Questing with the Cultural REcyclists

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Thursday!

Most Glorious Thursday to all! In two days it will be Christmas, which was astronomically as well as spiritually significant according to Bethlehem Star, and two days ago was the Winter Solstice and a full Lunar Eclipse, another very rare event that the US Naval Observatory says hasn't happened since 1638 (Washington Post Article). And what day is in between these two cosmic events? A Happy Thursday. [for more details, Google "Happy Thursday PSU" and read Daily Collegian articles or visit Facebook page]

In other news, Charlie has been experimenting with another website builder. Here's what he's got so far: culturalrecyclists.typepad.com

I'm off to help construct a new fence for my cousin, Julie. Until next time...

Spread good tidings to all and don't forget that it is OK, and encouraged, to wish strangers/friends a Happy Thursday.

Peace and Love,
Will

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa Barbara for the Holiday(s)

Hey everybody! Happy Saturday and Merry Holidays. I, Will, am in Santa Barbara right now staying with a distant branch of my loving family. It's a great time to be alive because life is awesome. Even though tough times are abundant (i said life is awesome, not easy) I am grateful for my health, the experience of meeting new people, and the opportunity to strengthen my individuality while the rest of the Recyclists are in other parts of the Nation.

Speaking of the other Recyclists...

The Holiday Low Down:
Amanda - Home for the Holidays, returning to San Fran Jan 5, 2011; cycling to Santa Barbara upon return
Charlie - Staying in San Fran until Amanda returns
Chris - Recuperating in Kansas with his parents until Spring
Kevin - Home for the Holidays, as of now no significant touring until Spring
Moss - Meditation retreat from Dec 19 to 29. Leaving San Fran with Charlie and Amanda
Tina - Home for the Holidays, organizing projects in State College, PA and in hometown West Chester, PA
Will - Santa Barbara until Amanda, Charlie, and Moss bicycle down here. Then south to San Diego

That's all for now. Check back in a couple days for updates and tales of adventure!

Tailwinds,
Will

Saturday, November 20, 2010

May Peace Prevail On Earth

(I (Kevin) will be telling this story, since I was the main character of this incident.)
We (Will, Amanda, Charlie, Anjel, and myself (Tina is a town ahead)) left Garberville, California around noon. There was a very light drizzle coming from the clouds and we started climbing a hill on our bicycles. We were traveling on the 101 Highway going south. The five of us were riding a bit spread out, but all within a half mile of each other.
I was going over some thoughts in my head about plans for the winter. I gave my daily thanks for all the amazing people and experiences I have on a daily basis. I also have a semi-spiritual practice of thinking about death and impermanence, which I do almost daily. I said to myself, “Today is a good day to die.” In saying this I feel at peace with my current life and the possibility of it disappearing. Little did I know that I would have a direct test of this practice in the next five minutes.
I was cruising along about two feet to the right of the shoulder line. I have become completely acclimated to cars whizzing by, so I don't flinch when I hear them. BOOOM! Time stood still. I saw a luminescent white light which engulfed me very briefly. Then I looked up from the ground. I knew I was about to die. I saw Charlie jogging over, but it was in slow motion. I was in a complete state of peace. I said to Charlie, “Tell everyone I love them. Its all good.” He was in shock. I literally felt like I was just a raindrop merging with a vast ocean. I said smiling, “Put all my money into buying people Eckhart Tolle books. That's all I want.”
A bit of time passed, and I looked down at my body and saw that I could wiggle my toes. “Wait I'm not dead?,” I thought. I immediately started sending chi (life-force energy) throughout my body. I learned from Eastern medicine that the faster you send chi to an injury, the better the chance it has to heal. More people came over and huddled around me, and I asked them all to please send chi to my body. The woman who was driving the car which struck me came over to me. She was hysterical, and apologizing. I was still in a state of peace. I told her, “It's OK, please don't worry, just send me good energy.” I gave her several hugs while laying on the ground.
I could feel that my body was injured, but I didn't interpret it as pain. The paramedics showed up and asked me, “What's your biggest complaint?” I said smiling, “Well my book hasn't been published yet.”
I glanced down and saw that my knees were covered in blood. It seemed like my knees took most of the impact. I continued to send chi throughout my body,was “Om”-ing, and my friends did the same. I feel that this practice (similar to Reiki) vastly reduced my injuries. I had a copy of A New Earth By Eckhart Tolle amongst my gear and it had landed nearby. Will read a little excerpt to me and everyone and that helped me feel more relaxed amidst this chaotic seen. The paramedics then took me on a stretcher to the ER.
I got checked out by some nurses and a doctor and they bandaged my knees. Instead of getting immediately stitched up, I requested that I first meditate for an hour or so to heal myself from the inside out. My friends arrived a bit later and did some massage and energy work on my injured body. Up to this point I had not cried at all and was just feeling happy to be alive, and so wishing everyone a happy Thursday. As my friends gave me tender loving care, I was overwhelmed by a wave of emotion. My whole body began vibrating intensely. What came next was an extremely profound experience.
I thought of how I could literally be gone from this world right now. I thought of all the silly things we worry and stress about, and how futile they all are. I became keenly aware of the immense suffering currently on this planet. I felt the truth of the teachings in Eckhart Tolle's books and also in The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein. I cannot describe these truths here in this blog, but I feel it is my duty on this planet to share them. Both authors write and speak of “the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible.” While laying in bed I viscerally felt that a more beautiful world is indeed possible, and we are the ones who will create it. I believe that this is happening through a transformation in human consciousness. I simultaneously felt the profound beauty of all life on Earth as well as the intense suffering of so many beings on this planet.
Directly after being struck by the car, I told Charlie to put all my money into sharing books like these, because that is what I believe to be truly important, not all the frivolous distractions and worries which drain so much of our time and energy. I felt the wrongness of western culture which has gotten completely confused on what is important in life.
Western culture values profit over people, products over natural spaces, and money over well-being. I saw that this is not how life has to be. At the peak of this experience I felt like a bubble of pure energy. I kept repeating "May peace prevail on Earth." After returning into my normal state I feel the only thing worth doing is to work for peace.
I believe that two ways towards peace are the books I mentioned:The Ascent of Humanity is available free online in audio and text at ascentofhumanity.com . Eckhart Tolle's books are in most bookstores.
As far as my health goes, I have no broken bones, and I have been walking around today, and will be at full health in a couple of weeks. I am very grateful to still have the gift of life. Thanks for reading, and please cherish the wonderful gift of life that you have every moment of every day. Peace, Kevin

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cultural REcyclists celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the Climate Justice fast!

