Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Caribou Wilderness and Lake Almanor

 We hiked from Caribou Lake to Cowboy Lake and set up camp there with old friends Ann Polivka and Linda Eminger from Health Dept days.
 The next day we hiked north to Jewel Lake, Turnaround Lake and Triangle Lake.. about a nine mile round trip with lots of swimming breaks.
 Then we went up to Gem and Emerald Lake... this, obviously, was Emerald Lake. Michael hiked on to Rim Lake and beyond.
 On Sunday we didn't want to come back in to the valley too early but the clouds were a little threatening so we went through Chester and down to Almanor to wander the beach then we came home via Humbug Road... and had dinner in Butte Meadows.
 A thoroughly lovely 4 day weekend.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Saving the world balanced by cruising the river

 Well these will be random photos.. I was happy to get a little back into sharing food with Food Not Bombs. They are defying a city order not to serve food in the plaza and are willing to go to jail over it. I'm proud to know them and be a supporter.
 When the moon was full I took this arty photo of the moon through my lettuce which is going to seed.. I need to collect that seed!
 We have had a series of vigils for GAZA and for peace. I was able to interview a wonderful young woman with Jewish Voice for Peace on KZFR. Everyday my heart aches for people suffering there and I wrack my brain for things that might help end the violence.
 In between we  have gotten out to the river a couple of times, once with the electric trolling motor and once just with our paddles and that's been relaxing and life affirming to both of us.
 Meanwhile Frack-Free Butte County has been taking on the Oil and Gas Industry attorneys who are trying to get our Fracking Ban disqualified from the November ballot. It has been wonderful working with this group and tonight I am quite nervous as tomorrow the judge will decide the case. Either way we won't be stopped.
 We had Sheldon's birthday, Keith came for a visit and Orien was a great help to Frack Free Butte County. We are all very grinny here... just glad to be alive I guess.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trinidad Tree Sitters Thank you!

 Angela and I drove up to Trinidad today to visit the Trinidad Tree Sitters. I've been following them on Facebook and wanted to see their noble tree sit.
 They've been there over two and half years protecting an area Green Diamond wants to clear cut and another area where selective logging would remove all the mature redwoods, violating ("mitigating") a small pristine stream and spotted owl habitat.
 Green Diamond is like Sierra Pacific Industries that rape the forests in the Sierra. Green Diamond primarily owns redwoods, over 425,000 acres of them, the lungs of the coast and the anchor of life throughout the region. Their stated plan is to log all the land in 45 year rotation.
 So in our small way we gave offering to the young tough (also very sweet) defenders.. a bag of food, a book (the Veggie Voyagers!,) a little cash.
 Barefoot Chives rappelled down "Misty" to give us a tour of the forest and we talked about the issues of clear-cutting and the peril of this 84 acres of forest, creek as well as the extended Timber Harvest Plans beyond Strawberry Rock which would denude another huge area of redwood-- other tree sitters defend that area.
 I was personally grateful and humbled to be with folks who cared. Who will not let the earth down.
 This last view was once an epic rock called Sister Rock. It is now a quarry. Through the fog would be Strawberry Rock... many Yurok people have stood to say this area is special to them. All of us are called upon to stop the destruction here and throughout the remaining forests of the coastal range and the Sierra/Cascade. Reach Trinidad Tree Sitters on Facebook or on

Fourth of July weekend

 The nights and mornings are ok where we live. The Fourth of July Michael was working on his mast in the barn so I rode my bike to a place I could see the fireworks at the Fairgrounds. We thought we'd be able to get out of town the next day, Saturday....
 but when Saturday came there were 40 gallons of veggie oil to process
 and more sail preparations and modifications...
 So we left at noon on Sunday without air conditioning and it was very miserable until about 20 miles from the coast... but at last we were at the South Jetty of Humboldt Bay with coats on and fog surrounding us.
 We camped the night under this wind ravished pine with a view of the beach out the back of the V.V.
 And today, we finally made it out onto the Bay on the high tide to try out the sail (and the oars!) Despite all the travail of leaving our over-heated valley we have made it and are so grateful. I wish we didn't have to go back.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Boy toy Birthday

