Support our ride and the on-going climate solutions work of Cool Planet and Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
Don’t let Mindy and Ryan have all the fun…..LowCarbon Crossings Minneapolis Solidarity ride next Sunday Oct 2 (Gandhi’s B-day)
3pm Meet at Rustica Bakery (3220 West Lake St) on the Greenway near Lake Calhoun and ride the flat and lovely Greenway to the Mississippi River, head south to Minnehaha Falls and the Minnehaha Parkway to Lake Harriet, about 15 miles, then we will meet up at 3:30pm at the Linden Hills Co-op (3815 Sunnyside Ave) for some refreshments and a Climate Conversation and if we are lucky…. a video conference with Ryan and Mindy in North Dakota as they approach the halfway mark of their 79 day journey toward a healthy climate. Spread the word…things work when people are engaged and taking action. Here’s the flyer
and the handout
Staying with our hosts in Helena, Shiloh and Mary brought to my attention the challenge of raising environmentally responsible children in an era of climate change. I really admire Shiloh and Mary in their personal commitment to live lighter on this planet and their dedication to teaching their children to do the same. Ana and Teo are 3 and 5 and like any children their age – energetic, boisterous, quick to show emotion. Life is simple for children this age. The world is divided into good guys and bad guys. Comic books lay it out this way and it’s easy to understand. The challenges of climate change and it’s solutions are not nearly as neat and simple, but with kids this age one is forced to try to paint it in this light. Pollution is bad, clean energy is good. Sending things to the landfill or littering is bad, recycling or reusing is good. Biking is good. “Mindy & Ryan are climate heroes biking across the country.” Oh good, they like heroes. Mary tells us of one challenge in teaching these lessons in life. Ana no longer wants to ride in the “polluting car” but has also decided that the bike trailer “is for babies.” So what is a mother to do to transport her child when Ana’s legs are still too short to ride a tag-along bike? Hmmm. The other day Ana’s bracelet with the large plastic beads broke while they were out on a walk and fell in a storm drain. First she sobbed for the loss of her pretty beads, then she sobbed “will the beads go to the ocean and poison the fish?” They’ve been talking about how plastic in the ocean is bad for the fish. Hmmm. “No, I think there is a filter and you don’t need to worry.” Because what good does it do for her to worry about something she didn’t do on purpose and can’t change?
In their household, they recycle all they can, use washable rags and napkins rather than paper, reuse what can’t be recycled when possible, buy in bulk using their own containers over and over, raise bees for their own honey (hives on top the garage roof to keep away from curious children), compost all food scraps (some with worms), and grow some of their own food. And eat healthy foods. And read together every night. And using biking and walking for most of their transportation. Wow, not easy with small children.
Trying to live lightly on this earth and to teach your children well is a struggle, but a good struggle. A struggle to do the best we can while forgiving ourselves for not being able to live up to our own highest standards. We won’t always have the perfect answer or example for the children around us, but we try to do our best. Some days that’s stellar, some days maybe barely above average. But it is all worth the effort. Thank you Shiloh and Mary for being a great example!
Push on through or call for a ride? There will be times when we don’t have an option but today we do. We are cold and wet. Can’t feel our toes even with toe warmers. Have cell service. In an easy place to find us. Red and white striped old abandoned house by the freeway exit. We can look for better equipment in Miles City. As we talked about what to do I knew what my mother would tell me to do. We made the call. Disappointed in myself because I had to give up. A little embarrassed, but that never killed anybody. But know it was a good decision. Dave, Pat and Daniel arrived with a big white van to bring us into town. Now we are again warm and dry while our wet clothes are hanging up and in front of heaters. Grateful to Pat for giving us a warm dry place to sleep tonight. Forecast for the next few days is 70 to 80 and sunny. Back to worrying about sunburn instead.
PS We got to see Dave again (right) today when our hosts (Pat on the left) met his family at Wendy’s for lunch. Thanks again to our rescuers!
We’ve been sharing many pictures and media hits on our Facebook page, but thought we’d include some of the key ones here for those who don’t do Facebook. Thanks to all the great volunteers who have reached out to the media to make this happen!