November 6, 2010
Happy Saturday!

One year ago today, I went on a hunger strike for a fair, ambitious, and binding global treaty focused on Climate Change with the(Climate Justice Fast).

Today I am fasting once again for the anniversary. Although no global treaty was created last year in Copenhagen, the global grassroots movement became more self-sufficient and sustainable; it grew larger, stronger, and more powerful.

I have been biking across America this summer with the(Cultural REcyclists) to explore sustainability. We have been meeting and networking with people, who are taking action now to lessen their dependence on foreign or distant resources. So far today, I have biked 30 miles drinking only water, and I feel awesome! Due to some crazy storm conditions on the Oregon coast I might be camping in Gold Beach, OR.

This bicycle trip and the Climate Justice Fast have shown me how far I can push my physical body if my mind is solid. Although it may seem the world is falling apart. There is always a brighter future if we can imagine it.

Please open your imagination and help create a wonderful world we can all live in full of joy and abundance.

Thanks! Peace! Love!

Tina Berry

Check out this Video of Satan & Tina Berry:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Adventures in Portland, Take Two (and previous adventures)

Today is Friday November 5th. I (Kevin) am writing this blog entry on this calm and cool afternoon from Portland Oregon. The Cultural Recyclists have been in this eclectic and hectic city for the last week. We were all here for two weeks in early October, then we biked down the Oregon coast for another two weeks. Outside of Bandon Oregon (about 300 mi. south of Portland), Chris was hit by a car while riding his bike. He was taken back up to Portland to have surgery on his leg. The rest of our crew hitched rides North, back up to Portland to be with him. Chris is doing very well, he's out of the hospital, off of pain meds, and in high spirits. (There will be another blog entry specifically about this event.)
On a lighter note, we have all had abundant adventures in the past two months (Yea, we know we've been slacking on the blog entries). I will trace back just a few of the highlights in reverse chronological, but the stories are so numerous, its humorous.
The day Chris was hit, was the day we left Mountain Homestead. Mountain Homestead is an eco-village -like place outside of Coquile, Oregon. (www.mountainhomestead.org) The 6 of us (Kevin, Will, Charlie, Amanda, Chris, and Tina) were not the only bicycle visitors. A guy named Seven became our temporary seventh rider when we left Portland back in mid-October. We then met a Canadian fellow named Brian, who decided to join our crew as we rode down the Coastal By-way (101). In North Bend, Oregon, we ran into two other cyclists, whom we'd met in Missoula (Connor and Aden), and they decided to join as well. Within a week our squad was up to ten, and the folks at Mountain Homestead were kind enough to put us up for a couple of days. We helped them with all sorts of projects geared around creating a sustainable community. We helped harvest wood, build small wood structures, cook food, harvest vegetables, hunt for lobster mushrooms, dig holes, and many other things. Two days into our stay, four other biking friends arrived and we temporarily became 14! We acquired vast amounts of knowledge, due to the hand's-on learning techniques. The Mountain Homestead is founded on Permaculture principles, Earth Care, People Care, and fair share. Many permaculture techniques are flourishing in this beautiful place. The village is powered 90% by solar and hydro power. All of their water is provided on site, and they produce almost all their own fruits and vegetables. It was a truly amazing experience to see what is possible when people collectively unite their heads, hands, and hearts.
Before Mountain Homestead, a pivotal moment was when we reached the Pacific Ocean! This officially meant that we rode our bicycles coast to coast. We all ran to the beach and dipped our feet in the frigid ocean. We all slept on the beach that day, and created a massive bonfire with driftwood. It was and still is quite incredible to look at a map and see how far we have traversed with peanut butter and jelly power! The night previous to staying on the beach, we found 20 pounds of packaged Swiss cheese, amongst other goodies whilst dumpster diving. With our growing number of cyclists, we finished almost all 20 pounds in about a week.
We met an astounding number of friendly folks along the coast who we hung out with at campsites and elsewhere. We found that dumpster diving is very easy along the coast, so we got most of our food for free. By the way, we are very conscious of unhealthy food, so we are careful not to consume anything with mold, as well as much junk food. We were also gifted many things like semi-burnt pizza, expired goods from natural foods stores, and fresh veggies from farmers.
Our original stay in Portland was full of excitement. Our crew stayed at various old friends' and new friends' homes. We made many friends through the Food Not Bombs community. Food Not Bombs is a group which receives donated fresh food, cooks it into yummy dishes, and then serves it for free in parks almost every day. Some of us helped gather food, cook, or helped enjoy the vegan meals in the park. We participated in the 350.org 10/10/10 global day of action to solve the climate crisis. We also went to group meditation, jam sessions, and helped out in many urban permaculture gardens. We visited The Tryon Life Community Farm. Videos of our stay in Portland can be found on our youtube channel, linked from our website :)
Coming into Portland, we rolled through the Columbia River Gorge, which was quite Gorgeous! Before that we rode briefly through Washington, Idaho, and Montana. In Idaho, some of us visited another eco-village in its early days, called Vedrica Forest Gardens. Inspired by The Ringing Cedars books, this community is striving to live sustainably and happily amidst the Idaho mountains. We were amazed at the ancient cedar trees here and the generosity of the people living amongst them. A bit earlier in Idaho, we soaked in the Weir natural hot springs. Immersed in wilderness, we relaxed in a completely natural, completely free, completely awesome hot spring. In Idaho, we saw the first bear of the trip, climbing a tree alongside the road. It wasn't threatening whatsoever, and we felt pretty silly, seeing as most of us carried 40$ cans of bear mace.
Trace back a week or so, and the Cultural Recyclists were in Missoula Montana. We became good friends with lots of folks there, and were greeted with many generous offers of places to stay and eat. We originally weren't even going to venture up to Missoula, but were swayed by some fellow touring bikers, who said it was a groovy town. In the first three days, there were festivals every day and a few massive farmers markets. We also visited various organic farms and permaculture projects, and we have videos of these on our Youtube channel. We stayed in Missoula for 8 days, and every day was most enjoyable.
These descriptions of our journey are hardly scratching the surface of the tip of the iceberg. I can tell you that we are learning a myriad of lessons and skills, that we had very little experience with up until this trip. We are realizing that in order to experience all that life has to offer, we must push the boundaries of our comfort zones. There is a quote that says "Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” We left the sight of the shore on the east coast, with many people doubting us, sometimes ourselves.
In our toughest times, we keep our faith in the inherent goodness of life, humans included. We believe that although our western culture has lost its way, and is destroying so many important things ie; Community, ecosystems, indigenous people, diversity, etc., a new way of seeing the world is arising. We believe that people's values are changing and a growing number of people are working for a more beautiful world. We are meeting people of all ages, shapes, and sizes who are saying, "I am tired of the status quo, we need to work for something new." We believe that incredible changes are happening all over the world, as people begin to reexamine what they want in life, and what life can be.
I often refer to the metaphorical Great Chain of Inspiration. (basically that anyone who inspires another was previously inspired also) Many people and groups have inspired us to do what we are currently doing and reigniting our passion to keep it up. We are each a link in the chain, which winds all different directions, and is non-linear. We hope that we can do our part in the great chain of inspiration and inspire you to "lose sight of the shore" and follow your passions. We can assure you that we left the shore, and we made it all the way to the great Pacific Ocean.
Thanks for reading,
Peace and Love, Kevin and The Cultural Recyclists

