to vetsride4peace.

All photographs on this page (unless otherwise noted) were taken by Don Maddox.

For additional photographs and blogs about the ride, visit Gordon Sturrock's Squadron13.com and Jeff Chase's Two Wheel Revolution.


  • Monday, July 24: EUGENE, Oregon

    Send-off Rally and Press Conference, Eugene, Oregon, 6:00pm at the amphitheater next to the Willamette River, near the River House at 301 N. Adams.

    Eugene host: Gordon Sturrock, Cold War Veteran, Eugene Civil Resistor, founder of VeteransAgainstTorture.com and Squadron13.com. Guest speakers at the rally:

    • Edgar Peara, WW2 Veteran, D-Day participant, VeteransAgainstTorture member and retired minister (Edgar will give a blessing)
    • Josh Schlossberg, local Critical Mass organizer
    • Sara Rich, mother of SPC Suzanne Swift
    • Dr. Jack Dresser, Vietnam-era Veteran, behavior scientist, political writer and VeteransAgainstTorture member
    • Brian Willson, Vietnam Veteran peace activist, political writer, and guiding force behind the ride.


July 24th Log

As cyclists descended upon Eugene between midnight July 23rd and midnight July 24th, they were met by oppressively hot weather, cementing their resolve to leave early on the 25th to ensure cool temperatures for the ride. On Monday morning, it became clear that Eugene was the perfect place to launch the ride, as many locals were seen bicycling all over town. That evening, after an inspiring kick-off event in a lovely amphitheatre in view of the Willamette River (though not hugely attended due to the high heat), everyone returned to Gordon & Ivy's (the ride's first home base) for a potluck with local peace and sustainability activists.

Those who cycled out of Eugene Tuesday morning included Vietnam veterans Lane Anderson, Bob Goss, Billy Kelly, David Tschoepe, Brian Willson, Iraq veteran Eric Salazar, and Cold War Veteran Gordon Sturrock, as well as non-veterans Jeff Chase, Fred Danforth, Geronimo Garcia, Carilyn Goldammer and Becky Luening. Support vehicle drivers included videographer Mark Dubrow, photographer Don Maddox (Vietnam-era vet), Vietnam veteran Ted Sexauer and Pat Tate, driver of the White Rose bus, a project of VFP Chapter 116 from Mendocino, California.

ALL PHOTOS BY DON MADDOX
UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED


THE KICK-OFF RALLY TOOK PLACE AT THIS BEAUTIFUL EUGENE AMPHITHEATRE NEXT TO THE WILLAMETTE RIVER

THE ARTICULATE DR. JACK DRESSER EXPLAINED THAT LT. EHREN WATADA'S REFUSAL TO OBEY AN ILLEGAL ORDER CALLS INTO QUESTION THE LEGALITY OF THE WAR IN IRAQ

SARA RICH, MOTHER OF SPC. SUZANNE SWIFT, SPOKE ABOUT THE NEED TO RAISE THE MINIMUM AGE FOR MILITARY SERVICE, AS TEENAGERS DO NOT HAVE THE MATURITY TO HANDLE TRAUMA AND ABUSE SUCH AS THAT EXPERIENCED BY HER DAUGHTER

JOSH SCHLOSSBERG, A DEDICATED CYCLIST WHO OFTEN RIDES IN CRITICAL MASS RIDES AROUND EUGENE, SPOKE ELOQUENTLY ABOUT BICYCLING AS A STATEMENT AND THE BENEFITS OF CYCLING AS A WAY OF LIFE


  • Tuesday, July 25: CORVALLIS, Oregon

    Potluck community dinner hosted by Leah and Bart Bolger at the site of a several-family intentional community located on the southeast edge of Corvallis.


July 25th Log

TOTAL MILES: 47 miles
DEPARTED EUGENE: 5:50am
ARRIVED CORVALLIS: 11:00am
TERRAIN: Relatively flat, good shoulders, fairly light auto traffic until Highway 34 just outside of Corvallis
CHALLENGES: Lane's Exycle cable broke, so he hopped on the bus for a while. At the next rest stop Ted and Lane worked together to fix the cable so he could finish the leg on two wheels. Geronimo left Eugene two hours late due to the need to reassemble his handmade bamboo trailer. He also had two flat tires enroute, and no pump. When he finally arrived in Corvallis at dinnertime, it quickly became apparent he was suffering from heat exhaustion.

On the way out of Eugene, Gordon Sturrock led everyone along a bike path that meanders through a park next to the Willamette River, pausing in front of the local veterans war memorial for a photo op. The riders took Coburg Road, a beautiful rural two-lane road, past golden fields and well-tended farms and gardens, some homes displaying Bible verses on signs out front. Coburg Road goes through Coburg and Harrisburg and eventually turns into Peoria Road.


GETTING READY: LANE ANDERSON CHECKS HIS GERMAN-MADE EXYCLE HAND-POWER BOOSTER, HELPFUL FOR A GUY WITH WEAK KNEES

DAVE TSCHOEPE READY TO ROLL ON THE THREE-WHEELER HE CONSTRUCTED OUT OF A GURNEY AND OTHER USED PARTS JUST FOR THIS RIDE

CYCLISTS GATHER IN FRONT OF THE "WHITE ROSE" BUS, OWNED AND OPERATED BY PAT TATE OF MENDOCINO VFP CHAPTER 116

ERIC SALAZAR, IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR MEMBER FROM WASHINGTON STATE, SETS OFF IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS

GORDON STURROCK HOSTED THE RIDE IN EUGENE, AND THEN CYCLED ALONG FROM EUGENE TO CORVALLIS

JEFF CHASE (A FORMER S.F. BIKE MESSENGER) TRAVELED FROM HIS FARM IN THE PHILIPPINES TO JOIN THE RIDE AFTER READING ABOUT IT IN AN ARTICLE ON COMMON DREAMS WRITTEN BY ACTIVIST KATHY KELLY

BRIAN WILLSON, THE ONLY RIDER WITH A HAND-POWERED CYCLE, POWERS DOWN COBURG ROAD IN THE EARLY MORNING

BECKY LUENING, AN ASSOCIATE MEMBER OF VFP CHAPTER 56 FROM ARCATA, CALIFORNIA HELPED ORGANIZE THE RIDE

JUST ONE OF MANY HOMEMADE RELIGIOUS SIGNS SEEN ON COBURG ROAD (MENNONITE COUNTRY)

THE INCORRIGIBLE FRED DANFORTH, ASSOCIATE MEMBER OF VFP CHAPTER 116 FROM WILLITS, CALIFORNIA, AT YOUR SERVICE (THE UPSIDE-DOWN FLAG SIGNIFIES A COUNTRY IN DISTRESS)

An hour or so into the ride, Iraq Veterans Against the War Ethan Crowell and Joe Hatcher caught up with the cyclists. They had just driven across the country from Slidell, Louisiana where they'd been doing post-Katrina cleanup and veteran solidarity work. They left their car and secured bicycles in Corvallis and were ready to join the ride the next morning.

Bart Bolger, retired Naval officer and member of VFP Chapter 132, met the riders on his bicycle at the crossroads at Peoria Road and Highway 34 and guided them to their final destination, stopping on the way for a food-energy fill-up at the local co-op grocery. Part of this last segment was a bike path through a downtown park that serves as the location of Corvallis' weekly farmers market.

As they arrived at their final destination, a small rustic "intentional community" just outside of town, riders were warmly welcomed by a young couple named Ben and Michelle along with their family and friends. These gracious folks were happy to share everything they had and talked about their dedication to principles of permaculture and sustainable living. Following an afternoon of napping and general relaxation, other locals began streaming in with a variety of fresh, healthy food, making for a bountiful potluck.

In Corvallis there has been an ongoing "Troops Home Fast" in solidarity with the Washington fast instigated by Code Pink. Ride host Leah Bolger (retired Naval officer and president of the Corvallis VFP chapter), had been fasting every day for three weeks, but broke her fast at this evening's potluck. After dinner, all of the participants (including support vehicle drivers) had a chance to say something about who they are and why they decided to join the ride. Local folks then jumped in for a lively discussion.


