tijauna

i took a leisurely morning leaving san diego, which could have been a mistake. it was only supposed to take a few hours to get over the border and then to the hostel i decided to stay at. also, i decided to go ahead and take the coronado ferry instead of  riding down the industrial coast. that was not a mistake. it was a wonderful ride, but i had to wait 30 minutes or so for the ferry. the bike ride was all on bike path along the bay and some protected marsh land until the very end.

my first challenge was trying to find the way to cross the border. there was construction and whatnot, so it took me a minute to find the way behind and around the various little buildings. then…trying to find my way around tijauana…wow! i had directions down loaded and ready to go, but when i crossed the boarder it all was gone. i had my start point and my end point and no way to connect….aaaaaand finding street names was not all that easy. i asked a few people for directions, but it was starting to get late and dark and the roads were soooo busy with no bike lane or shoulder. finally i gave in a hailed a cab.

i also realized that somehow, while on the ferry, my front wheel got bent. fuck! i’ve been trying to find a bike shop, but there is nothing around, but i found one in the next town.

today’s plan was to get up early and head to the next town, but with yesterday being the way it was, and not really having time to get to know this little area, i decided to stay another night here. everything just felt rushed and my stomach was feeling goofy and i felt out of rhythm, so i spent a full day here in tijauana.

i found a little breakfast place and then walked the boardwalk. things look a bit different on the other side of the street. i found a vegan restaurant, some coffee shops, a tea shop, and “the wall”.  it’s the opposite side of the supposed “international friendship park”. i didn’t find it terribly friendly, but the political art on this (the mexican) side of the wall is moving. i left holding back emotions as i walked away from the border patrol trucks on the american side, and the policia on this side.

i didn’t really leave this neighborhood much, but i feel like i’m getting a feel for the surroundings.  my level of privilege, my whiteness here, and so many things are coming up….like being a queer woman and vegan in this area of the world. i’m feeling better and excited for the next couple weeks. i hope to eventually make it down to the middle of the peninsula and then head east and check out the sea of cortez for some warm water to swim in.

there is art all over the place here…literally! i’ll let the pics speak for themselves.

 

final days in california…for now

in the morning i take off again and go to baja, mexico. i am so excited i can hardly stand myself! i feel like, in some ways, i’m stepping off into a complete unknown. i’ve read all kinds of journals about other bike tours on the fantastic website crazy guy on a bike. if you are curious at all about bike tour in any way, i highly recommend people check it out! so many good journals. so i thought i should catch everyone up before i head out.

i decided to take a train from los. angeles to san diego. the pacific surfliner makes it easy to just roll your bike onto the train. this however, was not my experience. i got to the end of the platform where the bike car would be, very nice conductors pointed me in the direction. when it arrived, though, they were using an old cargo car. i was kinda pissed. so instead of just rolling the bike on and then i could take the panniers off, i had to quickly unload everything so that we could lift the bike up over our heads to the people in the cargo area, and then the bikes were just laying on the floor of the car. it doesn’t look like there was much damage, but my seat was all askew when i jumped on it later.

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view from amtrak

that being said, it was nice to just kick back and enjoy the ride without expensive campsites, since they have removed most of the hiker/biker sites, or crazy southern california traffic and industrial nonsense. the ride took about 3 hours, so i was able to get some writing and reflections done.

the person i stayed with in l.a. i had met while walking the oregon coast. he was biking form portland back to l.a. we had shared a shuttle ride and campsite…and beers during a ridiculous rain storm. it was nice to catch up a little, but he was busy and just gave me free reign of his house in the hills. i was able to finally wash some cloths and then walk the streets of l.a. i’m glad i decided to take a day here.

i found a queer coffee shop that i really enjoyed being at, cuties coffee bar. it was fantastic being around a bunch of queers that are strangers. i heard all kinds of fantastic conversations about people trying to figure out when to disclose certain aspects of themselves, or how to talk and work through consent, experiences of people trying to navigate the binary world as a non-binary person…it was good for my soul.

