Join us in DC for the grand finale

Bicyclists and climate champions are joining Mindy Ahler and Ryan Hall for the last leg of their 4,000 mile cross-country bike trip from Oregon to Washington, DC. The journey, called LowCarbon Crossings, is an opportunity for the two climate volunteers to speak with people throughout the country about climate science, the action we can take to create a livable future and cycling as a healthy, carbon-neutral way to see the world. We will accompany them on their final stretch on the C&O Canal tow path from Old Angler’s in Potomac MD to the US Capitol. There are three options—1) a round trip ride of 32 miles, 2) a one-way ride of 16 miles (requires self-transport to Old Angler’s), 3) a four mile fun ride from Georgetown. Or just join us at the Capitol for speeches followed by a dinner reception!

OPTION 1: ROUND TRIP, 32 MILES

11:30—12:00: Meet at the General Grant statue at the U.S. Capitol reflecting pool, west side http://bit.ly/2fiuFEV
12:00: depart for Old Anglers on the Capital Crescent trail, switch to C&O Canal tow path at Fletcher’s Boat House.
1:30: Arrive at Old Angler’s; we will meet at the CANAL BRIDGE along the tow path between mile 13 and mile 12; there is a sign market “ANGLER’S” at this point. From MacArthur Blvd. the bridge can be reached by walking down the path across the street from Old Angler’s Inn–the distance is about 200 yards and there are some stairs. DO NOT WAIT AT OLD ANGLERS INN PARKING LOT. (note: there are bathrooms at Angler’s along MacArthur Blvd).
2:00 Depart along C&O Canal Tow Path
3:30 Arrive at Capitol
4:00 Reception and speeches

OPTION 2: ONE-WAY, 16 MILES
(riders must arrange for their own transport to Old Anglers)

1:30: Arrive at Old Angler’s; we will meet at the CANAL BRIDGE along the tow path between mile 13 and mile 12; http://bit.ly/2ffsUdf
There is a sign market “ANGLER’S” at this point. From MacArthur Blvd. the bridge can be reached by walking down the path across the street from Old Angler’s Inn–the distance is about 200 yards and there are some stairs. DO NOT WAIT AT OLD ANGLERS INN PARKING LOT. (note: there are bathrooms at Angler’s along MacArthur Blvd).
2:00 Depart along C&O Canal Tow Path, rest of schedule same as above.

OPTION 3: GEORGETOWN TO CAPITOL FUN RIDE, 4 miles

3:00 (approx.): Meet at Georgetown Waterfront Park—in park at terminus of Wisconsin Ave under Whitehurst Freeway. http://bit.ly/2fw91Ca
3:30 Arrive at Capitol
4:00 Reception and speeches

The C&O towpath is not paved. hybrid bikes, mountain bikes or cross bikes are recommended.  Here’s one option for renting a bike in DC to join the fun: http://bikeandrolldc.com/rentals/

Those who are not bicyclists can join too! Come to the Capitol at 3:30 for photos and to welcome our riders (http://bit.ly/2f2ti00). We will follow with a reception at HUNAN DYNASTY on Capitol Hill where Mindy and Ryan will share about their experience and how they spoke about the climate to folks across the country. CCL volunteers and the public are welcome to join this reception where dinner will be available for purchase.

Hunan Dynasty: 215 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

For more on the Low Carbon Crossings trip: https://lowcarboncrossings.wordpress.com

Sharing the load

Today Akeem rode with us and carried two of my panniers on his bike.  It was a great gift to me to be able to share the load and be much lighter going up hills.

sharingWe are now in Pennsylvania and nearing the end of our trip – Just 8 days left.  This journey would not have been possible without the many people who have shared our load.  img_4332 It is impossible to name all the amazing people who have helped us across the country.  The countless people who have fed us, planned a location for a community conversation, spread the word and advertised, to those who have given us directions and helped us find our way and the many who have housed us for a night or more.