LEAH BOLGER, PRESIDENT OF CORVALLIS VFP CHAPTER, WITH HUSBAND BART BOLGER IN BACKGROUND

CARILYN GOLDAMMER, VFP CHAPTER 56 ASSOCIATE MEMBER AND CYCLIST, TALKS ABOUT WHY SHE JOINED THE RIDE

WORLD WAR II VETERAN GEORGE WILSON FROM PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA ALMOST JOINED THE RIDE HIMSELF (BUT INSTEAD MET THE RIDE IN CORVALLIS)

BRIAN WILLSON EXPLAINS THE MESSAGE BEHIND THE VETERANS (HUMAN-POWERED) RIDE FOR PEACE & SUSTAINABILITY

ETHAN CROWELL, MEMBEROF IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR FROM MOBILE, ALABAMA

BOB GOSS, MEMBER OF PORTLAND VFP CHAPTER 72, SHARES HIS THOUGHTS


  • Wednesday, July 26: SALEM, Oregon

    Potluck at the Salem Friends' Meeting House, 490 19th St. NE (at Breyman), sponsored by Oregon PeaceWorks.


July 26th Log

TOTAL MILES: 40 miles
DEPARTED CORVALLIS: 6:30am
ARRIVED SALEM: 11:00am
TERRAIN: Relatively flat, good shoulders, much more auto traffic than the first day due to the main route being Hwy 99W, Hwy 51 and Hwy 22
CHALLENGES: Geronimo Garcia started out with the rest of the riders, but soon had a flat tire, and then another. He was left behind and lost the address of our final destination in Salem. Finally, suffering severe cramping, a symptom of electrolyte depletion, he stopped into a clinic. The people there helped him look up the VFP56 website which fortunately listed the address of the evening potluck. For the second day in a row, after much worrying on his behalf, Geronimo appeared to wild cheers of happy relief.
SERENDIPITY: Earlier in the day, Marlese, a reporter from KBOO Radio in Portland, called to schedule an interview for the next day. She mentioned that she had told a friend of hers named Geronimo Tagatac about the potluck in Salem. Not only did this Geronimo come to the dinner; he decided to cycle along as far as Portland. It was definitely serendipitous to have two Geronimos on the ride.

Wednesday morning, Corvallis host Bart Bolger led the cyclists out of town as far as Highway 99W, accompanied by another friend, Rebecca, and her partner. From there the route was Independence Highway 51 (another two-lane road), to Highway 22 (a four-lane highway) for a few miles which led to the West Salem offramp. Scenery along the way was similar to the first day--golden fields of cut hay laying in rows, not yet baled. There were lots of blueberry bushes heavy with fruit, as well as cornfields and fruit trees and a few grapevines. The only semi big town on the way was Monmouth, site of a University of Oregon campus. The cyclists stopped to recharge in a parking lot between Burgerville and a convenience store. Upon arrival in Salem, they rested for about an hour on a shaded grassy strip on Edgewater Blvd. before riding the remaining mile or two over the Willamette River to their final destination.

Three different but closely associated organizations hosted the Salem stop. Wonderful overnight accommodations complete with shower and laundry room as well as lunch on the 26th and breakfast on the 27th (plus snacks for the ride!) were supplied by the First Congregational United Church of Christ (700 Marion St. NE). There was a strong impression at each successive stop that the ride hosts were trying to outdo the previous stop, even though they couldn't have known what had gone before. Everyone was amazed by the dedication and gracious hospitality of Rev. Gail McDougle, Mike Powers and Bill Hayden. The link to the church was made through Mike, who is a board member of the Rural Organizing Project as well as a member of FCUCC. The evening's potluck and program was organized by Peter Bergel of Oregon PeaceWorks, with help from members of the organization's board. All of these people are working hard for justice and peace, in Oregon and beyond.


TAKING A BREAK JUST AFTER
ARRIVAL IN SALEM, OREGON

IN FRONT OF THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, L to R: BRIAN WILLSON, REV. GAIL McDOUGLE, BOB GOSS, BILL HAYDEN, MIKE POWERS

GERONIMO GARCIA TALKS ABOUT HIS CONNECTION WITH BRIAN AND HIS CYCLING ADVENTURES

PAT TATE TALKS ABOUT HIS WHITE ROSE BUS, A PROJECT OF VFP MENDOCINO CHAPTER 116

BRIAN WILLSON MAKES HIS POINT

PETER BERGEL, POTLUCK ORGANIZER AND EDITOR OF THE EXCELLENT PEACEWORKER NEWSPAPER


  • Thursday, July 27: NEWBERG, Oregon

    Camping and pampering at the home of Newberg Democrats Bruce and Sharon Freeman.


July 27th Log

TOTAL MILES: 34 miles
DEPARTED SALEM: 7:00am
ARRIVED NEWBERG: 10:30am (final destination 11:30am)
TERRAIN: A bit more curvy than the previous two days, and a few more ups and downs, but nothing major until the end; on highways for most of the route, with good shoulders and mostly pleasant rural and small-town scenery
CHALLENGES: The last approximately half-mile ascent to the Freeman's house, which sits on a hill overlooking Newberg, was the steepest climb yet, done in the burning midday sun. Most cyclists made it all the way up without walking their bikes, including Brian on his handcycle. (Cold water on the head definitely helped.)


8.4 Mb QuickTime movie captured by Fred Danforth

From Salem to Newberg it was a straight shot up River Road, which eventually joins Highway 219. Again, the scenery was really beautiful, with lots of pastures, berry bushes and fruit trees, and hops growing on tall trellises. The closer the riders got to Newberg, the more grapevines there were. Just after 9:00am the group enjoyed a rather lengthy pit stop near a Mexican mini-market in St. Paul, just 8 miles south of Newberg. Geronimo Tagatac was now with the ride. And an hour or two in, Eugene host Gordon Sturrock made a reappearance--this time in his Prius instead of on his bike. Gordon brought a couple educational signs along, which he displayed at every stop.

A couple miles out of Newberg, Bruce Freeman greeted the cyclists in his red 4x4 truck. He took a couple photos, then called ahead to the Newberg City Police with whom he had arranged a police escort for the ride. They met the ride a couple more miles up the road. One patrol car took the lead, running a siren at every intersection to stop cross traffic as everyone cycled through. The White Rose and other support vehicles lined up behind the cyclists, and a second patrol car brought up the rear. People honked and waved, or just stared curiously. At one corner, in front of an antique store, three women flashed peace signs and cheered loudly as the parade rolled by. There was a big American flag and on a marquee in front of the store spelled out the words "GOD BLESS YOU VETERANS FOR PEACE." Later we learned from Sharon Freeman that the woman who owned the shop had lost her son-in-law in Iraq--he was one of the first casualties of the war. After making a big loop through downtown Newberg with sirens blaring, the police cars led the ride to the base of the Freeman's hill. As the veterans cycled past, the lead police officer yelled out, "Thank you for your service!"

After the sweat-producing ascent up the hill to the Freeman's home, Sharon greeted the gang with homemade pizza, chips and salsa, oranges and watermelon. People collapsed in the shade, commenced to taking showers and naps, stretching, talking, playing, snacking and generally relaxing. A wonderful dinner of salad and lasagne was laid out later, enjoyed with the company of Bruce and Sharon and a few of their friends and neighbors. As night fell and everyone settled into sleeping bags, a cold wind began whipping the hill.


BRIAN DOES A PHONE INTERVIEW
DURING THE PIT STOP AT ST. PAUL

GORDON'S SIGNS DISPLAYED AT THE REST STOP (DAVE TSCHOEPE AND HIS THREE-WHEELED CYCLE IN FOREGROUND)

CYCLISTS GET READY TO BE ESCORTED THROUGH TOWN BY NEWBERG CITY POLICE

POLICE ESCORTED PARADE AS SEEN FROM BEHIND THE WHITE ROSE

LANE ANDERSON & DON MADDOX

DINNER IN NEWBERG

  • Friday, July 28: PORTLAND, Oregon

    VFP Chapter 72 Veterans Ride Reception, Peace Memorial Park at the end of the Vera Katz Esplanade just above the steel bridge in Portland. Potluck and roundtable discussion 6:00 at Whitefeather Catholic Worker House in northeast Portland.


