1,400 miles and the rest of our lives to go
Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
28Trip End Apr 30, 2008
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WE HAVE A PROBLEM AND MAYBE YOU CAN HELP! THE ENTRY THAT WAS UPLOADED ON MARCH 4, TITLED "WALKERS RENDEZVOUS" HAS BEEN LOST. WE HAVE THE PICTURES, BUT NOT THE TEXT
We mailed back the video camera about a month ago, due to its weight and the long time it took each time to upload the videos. Even though so many of you told us that you appreciated these videos, we weighed that against the toils of the last month in Southern California and decided it was best to mail it home.
We'll be sending one last blog a week or so after we've returned to Vermont, in order to share some of our re-entry feelings and reflections. Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting.
From Santa Monica we took the bus and light rail through downtown Los Angeles to South Pasadena, since our contact folks again could not come up with suitable and safe walking routes. We were impressed with the public transportation and were pleased to get off at a small city park where a weekly farmers market was being held. As we waited there to meet our Orange Grove Friends Meeting contact (and good friend of ours, Ruanne Peters), we enjoyed listening to several street musicians and tasting exquisite locally grown strawberries
After completing some shopping with Ruanne, we put some of our gear in her car and walked the mile and a half to her house in San Marino.We were looking forward to our evening with Ruanne and her husband, John, since we have known them for a number of years (Ruanne and Ruah were running partners back in 1981), and we always have a great time with them. The next morning Louis worked on the BeFriending Creation newsletter while Ruah visited with Ruanne. After lunch Percy Severn from the Conejo Valley Worship Group (you'll remember her from the previous blog entry) arrived so that she could walk with us to the Orange Grove Friends Meeting in Pasadena.
Shortly after starting our walk, a jogger saw our banner and asked us about our purpose. She became so enthused by what she heard that she jogged along and chatted with us for the next couple of miles. Her name was Nancy Meade, and like Percy, who is also a jogger, she had grown up in the South.We were quite taken with Nancy's bright spirit and her clear understanding of right-living issues. She offered to carry the Earth flag and did so with such zest that we attracted extra attention from passers-by. Percy and we were sad to see her jog off, but that wasn't the end of the story: She actually showed up at our presentation that evening, and she even brought her partner with her
We had a great time continuing the walk with Percy and were very appreciative that she had made a special effort to join us. This reminds us of the many incredible people we've met, and we hope that we will have opportunities to strenghten these relationships.
There was a good turnout at the Orange Grove Meeting, starting with a delicious pot luck dinner. It was great to see Kate Carpenter, who had been helping with the walk logistics and was once on the QEW Steering Committee. Ruah also enjoyed reconnecting with several Friends she had known from her attendance there back in the early 1980s. After our presentation we got a ride to Kate's house along with another Friend, Graciela, who was spending the night there. We were too tired to stay up for late night talking, but we promised to be more chipper in the morning. For breakfast, Kate experimented with a new recipe she had found for baked oatcakes, which we found scrumptious. We did get some talking in then, and we learned that Kate and Graciela had collaborated on animal cruelty issues and have promoted vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. After one more person from Friends Meeting, Madeline, arrived at Kate's house, we were ready to walk as a group
The day was predicted to be very hot, and for the first time on our walk we were wearing shorts. We started consuming much larger amounts of water and after lunch we started using our umbrellas for relief from the scorching sun. Along the way, one of Ruah's relatives, Mary, who lived along our route in Monrovia, joined us. This allowed Ruah and Mary to catch up on family gossip. Later we took advantage of a bathroom break and refreshment stop that our walk coordinators had arranged at the home of an Orange Grove Friends Meeting member, which was a welcome relief from the heat and sun.
By mid-afternoon the 90-degree heat was almost unbearable, and we were beginning to get concerned about our remaining days of walking. We made many small stops and finally dragged ourselves through the door at Ron Theders and Linda Bailey-Theders home. They gave us tall glasses of water, after which we napped and showered to be better guests by dinner time. We had a wonderful evening with them. They had come to the presentation in Pasadena and had walked away eager to learn from us new ways to green up their lives. We spent a lot of the evening looking at resource websites and sharing what we knew
The next morning Ron and Linda's granddaughter arrived and showed off her new "Earth friend" tee-shirt and so we took a photo. Soon after that, Beverly Speak, our contact person from Claremont Friends Meeting, arrived to take us to worship. There's a wonderful, familiar feeling when we sit down to worship in any Meeting anywhere. At the rise of worship it was time once again for us to give our presentation. We were becoming more and more aware of the limited number of times we'd be still doing this and already were feeling nostalgic. A good crowd stayed to hear us, and we felt we had given one of our best skit presentations.
We then piled back into Beverly's car and headed to her home for the afternoon and night. Louis was glad to have a large chunck of time to continue working on BeFriending Creation, and Ruah relaxed and read. Beverly and her husband, David, have a lively home which they currently share with a daughter and son-in-law. Beverly's parents and two Friends from the Meeting came for dinner, and we were treated to a culinary tour de force prepared by David and his daughter Margaret. The conversation was lively, and we felt at home. Beverly had been involved with a conservation project where she helped save "Johnson's Pasture" from development, and using her excellent photographic skills, she had designed a Natural Resources Treasure Hunt booklet to use while exploring the land
Beverly gave us a ride part way the next morning, which was on her way to work. It was going to be another hot day, though this time only in the 80s. We were hot and sweaty by the time we checked into the motel in Rialto. While we were on the way to Rialto, a man riding a bicycle stopped and asked some questions. He became quite enthused about our walk, and he kindly asked whether we had enough money, food, or a place to stay. We continuously feel so touched by the tender concern of people.
