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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Almanor area lakes

 As usual it was hard to get out of Chico. We camped on the north end of Almanor behind the airport and where the lake has filled in with meadow and stumpy mudflats. It was a beautiful place nonetheless.
 The next day we went to Bodfish Bikes and Quiet Mountain Sports in Chester. We got the name and directions for a clear mountain meadow Willow Lake and we headed up there. There were others camped there too but few enough that we had the lake to ourselves for swimming and later this moonlight walk with cranes making their odd honking and an easy meadow trail to follow.
 We stopped at Bodfish again to ask about another lake and this one is sacred to the Mountain Maidu people and no photos are to be taken so I have none. That was an incredible place... Up against the Keddie Ridge.. a 2.8 mile walk in, icy waters and amazing rocks. The views out from the ridge saddle are to Mountain Meadows in one direction and down to Indian Valley and Greenville to the other side. We had two days of hiking up there and some excitement with rain, thunder and lightning but otherwise very infrequent humanity and a great sense of peace.
 Then we came back down to Almanor and put in at the south end of the lake.. the clouds were amazing and we almost got loaded up unscathed but ended up soaked in the fierce squall that swept through.. which we didn't much mind.
 Soon after, the sunset was purple but brief and closed in 4 days of swimming, hiking and boating without using fossil fuels...thanks to Michael's commitment to processing  veggie oil before we came. Today he is back to chemo but we are still partly back up there in the high country through the soreness of our muscles and the dry sleek feel of our skin.

Friday, August 8, 2014

One Mile between Hiroshima and Nagasaki

 Every year we commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Every year it is the hottest time of year and usually the energy of the town is lethargic. I think back on our commemorations and do not find that that was always true but of late nuclear war has faded from the criticality list of people concerned about the loss of life in Gaza or hundreds of other worries.
 This year the call came out subdued and last minute but with the quiet resolve of Diane Suzuki's voice. We met here at One Mile in strange post rain humid but cool weather and walked a little bit upstream to where two Tai Chi practitioners were completing their forms.
 In the quiet, almost still waters of our drought quieted Big Chico Creek we stood and rang bells at the time of the Hiroshima bombing... we didn't face East, we faced our life giving endangered water.
 We spoke of the inspiration of Ancestors and closed a small circle with the surrender to time and the visage of perhaps more war and suffering to come as balanced by the beauty and nurture we experience in the earth around us... the Good so palpable and available.
 On Saturday, tomorrow, people will meet again... for Nagasaki a busy street corner before our regular Peace Endeavor Vigil... the bells, the cranes, the thoughts and prayers winging on concrete, surrounded by the structures of commerce.
 We read a children's book about the Cherry Tree of Hiroshima, how burned and wounded it was, yet how it has blossomed and created new cherry trees. The legend of the Phoenix, the story of earth, always remaking itself after every seemingly terminal event. All our planet has to do is stay in alignment with its sun and what we do may not matter so much in the very long run.
 But we are here now. Witness to the beauty and seeming stillness within the incredible energy of Livingness and also witness to the degradation, forgetfulness and outright determination to destroy. We are hinged between catastrophes as well as celebrations and ride the solemn peace train forward to the next bend in the river of our lives. We continue to write our wishes on the wings of paper cranes as they fly all over the world. In Loving Memory of all those who have suffered.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's Raining in August!

 It has been a very hot summer with blow torch days and all life sending out little shoots of ourselves toward the water, shade and coolness. My datura glorify in it though and send back a dazzling response to the sun...or they used to. As of yesterday they have gone.
With the dryness the old black walnuts become brittle under the weight of their limbs. We were picking through gorgeous tomatoes Bruce had set out for the community the other night when Kelsi set off with a joyful Howdy in her car with a friend. Sixty seconds later I heard a small crack... I know my CRACK sounds and started hollering for Michael who was messing around with Selkie who was looking around for her ball. Then another small crack as they joined me in the open then Whoosh and Whack! and a big cloud of dust and two tons of black walnut was on the ground where Kelsi and her car had been. When I told the Riparia community about this the very next day the arborists were out here and unfortunately it's not looking pretty. Many of my drought hardy but pampered plantings are buried under slash and the datura are all broken off which means no seed for next year. They are a magic (and poisonous) plant and showed up on their own... maybe they'll be back someday.
 With the heat I've been in a lot in the late afternoon... mostly wasting time but I just wanted to say something about this hand sculpture that Orien and I had made for my mom. My mom always hated this Mothers Day gift because the truth was there in my big strong ravaged farmer hands... the complete lack of delicacy and femininity that she always hoped to deny. I, on the other hand (!) love this sculpture and always delve into it like there is a fortune to discover-- I love the light and shadow of it too.
 On Sunday we had a special Land Work Day and this photo only shows a few of us water-worker bees... Some started down by the swimming hole, like Zenon, Bob, Emily and Sheldon with the canoe and others of us-- Leslie, Joey, Billy, Mattie, Michael and I started further upstream but we took out huge amounts of garbage from the creek and got further along with considering how to make our section of creek more floatable for these hard summers.
 Then it started to rain last night. Usually I could dry three loads of laundry, if I had that many, in one day but now the limp line is a happy reminder that we have had sprinkles all night and all day. What a glory this "monsoonal moisture" is!
I know Bruce's tomatoes may split but I'm sorry... I'm too happy with the rain refreshment to have even one small complaint. Thank you Mother Nature!

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.