Questing with the Cultural REcyclists


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. ( 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 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:

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