July 28th Log

TOTAL MILES: 31 miles
DEPARTED NEWBERG: 6:20am
ARRIVED PORTLAND: 11:45am
TERRAIN: The most challenging so far, many ups and downs, with some significant long grades, but excellent marked bike paths for most of the route
CHALLENGES: A very long, relatively steep grade passing through the suburb of Tigard and a bridge with no shoulder, especially scary for the three-wheeled vehicles. Bill Parry had a flat tire, affording everyone else a leisurely stop while they waited for him to catch up. There were more twists and turns on this route, and since it's so difficult for cyclists to stay together, a vehicle driver or cyclist would be posted at each turn to prevent anyone from getting lost. At the bottom of one super steep downhill near the end of the day's ride, Jeff's chain fell off and he opted to ride the rest of the way in one of the vans.
STORY OF THE DAY: Just outside of Salem Thursday morning, we passed a man walking along the side of the highway. Weathered and tired looking, slightly stooped, he walked with his right arm swinging. He carried nothing but the clothes on his back. On Friday, an hour or so outside of Newberg, there he was again, walking down the road. It was unmistakably the same man. Mark Dubrow and our friend Jim (another support driver) both talked to the man, gave him a supply of energy bars, and Jim ended up giving him a ride after he refused a ride from Mark. He said he had been walking all the way from Los Angeles back to Portland, his home base, stopping at missions along the way.

Upon awakening at 5:15 Friday morning cloudy, cool weather required sweaters and jackets. Two new riders joined the group for the day: Bill Parry and Elijah Smith, members of Portland VFP Chapter 72, arrived to guide the cyclists through the suburbs into Portland. Bill held a quick briefing meeting and distributed maps to the support vehicle drivers. After a breakfast of oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit, coffee and juice, it was time to head back down the hill and up the highway. Another VFP 72 member, Elijah, carried a large white-on-black peace sign flag the whole length of the day's journey, which made an awesome sight and really helped to amplify the riders' message.

The cyclists wound their way through suburbs south of Portland including Sherwood, Tigard, and Beaverton, before heading east into the heart of Portland and cycling on the Vera Katz Esplanade along the Willamette River to the Peace Memorial Park (created by local Veterans For Peace), a round circle planted with a grass peace sign filled in with brightly colored flowerbeds. The ride had many uphills and downhills (some of their most challenging hills yet) and lots of lights and traffic to contend with, but bike lanes were well marked in most areas. Luckily, the weather stayed cool all day.

The original plan was for people to be split up between two houses, but upon arrival at the Whitefeather Catholic Worker house on Russet Street (near Lombard) in north Portland, it was determined to be big enough for the whole group, with plenty of parking space on the street for the bus and vans. Malcolm, another member of VFP Chapter 72, greeted the group upon their arrival. The house made a wonderful home base for two nights, with resident host, Rachel, providing wonderful hospitality and plenty of good healthy food to eat. Friday night, after dinner, some of the riders and drivers engaged in a roundtable discussion with Whitefeather community members about simplicity, community, bicycling, and sustainable lifestyles.


THE WHITE ROSE ARRIVES IN PORTLAND,
PILOTED BY PAT TATE

GERONIMO TAGATAC FIXES A FLAT

PEACE MEMORIAL PARK

RACHEL AT WHITEFEATHER HOUSE

  • Saturday, July 29: PORTLAND, Oregon

    Bicycle Rally in support of the Veterans Human-Powered Ride for Peace & Sustainability at Oaks Park, 1 SE Spokane, near the Sellwood Bridge. Depart at 10:00am from the Peace Memorial Park at the north end of the Vera Katz Esplanade, NE Oregon & Interstate. ROUTE: Springwater Corridor to Vera Katz Esplanade to Peace Memorial Park (approx. 4.5 miles). Speakers and music at the park after the ride.


July 29th Log

TOTAL MILES: 10 miles (round trip)
TERRAIN: Mostly flat, smooth asphalt and pavement
ADDITIONAL RIDERS: In the late afternoon two more cyclists arrived in Portland to join the ride. Disabled Army veteran and VFP National staffer Cherie Eichholz arrived from St. Louis, Missouri. Sandy Kelson, Vietnam-era veteran founder of VFP Casey Sheehan Chapter in Northwest Pennsylvania and past president of VFP National came prepared to ride, even though he claimed he hadn't been on a bike for 40 years (!)
OTHER CHANGES: Ted Sexauer left in his Prius this morning to make a scouting trip up north to Olympia and beyond. Geronimo Tagatac left on the train after the rally. BTW, both of these men are writers. Geronimo just published a book of short stories titled The Weight of the Sun. Ted is a contributing writer to a soon-to-be published book of writings of veterans edited by Maxine Hong Kingston titled Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace.

Veterans For Peace Chapter 72 really got into the spirit of the ride. They organized a bicycle rally starting at 10:00am at Oaks Park, near the Sellwood Bridge. Cyclists were shuttled to the peace park earlier in the morning, or took the Max there (Portland's excellent metro line), and then biked from there to the rally starting point. At the appointed hour, at least 50 additional cyclists joined the Veterans Ride to form a long line riding the Springwater Corridor to the Vera Katz Esplanade to the Peace Memorial Park (approximately 4.5 miles). Among the local riders were many VFP members, some with their spouses and children. It was definitely a multi-generational event. One colorful activist rode an extra-tall bike and carried an earth flag. This flag, along with Elijah's peace flag, really helped amplify to bystanders what the ride was about.

The cyclists were greeted by live music as they arrived at the Memorial Peace Park. Soon it was speech-making time. Speakers included Bob Goss, member of Portland VFP Chapter 72 who rode with the group from Eugene, Andrea Lewis of Portland Redirect Guide (a local guide to businesses that operate sustainably, or support sustainable living), and of course, Brian Willson. The musician was Grant Remington, President Emeritus of VFP 72 and lead singer of Loose Change, a popular local band that does a fundraiser for the chapter every first Thursday.

Also in attendance at the rally were Joe Lewis and Jim Russell, survivors of the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre who had met Brian, Becky and the other Arcata folks in April 2005 when they participated in a "No More War: Remembrance and Resistance" Teach-in co-organized by VFP Chapter 56. Jim brought his camera and took some great photos of the bike rally as well as the next day's leg to Scappoose.

After the rally, Geronimo Tagatac took leave of the group and caught a train back to Salem. Bob Goss returned to Vancouver with his family, promising to meet up with the ride the next evening in Scappoose. For everyone else, the rest of the day was designated free time for sightseeing and resting. In the evening people eventually found their way back to Whitefeather House, where Rachel had prepared a delicious Mexican-style dinner spread.


LEADER OF THE PACK

BILLY KELLY

DAVE TSCHOEPE

BOB GOSS

THIS COLORFUL CYCLIST WAS
HEAD AND SHOULDERS
ABOVE THE REST
[PHOTO BY JIM RUSSELL]

ELIJAH'S PEACE FLAG
PROCLAIMED THE MESSAGE
OF THE BIKE RALLY
[PHOTO BY JIM RUSSELL]

GRANT REMINGTON
[PHOTO BY JIM RUSSELL]

SOME RIDE PARTICIPANTS JOINED PORTLANDERS AFTER THE RALLY FOR A GROUP PHOTO OP
[PHOTO BY JIM RUSSELL]


  • Sunday, July 30: SCAPPOOSE, Oregon

    Peace Vigil at the Scappoose Totem Park at the intersection of Highway 30 (Columbia River Highway) and SW Old Portland Road, 1:00-2:00pm. Final destination Scappoose RV Park with afternoon panel discussion and evening dinner hosted by the Columbia County Citizens for Human Dignity (CCCHD).