Also, this is a fantastic essay by Charles Eisenstein:http://shareable.net/blog/a-circle-of-gifts

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"The Richest Hill on Earth"

Happy Thursday (or whatever day of the week you're reading this) everyone! The Cultural Recyclists are currently in the town of Butte, Montana; home of the "richest hill on earth", but more on that later. Our last blog entry was in Cody, Wyoming, and we have quite a bit to catch you up on!
Charlie, Kevin, Will, and I (Amanda) spent five days in Cody waiting for Chris and Tina to catch up to us. Of course we didn't mind, considering we had a wonderful time meeting new people and were able to treat our bodies to an abundance of nourishing food and rejuvenating bouts of relaxation. Thanks to all that hosted, entertained, and/or fed us during our stay in Cody. The energy (whether it be spiritual, intellectual, or physical) was just what we needed to propel us onward to Yellowstone.
The journey from Cody to Yellowstone was an adventure in itself. We had been forewarned (probably more than we needed to be) that there have been more grizzly bear attacks this year than in previous years, and that we needed to be most careful in the stretch of mountains outside of the gates of Yellowstone. For peace of mind, we decided to camp in designated campgrounds, where we were able to store our food in bear boxes. Ultimately, we didn't encounter any grizzly bears, which is a bitter-sweet fact. We did, however, spot a mother moose and her calf grazing a patch of plants across the river from our campsite one evening. I believe this moose-sighting was the first for all of the recyclists.
As we pedaled up the mountains and into higher elevation we found it was no longer summertime for the recyclists. We knew this was coming, and were as prepared for the temperature drop as we could be, but it was nevertheless a bit shocking to our systems, which had become accustomed to the warm (often hot) weather. We were a few miles from the gate and another 30 from the nearest place they would allow us to camp in Yellowstone when we heard word of an incoming snowstorm. It was becoming evident we weren't going to make it into the park that day, but there was a ban on soft-shell (tent) camping where we were because of the bear activity.
We needed to find some shelter, and we needed it to be cheap. After all, the recyclists are cycling on a somewhat tight budget. We stopped at a cabin rental place and inquired about rates. We wanted the cheapest room we could get, and assured them that as long as they didn't mind, we would pack in a room like sardines. And that is exactly what we did. We fit eight people in an $89 one-bed room. "Eight people?" you may be wondering. We met two cyclists, John and Olivia, who are biking from British Columbia, Canada to Key West, Florida. They also needed a cheap place to stay, and we were happy to pack a few more sardines into our room.
We woke at three a.m. the next morning and packed our bicycles. We were only a few miles from the gate and knew that if we got there before 6 a.m. we wouldn't have to pay the admission fee. At $12/bicycle, we avoided a hefty $72 entrance fee into Yellowstone (the six of us in a minivan would have paid $25 to get into the park) Avoiding the fee aside, the ride into the park was phenomenal. We were blessed with clear night skies, a beautiful sunrise, and remarkable landscapes. It did end up snowing during our journey into the park, but thankfully it didn't begin until mid-morning when the sun could provide us with just enough warmth to keep our bodies functioning at a healthy level. We had finally made it into the first ever National Park; A relatively untouched stretch of land which is rich in wildlife and geological features.

TO BE CONTINUED =o)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Almost to Yellowstone!

