A Whiff of Alaska

Long-haul biking kills Jeffrey’s appetite.  But he does like a bit of breakfast.

Angela, holding one of our calling cards, fixed up Jeffrey with an egg, cheese, orange juice, and some sugary doughnut-like things that fueled us for a few miles.

Jeffrey told Angela about the Ride. Angela views human rights broadly.  Firearm rights.  Hunting rights.  She resents that the Washington state government outlawed “hound hunting”.  In a testament to her big heart and the complexity of good people’s values, Angela also believes in immigrant and refugee rights.

Angela knows the harshness of immigration law.  She told Jeffrey of the many years it took for a restaurant manager to get a green card through her 23 year old soldier son.  The manager’s joy is tempered by news that her son is being sent to one of our war zones: she asks, what good is a green card without her son?

Our Sprint 26, parked outside the restaurant, attracted attention.

Jerry asked us about the the bike, the Ride, and whether we’re raising only consciousness or money too. You know the answer: it’s both!  We can’t all be in the pro-refugee trenches, but we can help those who are. Please donate to Human Rights First AND to the Interfaith Welcoming Coalition.

Larry and Jeanne are electronics engineers who left Los Angeles 3 years ago, bought a century-old farmhouse, and raise goats. They know the farm in Winlock where we saw goats yesterday. They recommended Blue Highways, a 1982 memoir of a motor trip in some ways similar to our Rides. Jeffrey has read the book and appreciates the comparison.

Brazil-born Peter—who ran an employment agency for people with disabilities—and Steve (alas, no photo of Steve!)—who made a career selling bearings and transmissions—were driving a Tesla from Vancouver, B.C., to Palm Springs to play golf. These Canadian gentlemen think the U.S. immigration, medical insurance, and electoral systems are ridiculous. After a long and lively discussion, we couldn’t refute them.

While Jeffrey talked, the snow began.

At first the wet snow was merely unpleasant.

Remember the rule we enunciated in Coos Bay, Oregon. If it says Skookum, we photograph it.

Fourteen miles of smooth bike path weren’t bad.

But the rest of today’s 57 mile journey was on highways.  As the snow fell more heavily, it started to stick.

I was safe in a plastic bag.  Jeffrey was clad for the weather.  He stayed dry for a few hours.  Then dampness penetrated.  His feet began to freeze. And we were half deaf from the roar of motor traffic: from huge construction and log trucks, to “macho” pickups that need mufflers.  Wet weather makes engines and tires extra loud.

How nice when Ted flagged us in south Tacoma and gave us a reason to pause.

Ted’s smile shows his personality. The white streaks are falling snowflakes.

Today was a sad day, the third anniversary of Ted’s wife’s death.  He and Jeffrey talked of love and loss, how one adapts but never really gets over it.

Ted used to drive trucks.  He recently got a license authorizing him to deliver prescription medicines.  He was trained as an auto mechanic but like Jeffrey is baffled by today’s electronic cars.  His son, a bike mechanic, still uses his hands to fix things.

Ted feels bad for refugees.  After Jeffrey told him about the Ride, Ted made a nice donation to Human Rights First.

We ended today’s trip at a motel in Puyallup.  Meet two more believers in human rights.

L to R: Brii, Michelle.

Brii was teaching Michelle how to use the motel’s electronics. It was a steep learning curve.

They had less to learn about immigration injustice. Both already knew how immigrant children and adults alike are sent to immigration court without a lawyer.

Michelle is a professional fisherman (her term). She has fished off Ventura, where we reached the Pacific on our 2017 Ride to California. She has fished in Alaska, loves its beauty, and said we ought to continue the Ride up there.

Maybe someday.

Today we passed the 400 mile mark on this Ride. Tomorrow we continue north.