July 30th Log

TOTAL MILES: 31 miles
DEPARTED PORTLAND: 9:10am
ARRIVED SCAPPOOSE: 11:45am (2:45pm at RV park)
TERRAIN: Slight uphill grade off and on all day but relatively flat, easy cycling. Busy highway with wide shoulder, not a problem (except for the constant noise of auto traffic).
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy with occasional drizzle and a downpour just as cyclists arrived at the Scappoose RV Park.
OTHER SURPRISES: The ride was about 10 miles longer than expected.
LEFT BEHIND: Ethan, Eric and Joe got left behind and had to play catch-up. As a consequence they missed the bike-path route through downtown and had to maneuver around more auto traffic on their way out to Highway 30.

Dave Ehrenkranz and Abby from the Columbia County Citizens for Human Dignity came down from Scappoose to bicycle along and help guide the ride to Scappoose. Portland VFP 72 guides took the lead--Bill, who was responsible for determining the routes in and out of Portland, and Elijah, who carried the peace flag on one more leg to helping to draw attention as well providing that extra boost of inspiration for the pedalers. Just past the peace park, the ride picked up two more bicyclists, Sierra Club member Wes Kempfer and his friend Gustav.

Upon arrival in Scappoose the first stop was a cafe where people refueled, checked emails, and chatted. Bill Parry's family met him there in their car and after visiting a while took him back to Portland. At 1:00pm the ragtag cyclists joined the ragtag peace vigilers who stand every Sunday in Scappoose from 1 to 2pm. Vets Ride participants held extra signs provided by CCCHD and swelled the ranks to fill practically the whole block next to the little totem park. An overwhelmingly positive response to the vigil was expressed by many horn honks and waves from passing autos. An irate, consternated response from a local police officer stirred up extra excitement. He never did figure out what law the protesters were breaking and freedom of speech triumphed once again.


SCAPPOOSE PEACE VIGIL

SUNDAYS 1-2 PM

THE TIME IS RIGHT

SPEAK YOUR MIND
WHILE IT'S STILL LEGAL

ARNIE, A TRUE PATRIOT

FRIENDS FROM PORTLAND

Just as everyone got back on their bikes to ride on to the Scappoose RV park (a short couple of miles down a quiet side road), it began to rain again, and by the time the last cyclists reached the park the drizzle had morphed into a pour, making for a soggy grand finale. The skies then settled down to some occasional sprinkles and later the clouds parted briefly to make room for a little sunshine. (In general, it was cool and moist at the park, though thankfully it didn't rain that night.) Riders were very grateful to find masseuses waiting for them, along with a bunch of energy drinks generously donated by local businesses to sustain the ride in coming days.

Massage services provided courtesy of:
  • Lisa Star, LMT, Owner of Sacred Touch Massage, Scappoose
  • Steven Sorbets, LMT, Massage Therapist at Scappoose Fitness Center
  • Paul Estrella, Owner of Zingti Massage, Scappoose
  • Pratiti Fullerton, RBT, LMT, Owner of St. Helens Bowenwork Clinic (coordinator)


Scappoose organizers, namely CCCHD's Eloise Bates and Rural Organizing Project's Marcy Westerling, welcomed the cyclists and gave them a little time to wind down, and then introduced a Sustainability Panel Discussion at 3pm. Featured speakers were: Brian Willson, Veterans Human-Powered Ride initiator and participant, who spoke about the need for an evolution of consciousness; Chip Bubl, Columbia County Oregon State University Agriculture Extension Office, who spoke about sustainability issues related to food production and transport; Ernie Klostermann, Local Scappoose resident and a member of CCCHD, who spoke about biodiesel fuel as a temporary solution; Wes Kempfer, Sierra Club volunteer from Portland, who spoke about personal lifestyle choices and the concept of "ecological footprint" (see Earthday Footprint Quiz. A lively discussion about sustainability and personal responsibility followed.

Later, a scrumptious dinner of spaghetti with marinara sauce, green salad, bread and fruit was served, accompanied by local folk artists Curtis "King" Chamberlain and Nikki "Ukulele" Jones (a.k.a. "KingniK"), and guitarist John Brown. After dinner, a very strong anti-war speech was delivered by Bred Witt, State Rep, 31st District. It was refreshing to hear a politician with progressive values and a strong commitment to redirecting resources from military spending to human needs.


SANDY KELSON ON HIS
FIRST DAY OF CYCLING

PORTLAND FRIEND, GUSTAV

A RAINY ARRIVAL

DEEP RELAXATION

PANELIST ERNIE KLOSTERMANN

PANELIST BRIAN WILLSON

PANELIST CHIP BUBL

PANELIST WES KEMPFER


  • Monday, July 31: LONGVIEW-KELSO, Washington

    Meet Kelso-to-Olympia Route Guide, VFP member Terry Zander, for dinner.


July 31st Log

TOTAL MILES: 33 miles
DEPARTED SCAPPOOSE: 6:45am
ARRIVED LONGVIEW-KELSO: 11:40am
TERRAIN: A series of not-too-steep but sometimes long hills; even level ground felt like uphill thanks to fierce headwinds. The route was pretty straightforward--Highway 30 along the river--with good wide shoulders most of the way.
LEFT BEHIND: After breaking down camp and gathering their day's supplies, Becky and Carilyn popped into the restroom one last time and...got left behind! Luckily, Mark was still at the park and knew which direction to go to get back to Hwy 30. Just as they reached the highway they ran into Billy, Freddy, Eric and Joe who had turned left rather than right coming out of the park and rode a few extra miles as a result.
CHALLENGES: Ethan continued to experience problems with gear shifting problems on his loaner bike. Arrrgh!

After leaving the RV park, cyclists stopped at a little cafe a couple miles down Highway 30 for coffee and/or breakfast. There was only one woman taking orders and cooking the food, so it was a long breakfast wait. Brian decided to go on ahead to keep his shoulders moving. Stopping for long breaks was a problem for Brian throughout the ride, because once cold, his shoulder muscles would lock up and it always took a long time to get them warmed up again. This factor, plus the need to leave early to beat the heat of the afternoon sun ensured that most days the final destination was reached by noon.

The day's route consisted largely of alternate four- and two-lane highways, with good wide shoulders. The biggest challenge turned out to be a strong headwind, but a few times (due either to a change in direction or in landscape), the wind seemed to change direction and actually pushed riders uphill. The scenery was mixed forest and riverside views. Cyclists finally took leave of the Willamette River that had been winding back and forth across the ride's route since Eugene, and began following the Columbia River. Blackberry bushes beckoned at many places along the route, offering a quick energy snack for cyclists.

Upon reaching the city of Rainier, Oregon, suddenly the Lewis & Clark Bridge over the Columbia River loomed on the horizon. Just below, the White Rose bus shone like a sparkling jewel in the otherwise dull parking lot of the Rainier Shopping Center. The riders had been forewarned by route scout Ted Sexauer that the bridge could be dangerous for cyclists--not much of a shoulder and littered with bark from logging trucks. Don Maddox drove ahead in his Westphalia camper van and returned with the same warning. However, Brian was not convinced and went ahead in a vehicle to scope out the situation for himself. By the time he came back, ten others had already decided they were up for cycling over the bridge. After nearly a week of riding on trafficked and littered roads, in suburbs and up hills, they felt ready for the challenge. Only four (who shall remain unnamed) opted to ride on the bus.

Coming off the other side of the bridge, suddenly the cyclists were in the twin community of Longview-Kelso, Washington, land of few bike lanes. One of only two unhosted stops, everyone settled into a motel at the foot of the Cowlitz bridge in Kelso, ate Chinese lunch, took naps, did laundry, went in the jacuzzi, watched bad TV and etc. In the evening Terry Zander, route guide for the next two days (Kelso to Centralia and Centralia to Olympia) arrived by train and met everyone for dinner at the Red Lobster Restaurant in Kelso where his son works. Then it was back to the motel for a good night's sleep before the next day's ride, which was rumored to include a looong steeep grade.