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on the way there i also got to pass by the meditation center run by against the stream. i’ve read the books and listen to the podcast, so it was nice to actually see one of their centers. i hoped i would be able to join in on a meditation with them, but there wasn’t going to be one i could make, so i just smiled tucked the view into my memory for next time i tune in.

as nice as all the experiences and such i had in l.a. i was happy when it was time to catch the train and head to san diego.

the week i’ve spent here in san diego has been super! i really like it here. the friends i’m staying with are so amazing in all the things they do. they live in the gayberhood and i’ve become a staple at one of the coffee shops. i even went to, not one, but 2 bars for women. i don’t know what it is about gay bars and neighborhoods, but i don’t think they have changed since the mid/late 80s! it is ridiculous! the music. the hair. the outfits…..all of it! i have in some ways really missed going to the gay hoods, but they are just too conservative for me. i’m glad they are there. it’s still good to have a place to feel somewhat safer for a second, but the assimilation is so palpable that it unnerves me after a minute of time (is rainbow washing a thing?)….defiantly the gay hood and not very queer at all!

i got to spend some fantastic time in balboa park. one of the people i’m staying with borrowed a pass so that i could get into the museums there for free! there were some super exhibits too! but museums, after a time, creep me out too. especially if they have relics from ancient indigenous peoples. the museums had notices up everywhere that they had certified that all of them were attained legally and ethically. i’m sure they were, as much as possible, but how is that ever really going to be true on/in occupied land? i don’t have the answers, but i do enjoy reflecting on how we acquire things in our lives, what and why we choose to display/share them. i believe that art and creativity is a basic need and how do we make time and space for participating in one way or another is important.

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don’t worry! i gotcha!
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amazing
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actually the first thing at the “museum of man”

with all that being said, one of the reasons i stayed longer was to attend the san diego zine fest! it was super! it was in the cento cultural de raza on the edge of balboa park. now, i haven’t been to many zine fest outside of portland, but i really liked this one! there were so many people of color, women, and some of the zines were even in other languages. plus, i finally got to meet some folks i’ve been wanting to meet for a long time. more than anything, i was inspired to just create and put my ideas out there, and encourage others to do the same! there are all these ideas about being good enough, articulate enough, just enough in general. i have friends encouraging me to just start submitting things; can’t get something accepted if i’m not first prepared to get work rejected, so might as well start.

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alice bag at the san diego zine fest

one thing i’ve been hoping to do out here is take time to clean stuff up and start sending work out, but its funny, with all the time in the world to do what i want, i just keep staring off into the deep-sea. something about it just erases my ability to do anything but take it in. when i finally pull myself away, i feel refreshed and renewed, but blank too. then when i arrive some place, i end up in conversations with someone. how does this happen? as a pretty solid introvert, i have become a chatter. i can stop in someplace just to use the wifi, or get a snack, and end up in hours long conversation with someone i just met. then i have to get back to my day.

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so long san diego (from the japanese traditional sign exhibit.

 

so here i go, off to another country. one i have been to before, but not for a very long time. i look forward to getting into a new rhythm, a new language, new monetary exchange, and in the spirit of such, i have switched all my measurements to the metric system. so if i share my “mileage” it will be in kilometers. i also want to start working with robin wall kimmerer’s pronoun usage for nature that she writes about. i want to test it out and see how it feels. i will probably mess up a lot, but i do believe that nature is not an it. and though i am not into the binary usage that we deal with for humans, i want to personalize nature a little more. so the singular is ki and plural is kin.

cheers to the next section.

new way to support this queer vegan

money is funny and awkward for some of us. social funding platforms can feel even more so, as in so who are you truly funding. anyway, people have asked how they can support me, and to be honest, knowing you are out there reading this and cheering for me to have an amazing adventure is key. however, i found this newish platform called patreon and it allows you to financially support me and for me to share more than just the blog. THE BLOG WILL FOREVER AND ALWAYS BE FREE! but i don’t always get to fit in all the pics i take, or some of the pics don’t really work for certain posts, so as a patron you will get access to more photos.

