Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Leaving for Mexico in 2.5 days!!

On Monday I leave for Mexico to work on a project with my good friend Bridge. We're doing a photodocumentary on Street Art in Chiapas and then going to Guatemala to work with and document Maya Pedal, an NGO that makes bicimaquinas. For more details, you should check out our fundraising video on

Follow our Squartzine Blog for updates and flickr page for photos while we're gone. I promise that they will be updated more than this blog (because Bridge is better at it than I am!)

I'm really exited to go though I'm a little bit nervous. This will be my first time traveling to Mexico. We have been practicing our Spanish but I still end up speaking in Italian half of the time. There have also been a lot of reports in the news about escalated violence, there were the recent mudslides, and a good friend informed me of some craziness going on around Maya Pedal. I figure that there is danger in everything and in a way, I would rather be around at a time of political upheaval where I can see firsthand what is going on. I can't wait to experience everything!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day Two of Bike Tour

Yesterday Staysee and Seven came to Tillamook and picked me up. We drove to Sand Lake and camped out all 3 of us in one little tent. It was so cold though, I was glad. They drove me to Pacific City where we took a photo of us in front of the sea stacks then they headed out and I really was on my lonesome for the next couple of weeks. I rode around 75 miles to Cape Perpetua. The campsite that I stumbled upon didn't have a hiker biker site but the Camp Host said I could stay for free at a site that was under maintenance if I left before 7 am.

A mother-daughter riding team came by and ended up staying at the site with me. They were very inspiring. They weren't your typical cyclists, they were a little larger and riding was more difficult for them. Still, they had already been on the road 45 days from Vancouver when I met them and were riding the whole Pacific Coast to Mexico. The daughter was homeschooled and was able to take this awesome opportunity with her mom. They were a little strange, but it made me realize that if they could do this trip so could I.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

First day out of Portland

Today I left Portland. The ominous weather reflected my mood and my anxiety portended some sort of epic failure and cosmic sign that I should not be embarking on my journey. I took the max blue line to the last stop. It happened to be the day of an air show so the max was full and I had to suffer the most xenophobic and obnoxious loud conversation until I finally got off and the next leg of my bike tour began.

I began riding down the 8 to get to highway 6. The shoulders were sometimes narrow and the first 25 miles of the ride slowly ascend. I thought that I had just gotten out of shape after 8 days in Portland until I realized that I was just steadily going up hill. I made it about 40 miles outside of Portland before realizing that I had forgotten my phone charger and my warm hat (given to me by the wonderful Staysee). Now I was not only paranoid about biking 900 miles on my own, but with no way of communicating with anyone. I texted Staysee but prepared myself to have to deal without or drop some money at a mall.

As I drove through the countryside, I heard gunshots in the woods as hunters chased unsuspecting animals. Sirens raced by me to some unseen accident. Then, a hummer drove by and things were whizzing past my head and crashing! It turned out that the trailer-hitch had broken off and the bike rack and two bikes went flying in the air: one in front of me, one behind me, and the rack just bounced and clacked down the road as traffic came to a halt. In that moment I nearly gave up, it seemed like I had made a terrible mistake thinking I could do it alone.

Then, Staysee called and said that she was going to drive out to meet me with my phone charger and camp out with me for the night! All of the sudden I remembered the awesome people that I had (have) supporting me. It also happened to coincide with a really long descent into Tillamook. At Tillamook I posted up at a restaurant until Staysee and Seven showed up and I was so happy to see them!

Friday, July 30, 2010

First Train Ride

My horoscope before leaving Milwaukee said:
"An unexpected opportunity to take a short trip could present itself today. Hop on that boat or train and see where it goes. If you have no reason to travel, make one up. You don't need one anyway. The point is that its time to get away from your current surroundings and explore other ways of living..."

It felt like a pretty appropriate horoscope considering that I was about to get on my first train for a short trip to Minneapolis. It was amazing. We cooked a good dinner beforehand and went to the hop out spot in the back of our friends truck. I sat in the back listening to Elizabeth Cotten and attempting to play what she was singing on Joe's guitar. When we got there, the jungle was so full of mosquitoes. I've never been more bitten in my life. When the train came, we split up and got on two 53 porches and I rode with Joe.

It was amazing! The first time we sided we were inundated with mosquitoes again and since it was night I couldn't see all that much but it was an incredibly liberating feeling. I loved the secretness and the solitude of a train at night. It was really cold and Joe didn't have a sleeping bag with him so there ended up being a fun game of twister trying to stay warm but when the sun started coming up it never felt better. We crossed the Mississippi and hid going under the trestle and then turned around to check it out, I've never been over the Mississippi not flying before.

We hopped off in St. Paul. Joe was giving me all the techniques to get off a moving train so we didn't have to go into the yard and then we just ended up stopping anyway. We emerged on a highway and started hitching. I thought with 4 people (and 2 of them being boys) and 2 dogs that we would never get a ride or we would at least have to split up but a nice graf kid came along and took us to Seward Cafe in Minneapolis.

I was so out of it from not sleeping much and a little disoriented but the Seward seemed like a magical place. It had a backyard and a garden and its collectively run. We ordered delicious food but I wasn't able to eat very much of it, I just wanted coffee. We stayed there for a long time just sort of collecting ourselves. Stories told revealed mutual friends and everyone told stories about past adventures but it all felt very dreamlike.

We walked from Seward's to Joe's friend Natalie's house. I know now that the walk wasn't that far but it seemed to take forever and when we finally got there I flopped down on the couch in the cool basement and didn't move again for a long time. I'll have some pictures to post eventually.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Leaving Milwaukee

Today I'm finally leaving Milwaukee. I've done a lot of cool things in the interim since I last updated but its going to take me a while to go back and do some postdated entries from my paper journal. Milwaukee has been great but its a black hole in a lot of ways. I can't seem to leave being the biggest but also there aren't many places with internet and its really slow so its been hard to upload my photos. Also my cell phone reception has been sporadic at best. If I was trying to fall of the radar, its working pretty well so far. I also deleted my facebook account so no one thinks I'm giving them the shaft. It was just too much of a bother.

Tonight I'll be leaving for Minneapolis with Julia and two other friends. I don't really know anyone there but I'm excited to get out of Milwaukee. I did borrow a bike though today and ride around and I wish I'd had a bike the whole time. The city is really spread out to walk everywhere.

Last night was a cut pop punk show and of course one of the bands ended up being from Pittsburgh. never get away haha. I'll write more and add photos when I get the chance!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Greyhound to Philly

As it turns out, a plane ticket just didn't make any sense so I took the dirty dog, something I promised myself I would never do again. The ride wasn't too bad though and I ended up with two seats to myself. I ended up in Philly without incident and was picked up by a good friend in Chinatown. When I walked out of the bus station there was a fight right in the doorway, oh Philly, welcome home.