Just before leaving Minnesota we had this great interview with Minnesota Public Radio
There was this article in the Missoulian
Great Falls put us on the evening news on KFBB
And let’s not forget the Citizens’ Climate Lobby Blog
Then there is the hometown news:
We have had many beautiful days and very little bad weather so far on our trip. Until today. We left our campsite 6 miles East of Lincoln, MT happy that the head wind wasn’t as bad as yesterday evening. A little chilly and cloudy. 12 miles from there to the top of Rogers Pass. It starts snowing lightly and I admire how beautiful it is and remember how I love winter biking in Minnesota. I tell Ryan what a snow geek I am and how happy I am to see it again. Weather continues a little rain, a little more snow. Soon it’s sleeting so we pull over and take shelter in some beautiful pines. Soon the sun is shining and we continue on. Nearing the summit it is snowing big fluffy flakes and our hands and feet are getting wet and the novelty is wearing off. “Let’s get down from this mountain.” Damp roads means slow going even downhill. We stop at one point to change glove and I make some makeshift mittens with my neoprene socks. We also try plastic bags on our feet to stay a little warmer and dryer. Weather continues to change from clear to rain to sleet to snow. Eventually not precipitating just cloudy. We think we should be on the downhill side to the end of our day, but no. Instead we have rolling hills with plenty of climbing some so steep I have to walk for lack of a low enough gear on my old bike. We are tired and getting cranky. Phones are dead so no more pictures (no service anyway). No place to go but continue on. We arrive in Simms to look for the expected campground. It doesn’t exist. We head into town and find ourselves by the high school where there is a football game. Asking if there is a place to stay we are introduced to Dave the superintendent thinking we could stay in the school. Instead Dave invites us to his house to stay for the night. So this challenging day has ended with the kindness of strangers. Warm and dry and a heater to dry out our socks. Thank you, Dave!
After 13 days on our bicycles, we have reached Missoula, Montana. We traveled 688 miles to finally enjoy a day off the saddle before beginning week 3 of our journey. We passed through beautiful country in Washington along the Colombia River, and in Idaho along the Clearwater and Lochsa River. It will feel great to spend a day off the bicycle, and into the community in Missoula. We are looking forward to events at the Imagine Nation Brewery and Free Cycles. This will begin our more than two week Montana journey.
Near Lolo, MT a year after a wildfire
Climate change has greatly affected Montana from the pine beetle surviving winters and eating acres of forest, to the increasingly more powerful wildfires, to the decade or two that Glacier National Park will have while it still have it’s glaciers. Montana will also face an increase in extreme precipitation events, a warmer, longer winter, and a decrease in snowfall resulting in less snowpack. In order to lessen these effects of climate change, we must mobilize to find solutions and create community wherever we are, in order to tackle these issues together.
We also learned a lot from our travels earlier in our journey. Washington and Oregon rely heavily on their logging and timber industries, and with disease, insects, and wildfires becoming more prevalent, climate change is threatening how well these economies function. The same goes for food production. Agriculture is a huge industry throughout the Pacific Northwest, and is susceptible to the power of severe climate change. If these states change to a different climate zone, this means having to change what plants to grow, how to care for an ecosystem with completely different weather patterns. This will take education, experts, farmers, researchers, consumers, etc. It will take a storm of people to help cope with these huge changes that mean so much for these industries.
As we crossed Lolo PASS at 5,235 feet, we had a spectacular view of the National Forest and Wilderness all around us. Boundless forest with a chilly mist, it was a beautiful place among the mountains and valleys of Idaho. The vastness of these wild places is astounding, and is quite a sight to see as we poetically move along rivers on steel frames and wheels. It’s in moments like these, that I am inspired to be a steward of that beauty, for the sake of Mother Earth, and for all things living and non who have graced this planet.
Even short notice is still worth trying. Three days earlier I was introduced to Bart. And he managed to pull together this group for a potluck while we were in Walla Walla, Washington. Small and simple we shared a wonderful meal and had a great conversation. A key part of which was about who owns the energy system and how can we make it and keep it accessible to small energy producers, not just the big energy companies.
Bart also found our wonderful hosts Ormand and Christy (with dogs Ellie and Max) who generously opened their home and fed us a delicious breakfast. Ormand also biked us out of town to get us the best route that avoided the highway for the first half of the day.
We had biked a short 25 miles into Walla Walla using part of our rest day to make up time. We were early enough to enjoy a one weeek completed celebratory breakfast and stop at the local bike shop. Thanks to Matt and Michael at Allegro Cyclery for getting us set with new computers (mine stopped working the first day) so we can more accurately measure mileage and time and other statistics. So we know we went 70 miles today with an average speed of 11.6 mph and bike travel time of five hours and 57 minutes.
Today we met to cyclists from Spokane at the roadside fruit and veggie stand (picked up yummy local produce for dinner) who gave us some route tips and suggested a stop at the goat cheese factory. We met Mama Joan who gave us the most love filled hugs and encouragement reminding us we just need more love and kindness in the world. We’re all working to spread more of it. Pass on the hugs people!