GERONIMO FUELS UP WITH
HIS MEGA COFFEE CUP

JOE AND ERIC CATCH UP ON
THE MORNING NEWS IN SCAPPOOSE

CHERIE AND SANDY PICK BLACKBERRIES,
A NATURAL ENERGY SNACK

ON THE ROAD TO KELSO

OFF THE LEWIS & CLARK BRIDGE...

...INTO WASHINGTON STATE


  • Tuesday, August 1: CENTRALIA, Washington

    Pasta dinner followed by a roundtable discussion.


August 1st Log

TOTAL MILES: 52 miles
DEPARTED LONGVIEW-KELSO: 6:50am
ARRIVED CENTRALIA: 1:15pm
TERRAIN: The long steep uphill grind that had been expected on this leg since the ride's beginning (an expectation based on Highway 5) happily turned out to be a series of more gentle hills. Most of the day's ride was on alternate two-lane routes, with narrow shoulders but not much traffic.

This, the longest leg of the journey, was vastly enhanced by route guide Terry Zander, a member of the Olympia VFP chapter who has bicycled around Olympia for 20 years and is director of the Build-A-Bike Project there. Thanks to Terry, instead of a looong steeep grind, cyclists enjoyed a series of easier climbs.

Cyclists were guided on a rural residential route north out of Kelso. At the first rest stop in Castle Rock, approximately 11 miles out of town, the bus parked on the corner of a large truck stop by the Highway 5 overpass and cyclists stopped to rest. They didn't rest long, however, because the truckstop owner did not like what he saw--namely, Lane Anderson taking a whizz in a flowerbed. After an exchange of words, the man dialed up the local sheriff on his cell phone as the bus and bikers quickly took off down the road. The truckstop owner was so upset he actually got in his pickup truck and tracked down Lane further down the road to yell at him again. Fortunately, that was as far as the confrontation went, but the incident definitely made cyclists felt unwelcome in Southern Washington.


MORNING FOG...
CHERIE & BILL

...FROM KELSO TO CENTRALIA
ETHAN & JEFF WITH EARTH FLAG

CARILYN

BOB

BRIAN AND OUR MOST EXCELLENT
ROUTE GUIDE, TERRY ZANDER

MARK (IN VAN) HELPS PROTECT
CYCLISTS THROUGH A SECTION OF
ROAD WITH LITTLE SHOULDER

TAKING A BREAK
AT LEWIS & CLARK STATE PARK

LEAVING THE PARK,
ONWARD TOWARD CENTRALIA

DAVE

BECKY

LANE

THE INFAMOUS TRUCKSTOP

JOE & ERIC--
READY, STEADY...

...GO!

ETHAN-- NEVER FAR BEHIND,
DESPITE HAVING A CRUMMY BIKE

FRED-- CATCHING THE BACKDRAFT

The warm reception they received in Centralia more than made up for the morning's hassles. This stop was hosted by the Fire Mountain Chapter of Fellowship of Reconciliation. Stephen Barlow greeted everyone as they arrived at the Methodist church which was to be their home for the night. Other FOR hosts included Larry and Barb Kerschner, Lela McNutt (who opened up her home for showers), Bob Poteat, Erin Miller-Gualco and her son Nave, and Karen Kirkwood. They provided a delicious pasta dinner and, the next morning, a wonderful breakfast spread. After dinner, a round table discussion ensued. Stephen kicked it off with a provocative question about fascism in the U.S.

Before retiring to their respective sleeping spots, a meeting was held to brief everyone about the next day's ride and the upcoming four-day stay in Olympia, and to give cyclists and support folks a chance to express their thoughts and concerns.


ROUNDTABLE AT METHODIST CHURCH

LEAVING THE CHURCH
THE NEXT MORNING



August 2nd Log

TOTAL MILES: 35 miles
DEPARTED CENTRALIA: 9:05am
ARRIVED OLYMPIA: 11:30 at Millersylvania Park for a long rest. Left the park at 1:40 and arrived at Traditions in downtown Olympia at 2:40pm. Arrived at final destination (home of Noni, Ted Sexauer's mother) at 5:45pm
ADDITIONAL RIDER: Dana Visalli, a biologist from in Twisp, Washington. Dana traveled to Iraq in 2003 with Voices in the Wilderness and again in 2004 with Christian Peacemaker Teams.
TERRAIN: Similar to the day before but shorter distance; lots of beautiful, blessedly quiet two-lane roads and an easy approach through industrial and suburban neighborhoods on the way into Olympia.

Millersylvania State Park was the first stop of the day, reached just before noon. There to meet the veterans with a video camera were Olympia VFP Rachel Corrie Chapter 109 members Duane King, Bob Poteat and George Hill. While they conducted interviews for broadcast on their community television show, Lane took a dip in the lake while others snacked, took naps and generally lazed around on the grass or on the bus.

Then it was back on the road for the last 10 miles or so into downtown Olympia, where an ice cream party awaited the cyclists at Traditions Cafe. Terry Zander proved to be not only an awesome route guide but also an excellent host. Every cyclist got a free ice cream or drink, courtesy of Traditions, and after schmoozing with local peace activists a few people got up and spoke to the whole group, including VFP Chapter 109 President George James and Olympia City Council Member T.J. Johnson.

Finally the gang saddled up again and peddled their tired but happy bodies up a hill past the Olympia Capitol Building to the neighborhood where Ted's mother Noni resides. This was to be their home (and Noni their "Mom") for the next four nights. And what a lovely home it was. Tents were pitched in Noni's backyard and the White Rose was parked in front. Numerous loads of laundry were done and a seemingly endless supplies of food and drink appeared and disappeared over the next days.

After getting oriented at their home base, Ted, Lane, and Brian headed back down to Traditions Cafe to attend a Lt. Ehren Watada support committee meeting. Just about everyone else headed over to a local Chinese restaurant for dinner. One of the local folks attending the Watada support committee meeting was Capt. James Yee, who as a Muslim Chaplain for the U.S. Army was wrongly accused of espionage while ministering to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in the Fall of 2003. After spending eight months in the brig including 76 days in solitary confinement, all criminal charges were dropped by the government on March 19, 2004.


CYCLISTS WIND THEIR WAY
OUT OF CENTRALIA
(PRIUS DRIVEN BY TED SEXAUER)

BIKE RIDERS TAKE THE LANE

PAT TATE SIGNALS A STOP...

...AT MILLERSYLVANIA PARK

SOME PEOPLE NAPPED AT THE PARK

GEORGE HILL, BECKY AND BOB
(BEHIND, IN TIE-DYE) STUDY
OPTIONS FOR POST-OLYMPIA ROUTE

LEAVING MILLERSYLVANIA PARK

ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF OLYMPIA

BRIAN ADDRESSES THE ICE CREAM
PARTIERS AT TRADITIONS CAFE

GEORGE JAMES,
OLYMPIA VETERANS FOR PEACE PRESIDENT

OLYMPIA CITY COUNCIL MEMBER
T.J. JOHNSON

TERRY INTRODUCES JODY TILLER, 7-YEAR AIR FORCE VETERAN AND TRADITIONS' STORE MANAGER.
TERRY HAS BEEN FASTING AT THE CAPITOL
TO GET THE GOVERNOR TO RECALL
WASHINGTON'S NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS

TERRY INTRODUCES MOLLY GIBBS,
COORDINATOR OF VFP109'S "KNOW ALL
YOU CAN KNOW" CAMPAIGN

FRIEND LEE CAPTIVATES WITH
AN ACAPELA VERSION OF "MARIAH"


  • Thursday, August 3: OLYMPIA, Washington

    Day off.



August 4th Log

TOTAL MILES: 16 miles (roundtrip to Evergreen College)
TERRAIN: Sure there were a few hills, but Olympia is a relatively small (read: uncongested) and bike friendly city and it was a pleasure to bicycle across town.