Hello! (This will be Kevin writing, just for clarification)

I am currently in Cody, Wyoming, 50 miles outside of Yellowstone National Park. Charlie, Amanda, Will, and I have been here for three days now. We are enjoying the time to relax and stock up on winter clothes and delicious non-perishables before heading to the wondrous Yellowstone. We are also waiting for Tina and Chris to catch up with us, because they were helping out with projects in the town of Casper, Wyoming. Our friend Arlo, who rode with us for a week, decided he wanted to leave our bicycle tour to venture down to a Co-op in Boulder Colorado. Soon enough, the six remaining riders will journey into the land of Devil's Tower and Old Faithful.
To recap some of our recent excitement, I will retrace our steps. For the last two nights we stayed with a munificent couple, Denny and Suzanne. Denny was intrigued by our bicycles while we were at the library and we soon learned that he has hiked most of America's trails on foot, and traversed much of the roads by bicycle. He kindly invited us for dinner, where we enjoyed elk-burgers (hunted by Suzanne, skinned by Denny, and cooked by Suzanne). We were gifted many recently expired organic goods from a Natural Foods Store called Mountain High. Due to all the "bear scares" recently, we purchased several canisters of Bear Mace.
During our non-riding time here in Cody we have been able to spend more time "being" and not solely "doing". Our friend Andrew from Fairfield helped teach us the importance of balancing doing and being. I found a copy of one of my favorite "being-inducing" books at a store for only fifty cents. "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle catapults me into the present moment like no other book can. While hanging around Denny's mostly handcrafted home, Will couldn't put "A New Earth" down. Charlie found a copy of "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz which also articulates the importance of spiritual practice. Myself and Amanda have both been working on cultivating a regular Yoga stretching session at various times of the day. I was reading about meditation techniques at the library and have resumed my daily practice of entering a state of "Laos." The word "Laos" is part of the mini-lexicon we are developing as we ride. I define the word Laos as "ones natural state within, which can only be felt, not thought, consisting of peace,calm, and joy."
Back to the activities we've been doing...before Cody, we were in the tiny town of Matittsi (blogger doesn't have spellcheck). This old-western town's claim to fame is that Butch Cassidy was captured here. More recently, one of the convicts who hid in Yellowstone was also caught in Matittsi. We ate a tasty pizza at one of the only restaurants in town, seeing as there was no grocery there. Charlie and a woman we met at the restaurant had a duet-guitar jam session in the park we camped in as well.
Rewind back a town, and we are in the home of the "world's largest natural hot-springs" -Thermopolis. We stayed a few nights at the home of a generous woman,named Chellady's house. Chellady and her family let us use their home computer, where we uploaded photos of all the breath-taking buttes and expansive mountain-scapes we see. We soothed our muscles in the hot springs, which reeked of sulfur, but were overwhelmingly restorative.
The ride into Thermopolis through the Wind River Canyon was absolutely astounding. I've never been to the Grand Canyon, but I can't imagine anything more grand than this. Riding through the base of this natural wonder had my jaw hitting my handlebars!
Before Thermopolis, we were in Shoshoni, which is the name of Native tribe which our culture ...decimated..I mean decided to move elsewhere. We saw some relics of the Native culture in some of the town stores. And we could feel the spirit of the land, embodied in the therapeudic sage scent, and the galloping antelope, adorned with curley Q horns.
Previous to Shoshoni, we were exploring Casper. Within minutes of entering Casper, we had met a myriad of like-minded people at the local Farmer's Market. Our taste buds lit up as we were given free samples of all sorts of fresh peaches, scones, fresh dips, and other goodies. Many vendors were exceedingly generous in giving us crates of fresh veggies to take with us. We stayed two nights at the home of Leah and Brett, who manage the Farmer's Markets. They treated us to warm showers which were graciously accepted by all of us. We met many cool folks around town, some of whom Chris and Tina stayed with to work on community projects.
Overall, our recent adventures have been full of suprise, synchronicity, and bear-warnings. We have had many ups and downs, but we take it all in stride, and are learning new life lessons every day. We appreciate every bit of support and well-wishing, and we strive to reciprocate it. Thanks for reading, and I don't have time to edit, so I hope its ledgible, haha. Love, Kevin May/Phil Osophical and all of the Cultural Recyclists!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Life After Linclon...

Happy Monday Loves!

I am currently in Lusk, WY at the Library with Chris. We now have a new member, Arlo Brittan, from Alliance, NE. We are making our way to Yellow Stone seven REcyclists strong. There is a possibility for three more riders to join us in the coming weeks. Check out our Google map to see if we're coming by your town and you can join us too!

