Our blue dot is getting close to San Jose, the last city on our Seventh Annual Ride itinerary.
This morning, the Sprint 26 excited a Chinese tour group.
Only their guide (on the right) spoke English. We didn’t get their names.
The man in the middle, whom we’ll call Mr. Bicycle, showed Jeffrey photos of him, his friends, and their bicycles, in China. Through the guide, Mr. Bicycle said he has biked around all of China (or did he mean all around China?), and invited Jeffrey to southwest China, promising to organize a welcome and a group bicycle excursion.
Mr. Bicycle enjoyed a spin around the motel parking lot.
More of the group gathered to admire the machine and wave at Jeffrey through the breakfast room window. The guide said some were equally fascinated by the photo of Jeffrey’s 2014 post-crash post-surgery leg xray displayed under the fairing. Jeffrey gamely displayed his leg so the crowd could appreciate the surgeon’s skill.
Mr. Bicycle tried on Jeffrey’s helmet.
Jeffrey explained the Ride. His new friends applauded and some shook Jeffrey’s hand.
Jeffrey didn’t mention that he has won asylum for people who fled persecution in China. It didn’t seem fitting, when our new friends came as tourists and soon will return home.
Kalin had questions for us too.
Kalin has a fabrication business and can remake and refit vehicles.
He and his family were headed for San Francisco to buy a bread van to convert into a mobile food truck for his wife’s gourmet sandwich business. He and his wife support Human Rights First’s American principles and warmly wished us a safe journey.
L to R: Aaron (from Colorado), Roger (from Chicago), Patrick (from all over).
These gentlemen climb to dizzying heights to install transmission equipment for AT&T. Aaron said the work is frightening, yet exhilarating.
The three agreed that it’s unfair to expect asylum applicants to navigate The System without a lawyer.
Aaron champions the little guy. He talked to Jeffrey about his belief in the gold standard, and about how the rich run the world to our detriment. Aaron used the term “Rothschild Zionists” to refer to bankers. When Jeffrey hears such stuff, he gently tries to lead the speaker away from disparaging generalizations. Jeffrey pointed out that people of all backgrounds try to arrange things for their own benefit; it’s human nature. We came to think that Aaron quotes conspiracy theories without fully understanding their terms, not that he hates Jews.
The men shook Jeffrey’s hand and wished one another well, Jeffrey on the road, our new friends on their cell towers.
Strawberry harvest! We didn’t see anyone there who looked like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the U.S. attorney general who hasn’t said who will pick strawberries when the immigrants are gone.
In a neighboring field, the harvest was done under the Mexican flag. We think it rude, and in the current climate impolitic, to fly a foreign flag without also flying the host country’s flag. On our 2014 Great Lakes Ride, our vehicle flew a green safety banner rather than the U.S. flag when we were guests in Canada.
Cows mooing and grazing along the 4 mile long, 1000′ climb up the San Juan Grade north of Salinas.
After climbing for miles on relatively smooth pavement, we looked forward to a fast descent. But at the top, after we crossed from Monterey County to San Benito County, the pavement was so rough that we rode the brakes for miles. At least the winds were soft (they picked up later) and we didn’t have to pedal downhill.
Even 10 mph was too fast a descent for these cracks, patches and potholes.
This valley view reminded Jeffrey of our recent quote from The Grapes of Wrath, when the Joads first saw California. We were told that John Steinbeck frequented this road and had a cabin nearby.
Here’s George, and two of his three dogs. We met him by a house he might like to buy. George heard about the Ride and Jeffrey’s work and said he and Jeffrey are kindred spirits. He started to describe the help he gives to people in nursing homes when . . .
. . . Jan, the house owner, came out to talk. George and Jan both want asylum applicants to have legal counsel. For Jan, it’s personal. She remembers the persecution suffered by the Irish and Basque branches of her family.
This area is famous for cherries . . .
. . . and garlic. Gilroy hosts a garlic festival.
We arrived in Gilroy during a power outage. Computers were down so we had to wait for 4 hours to check into a motel. Carlos, a U.S. citizen born in Mexico, drove to fetch Jeffrey a soda (he wouldn’t accept payment). He said that although a few Mexican immigrants are bad people, almost all work hard and give to this country much more than they take. A kind man, he sees kindness everywhere.
Howard, a lifelong Californian, also waited hours to check in. He had time to tell Jeffrey his interesting history, from the carrot trucking business, to 25 years as a graphic artist, to his current job with a water purification company. Howard wants all people, including asylum applicants, to get a fair shake.
Yvonne, the warm and patient hotel clerk, had no idea that poor shoplifters are appointed a defense lawyer, but poor refugees are not. Now she’s a fan of Human Rights First.