Like this bike trip, solutions to climate change take some heavy lifting.  We have a big problem that requires some major shifting of our energy production, our land use, our daily habits, etc.  We are sharing the load with many others to move us forward.  To the brave native peoples (and their allies) who are at Standing Rock and on the Mississippi in Iowa to protect our waters from new fossil fuel infrastructure, to the school superintendent trying to put solar on the school roof, to farmers looking for more sustainable ways of farming and trying new methods, to students moving their schools and communities toward greater sustainability (and the teachers who guide them in exploring new ways), to media reporters telling the story of the changes happening and the solutions being pursued, to countless volunteers and citizens working with their legislators and local governments on policy to address carbon emissions – we have met all of these along our trip and we are all sharing the load.  We need more help, so invite your friends to join in.  As one of our hosts kept telling us “we’re all in this together.” By sharing the load we can get the job done.

Mindy

The states are whizzing by

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John riding Paul and Mindy out of Omaha and up the first two hills

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Crossing the Mississippi – my hometown (St. Paul) is just upstream

It seems I was just writing about South Dakota and Nebraska – and now we are already across Iowa and Illinois and into Indiana.  Time goes fast when you’re pedaling hard.  In Iowa we had conversations nearly every night – in Greenfield, lunch in Des Moines, Pella, Fairfield.  We met lots of great people and got some media coverage in Pella.  I learned more about farming in Iowa – different perspectives in different parts of Iowa.  We also got to see lots of rolling hills in Southern Iowa – not all of Iowa is flat.  We had the night off in Muscatine to enjoy a dinner out with Paul and Anne before they headed back to Minnesota (Paul biked over 500 miles with me from Sioux Falls to Omaha and all across Iowa) and had time to repack our bags and send a few extra things home before we were carrying all our stuff againimg_4117

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We survived the Terror in the Timber

Though the bikes are heavy, it feels good to be carrying all our stuff again – being fully self-contained.  We crossed the Mississippi at Muscatine – another milestone and reminder of home.  We also had two nights of camping the first nights in Illinois.  Temps were fairly
warm – only down to about 40 degrees at night and we survived the “Terror in the Timber” near Cambridge.  Might be the last days of pleasant weather camping.  We are now working on finding places to stay for the rest of the trip that won’t require so much exposure to the outdoors – though often still making use of our sleeping bags inside.  It was fun to return to Wenona, IL after having visited there to inspect that portion of the route in June (on our way to the CCL conference).  Had some great conversations over breakfast at the Boardwalk.  Thank you to Ed and Crystal for a respectful conversation. We disagree on climate change but agree on caring for the environment. Their kindness and honesty is greatly appreciated and a model of civility showing that we can disagree and still converse with each other. Thanks Ed for the good bike route tip. We took your suggested route.  Thanks also to Vicki, Judy and Marge for filling out postcards on why they are concerned about climate change – we will deliver them in DC.

Last night was the third and last night in Illinois with a Warm Showers host in Chebanse.  Doug,

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Our host in Chebanse riding with us to St. Anne, IL

our host, then suggested a better route for us today and joined us for the first 12 miles.  Thought we’d seen a lot of wind turbines in Iowa – we’ve seen a lot more of them in Illinois.
We have now entered Indiana and are staying with another Warm Showers host on a farm outside Rensselaer.

I don't remember Indiana having so many trees - lots of beautiful ones today

I don’t remember Indiana having so many trees – lots of beautiful ones today

Hard to believe that we are already on our 10th state!   Only two more nights in Indiana and we are on to Ohio.  It’s a whirlwind.  Speaking of wind, it continues to be our greatest friend and greatest challenge depending on the day.  Tail winds push us along and head winds – even when only 5 to 10 MPH – mean for a long, slow slog.  We had three days in a row of over 70 miles each and still had to work hard for the 50 miles today.  Tomorrow is a little shorter, then back to a couple challenges again.  May the winds be with us!

Join us in Iowa! Pella and Fairfield events

Tomorrow morning (Wed, Oct 19) we leave the Des Moines area for Pella, Fairfield, Muscatine and beyond.  Join us for our next two community conversations in Iowa!  Ryan and Mindy will share their trip so far and the solutions they are finding for climate change.  We also want to hear from you about your concerns and what you are doing in your community!

Pella

When: Wednesday, October 19, 7-8pm (so you’ll still be able to watch the Presidential debate)

Where: Central College, Graham Annex

Link to poster to share.