I stayed in Lincoln for almost a week. The Sunday we rode into Lincoln, I was hit by a car at the intersection of route 17 N and route 34 W. Chris and I were riding together. I went to make a left turn onto 34 W, then was thrown off my bike by a Chyster Pacifica. I only received some buries, soreness, and a few scraps as my damage from the encounter with the metal beast. However, the beast lost its passenger side rear view vision and got the passenger side of its face busted in, most likely thanks to the Tidy Cat Buckets on my bike. It was a bit crazy. Chris saw the whole event play out.
We were lucky enough that Adam has a truck. He drove out to pick us up with his daughter Sophie. She is adorlable. Adam hooked up the whole crew for the couple days we all stayed. Amanda and Will left Lincoln after two nights, while Charlie, Kevin, and Chris stayed an extra night. I hung out for another night after the boys. Adam drove me out to meet up with Charlie, Kevin, and Chris the Friday after my accident. The boys were originally going to leave with Will and Amanda.
We became distracted once helping Open Harvest manage thier food waste. The Food Co-Op had some figs, salads, bananas, and tuna sandwiches that couldn’t be sold anymore. It was sweet to be hooked up with healthy food. By the time the boys were finishing up at the market if was almost 7 pm. Adam came by on his way into the Meadow Lark. He called over to us, “Yes, you can come home tonight!” So the boys stayed an extra night. We all performed in the open mic at the Meadow Lark that night. I sang my America the Imperial song. Followed by a local folk singer song writer. Then Chris spoke a poem before Kevin’s Semi-Spontaneous Flow Tree Rap. Charlie and Chris harmonized to Surfer girl and teach your children after the rap. Our new friend Elle entertained us with some spoken word next. It was a lovely night.
During my extra day in Lincoln, I was able to film a video that will eventually be posted in four parts about Amy Brt’s permaculture. She is doing some great work! Her site is beauitful. It will be really rocking in a few years once she finishes some of her upcoming plans. I also met Eric. He is interested in joining our ride along with his cousin Sammy. So maybe we will have nine Recyclists before long.
Adam dropped me off in York to ride out to Grand Island with the boys. It was a lovely ride. Loads of wondrous scenery. Chris and I even stopped to go for a swim in a magical lake. I felt like I was living in a fantasy novel. The next day I had to patch a flat tire. Charlie and Kevin biked a head of us to catch up with Will and Amanda. The four of them reunited that night in Broken Bow. Chris and I camped out in Anlsey for the night then rode the last 16 miles towards Broken Bow in the morning. The crew had gotten hooked up at the Tubble weed café for dinner the night before and breakfast in the morning. Chris and I also were able to have a delicious breakfast served by Georgia. Our whole crew chilled out in Tomahawk park most of the day. The heat advisory was for 110 degrees. The idea was to do a night ride around 6 or 7 pm.
We had some group distractions before the concenus seemed to be, “lets camp out here one more night then leave in the morning.” Chris and I were excited for a night ride, so we rode out towards Dunning at 10pm. The night was amazing. We watched at least 30 shoot stars zoom across the sky. Up, down, sideways, over the milky way galazy, star flew everywhere. We learned from James with sandhillrainmaker.org that a metor shower is in process all week. He also rocked.
The next day we all met up in Tedford. We met a women who offered to cook us breakfast if we rode out to her house in Mullen by 8:30am. We tried to sleep well through the most epic thunder storm of the trip so far to prep for the 25 miles morning ride. It was lovely. The sandhills are a breathtaking site at sun rise. The reds, oranges, and pinks fill the skies and the sands. Glowing, glimmering wonderment filled the eyes of all six REcyclists. We passed into the mountain time zone half way through the ride. We called up Gloria to learn she meant 8:30am mountain time not central as we were orginally intending. This made for a steller early morning.
Our next big adventure came in the form of Alliance, NE. We stayed an extra day because Chris got lost from our crew. I found him riding in a truck up to Carhedge. It was wonderful to know he was alright. Kevin had searched on his bike the night before. Amanda and I looked for him on foot too. Now, everyone has a card with everyone’s phone numbers on it. Although chalk messages may come in handy sometime. We also met Arlo in Alliance. He is awesome and into everything we want to do.
Arlo spent a day with Charlie to get his bike ready while the rest of us rode closer to Wyoming. Yesterday, the seven us of all rode across the boarder together. There will be a sweet picture of his moment on the website soon. We are now at about 5,000 feet elevation. That’s all I have time to tell right now.

Peace & love,
Tina Berry

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Welcome Nebraska!

So i now find myself in Lincoln, Nebraska. The road has been long and arduous, but rewarding beyond imagination. I still have some food from Pittsburgh. We would set our intientions to camp and eat the food that we've been carrying for hundreds of miles, but still have meals provided for us!


Meals provided include:
.Steak, vegetable casserol, Garlic bread
.Sweet corn, peaches & cream corn, homemade Lemon pie, Crunch chocolate bar
.Baked Ziti casserole, cucumber/onion salad with vinegar, squash with brown sugar
.Subway
.a couple meals hand picked (by the crew and me) from a new friend's garden.
.Cheese burgers, local sweet corn, watermelon, grapes, homemade cookies, homegrown tomatoes, bananas, and peaches (it was a feast!)
The scenery on this tour is beautiful. Iowa has had the best terrain to date. Breathtaking skies, fun rollers (low frequency, long wave length hills), open roads, and great people. The sun would set on the horizon, filling the sky with heartwarming crimson. Then, if clouds were present, the sun's rays would light up the bottom of the clouds with a deep, radiating violet effectively creating a second sunset. Day time travel riveled evening scenes because of terrain, gently winding roads, and imaginative landscapes. Pumping up a 1/2 to 3/4 mile long hill to see vibrant green valleys on either side is quite a spectacle. Something about climbing hills in medium gears, taking in picturesque views, and then rocketing down the other side in the highest gear possible makes for an out-of-this-world magical feeling. Couple all this with less than 6 cars an hour and it's heaven.

Eastern Illinois and Western Indiana scored a little lower: Tractor trailors everywhere! Our backcountry routes were shaken by fully loaded semi's blasting past at 50+ mph enroute to grain elevators. The only change in scenery was soy on the left and corn on the right to corn on the left and soy on the right. Normally, the solitude would be therapudic, but the trucks were nerve-wracking.

Stay tuned for more adventures!
 
Will

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fast Times in the Mid-West!

Happy Wednes (HUMP) day Everyone!


We have been slacking on blogging lately. When this happens it usually means we are consumed by the awesome power of the present moment. The last time we checked in was Oberlin, Ohio. We are currently in Chariton, Iowa. We finished traveling the length of Ohio, then rode through the harsh winds of Indiana, followed by more invisible mountains (head winds) in Illinios, and now are rolling over the many hills of Iowa. We are expected to arrive in Lincoln, Nebraska by this coming Sunday August 1, 2010.

Where to begin with the adventures we have encountered along the way?

After Oberlin at 6pm we rode with our new friends Jessica and Cara to the end of the bike trail leaving the city. Then we cycled a few more miles to Norwalk. I (Tina) went into Stain Paul's Cathedral to see if anyone might let us spend the night in the church. While I wandered the empty halls, the rest of the crew chatting with the dominos pizza delivery guy Brian. The crew were gifted free dinner in exchange with some stories about our travels. One of the preist at the church showed up after listening to my voicemail as soon as we decided to just sleep in the church anyway. Father Eric was awesome! He hooked us up with a huge breakfast in the morning.

We were chased down for the first time near Findley, Ohio. I met a woman (Janet) at a red light. I wished her a "Happy Monday" and gave her our website. A few miles later she’s in a truck with print outs of all our blogs sitting passenger to Steve. The couple found the rest of the crew about a mile a head of me. Then they requested we let them buy us dinner and find us somewhere to sleep. We had an amazing meal at the Dragon something. They also hooked us up with breakfast in the morning.