however, more than just sharing this adventure, i want to share some of the other fiction and non-fiction that i have realized i want to write since i’ve been riding with out mainstream distractions. so you will have access to snippets of those articles and stories as well. but wait that’s not all! you will also be able to give me feedback and help shape the direction of some of those ideas….like is it time to redefine what it means to be an ethical vegan? is it time to ditch “don’t talk to strangers” to build a more safe and open world?

so if you are into it here is the link to my patreon page. feel free to share it with anyone and everyone. today i head off to baja with an open-ended agenda. i have no idea where i how long i will be down there, a general idea of where i am going, an outline of what will happen when i move on from this section of the adventure.

i hope to continue to keep the blog going while i’m on the road, but we’ll see how the connections go.

thanks everyone! i truly hope that some of these posts inspire you to find your adventure and ways you like to shape the world around you!

drying out again

I’m here in lovely coos bay. it’s been raining and raining, again. one joke I’ve heard many times is “it’s only rained twice, both lasting 48 days”  tonight I found my self in search of some green food, I walked by a brewery and heard some good music (they described them selves as surf country and I still don’t really know what that is), so  I stopped to drip dry a little. 
I ended up talking to two different fascinating groups of people. the first I had an unexpected conversation about being vegan and hunting. I had just missed a woman who is part of a vegan group in town and has almost convinced one of my companions for the night, to go vegan. 

the other companion at this group and I had a wonderful chat about how we are truly related to every thing as just another species, another animal on this planet. I was warmed and filled and ready to leave, but first a trip to the bathroom. 

upon my return was a fresh beer and an invitation to table where some friends of my companions were sitting. here I found out that the lead singer and guitarist is also the middle school principal. the stand-up bass player is the owner of the brewery. it seems the brewer has kind of been some what responsible for the uptick of musicians in the area. there was a kind of membership that gave one a free beer a month and funded bringing in music to the pub. people have seemed very excited by this. 

the guy sitting across from me had been up dancing and decided to pull off his sweatshirt to reveal those really thick suspenders  with the name of a saw company on them. he was an older man who has mostly worked at the timber/lumber industry. we started talking about this mandolin that someone he knows built out of different woods. he described the curves and the artistry and challenges of working with different woods by the way they twist and unwind in drying processes. he said the instrament sounds wonderful. 

he then talked about a man up around grants pass who designs and builds complete sets of violin, cello, bass, and maybe viola. to buy these sets, for a large chunk of change, you have to be approved by the builder first. it was a wonderfully delightful conversation about wood and music and art and craft. all with a fine band in the background. 

I walked back to where I was to find rest this night with a large moon showing it’self through the clouds. the rains stopped until I was about halfway “home”. I love these kinds of moments. there were so many other conversations about travel and adventure, about what it means to live and places we have loved. we laughed and tears welled up in my chest in finding such connections all day today. a day where I found myself sck of the oregon coast. 

I yurn for something else. the walking is wonderful, when I find myself on a trail. the road walking is rough especially in the rain. I needed this night for some renewed energy.

I will keep walking down the coast until I find another direction. the thing that is hard to remember sometimes is that every thing, even and especially the challenging times, are impermanent. that the best times do out weight the cold wet days. i just need to wait it out.
one thing that is a challenge on this particular trail is the cost. so if you have enjoyed these post, please consider donating to my go fund me campaign. it’ll give me a little more time out here before I stop and get some work somewhere.

and thanks for reading! it is nice to know there are people on the other side of this!

checking some privilege 

I guess checking one’s privilege is a lot like rain on the oregon coast, it never stops. however, today was, and still is, a wonderful day. it didn’t start that way. i woke early thinking great! I won’t have to pack a wet tent. then then pit pit pitter-patter began. I held my breath hoping it would pass  nope! a deluge poured down.  I started to read but opted to set a timer for 30 minutes and buried my head!