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When: Thursday, October 20, 7:30 – 9:30 pm

WhereHy-Vee (Fairfield, IA) Community Room

Link to Facebook event

Tuning up, resting up, getting support 

We got to Sioux Falls (about our half way point) a day earlier than planned because of our opportunity to replan our route to ride the wind and shorten the distance. That gave us an extra rest day.
img_4624Paul joined us on the ride starting in Sioux Falls and brought his Prius and arranged for drivers- Donna to Omaha switching to Anne there. Since we have the car, we took advantage of the temporary support and the opportunity to lighten our loads for the days it is there.

In Omaha we had a rest day which allowed time for the gift of massages to get our bodies tuned img_4020up. Thank you, Alan! I feel like I have a new body and some good tips to continue to loosen up those problem areas. My biggest challenge is numbness in my left hand from tightness in my shoulder. Having found the key trigger points during the massage I can focus on stretching and relaxing that area.

Ryan is taking a few days off to work out some problems with his knee and will rejoin us in Pella. He already did this part when he rode across Iowa on RAGBRAI this summer, so I’m just catching up.

Wind continues to be a big challenge. We had to rely on our support vehicle to get us to our destination again tonight. Making use of the car time to write this blog.

After all this time of having to be more self-reliant, it is a shift to having support readily available. I’m learning to ask for help and appreciate the rest. At the same time carrying everything on my bike is also an exercise in making due with less and taking only what is necessary and saying no to what I don’t really need. Having a car along adds the temptation to have more stuff. It’s quite freeing to live with less so I look forward to when we don’t have the car after Iowa and appreciate the help while I have it.
-Mindy

Community Conversation in Sioux Falls, SD Monday, Oct 10

Join us at Spoke-N-Sport (2019 S Minnesota Ave) in Sioux Falls on Monday, Oct 10, 4-6pm for a

Enterprise photo by Hunter D'Antuono

Enterprise photo by Hunter D’Antuono

community conversation.  All are welcome!

Mindy & Ryan will share their experiences of the first half of their 4000 mile cross-country journey to raise awareness of climate change and climate solutions.  Bring a friend and join the conversation!

We want to carry your message to Washington, DC with us.

Spread the word with the flyer.

Osceola, WI Solidarity Ride

Mindy and Ryan,

This past Sunday, October 2nd, I did a solo solidarity ride with my new LowCarbon Crossings Jersey. I rode 98 miles from Osceola, WI to Eau Claire, WI. It was a beautiful fall day with little or no wind. As I enjoyed my ride, I thought of you both as you make your way across this beautiful country of ours. Thanks for letting us be part of your adventure. Hoping for a continued safe ride with lots of engaging conversations along the way. Dan G. Osceola, WI.

Mindy’s note: this is my farmer who keeps me fed with healthy food.  Paul is joining us in Sioux Falls and bringing some of the farm produce along for us to enjoy on the road!

Riding the wind

We have reached the windy prairie of the Dakotas. It started our day out of Standing Rock with strong headwinds as we headed south. After two hours of riding we had gone about 10 miles and knew we’d never reach our destination of Mobridge, SD without some help. Thanks to our fame from Bismarck media (photo on front page of Tribune and two TV news stories) we were able to hitchhike a ride for about 15 miles thinking that would put us back on track. (Thanks to LeRoy and Berniece of the Cheyenne River Sioux and Standing Rock Sioux tribes – especially to Berniece who suggested they take the truck that day) 

But the wind kept getting stronger. We could barely stay on the road when gusts hit us from the side. Turning into the wind then an uphill made it difficult to even go 3 MPH and eventually forced us to walk. Even that required frequent rests. We could see a town ahead so struggled on to get there. Stopped in the convenience store to discuss options. Thanks to the Mad Bear clan we found a ride from Kenel to Mobridge to keep us on track. Not only the help of friends but also the help of total strangers on the Rez keep us going on this journey. 
The following day was another struggle with the wind though not impossible. We began to look at our route options and whether we needed to stick to the plan. We had not succeeded in making any contacts in Pierre so we decided to find a shorter route to Sioux Falls that might be with the wind. Went East on 212 instead of the map routing West. Good choice. Ended in Gettysburg with free camping in the city park. 


Yesterday had strong winds from the west. We cruised along the first 20 miles heading east. We reached the point we were supposed to turn south (into the wind) and paused to re-evaluate. A passing car offered assistance and helped us pick a new destination mostly east with a known camping option. So we ended in Redfield after a day of riding the wind.    