Fort Wayne, Indiana was our next planned stop. We stayed with Jain & David who are starting a co-housing project. They also have a beautiful garden. Jain's sister runs the 35 year old food co-op in town. We made a video about it!

I was chased down for the second time just before Silver Lake, Indiana. Ted has cycled across country before and wanted to put us up for the night out of respect for all the people that helped him on his travels. When he called his wife to ask if we could come for supper, she recalled seeing us in South Whitney and wanted to ask us to stay too. Charlie and Kevin were a head of Will, Amanda, and I by close to 10 miles. The boys camped while the three of us stayed the night in Ted's basement. We had a delicious dinner and desert filled with marvelous tales of the road.

Ted dropped Will and Amanda off in Rochester to meet up with Kevin and Charlie. I rode the rest of the way with Ted to his first farm stop of the day in Kewanna. I got to our destination first (for once) of Rensselaer. I was able to buy one cup of Highlander Mist from Kim at her coffee & home decor shop then got about 5 cups for free. I meet the rest of the crew at the Hot Dog Cafe. We were able to do some chores around the restaurant in exchange for some dinner. We also got hooked up with a lovely couple to stay with for the night. Alan and Rosemary still check in with us. They have become our new grandparents.

After that we booked it over to Stelle, Illinios. Stelle is home to Mid-West Permaculture. The town is an intentional community run mostly on renewable energy sources, has a community garden & orchard, and is a wonderful place to spend a few days. Becky Wilson who runs Mid-West Permaculture with her husband Bill hosted us for our stay.

We had three great nights staying in town pavilions in Wenona, Toulon, and Joy . While in Wenona we spent some of the money we made collecting & cutting rotten apples for chicken feed to buy pizza and fried food. While we were chowing down. People at the bar like the lovely Peggy brought us 3 rounds of drinks. The Boardwalk Bar gives out coins for free drinks. It was an awesome night. We also met the Mayor who gave us a box of granola bars & showers.

Then we arrived in Fairfeild, Iowa after our longest day yet of about 90 miles! We spent the next 5 nights in at the Abundance Eco-Village! Kevin and I also slept out at the permaculture our new friend Avi care takes a few nights. While in town we met so many people living the way we strive to live, off the grid with strong community ties. Julie came out on a bus to chill with us for the weekend. It was awesome to see Julie again. She decided she will complete our Non-Profit paperwork for us back in Pittsburgh. Then she might grab her bicycle, take it a train and ride with us for the rest of our trip. We discovered a 10 bedroom house with 2 acres of land next to Avi's permaculture! We really want to become an official 501 C3 non-profit so we can apply for grants and have tax-deductible donations made to us for our new co-housing & permaculture project in Fairfeild, Iowa. We also picked up a new member for our trip, Chris Romain! We were also interviewed by the only solar powered radio stations in the Mid-West. KRUU radio a completely community based radio station. Did I mention they have a permaculture outside the station too? Anyway they rock, look out for the interview on our website.

On Monday we left Fairfeild. Chris decided to just ride with us for the day and maybe camp out. During the ride he was not only convinced to camp out with us, but to join us on our ride. Yesterday, Charlie and Chris were picked up by our friend Pete to be driven back to Fairfeild in order to get Chris' bike road ready. Chris and Charlie just showed up to town after being dropped off by our friend Hap. We met Sonya at the Pipers candy shop which has shipped to ALL SEVEN CONTINENTS! She has graciously offered to put us up for the night at her house.

This is not a full account of our adventure. The library gives us shorten time spans for blogging communication. We will try to update more often and throughly. Until then, follow our twitter for daily updates! As always keep in touch with the website for new videos and picutres! We should have loads of new pictures updated today!

peace & love,

Tina on the behalf of all the REcyclists!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Adventures in Pittsburgh and Ohio

      The Cultural REcyclists participated and helped organize various activities in Pittsburgh before journeying onwards to Cleveland. Before Amanda and Will returned from their family gatherings, Tina, Kevin and Charlie helped put together another Transition Pittsburgh Gathering. Instead of Frick Park, we decided to change settings and go to Schenely Plaza. For those who don't know Schenely Plaza is a rare phenomena in cities, because it was a parking lot transformed into a beautiful park. (Though the park is privately owned, so there will be no ball playing on the grass!) Around 1pm we set up a free books blanket, and two tables filled with the immense amounts of dumpster goodies which we picked up from CVS and Trader Joe's (including apricots, bananas, fig newtons, etc.). As more people showed up semi-spontaneously, the gathering morphed into whatever the participants decided. Activities included free tai chi with a teacher who was nearby, conversations about fracking and Marcellus Shale (You too can have flammable drinking water!), hula hoop lessons, free massages, and all sorts of other things. We firmly believe that gatherings like these allow people to reconnect with themselves, eachother, and the beautiful Earth which gives us life!
         We do not have the time to track all of our adventures here, because the public library in Oberlin closes in 20 minutes, but we made various webisodes on our youtube channel: Youtube.com/user/CulturalREcyclists.
         We made a webisode about the free bike co-op program in the East End called Free Ride, and also checked out a Squirrel Hiller named Maren's household designed to maximize food production and minimize waste and energy usage. It was very inspiring to see what happens when people take action to transform the area they live in very creative and practical ways.
         All five of us coalesced and left Pittsburgh four days ago on June 5th. We biked out of Pittsburgh through Neville Island and saw the disturbing situation there with factory after factory after factory. Our eyes were sore to see so much pollution and dreariness. We next stopped in Sewickley and serendipitously met two gentlemen on their porch who are working to protect 1000 acres of beautiful forest, and also interested in the Transition Town movement. As we cycled towards Cleveland, we stayed in the backyard of nice family who cooked delicious mac n cheese for us. The next night, after a generous free meal at The Hot Dog Shop, we slept on farmland which had been turned almost as hard as concrete. Due to the monoculture farming techniques, the soil is drained of nutrients, unlike permaculture, where the soil is improved.
            We then biked 57 miles to Lakewood, Cleveland and arrived at Charlie's Aunt and Uncles house, where we spent two nights. The whole family was very hospitable and we greatly appreciate all the love, food, company, and support which we received there. While in Cleveland we visited the Rock N Roll hall of fame, and also a magnificent Bike Co-op. Thursday is bike night at the bar Now That's Class. One of the bike co-op volunteers invited us to come out with them, because if you bike you can claim a FREE beer. Needless to say, Tina is not one to pass up a free beer. The rest of the crew didn't join, but Tina had a great time. She went to another bar with dollar beers for cyclists. This is where she met up with Ben who is starting a co-housing project in Cleveland. She also got to try his homemade mead.