I eventually got on my way, and by the time I finished a lunch break it was a glorious day! a rounded the bay at Waldport and across the way, the whole shoreline was full of sunbathing sea lions! maybe this is what they were barking about all morning! not only was the sun out but the wind was at my back! 

The view! spectacular! today the ocean was such an amazing color! maybe what some would call aquamarine? a deeper but also lighter colors of blue layered with greens tinged with more blue. and the whites of the crashing waves blowing across the tops in a strong wind. all this under a clear blue sky! I needed today. it has been nice some, but the rain has just worn me out. even when I thought I was getting a break of sunshine, it started to rain. normally I like then sunshine and rain combo. but really I just want 24-48 hours with a dry tent and dry feet. 

to celebrate I may actually stay up long enough to watch the sunset! maybe. 

the view as I started this thought

anyway, that is not what I wanted to write about today; just needed to get that off my chest. today I want to just take a moment to acknowledge and recognize not just the privilege I have just to do this adventure, but also how privilege  effects how I’m treated out here. 

for those of you who don’t know me, I’m a white, cis gendered woman/gender – queer person. I come from a mostly working-class background. I have participated in a few forms of institutionalized higher education (a debt that I most likely will never be able to pay off), I am a healthy able-bodied, fairly mentally stable, and for lack of better words right now, legal citizen of the country I’m currently in.

some other privileges I would add: I am single, queer (in more than just gender/sexual orientation, but also so many ways I move through the world), I have no children or animals that need my care. my parents and other family members are healthy, my grandparents have all passed on (I don’t think is a privilege really, but I do think I didn’t start this until the last one passed so that I could be reached if needed). I was able to acquire respectably good gear that fits me. and I’m sure I will discover more as I continue this venture. 

why does it seem important to me to recognize this here and now? one of my very first conversations with someone (a middle-aged white male from the seat of his mini-van as he was headed to the same state park as I so that he could take a shower while his bathroom ws being remodeled) approached me because I “looked like a legitimate backpacker and not just some homeless person”. .  didn’t know how to respond so I said something to the effects of yes I am backpacking. 

however, I am also basically homeless. I don’t have a job. maybe I could consider myself self employed since I hope to maybe make some money eventually from these shenanigans. but because he categorized me as someone he could maybe relate to, he decided to stop and have a conversation with me. so, yes, for now I can afford a hiker/biker camp site, some of wich have allowed me to take a hot shower and I’ve rested up in a hostel a couple times.

I think, also because of how I present myelf, I have been able to talk more openly to other queerdos, even if that’s not how they would identify. 

I think some of this hit me as I crossed the newport bridge because I had had some really great talks with some folks at the lost buoy hostel. we talked about so many things, but one thing that sticks with me is how people using airbnb are changing the ways people travel and it is making it more challenging for folks to travel simply and cheaply. to the point that people are starting to charge for couch surfing. this is a whole other tangent around a kind of exchange economy that made up couch surfing. 

anyway….I know that there are just as many things about who I am that can put me in danger, especially in certain homophobic, sexist, pro-gun, hunting /animal agriculture communities. but I wanted to take a minute to reflect and remember to remember just how different I am treated than some of the other folks walking around these coastal towns with carrying all their possessions on their backs. are there ways for me to bridge these gaps? to make connections? I know I have so many more questions, I just don’t know how to work with them.

so now I will stare off into the sunset and see if I can sort some of this out! also, if you have any thoughts on these thoughts, please do share! 

p.s. it’s been a few days now since I wrote this and I’ve had a couple other experience that reinforces my points. it comes in getting 3 lifts from people while I was stuck road walking. all 3 people stopped and offered rides and I wasn’t even trying. i thought about it, sticking my thumb out and all, but I didn’t. I’m very grateful for the rides. they all showed up just when I needed them! yes, mom, they were all very nice people trying to repay for rides they had gotten.