– Mindy

PS Though today started with a beautiful sunrise in Redfield

“Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”  It turned into a light steady cold rain with a light tail wind. Thankfully we’ve found a Warm Showers host in Huron to stay indoors. Thanks, Eric!

Water and unity: A story from Standing Rock

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This water is for all of us. It is for those who operate bulldozers, and for the ones who chain themselves to that very equipment. This water will be used by all people, regardless of where we were, or what we were doing during this historical gathering.

This message of unity, and of common care and concern for our home, specifically our water, can be found throughout Standing Rock Indian Reservation, where thousands have gathered in response to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, built by Dakota Access LLC, a subsidiary of the Dallas, Texas based Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. The pipeline would span 1,172 miles over four states, and would carry approximately 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day. More information from Energy Transfer can be found here.

routeMap of the 1,172 mile projected pipeline

Concerns over the rapid construction and lack of research on the environmental impact of the pipeline has caused the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to call upon the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to encourage the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment.

From our experience, water and the safety of the pipeline were the number one concerns of the folks who have camped near the proposed construction site. The possibility of a crude oil leak into the Missouri River could have dire consequences, as the Missouri is the longest river in the United States and flows right into the Mississippi River. Jeopardizing the health of the Missouri River would be a grave concern, and one that could concern many people, especially those that live in the ten States and two Canadian provinces that rely on the Missouri’s watershed.  Many people felt called to travel to Standing Rock from all over the world to protect the rights and land of Indigenous people, and to protect the water that we all rely on.

This gathering is a historical moment for many, Over 300 Tribal Nations have come together in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline, more than ever before. We met folks from the U.K., from Germany, and from across this country that have given up everything back home in order to come here and bear witness, show their support, and to help winterize the camps for the long winter that is yet to come.

We were incredibly impressed with the organization of all camps, from security, to food and medical care, to building permanent and winter structures. At the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, people were building geodomes, composting toilets, solar water heaters, tipis, winter structures, and preparing food for the winter. Despite rumors of some media sources saying that the camps are shutting down, this is far from the truth. With incoming donations, new working hands, and a spirit to stay and defend the land and the water, these protectors will be here as long needed, and even longer.

The founder of Sacred Stone Spirit Camp, Ladonna Bravebull Allard, spoke October 3rd in front of the United Nations, urging them to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Her vision and mission to halt the pipeline, and to create community can be seen throughout Sacred Stone. There is an air of peace, of compassion, and of concern throughout the camp. The people there are working diligently to winterize, and are building permanent structures that may survive beyond the opposition of the pipeline. Through camping at Sacred Stone, we peer into a community that has its mind set on sustainable living.

What we learned is not only that thousands of people and hundreds of Tribal Nations are coming together in opposition to this pipeline, but there are even deeper conversations and actions taking place that look towards the future. Conversations of investing into a renewable energy future, of praying and caring for those who are armed with bulldozers, weapons, or dogs, and those of creating a future in which we can all safely and happily take part in.

This event is about more than moving crude oil, or protecting water and our natural resources. This event is about mobilizing a global community to respect and learn from Indigenous people and communities around the world, and to come together as our one human family in order to tackle these issues that affect us all. There is hope to be found throughout Standing Rock, a hope that we can create that global community that cares for all of Mother Earth and her people.

I saw this hope when I was standing around the Sacred Fire in the Main Camp, and witnessed dancing, singing, and drumming while volunteers served food to the Elders. One Elder was given a plate of food during a pause in the song and dance, but as soon as the drum was beating, breathing life into the camp, the man stood up as quickly as his body could muster, and began moving around the fire to the beat of the drum and the chants of the men. He needed the nourishment of the ceremony of dance more than the nourishment of food. Surrounding him were Natives of many tribes, and many ages. I was delighted to see young children dance around the same fire as the Elders. It was then that the magnitude of this event really struck me. People of all ages and of all tribes were celebrating and dancing together as one, in order to defend the water, to defend our common home.

I am grateful to have been a witness to such a historical  gathering of people from all over the globe. This gives me hope that we can come together as one, to love water, to love soil, to love the differences and commonalities, and to love one another while creating a better future for generations to come.

To Standing Rock, and to all people of all nations, I say Wopila — Thank you.

-Ryan

 

 

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