Most of the cyclists jumped on their bikes to travel with Brian over to The Evergreen State College for his noontime speaking engagement. The turnout for the event was somewhat small--the cycling contingent making up about half the crowd--but the speech was also broadcast on a local radio station. Brian received rave reviews from those in attendance, including his fellow cyclists, this being the first time many of them had heard him speak formally. [Watch this webpage for a future posting of an audio file and/or transcript document.] After Brian's talk, cyclists headed to downtown Olympia for lunch at Spars.

In the evening, all the cyclists, support drivers, and even Ted's mom, Noni piled into various vehicles (most of them eco-friendly biodiesel or hybrid electric) and headed over to Evergreen Political Science/Chicano Studies Professor Larry Mosqueda's home for a potluck dinner. Honored guest at the informal dinner was none other than Lt. Ehren Watada. Many members of his Olympia support committee were also there. After dinner and brief remarks by Ehren, a group discussion was held about ways to support Watada's refusal to obey illegal orders to participate in an illegal war. Noni was just one of many who invested their money in a striking "REFUSE ILLEGAL WAR: Thank You Lieutenant" t-shirt.


CAMP NONI

LARRY MOSQUEDA

BRIAN SPEAKS WITH HIS CYCLE

AT THE EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE


  • Saturday, August 5: OLYMPIA, Washington

    Sustainability Forum at Sylvester Park from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Speakers:

    • Mark Foutch, Mayor of Olympia
    • T.J. Johnson, Olympia City Council Member
    • Chris Stegman, Green Party
    • Karin Kraft, Sustainable Community Roundtable
    • Mahatma Ghandi, a.k.a. Bernie Meyer
    • Jody Tiller, Beyond Hiroshima
    • Cyclists Brian Willson, Lane Anderson, Joe Hatcher and Becky Luening
    • Terry Zander, Veterans For Peace Rachel Corrie Chapter 109


August 5th Log

Saturday during the day people did their own thing. Carilyn, Dana and Becky headed down to the Olympia Farmer's Market to buy veggies for dinner and plants for Noni's garden. The day before, Carilyn had begun weeding an especially overgrown section of earth at the back of Noni's house, and what began as a little cleaning up eventually grew into a full-on garden makeover. By Saturday evening, all the weeds were removed, the ground shoveled and forked, soil conditioner worked in, new (mostly drought-tolerant) plants placed and planted, and mulch sprinkled over all. A gesture of love, Carilyn and co-workers felt it was the least they could do to express their gratitude to Noni for opening her home and her heart to this rag-tag bunch.


CARILYN MULCHES THE GIFT GARDEN
WHILE NONI LOOKS ON

BECKY WATERS THE GARDEN
AFTER HELPING WITH PLANTING

A RIDE T-SHIRT FOR NONI,
SIGNED BY ALL

ERIC TAKES A TURN CHOPPING WOOD--
ANOTHER GESTURE OF THANKS

GERONIMO SPENT MANY HOURS
PERFECTING HIS BAMBOO TRAILER DESIGN

NONI VISITS WITH GERONIMO,
A.K.A. "VELODROME"

After a quick pasta and salad dinner fixed by Dana, people made their way down to Sylvester Park, a grassy public square with a pavilion located down a couple blocks and across the street from the Capitol Building on Capitol Way. There, with Terry Zander acting as M.C., a "Sustainability Forum" was held, featuring the speakers listed above. A decent number of local citizens turned out for the event. Olympia Mayor Mark Foutch and City Council Member T.J. Johnson spoke about the city's progress on the sustainability front, which is quite impressive. The cyclists in the crowd had already noticed and appreciated many designated bike paths and lanes located throughout the bike-friendly city.


SOME INTERESTING PEOPLE SHOWED UP
FOR THE SUSTAINABILITY RALLY
AT SYLVESTER PARK

CYCLIST BRIAN WILLSON
MAKES THE CONNECTION BETWEEN
PEACE AND LIFESTYLE CHOICES

IRAQ VETERAN JOE HATCHER INTERRUPTS
HIS VACATION TO SAY A FEW WORDS

SURPRISE GUEST BECKY LUENING
TALKS ABOUT HUMAN CONNECTIVITY


  • Sunday, August 6

    Lodging at two private residences: Aron and Debra Woslum's family farm and the beach house of Kyle Taylor Lucas, Democratic Primary Candidate in Washington State Senate 35th District Race.


August 6th Log

TOTAL MILES: 22 miles
DEPARTED OLYMPIA: 8:35am
ARRIVED SHELTON: 11:00am
TERRAIN: Highway 101 highly trafficked with wide shoulder and at least one long uphill grade; downhill into Shelton; little shoulder on Arcadia Road in Shelton
ADDITIONAL RIDER: George Hill, 69-year-old member of VFP Chapter 109 and a retired physician, joined the ride from Olympia to Seattle. Although his wife was originally terrified of the idea, George was determined and showed up with his bicycle Sunday morning bright and early. While the ride was a bit challenging for him, he hung in there, and made it safely to Seattle. He is reported to have had the time of his life.

Again, to beat the heat, cyclists awoke relatively early and after frenzied breakfast and packing activity all managed to roll downhill to Sylvester Park, where they were met by a smiling Terry Zander, not there to guide them this morning, but only to bid them adieu. Veteran George Hill was there, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for adventure. The group waited a few minutes for Geronimo, the last cyclist to leave Noni's house. Finally he appeared, with his newly-rebuilt bamboo trailer in tow, and they were off.

It was a sunny day and a relatively short cycle to Shelton. Cyclists headed out of Olympia east and then north on Highway 101, and exited on Highway 3 which goes through Shelton. Hwy 101 was four lanes with a fat shoulder, and since it was Sunday the traffic was not too bad. Dave, Dana and Geronimo all carried large "Stop the War" or "Refuse Illegal War" signs now, while Jeff continued to fly the Earth flag that he'd been carrying on the back of his bike since Portland (inspired by Elijah's peace flag). Predictably, this garnered more honks and waves of support, as well as a few one-finger salutes.

Stopping to rest on the side of the road at what was probably the small town of Kamilche along 101, someone stopped to tell us that one of our cyclists had been left behind with a flat tire. The cyclists known to be bringing up the rear--Lane, George, Geronimo--had caught up, and it wasn't clear who was missing. The list of riders was checked, bodies counted and recounted, and everyone was accounted for, so it was presumed the person with the flat did not belong to this ride. [NOTE: On August 14th, when Mark, Brian and Becky were on their way to Astoria after leaving the VFP convention, they stopped for lunch at a cafe in downtown Olympia. There they met a man who told them he had attempted to join the ride as it left Olympia on August 6th, but he arrived at Sylvester Park a little late. He had almost caught up to us on our way out of town when he got a flat. By the time he was back on the road again, he didn't know where the riders had gone, so he gave up and went back to Olympia. Presumably, this was the mystery cyclist with the flat, and he DID belong to the ride, unbeknownst to us.]

A LITTLE BACKGROUND: For weeks before this day, ride planners had scheduled two stops in between Olympia and Seattle, but did not have ride hosts for those stops and therefore were uncertain about the route as well. Olympia accommodations had come together just two days before departing Eugene. Ted and Bob (and later George Hill, who had offered his own place in Steilacoom as a possibility), engaged in many discussions with Becky and Brian during the beginning days of the ride to figure out where to stay Aug. 6th and 7th before arrival in Seattle. Originally the thought had been to route the ride through Puyallup and Kent (a southeastern approach), where the terrain was relatively gentle, but Seattle VFP was busy working on the convention, and no local hosts could be found in those places. A KOA campground in Kent refused to accept converted school buses as RVs and where the White Rose could not go, the cyclists would not go. An offer was made to stay at a Catholic Worker House in Tacoma, but getting there would involve biking through a heavily trafficked urban route with a dangerous bridge. Finally, planners decided on a more rural approach to the west of Puget Sound on Hwy 101 and Hwy 3 up through Shelton, which involved taking a ferry from Bremerton to Seattle. A campground reservation was made at Belfair State Park for August 7th until the last minute, the night of August 6th remained unhosted and the riders expected to stay at a motel.