We had to shop for some dinner that night and went to Cardena's, a regional supermarket chain that caters to the area's large Latino population. It was really like walking into Mexico! The music was Latino, all the signage was in Spanish, and all the shoppers were speaking only Spanish. Most of the products also had a Spanish flair since this was in reality a large "supermercado." Even the checker counted out our change as, "siete y dos" instead of seven dollars and two cents. It was fun to "travel" in this way. Our typical eat-in dinner at motels in Southern California has been cheese, avocado, tomato, and crackers, with oranges as dessert. We have been trying to eat all the local avocados and oranges we can before heading home to Vermont, where they won't be local anymore
The air was considerably cooler the next morning when we began our walk to Riverside. The ten miles we walked that morning seemed so easy compared to the same distance on a hot day. We met up with Michael and Linda Dunn, our Inland Valley Friends Meeting contacts and our next hosts. After a delicious Thai lunch at their favorite local restaurant, we spent the afternoon working on computer stuff at their home and resting up for our presentation that evening. Michael was once the recording clerk for the Quaker Earthcare Witness Steering Committee (it was then Friends Committee on Unity with Nature), and we had come to know both Michael and Linda through that work. It was great catching up with them on news about people and events. We enjoyed the group that arrived for our presentation at the Meetinghouse and were very appreciative of their interest and enthusiasm for our walk and our message.
The next morning, after being treated to Michael's famous omelets for breakfast, we walked with Michael through the UC- Riverside campus (where he had taught for many years) and then through the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area, a five-mile long tract of fascinating hilly, semi-arid landscape
We already knew that Rich and his wife Jenny were very concerned about their ecological footprint and had been making some thoughtful green-living choices for themselves and their three children. But we were even more impressed to see other things they had been doing since moving into their new home. Instead of aspiring to country living, which can be very energy-intensive, they chose to purchase a moderate-size suburban home on a fairly small lot that was within walking or biking distance from the two schools where they worked and where the children attended classes. They also were close to Jenny's family, who are very involved in the children's lives.
Wanting to minimize their use the built-in air conditioning, Rich and Jenny recently had built a salt-water pool to help everyone get cool at the end of the day in this typically hot and dry area
We accepted Jenny's invitation to be chaperones for her 4th grade field trip, so that we could see the famous Ramona Pageant in a picturesque natural ampitheatre in the foot hills on the south side of Hemet. Every year all the 4th grade classes in the area are allowed to see the dress rehersal, and this year about a thousand children came
At the end of our fun visit, Rich and Jenny gave us a ride to a good spot to continue our walk to San Diego. That day our goal was Oceanside, about 13-1/2 miles away. Along the way we passed the San Luis Rey Mission, which meant that we had passed at least five of the original California Spanish missions on this trip. When we stopped at a Home Depot for a bathroom break, we were pleased to see an Earth Day display and Louis told the young woman staffing it about our Peace for Earth walk
We stayed at an RV park that night that had four small tent sites right next to a newly-laid commuter train track. We are impressed with the number of new commuter trains in southern California, but had never thought we'd be sleeping next to one. Fortunately we were so tired and the trains were so quiet that we slept fairly well.
The next day we walked along the Coast Highway 101, soaking in the California sun, watching scores of surfers bobbing in the ocean waiting for the right wave. We enjoying the laid-back surfing culture atmosphere of Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Encinitas. We spent a long time in a coffee shop to allow Louis to finish an article he was working on. That night we camped at San Elijo Beach State Park, which gave us a wonderful view of the ocean and more surfers--many of whom didn't quit until after sundown and were at it again before dawn. The next morning our normally sunny moods were darkened somewhat by the realization that this was our last camping experience of the trip
We had a rather easy day of walking and by early afternoon we had arrived at the home of Mary Ann Percy, our La Jolla contact and our next host. We knew Mary Ann from her work with Quaker Earthcare Witness in its early days and had also known her daughters when they were quite young. It was fun to get reacquainted with Rebekkah, now 15, and Clare, now 12. Both girls were delightful and interested in our walk, and we appreciated their ability to talk easily with adults. With Mary Ann it felt like it hadn't been 10 years since we'd seen one another, and we jumped right into good conversations and catching up on people's lives.
We took a little time the next morning to work on our blog, and then we headed out for our historic last day. We walked along the Coast Highway and then through the beautiful Torrey Pines area past the UC-San Diego campus toward La Jolla. It was once again a clear and sunny, typically California day. We enjoyed the beach and ocean views and knew that it would be our last look at the Pacific Ocean before going home. We started counting down to our last hour, our last mile, and our last steps. At the La Jolla Friends Meeting House we were greeted by an enthusiastic, but small group of San Diego and La Jolla Friends, who had prepared a nice potluck. They were appreciative of our presentation, and we felt well cared for once again. We ended the evening at an airport hotel and prepared for our flight to Chicago to participate at the QEW Steering Committee meeting. It's hard to think about work and no walking for a while!