bikeUSA: Venice Beach, CA to Phoenix, AZ

First time at the computer in a few days. A barrage of emails in my inbox. This photo from Randy, who we met at a rest-stop outside of Phoenix. We're exhausted, my ankle hurts, it's getting dark, and my bike's inner tube has popped. Again. We find Randy and Bim with their motorcycle, the engine dead. They're waiting for a tow truck. When the tow truck arrives, we lash our bikes on, too. We roll fancy into Phoenix, AZ. Lights blazing all around. Spend the night in a field, surrounded by cars and buildings. City smell. Los Angeles City to Phoenix City. California to Arizona. Thus, we have come full circle.
Biking ,what a learning journey. By the end of it, I'm getting pretty constant wrist pains, ankle pain by the end of the day, and am developing back pains. And Daniel is just plain tired. We have to average 50-60 miles a day to get to CT on time. We'd prefer to mosey slowly, spend time experiencing the places we're passing thru (instead of just passing thru), etc. We decide to end the journey. Another day, another time. When there's no schedule.
I'm grateful for this journey, though. Am especially grateful for all the wonderful people we met along the way. We received at least one person's good wishes each day, strengthening words of encouragement. We received prayers, food, rides when we needed them, showers, advice... love. We're hailed as "inspirational," and I can visualize us as comets bicycling, bicycling, bicycling...
And it's enough biking for now. We're hitchhiking again. It's a faster means of travel. We cut quickly across the areas we don't wish to spend much time in, then spend lots of time in places we really want to be. Like here outside of Sedona, AZ. In the wilderness. With the trees, wind, and red rocks. With dreams of singing trees, and days of fulfilling dreams.


bike USA photos from Adrian

Adrian surprised us outside of Joshua Tree, CA with a visit! We're biking down Route 62 when I hear a honk behind me. I wearily look around... and it's Adrian!!! I'm incredulous. All day, I've been watching the cars zoom by, hoping each was Adrian... and then had just given up. I left Adrian a fuzzy phone message with something like "me and Daniel are somewhere on Route 62 heading out of Joshua Tree and into Arizona..."

lo and behold, he found us!
Here's Adrian's photos:

(oh, and Adrian was my original inspiration for biking across the USA. thanks!!)


he writes and plays on computer more than I do. so check his blog here often for our updates. most recent:

we all have our Place

we all fit into this Circle of Life in some way
every little human, every tiny drop of dew
we all hold a Place
we are all a beautiful piece of this grand puzzle

bike USA

We're biking across the country, now.
California to Connecticut.
Daniel and Jaz.
ZenZephyr and Bike.

Welcome back on the road
with two wheels each
my pannier and backpack,
dan's four buckets and a pack.
Welcome back on the road
sore legs, open hearts
Welcome back on the road
winds pushing, sky opening
Welcome back on the road
four wheels, four legs
one heart


mid to end of winter

These photos range from
our last month in Boulder, CO
to Wintercount in the AZ desert
to my week in California at my parents' place