 The eve of my 67th birthday found us at the Roseville REI, marooned by a leak in a fuel line.. in the morning we made it up to Loon Lake on the edge of the Desolation Wilderness. We found a good spot by a campground boat launch to hang out for the next few days.
 Michael had done a lot of research on boats that would work well for us with some of the effects of aging and illness. He came up with a porta-bote, a foldable polypropylene boat that is very strong and stable and can carry an electric trolling motor. He built the simple but ingenious rack for it on the side of the VV and fashioned the dog cart to transport it.
We had good luck with the boat but the trolling motor battery didn't hold a charge well (or rather, the charger wouldn't fully charge either on our solar or on our neighbor RVer's generator) and so we had a nice long paddle with the feeble assist of the dying motor across a broad sweep of this beautiful lake the second day returning to the VV.
 I think it is ironic for me... hater of plastics and styrofoam-- to have this boat but it really does feel secure in choppy water and I like that.. putting that trolling motor on the canoe seemed very tippy.
 We love Loon Lake. We first went there with our friends Linda and Ann back in 2001 right after the tragedies of 9/11. That week helped us have some peace and distance from what the nation was experiencing. We've been back a number of times since. I think it is the most accessible large high mountain lake in the Sierra with the most interesting topography.. those great granite boulders and sloping granite slabs.
 I took many photos to get this one of this small elegant butterfly.
 On the fourth day we had to come home and naturally that was the hottest day... 104 degrees by the time we got down to the valley but first we had to have a flat and poor Michael, of course, changed it. The brakes tried to burn out coming down into the American River canyon south of Auburn and we had no air conditioning, of course. We stopped to swim at Stumpy Meadows Lake and again on the Sacramento River in Marysville.
We mostly forgot it was my birthday in any candle-fancy way but it was a precious time and I am very grateful to have achieved 67 years especially with my creative and hard-working spouse by my side.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Environment of Beale Air Force Base

 The Burma Sign team of Shirley, Barry and Lorraine were busily staking in recycled campaign signs extending about half a mile down from the Beale Air Force Base Main Gate... Our theme this month was "Green" so Shirley made half the signs about environmentally destructive things (thus the "Instead of..." and the second, positive things a force of able bodied peace warriors could be doing.)
 We are always graced with our Veteran friends from Veterans for Peace and this banner really hits home about the burden of the Vet.. "There are no unwounded soldiers." Such a weighty thought as the US plans attacks once again on Iraq after 23 years of failed military intervention in that country.
 Meanwhile, our efforts stress doing what is right vs not doing what is illegal and illogical. Often times the people entering the base look straight ahead and appear deadened to our presence... or any spark as they head off to another day of work. However, there are always the ones who flash us a wave, a peace sign, even a kiss... the undercurrents we stir up within the base community is an unknown to us but that is where the faith in the rightness of our presence, the enjoyment of our camaraderie and the over-whelming desire for a peaceful world all come together.
 At a certain synergistic point we had an unpremeditated soft blockade of the road... causing consternation in many. These actions are not so clearly effective nor accepted, even among our group and I won't argue the logic of either viewpoint. It is complete and rests in the history of spontaneity.
 Meanwhile the songs of Peace (here with Flora and Jeffrey) buoy us and keep us aware of our place in the movement for social change. The songs extending across time and the millions that have sung them. The words embedded in our hearts and minds.
 Toby and I were the only ones who completely pulled off the Green theme. The link between the Military Industrial Complex and the Extractive Industries is most easily seen at Beale where U-2 spy planes and other jets are constantly taking off and landing.. consuming untold numbers of gallons of jet fuel and spewing kerosene particulates and other toxins through the air.
 Although our main focus is on the damage caused by drone air strikes in poor countries of the Middle East and Africa we pause to acknowledge and call out what the legacy of wars in our generation have spewed onto the earth, our only home, home of our children's children and a very finite and perfect place.
Please do your part and say NO more Military Intervention in Iraq or Syria. President Obama's number is 202-456-1111 and our Representatives can be reached via the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121. We each carry the Love of this Planet and the Responsibility to Protect It.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice leanings

 Michael bought an electric trolling motor that goes 4 MPH and we trialed it at Black Butte Reservoir with Selkie co-piloting yesterday evening.
 It was a hot valley day and the water of the man made lake was a perfect temperature... the slant of the brilliant sun and it's fiery plunge into the Coast Range were the perfect everything about these wicked summers we have... being on or by water is the only way to go and when you are in the right place you know and appreciate it.
 Today, the actual Solstice I rose later than the sun and was out weeding and deadheading weeds by 8am but it was already broiling. At mid-day I was out with the Chico Peace Endeavor vigiling against yet another invasion of Iraq. (I don't know if anyone reads this but PLEASE call President Obama on Monday and say NO to Drone Strikes and Bombings and Troops 1-202-456-1111.) has more photos of our small but sweet vigil... linking wills with peace loving people around the globe who demonstrated for Peace around the world.
 It seems that things get more intense... Michael's CT scan showed good treatment effect with his current chemo but we remain sober about how persistent it is in the lymph glands. My second closest male friend just showed up with a very elevated PSA test. Frack Free Butte County, with our 10,000 petitioners, untold hours of work by dozens of people, had our petition thrown out by the County Clerk because of unbolded font and the lack of the words, "The People of Butte County do Ordain..." This due to a legal warning from the Oil and Gas Industry lawyers... they waited til one day after we had submitted the petitions but we just found out and are stymied with grief and anger.... Meanwhile, we drift into the sunset of the year's longest day with such tenderness and concern and longing for life and health...