Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back in My Carless...Carfree Days

         Cleaning out my desk...found some old writings, from the days when I wrote a weekly column for a small newspaper. This paragraph popped out at me...I'm amazed and dismayed by the willingness of every American to partake in the wanton and frivolous distribution of carcinogenic chemicals into the air and water. The same air and water that we all use to sustain our finite lives.
         My wife brought home a DVD called Chemical Roulette that she picked up at the local natural foods store and we invested our Sunday evening in watching this thoroughly frightening expose on corporate food production..... No wonder I totally immerse myself in my two favorite sports; cycling and baseball!
          It's true, we are going to die and... the meek are not inheriting the earth, but, no matter how hard we try, we are not going to change the minds or reform the consumptive and polluting behaviors those around us by bitching and proselytizing about "a better way" to live.
         So, all that's left is...just live, and do your best to enjoy each day and try to enrich the lives of those around you. We all have the power to screw up the environment that we share, and I realize that many of us are not performing this act out of anger or meanness but, we can all do better, we can strive to tread lighter on this planet and each other.
         Once we are aware of our impact and develop a desire to do less damage to the air and water we share, then, the change begins. This change and awareness has been going on during most of my lifetime...but, I am impatient with our progress. As John Muir said, "The money-changers are in the temple." and as long as money has the power to blind and possess a majority of those who live near us, we will only be the small voice in the back of their conscience that says, "This isn't right, I'm being selfish here."
         We may be unlucky enough to be the generation that sees radical change in how we treat each other as a result of numerous natural and unnatural disasters, that may be or not be the result of our bad environmental and political behavior...comeuppance, I think it's called. People do "pull together" during these times and definitely learn to be compassionate toward those less fortunate.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dream (and prediction) Comes True!

         Being a sports fan, (cycling and baseball) is not a waste of time. Baseball, in fact, is making me mighty happy! Business is down, politicians are phony, Lance Armstrong is a fraud, hockey is at a stalemate, American football is obese and oversold....but, the World Series will be pure bliss here in 2012.
          On April Fools Day I stuck my neck out....after careful analysis of Spring Training, not really, I called for a 2012 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants! My wife says I make that prediction every year...not true, last year I could see that the Giants were drunk on success and little hope of repeating (they won it all in 2010). The Tigers hadn't done squat since 2006...I was a rabid Tigers fan for the first 18 years of my life and they rewarded me with a World Series victory against the Cardinals in 1968.
           Who cares? Oh, how I care...the Giants are the underdog, they have been the underdog all year. Early predictions had the Dodgers winning the National League Pennant. The SF Giants were said to be no better than a third place team...thank you Sports Illustrated. The Tigers loaded up on talent and have the best starting pitchers in baseball but, that doesn't always result in being the best team...ask the Yankees.
           Many of my relatives, immediate relatives, in Michigan, feel strongly about the Detroit Tigers. I want them to be ecstatic about their team, I pulled strongly for them all year, the odds are in their favor....and yes, I know, I have to pick one over the other. I moved to California in 1969, I lived in San Jose during my first year in California. Californians put me on the front page of the San Jose News (in a good light) after I'd only been here for three months...I do love California, especially Northern California. I'm sitting at my keyboard wearing an orange hat and an orange shirt poking out of a black vest...I don't own a blue vest, I wouldn't wear it for the next two weeks even if I did. The blue Tigers hat went back in the closet this morning.....Go Giants!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Best Of All Worlds

        October is Outstanding....especially when...my two favorite baseball teams are surviving a run to the World Series...this lessens the pain inflicted by incessant political ads on the airwaves. The deciduous yellows, oranges and reds are peaking and reminding me that it's a riot and a joy to be alive and healthy in the mountains of Northern California. Gathering wood, Oak and Lodgepole Pine, from the surrounding forest, digging up onions and potatoes from the garden and fitting in hour-long bicycle rides, and dog walks, adds up to an almost perfect Autumn.
         This is also the time of year when I miss my Michigan people the most. Being surrounded by Fall colors and the feeling of impending Winter makes me want to huddle with family and share stories and belly-laughs about the events from the rest of the year.
          A month-long trip abroad always helps me reset, when I return home...I look at friends and neighbors differently...my yard, my house and my little village in the mountains, and of course the dog, welcome me warmly and forgive me for acting like the separation was permanent.
          At sixty-two I am not setting any records for longevity but, I am the guy who forty years ago said, "If I live past the age of forty, it'll be because I haven't been adventurous enough." There'll be snowblower wrestling matches in my near future,  followed by meals of grilled cheese and Advil.
           I have to say, I am hoping for another dozen cycles through the seasons, at least....and a good portion of that time in the saddle on one of my favorite bicycles, breathing hard, sweating profusely and imagining that I am an athlete being pursued by some young whippersnapper, who thinks he has my number and is hoping to stomp by me with his nose in the air, not offering a single word of encouragement. For the most part, I am still holding those punks off by choosing quiet roads to ride in remote areas...when it happens, I won't be discouraged, I won't be rattled,  I'll be thankful that I'm moving forward while balancing on just two wheels.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Post Trip...What was I worried about?

       Thirty days of "going with the flow" in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and finally Germany...leaves me; tired of driving, satiated with Alpen scenery, titillated about the prospect of future cycling/camping adventures (back to France) and pleased with my level of fitness, mentally and physically.
       Back behind the counter at Bodfish Bicycles, I get to share the stories. Friends and customers always ask, "What did you miss the most?"...I know what they want to hear, "the dog, a soft bed, fixing flats and getting greasy every day, conversations in English, a full cup of coffee"... but, just between you and me, I missed my morning TheraSauna and generally hanging around in the house naked.
        Lisa and I have embarked on lengthy autumn adventures for more than half of the thirty-eight years we've been together...we understand that it takes more than a couple of weeks to untangle the web of workaday wires and knots that hold our "adventure-selves" hostage.... followed by another few weeks out of the routine, in order to recharge the batteries that power our true subterranean free spirits....we always find our deepest "true-selves" on these outings and we like what we see and share, in each other.
       The roads are quieter here in Plumas County but the motorists are callous and show no concern for the vulnerable pedestrians at the road's crumbling edge. Foot-powered travelers are not admired, but rather they are pitied and even scorned for distracting the flow and concentration of the operators of overweight metal and plastic, fume spewing boxes on asphalt strips that every citizen finances.                
        Europeans all seem to have the attitude that every human deserves his or her space on road...farm tractors, horse drawn carts and especially cyclists are included as legitimate members of "the flow" along the trodden path...respect is shown toward all, even the foot-powered.
        This is one of the reasons we are excited to spend our hard-earned money in Europe...too bad it takes jet fuel to get there.