Then came Cris, an Olympia activist with the Watada support committee, who attended all three organized events (Wednesday ice cream party, Friday potluck and Saturday sustainability forum). When she found out the group was looking for hosting, she put the word out to her network, and voila!--by Saturday there emerged not one but two hosts for the Sunday night stop in Shelton. Thank you Cris!

About a third of the group, including Brian, Becky, George, Ted, Mark, Sandy and Cherie, stayed with the Woslum family--Deb, Aron, Barry and Brenna--Quakers who maintain a small homestead with many animals including goats, ducks and chickens. Those who spent the afternoon with the Woslums enjoyed tea and biscuits and good conversation with Woslum family members along with a few of their friends. Seems Sunday afternoon tea is a weekly tradition for them. Another serendipitous discovery at this small farm was the shed full of bicycles. Turns out that son Barry is a cycling enthusiast and mechanic and hopes to open his own bike shop someday.

The rest of the gang enjoyed a leisurely afternoon of eating, swimming and lying about at the lovely home of Kyle Taylor Lucas, a little beachfront on Hammersly Inlet. They were warmly welcomed with a KFC lunch by her staffer, Bob. The, in the evening, Kyle gathered with the cyclists around the campfire and listened to some of their stories about the ride so far. Then, at their request, she discussed her campaign platform. She is running in the Washington State Senate 35th District Primary against the conservative incumbent who is a member of "Democrats for Bush."

Meanwhile...Sandy and Cherie spent their afternoon exploring Shelton. Naturally, they bicycled there, but to their dismay, they had to go down a long steep hill to get to the downtown area. So when they sat down in a local tavern for a few beers, Sandy immediately began asking people as they walked in the door, "Got a pickup?" hoping he and Cherie and their bicycles could get a ride back up the hill. Eventually they were successful. Whew!


THE CYCLISTS SAID GOODBYE
TO THEIR OLYMPIA "MOM"

RIDERS REGROUPED
THE STATE CAPITOL BUILDING

AFTER FOUR DAYS REST,
THEY WERE READY TO ROLL

LANE AND GERONIMO PEDDLE UP THE
HILL ON THEIR WAY OUT OF OLYMPIC

BOB, CHERIE, JEFF AND ETHAN
(ETHAN'S BIKE WOULD NOT
SHIFT OUT OF HIGH GEAR)

DAVE TSCHOEPE DISPLAYED
HIS BIG "STOP THE WAR" SIGN ALL THE
WAY FROM OLYMPIA TO SEATTLE

ARON WOSLUM ORIENTS CYCLISTS
UPON ARRIVAL IN SHELTON (DANA ON RIGHT)

LANE AFTER ARRIVAL IN SHELTON,
WITH THREE SUPPORT VEHICLES IN BACKGROUND


  • Monday, August 7

    Camp at Belfair State Park. No public event.


August 7th Log

TOTAL MILES: 31 miles
DEPARTED SHELTON: 9:25am
ARRIVED BELFAIR STATE PARK: 1:00pm
TERRAIN: Hairy ride on busy Highway 3, heavily trafficked despite a delayed departure to avoid rush hour. Very little shoulder. A fair number of uphills, usually preceded by downhills and vice versa. Biggest hill was probably the one coming out of Shelton.
WE MISSED YOU: Eric, Joe and Ethan opted not to ride from Shelton to Belfair State Park. In the afternoon, Ted gave the three a ride to Bremerton so they could catch the ferry into Seattle one day early and rest up for the Vets4Vets conference starting on August 8th.
OUCH: Becky fell off her bike after turning around to look behind and losing her bearings and heading off the road where there was only a few inches of shoulder with a steep gravel dropoff. Luckily she only scraped an arm and a leg.

The gang was up by eight and on the road once again for a short ride into downtown Shelton where they had a breakfast date with Kyle Taylor Lucas. The small restaurant was not used to having such a large group of diners at one time, and the breakfasts came in stages: as soon as the food was cooked for one table, orders would be taken for the next, and so on. The leisurely breakfast gave Kyle a chance to get acquainted with folks who had not stayed at her place the night before. After breakfast, before hitting the road, everyone posed with Kyle in front of the White Rose, and she passed out campaign signs, stickers and buttons to anyone who wanted them. Geronimo carried one of Kyle's big signs on his trailer from Shelton to Seattle.

Psychically, this was one of the most difficult cycling days, the main reason being the heavy traffic and narrow bike lane with little to no shoulder on Highway 3 between Shelton and Belfair. The constant whir of cars and trucks passing by, and the uncomfortable proximity of the auto traffic to the cyclists was nerve wracking. The locals had advised starting out after rush hour to avoid commuter traffic, but it didn't seem to make any difference. Apparently, people commute by this route at all hours of the day--since Highway 3 goes to the Bremerton-to-Seattle ferry, perhaps it's just become an extension of Seattle's famously congested traffic. In addition, August is peak tourist season, and there were plenty of campers and travel-trailers on the road. To make matters worse, the auto drivers on this route were not used to bikes, and some were very unfriendly. One driver even had the audacity to yell, "Get off the road!"

At one point on the ride, Becky turned to look behind, and when she turned forward again found herself headed off the paved road onto the foot-wide gravel shoulder that then makes a sharp decline into a ditch. She let go of the bike and landed gracefully on her left side (we'll have to take her word that it was a graceful fall, since no one else witnessed it), skinning her left elbow and knee and bruising up her side a little. Somewhat shaken but really okay, she got right back on her cycle, but was a LOT more mindful about keeping her eyes on the road in front of her after that.

Getting to Belfair State Park requires backtracking about three miles on Hwy 300 after reaching the town of Belfair. Cyclists stopped at a park in town to regroup, recount, and refresh before doing those last three miles down a slightly less busy but equally shoulder-less road. By the time they reached the campground, the bus was already parked in a great spot next to a beautiful little rocky creek. People set up tents, took naps, and explored along the shore of the bay inlet. In the late afternoon, Fred, Carilyn, Becky, Cherie and Sandy enjoyed a few beers at Wild Bill and Jo's, the quaint little biker bar across the road from the park. Cherie personalized a yellow ribbon and tied it onto the establishment's yellow-ribbon fence for her brother, who is currently serving in Iraq.

Soon after arriving at Belfair State Park, it was announced that Eric, Joe and Ethan would be leaving the group and heading on to Seattle that afternoon so they could get ready for the Vets4Vets conference scheduled for August 8th. Ted volunteered to give them a ride, which would also give him an opportunity to scout the route from Belfair to Bremerton for the next day's ride. The three youngest cyclists had opted not to ride that morning, and it was understandable especially that Ethan would not want to cycle one more day on a bike that refused to be shifted out of high gear. It was hard to see them go, as their presence really energized the ride at times, and it was a reminder that the group ride was winding to a close. Before leaving, the three promised to join in the grand finale ride at the convention.

In the morning, Pat had given the Iraq vets the chore of grocery shopping before the bus left Shelton, so thanks to them and Pat's fine cooking, the rest of the group enjoyed a great burrito dinner that evening. Then it was time to hit the hay. One more day's journey lay ahead.


CYCLISTS LEAVE THE WOSLUM HOMESTEAD
AFTER FOND FAREWELLS

GROUP PHOTO WITH KYLE TAYLOR LUCAS
(CENTER IN BLUE SHIRT)
AFTER BREAKFAST IN DOWNTOWN SHELTON

DAVE APPROACHES OVERPASS
WITH "NO WAR" MESSAGE SPRAYPAINTED IN RED

TIME FOR RELAXATION AT BELFAIR STATE PARK

BECKY SHOWS OFF HER
"RED BADGE OF COURAGE"

...AND HER BLOODY KNEE


  • Tuesday, August 8

    Arrival at Final Destination: University of Washington in Seattle.