Just got back from Wintercount, a primitive skills gathering in the Arizona desert. Daniel and I left Boulder, CO in a fully loaded vehicle. We drove around for a bit, getting and unloading some last minute stuff... then we're off! An incredibly beautiful drive down through redrock canyons and blue mesas from the high desert into the low desert. Hung with Daniel's old buddy for a bit in the NM/AZ desert. Hung with some Navajo folks, and on sacred land in the Native American reservation. Utterly gorgeous. Miss this part of the country. Drop Daniel off with his friend, and mosey forth with Denise, an old buddy from the Teaching Drum...
and then, Wintercount. We arrive late at night. I saunter into the center fire circle to warm myself. I look at the faces around the fire, curiously. Several people make eye contact and smile at me, but I'm tired. I don't engage and feel a little out of place. Grab sleeping bag and pad and go off into the flat desert to make a temporary home for myself. Sleeping freely under enormous desert sky, luminous sunsets, sunrises, moonscapes, starscapes, and more. The desert is magic.
I wander alone through the desert until dinnertime, or chat with folks around the main fire. I'm getting to know the area, feel its magic working through me. I'm slowly opening up, slowing down. The desert heat draws out my shut-in ickiness of the past winter. I begin frolicking.
I start kitchen work in the evening. I'm doing work trade for this event. The lady in charge of kitchen, Jenni, is stressed out. She has wild eyes and a fluttering (torn) spirit. We have two hours to prepare food for 400 hungry people every morning and night. Freak out! A chaotic, yet incredible kitchen. Something out of nothing. Same with the rest of Wintercount. Something out of nothing. Reminds me of Burning Man. A huge temporary week-long community out in the middle of the desert. We bring in and pack out everything by car, bike, or pack. Leaving no trace.
At the getting-to-know-you fire circle after dinner, I meet August (among others). We talk forever and anon, find much in common, and smile a lot. I find him throughout the rest of the Gathering at random everywhere's, surprising him with jumps and hugs. Feels good to have a friend to jump on.
In the morning time, after cooking breakfast (ahhh! Stress!!! Jenni spreads her infection, and I feel yucky), I wander around feeling a little overwhelmed. There's classes happening everywhere, and I'm late to everything. Just released from the kitchen, and too late to do anything... and then I bump into Dave. I first noticed him when all the instructors were introducing their classes. He lifted his child into the air while standing in the middle of the circle. Said some hilarious yet meaningful words that I don't remember any more. Just made me smile. All of us had to laugh, as our hearts filled with joy. Dave. Bringer of joy! My comrade... and teacher.
A few days later, I follow Dave into the desert with a few other students. We go separately, stopping to interact with every being that comes along our path: I danced, spoke, and sung with all the plants I encountered along the way. After everyone regathered, we had some blindfolded exercises, such as touching/smelling objects without looking, running down the road sans eyes, following each other in a long line through the desert, just by feel. Awakened my other senses. We rely on sight a lot. I'm learning to fully experience Life, in every way possible. Then, we wandered through the desert again, in search of a friend to introduce to our group. I found a barrel cactus (who I didn't know). I sat with him for a while, felt his bristles, listened to his music. I felt my friend in my heart. Played with him a bit too much and got poked. Felt his fear. Felt him in me, our similarity. Felt our interconnectedness with all else surrounding us. Felt warmth, despite his coldness. Love that feeling. Want to remember and feel it more often. Introducing my new friend to the group was... incredible. More like, beyond words. I haven't danced like that before. Dave explained what he wanted us to do, then pointed to me (on his left), "You start." I'm surprised. No time to think up something witty and amazing to do. I just curl up on the ground and... become my new friend, the barrel cactus. I feel as the cactus does, and just begin emoting. Utterly. Incredible. Just desert magic? Nay. Tis within me. Tis within all of us. We just need to tap into it. (ahhh)
Starting to get tired of typing. Other cool folks (there were many!) I met at Wintercount:
(after traveling, stuff isn't such a big deal any more. It's the people that make each place. The land too. But people...!!! (lovelove))
- Doug (aka Plant Man!)- very wise dude who lives in the wilderness with his burros and much wisdom. He's about my parents age, but is so different from them! (same as Dave) Whenever we spot each other around camp, we start shaking our hips and dancing like a little bouncy bears. SO much plant knowledge, so much fun, so much spirit! Daniel and I dubbed him the "Wintercount medicine man."
- Porangui. Dan and I dubbed this one the "village music-man." He brings music, laughter, joy wherever he goes. Such spirit! I feel my creative energy soar whenever I see him. Amazing music, even more amazing man! (fellow gypsy)
- Andrew. Yet another ex-Teaching Drum person! Huge warm hugs, big smile. Full of love, light laughter. Someone else I bumped into and jumped on often. Full of music, too.
okay, tired of typing. End of list.
The Gathering lasted a week, but it felt like it just zoomed by. Fascinating people, classes, and more... the Desert. Desert magic. Words cannot describe any of this. Maybe I should try making photos again... (but nay! I was too busy BEING in the Gathering, instead of making photos OF the Gathering. I think that maybe I am no longer a photographer. And I know that whatever I "am", that's okay. I am perfect as I am, in this moment. Ahhh :)
After Wintercount, Daniel and I stayed a few more days. I feel sad yet full, watching the cars roll off one by one. And once all that is over, I watch Brother Wind blowing all our tracks away. Lost memories in the desert dust. What magic, this life! Every moment, utterly special, nonduplicable, incredible. I love Life!