Questing with the Cultural REcyclists

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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