            We are now in Oberlin Ohio, and staying at a friend of Tina's tonight. Now that our whole bikemadic tribe is all together again, we are ready to leave our bioregion and venture into the midwest of this beautiful continent. We are learning wonderful life lessons every single day! We are giving and receiving encouragement everywhere we go. We wished probably 500 people a Happy Thursday yesterday, and we are very grateful to all the people and non-people who allow us to have happy days everyday. We received specific encouragement today from a woman who gave us free cookies at Hippie Cookies in Cleveland to "Keep doing what your doing, we need more people like you guys!"
           Thanks to all readers and supporters. We all encourage you to have a happy friday and find your niche and live it to the fullest!

Sincerely, The Cultural Recyclists, Kevin, Tina, Will, Amanda, and Charlie

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chillin' in PGH

Happy Friday!

We have had some crazy adventures on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) since leaving the C & O trail behind in Cumberland, MD. During our first day on the GAP, we rode only 16 miles up to Frostburg. It was a nice short ride ending at a lecture on Wild Foods and Science by Mimi Hernandez at the Appalachian Experiment Station. After the lecture, Mimi invited us for dinner with Jesse and her. She also let us spend the night on her apartment floor. Her building was very colorful! All of our bikes looks hilarious in the hallway. Mimi has been practicing herbalist for over a decade! She gave us some awesome advice on herbs to take on the road.

We had one of our earliest morning leaving Mimi's just before 8:30am. Then we ventured around Frostburg to the Food Lion, where we diving a huge dumpstered feast! We found apples, oranges, cakes, muffins, ice cream, milk, silk, and all sorts of goodies. After we filled up for the day, we hopped back on the trail and rode about 40 miles into Confluence, PA. We were able to camp in the backyard of a vacant house right by the river. It was a sweet spot. Charlie was the first REcyclist to get the sickness about to overtake most our group. We made some easy mac that Mimi's roommate Rachel gave us for dinner. We knew Charlie must be pretty sick when he turned down food.

The next morning we chilled out for most of the day. We only had 11 more miles until our next stop in Ohiopyle. Will was beginning to feel sick as well. Before we left Confluence we ate at the Lucky Dog Cafe. This is an amazing all organic and mostly local cafe. We all split a Farmers Market Pizza, which had whatever veggies were around at the farmers market. Once we hit the road, it was quick ride into Ohiopyle. We were lucky enough to make friends at the House Cafe. The owner there let us camp behind her quest house and they gave us some FREE fries & chicken fingers!

The next morning we explored the town a bit. We found an 95% LOCAL store called The Backyard Garden. The owner Vici told us about how she got started from selling her amazing mustard to owning her own shop. While we were there, we found out about the Wilderness Voyageur's Beer & Gear Fest on Saturday.We started to think we might hang around for a couple more days. Vici also told us about the Spring Valley Church Community, which is home to 250 people who run an organic farm & a Forest Stewardship Council certified child play set factory. Charlie gave them a call and we were invited to check out the community. We also met Joscelin and Kathy at Oddly Enough who were amazing that day.

In the late afternoon, we biked the 6 miles up the mountain to Spring Valley. It was awesome to get a tour of the gardens and the grounds. Then at dinner, we got to meet the whole community. It was crazy to hear everyone sing in harmony before digging in to the tacos. A couple from the community just arrived back from Haiti so they told about their experience as we all ate. After dinner we were invited to stay the night. Each of us got paired with a "host" family. It was great to ask questions about their way of life and experiences.

The next morning we had our really early day, with a 6am breakfast with our host families. At breakfast they sang again and had a bible reading after the meal. Before we biked back down the mountain to Ohiopyle, we joined the morning gathering with more singing. At this point both Will and Amanda were getting pretty sick. Once we got back to Ohiopyle, they just slept on a hill for most of the day. Kevin, Charlie, and Tina checked out the natural water slide for a while. Tina met Matt who runs Outdoorsman Insight Magazine. He was also going to the Beer and Gear fest later that day.

Once the fest time rolled around, Will and Amanda decided to skip out for sleep. Charlie and Kevin played guitar and juggled by the line for the people entertainment and made $10. Inside the fest Tina, socialized. She met some awesome hoopers selling hoops. One of which saw her speak at All Good Music Festival the year before. She was able to hang out with Kathy and Joscelin. Kathy gave Tina a beautiful peace sign necklace for creating positive vibes throughout town. Lizayla with Friends of Ohiopyle also gave Tina a $20 donation to the group. After the fest Tina camped out with some of the brewers.

In the morning, Tina hunted down the rest of the group a few miles past Ohiopyle off the GAP. She found everyone getting breakfast together down on a beach off the river. Charlie and Kevin decided to bike the rest of the way into Pittsburgh a bit after breakfast. They made it to Kevin's parents house in Squirrel Hill close to 10pm that night. Will, Amanda, and Tina rode for about 30 miles before the finding a great camp site. They met this guy Scott who just got on the GAP and is headed towards Washington D.C. The group decided to just pass out instead of making dinner.

Prepping for the last 50 miles until Pittsburgh, Will, Amanda, and Tina made some curry for breakfast. Tina made friends with a guy Brian who stopped by the site on his way down the GAP towards Washington D.C. He donated $5 towards "beer money" for us. Once we got to packing up camp, Tina finished first. With a blessing from Will and Amanda she headed up the trail to meet them around mile marker 125 or 130ish for lunch. Tina stopped in Boston and waited for over 2 hours for Will and Amanda to catch up. She finally just  rode with Tersea and Orion, Pittsburgh natives, towards the city. While she was waiting she got another $40 donation for the group and met a bunch of awesome people. Later that night Amanda was picked up by her mom and brother to go home for a family emergency.