August 8th Log

TOTAL MILES: 30 miles
(Belfair to Bremerton 19; Ferry Landing to University of Washington 11)
DEPARTED BELFAIR STATE PARK: 9:10am
ARRIVED BREMERTON: 11:00am
ARRIVED SEATTLE FERRY LANDING: 12:30pm
DEPARTED SEATTLE FERRY LANDING: 1:40pm
ARRIVED UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: approx. 3:00pm
TERRAIN: Pretty two-late rural route with medium to zero shoulder but little traffic. Long hill through Bremerton; no bike lane on the road taken, but little traffic allowing cyclists to take up right lane. Totally flat from Bremerton to Seattle.
WE MISSED YOU: Carilyn did not feel well and needed a rest, so she rode the White Rose bus instead of cycling on this leg from Belfair to Seattle.
ADDITIONAL RIDERS: Thanks to Seattle VFP member Todd Boyle, and two other people who showed up for the ride into Seattle.

After a rushed breakfast at Wild Bill and Jo's biker cafe across the road from Belfair State Park, the last leg of the journey began. Fortunately, someone had advised taking the Old Belfair Highway, which turned out to be a beautifully low-trafficked byway that felt much safer than Highway 3, even though the shoulders were not any wider. In Bremerton, the route taken was not the one prescribed, but it also was not very busy. On the last leg before reaching the ferry harbor, the four-lane road went up up up and then down down down, and the cyclists took up the right lane whenever necessary, no problem since there were so few cars on the road at that time.

Brian had made sure everyone got an early start again that morning, so the cyclists and their support vehicles arrived at the ferry with plenty of time to spare. They had planned to take the 12:30 ferry, but since they could, they decided to take the 11:30 ferry instead, which would get them into Seattle an hour early. George begged the group to wait for the later ferry, since his wife Miriam had done some last-minute outreach advertising our arrival in Seattle at 1:30, but to no avail. No matter. After arriving in Seattle the cyclists hung around for an hour in case hordes of people showed up to join the ride, or in case a TV crew showed up to film their arrival, but no such thing happened.

The ride on the ferry was exhilarating. Cyclists were positioned right in the front with the support vehicles parked directly behind them. It was a sunny day and the beautiful blue ocean and green island scenery was spectacular. The clackity-clack of the ferry engine was very rhythmic and people couldn't help dancing as the skyline of Seattle got closer and bigger. This was by far the easiest leg of the ride, as the terrain was totally flat and absolutely no peddling was required.

Soon after the riders showed up on the Seattle side of the sound, they were greeted by Veterans For Peace Seattle Chapter 92 member Todd Boyle, who had come on his bicycle to guide the group to University of Washington. An hour later, when they began to thread their way down the street, two other locals appeared on bicycles to join the ride: a man named Eldon, who had read an announcement somewhere, and a woman who worked nearby and had learned about it through an email sent out by one of the VFP convention organizers.

Thanks to friend Melissa, one of the main organizers of the Lt. Ehren Watada support committee in Olympia, the cyclists had excellent directions for getting to the university from the ferry landing without having to contend with steep hills. Todd and George helped lead the way, since they had the most familiarity with the city. The ride started out on the beautiful Elliott Bay Trail north of the ferry landing that winds through Myrtle Edwards Park and Elliot Bay Park and eventually ends in an industrial area of town. From there the cyclists traveled through a mix of industrial, commercial and residential areas and then finally hooked up with the Burke Gilman Trail that runs along the south side of the University of Washington.

As usual, cyclists got somewhat spread out as they rode along, some speeding along while others took their time. In the absence of the three young cyclists that often raced ahead, at one point Freddy took off in the backdraft of a commuting cyclist that happened to be whizzing by. Later, just a mile or so from the university, Dave got separated when too much space between him and the cyclist in front of him prevented him from seeing which way to go. Thankfully, Bob hung back when he realized Dave had not made it through a stoplight, and eventually the two hooked up and together made their way to the university. Finally, everyone had arrived at the final destination. Hurrah!


BRIAN ON THE ROAD TO BREMERTON

DANA'S MESSAGE IS CLEAR

DON'S VAN AND THE WHITE ROSE HEAD UP
THE VEHICLE LANES ON FERRY

AWAITING THE FERRY AT THE BREMERTON LANDING

LANE CHATS WITH A FERRY OFFICIAL
AS DAVE LOOKS ON

CYCLISTS RIDE ONTO THE FERRY

BRIAN GIVES A THUMBS UP
AS FERRY APPROACHES SEATTLE

CYCLISTS PREPARE TO DISEMBARK
AS SEATTLE SKYLINE NEARS

DISEMBARKING THE FERRY

BRIAN GRINS, HAPPY TO BE IN SEATTLE!


  • August 10-13 : VFP Convention at University of Washington

    2006 Veterans For Peace National Convention. This year's theme: "Sow Justice, Reap Peace: Strategies for Moving Beyond War."


  • Thursday, August 10

    Veterans (Human-Powered) Ride for Peace and Sustainability: Grand Finale at Opening Ceremony in HUB Ballroom, University of Washington, Seattle.


August 10th Log

"Like herding cats"--one of the phrases heard over and over again during this cycling adventure--that's what it was like bringing all the cyclists back together again after a couple days of doing their own thing. A few (those not registered for the convention) had already disappeared. But everyone who was on campus showed up for the grand finale, which until the moment it happened was completely unplanned. The VFP convention's opening plenary was scheduled for 1:00pm and was to be held in the ballroom on the third floor of the HUB (Husky Union Building).

The cyclists gathered in front of the McMahon dorm tower before riding over to the HUB. With help from Portland VFP President Sean Lewis, who held the door open, they entered the building at the side entrance, second floor level. The entrance door was barely big enough for Dave's and Brian's three-wheelers, but with a little pushing and jostling, they made it in. Then, everyone carried their cycle upstairs or took the elevator to the third floor and waited until the right moment to enter the ballroom. Since this event was completely unplanned (it was known there would be a grand finale ride, but the details were unknown), it was pure serendipity that the opening plenary was held in a room that had a flat floor (a ballroom) and that there was plenty of space around the chairs for the cyclists to make a full circle around the audience. VFP President Dave Cline let us know when he was ready to begin the plenary.

When the moment arrived, Billy gave his air horn a couple of good squeezes, a sound that early on in the vets' ride had been established as the signal for take-off. As the bikes entered the ballroom and began circling the audience, the crowd stood and cheered. It was truly an exhilarating moment. In retrospect, riders wished they had circled the crowd two or three times, but it was so amazing to have done it at all that once seemed enough. Unfortunately, the opportunity was also lost to grab the microphone and make a statement from the stage, but cyclists seemed happy enough to have made this visceral statement, and to have personally accomplished the human-powered ride from Eugene to Seattle. Ride photographer Don Maddox printed out several dozen 8x10 color photos documenting the adventure and they were already up in the ballroom during this opening ceremony and remained on display throughout the convention.


HEADING TOWARD THE HUB

ENTERING THE BUILDING

BRIAN LEADS THE CYCLISTS
AS THEY CIRCLE THE AUDIENCE...

IN THE BALLROOM DURING THE
VFP CONVENTION'S OPENING CEREMONY


ADDENDUM

  • Tuesday, August 14 - Friday, August 31

    Brian and Becky cycle home down the Oregon coast accompanied by Kathie Kelly, Arcata friend and VFP 56 Associate Member (on bicycle) and Mark Dubrow (driving his VW Westphalia camper van).


BECKY, KATHIE & BRIAN AT CAPE ARAGO,
SOUTH OF COOS BAY ON THE COAST OF OREGON
[PHOTO TAKEN BY MARK DUBROW]


ABOUT OUR LOGO: Photographer Margate Bourke-White's famous picture of Gandhi taken for LIFE Magazine of Gandhi sitting next to a spinning wheel represents the struggle of the Indian people to gain independence from the British Empire by become more self-reliant. In this image the spinning wheel is replaced by a bicycle wheel, representing a shift from fossil-fueled transportation (requiring wars to secure resources) to self-reliant, human-powered transportation. In the center of the bicycle wheel a monarch butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, signifying the great change that needs to take place if the human species is to survive.

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