This morning was foggy and just above freezing. There was frequent rain until midafternoon. Ah, well. We accept conditions as we find them.
Jonathan brightened our morning. He is an engineer from Oxford, England. He attended a Silicon Valley conference and stayed on to see a bit of California.
He and Jeffrey talked about the American and European approaches to immigration and asylum. Jonathan said that America’s current image abroad is one of hard-right insensitivity, but the Americans he meets belie that image. Jeffrey suggested that the problem is politics, that the U.S. government is dominated by an unrepresentative minority. For the second time in two days, Jeffrey explained the Electoral College.
Here are some scenes from the countryside. The white dots in the photo in the lower center are sheep. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Two of these photos are of vultures. There were many more nearby. A coyote . . .
. . . and a powerful stench suggested that these animals had gathered to feast.
Wyatt is an artist in Point Reyes Station.
He was about to paint a mural in connection with a conference on sustainability and happiness. He and Jeffrey talked about compassion for immigrants, and the importance of the arts. More art, more artists, less cruelty, perhaps.
Kenny, a Marin County deputy sheriff, pulled over to chat.
Kenny is kind. He doesn’t like that asylum applicants are unrepresented, that ICE and The System break up families and send our neighbors away. As a good officer, though, he thinks laws should be enforced until they are changed. But Jeffrey pointed out that our government has become incapable of reflecting the will of the American people: thus we are stuck with bad laws that (e.g.) hurt the “Dreamers” (unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children) and give civilians easy access to military-grade weapons. Real police like Kenny use common sense when enforcing laws; for example, they don’t issue tickets for driving 59 mph in a 55 mph zone. Fake police—ICE agents—enforce immigration violations with zero tolerance.
Jeffrey was tired and considered spending the night in the hamlet of Tomales, but after he decided to put some more miles in the bank, Nancy secured us a hotel room in the next town. Jeffrey’s choice had consequences. It took us two full hours to climb and descend 7 miles of hills, and to navigate a detour after Jeffrey saw TWO of these signs.
At last we reached Valley Ford, 37 miles from today’s start, 121 miles from San Jose.
At the top of the last hill, we met Filipe, a Mexican immigrant justly proud that he learned English. He had stopped to close a gate so a neighbor’s cattle couldn’t stray.
Filipe, on his way to work, took the time to talk. He asked about the Ride. He told us that Marin County is crawling with ICE agents but it is an agricultural center that needs its foreign workers. Filipe wants kindness and common sense to be part of immigration law. He gave Jeffrey a restaurant recommendation; Jeffrey went to the restaurant, gave Filipe’s regards to Enrique and Dolores as instructed, and refueled to chauffeur me another day.
(P.S. – We didn’t snap his photo, but Joe, a transplanted New Englander who owns a carpet company, approached us in Valley Ford. Jeffrey explained our mission. On the spot, Joe gave a nice donation to Human Rights First. Our new Oxford friend Jonathan would recognize Joe as a real American.)