Since the group has been in Pittsburgh, they have been running around doing a bunch of activities. Tuesday, Will spend most of his time trying to heal on the couch. While Kevin, Tina, and Charlie checked out a Transition Pittsburgh meeting and organized a gathering for the group this Saturday June 26th from 1pm until sunset at Frick Park by the blue slide. We also met the guys at the Electric Garage who are converting a Sicon and a Honda Civic in all electric vehicles. The group is showing Who Killed the Electric Car? tonight at 9pm at their shop.

On Wednesday, the group headed down to the Kingsley House to meet with Tina's fellow Penn State grads Mike and Jess as well as the Larimer Urban Planner Carlos to discuss the Summer Youth Employment Program. The REcyclists crew checked out the duplex fix up site with Mike before heading out to the East End Food CO-OP. Later on in the day, the REcyclists went had a vegan dinner with Claire, her friend Daniele, and her mother Ann. Claire is involved with the Transition Centre County as well as Voices for Animals.

Thursday, the REcyclists got to actually help get the duplex ready for the Summer Youth Employment Program kids. Kristin helped Jess cleaning up the inside of the recently vacant home. Kevin, Charlie, and Tina starting cleaning out the rumble from the caved in garage and pulling out the poison ivy in addition to other weeds from the backyard.Will got picked up by his parents before the group left for the Kingsley House. He will be away from the group for at least 10 days.

Today, Kevin, Tina, Charlie, and Kristin will be gardening, going to critical mass, checking out the farmers market, a music festival, watch the Who Killed the Electric Car? at the Electric Garage, and a bunch of other small things.

If you're in Pittsburgh join us tomorrow for our Gathering at Frick park from 1pm until Sunset!


peace & love,


The Cultural REcyclists

Monday, June 14, 2010

Craziness on the C + O

Day 8, Cumberland, Maryland.
What a trip it's been! In less than a week I feel that we've already experienced enough to write a book! A couple days ago we rolled into Frederick, Maryland with quite a bit of stress on our backs. We got pulled over on a highway we weren't supposed to be on and Amanda simultaneously blew a flat, pretty much guaranteeing we wouldn't make to our campsite that night. It's always in these situations, however, that miracles seem to happen. Tina and I went looking for a motel to stay in that night. I came back with a $70 room. Tina came back with a house! Not just any house. As it turned out, two older folks named Kevin and Gladden had been waiting on their back porch for the arrival of two cyclists biking across America. They had never housed any cyclists before, and on this very day another group of cyclists shows up at their door. Talk about coincidence. So we hung out with them, partied in their hot tub, got ourselves some good food and showers and met the two cyclists with whom we'd be biking the next two days. Their names were Paul and Adam, two awesome guys riding to support their charity, Bike Free (www.bikefree.org). The next morning we rode with them through Williamsport and got onto the C + O canal bike trail, an absolutely beautiful trail bordering the Potomac River. We spent the next night in Hancock in a hostel behind a bike shop, and the next along the trail, on a 12 foot high ledge supporting an abandoned bridge. Many details in between, too many to share with the hour time limit I've been given on this computer, so until next time, LIVE SPONTANEOUSLY!
Peace,
Charlie

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life is Awesome!!!

Hey everybody!

Wow, here we are! Day three of biking across the United States! Six months ago it was nothing more than an idea in our heads, a dream that we shared with our friends. Now it's finally happening and its almost unreal.

Three days ago we all arrived on Woodland Beach, Maryland, just outside of Smyrna. After unloading our bikes we roamed up and down the beach for about an hour, hoping to find a worthy place to pitch our sleeping bags. We quickly realized this would not be possible - the high tide line and the insane biting black flies made sure of that. Luckily we met a man named Ed who so kindly granted us the use of his backyard. So, after a nice walk along the pier and some interaction with friendly (if not a little drunk) fishermen, we all enjoyed a wonderful dinner of pasta and wasabi soybeans and went to bed feeling happy and healthy.

The next morning, day one, we were all finally ready to begin our epic quest. After a few pictures on the beach and few tweeks to our bikes we were ready to hit the road - a wonderful flatland cruise along a quiet backroad surrounded by water on either side. Very shortly after we began, a couple other bikers caught up with us, seeing that we were packed to the brim with gear and sensing we were amateurs. Their names were John and Ed. It just so happened they were from Altoona (so close to home!), and had had a great deal of experience riding on the east coast. They pointed us in the direction of a good bike route through Maryland and wished us well. That positive energy carried us all the way to Elkton, Maryland, where we spent the night in Elk Neck Creek State Park. We all had the pleasure of a real campfire, and Will and I got practice some cooking techniques. We cooked some more pasta with some fresh vegetables we had picked up earlier in the day, and had a glass of warm sassafras tea sweetened with honey for dessert. Absolutely wonderful.

Day two. Oatmeal and sassafras tea for breakfast. Mmmm! Stopped briefly to fill our depleted water supply and we were off. This day turned out to be quite slow, as Will and Tina kept having trouble shifting on their bikes. By midday we made it to Port Deposit, Maryland and had a wonderful lunch on the Susquehanna river. The next leg of our ride was a comfortable trek until Dublin, where Tina's shifting was in dire need of attention. We paused at a convenience store, and met an amazing man named Steve. Him and his daughter Eleanor had just happened to be walking out when they spotted us and realized we needed help. Steve and I (Charlie) got to talking, and I learned that he had biked across the country back in '91. His experience gave me great confidence that no matter what our group may be up against, the odds will always turn out in our favor. You always meet amazing people in the most unexpected of places, don't you? Soon we parted ways and spent the night in Rocks State Park. Dinner, music, and a solid night of rest. Can't ask for much more!