Thursday, July 30, 2009

Three new posts

This is the third entry I'm posting today - it will make more sense if you go back and read them in order, from the bottom up.

This beautiful viaduct is between Factoryville and Hop Bottom, reminding me again of the amazing accomplishments of the past. If we could apply this kind of energy and determination to cutting back our carbon emissions maybe there would be more hope.

Ah, the romance of the road - sometime this will be an ancient memory.

Vera and her sister, Olga, who took the photo, joined me for several miles on the road north of Hop Bottom - yes, this is a second viaduct, and not in as good repair as the first. Vera is an indy media person and took some video of the walk. She also fights the gas companies that are threatening this beautiful rural area. I enjoyed Vera's hospitality the night before at her lovely home in Brooklyn, PA.

I spent Wednesday night parked in a gas station lot in New Milford, and this morning I took some photos of the tiny buildings in this town. I wondered how many books there might be in this library, but it only opens a few hours a day, and it was too early.

Here's one more of those intrepid NEPA activists, Frank, who surprised me in the middle of the day by finding me along the road and walking a few miles with me. He's promised to send me some photos of the gas drilling equipment near his home, which will never be the same, he says, after the intrusion of the gas exploiters.

Northeast PA - past Scranton

I just love the Endless Mountains, the summer flowers, the pristine creeks.

But to get there you need to go through strip mall America, with the fast food joints beckoning you on. Actually, Clarkes Summit had a dynamite natural foods store where I found an ice tea, drink, Tazo, without HFCS (high fructose corn syrup).

Another fine PA Green Party friend, Jay, joined me for a few miles on Monday.

He and Ellen extended me their hospitality on their beautiful homestead, where Jay has a big vegetable garden and Ellen raises delightful miniature donkeys. We watched the sunset over the rolling mountains while the half moon shone down on us from a cloudless sky.

But not all is well in NEPA (northeast PA) - if you haven't heard yet you should pay attention: the big gas interests are ripping into this beautiful area on a huge scale, clearing away acres of trees, drilling under the Marcellus Shale, threatening the aquifer, the landscape, the habitat. A few good people are raising their voices, fighting for some sanity. We talk about lessening our carbon footprint, decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels, and here this craziness is going on and the majority of the population thinks it's a good deal, and money-maker.

From Kingston to Duryea

Walking through an urban area has its own set of pleasures: all the variety of homes with gardens and yards, and small and large businesses. Most places have sidewalks and crosswalks, though not everywhere:

"The earth will end October 14 2011." Sometimes I worry that people think the Climate Change Emergency is just another hype, another Y2K. It's one more way that people bury their heads in the sand.

We saw a double-decker train track, which got me thinking how much the railroad was used in the past, and how we've wasted a vast infrastructure of rails by abandoning them in favor of highways. Can we go back?

We were amused by this sign: "Sorry, We're Open" - I guess the owners would rather be elsewhere.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My husband joined me in Berwick

Guy took a bus from Allentown to Berwick to walk with me for five days. (This photo was taken by a local boy, Aron, who rode past us on a bicycle with his friend Joey.)

Guy snapped this photo of my walking past the towers of the Susquehanna nuclear power plant. I oppose nuclear power even though it is cleaner at the production level than coal. It is too dangerous to the surrounding populations, and there is no satisfactory means of disposal of the spent uranium. In order to counter the argument that we need to build more nuclear plants to meet the growing demand for energy, we must decrease our use of electricity as much as possible until we can depend entirely on sustainable sources of power.

Again, the lovely Susquehanna.

This photo captures the disregard for pedestrians so common in urban areas - the sidewalk simply runs out, and the narrow shoulders make walking unsafe.

Enjoying central PA

Except for the infuriating truck-centered quality of Route 11 - this is why we need to eat local/shop local - I had a great time in this portion of Pennsylvania. My daughter, Sofia, joined me in Sunbury and walked with me for five days.

I couldn't get enough of the wonderful Susquehanna River.

You may remember that when I was in Mississippi and Alabama I longed for a shady place to rest along the road, and a bench for my weary bones. This is closed motel right by the river. Wouldn't it be great for cohousing? Except for the trucks whizzing by 24 hours of the day.

Did you know that Furmano tomatoes are grown in central PA?

Walking out of Bloomsburg we saw this unique store which "sells mattresses like McDonalds sells hamburgers."

North of Harrisburg

Tim, Jaqi and I walked out of the Harrisburg area on Sunday, July 12, and the next day we were in Duncannon, a town through which a short stretch of the Appalachian Trail runs. We enjoyed this mural depicting the area including the daily hikers.

We met these great hikers at the Doyle Hotel, and shared stories of the road. We would've shared a beer or two but it was hot and we still wanted to walk a few miles.

Later that week I walked a portion of Route 11 that made me furious because the new four-lane limited access highway cuts whole towns off from the beautiful Susquehanna River. Why are the needs of high speed travelers and truck drivers more important than the lifestyle of the folks that live right there, in the little river towns?

I asked a young Mennonite man what he and his people thought of the highway. He smiled gently and said, "We don't like it." I saw many horse carts and bicycles along the shoulder of the road and they seemed so vulnerable with the huge semis hurtling by.

I had to admire the Mennonite homes I walked by, with their wonderful gardens, full of vegetables and flowers - very little lawn. Many of the houses displayed beautiful handmade quilts for sale. I couldn't help thinking that they are living a much more sustainable life than most Americans: no electricity, bicycles, homegrown food. We're lucky to have them around because we can learn much from them even if we don't adopt all of their ways.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Approaching Northeast PA

My daughter, Sofia, has joined me for several days before she leaves for a new job in Brazil. We've walked along the Eastern banch of the Susquehanna River, from Sunbury to Bloomsburg, enjoying the beautiful and pleasantly cool summer weather and the deep green of fields and forest.

I'm still unable to use my own laptop at the libraries I'm visiting so it will probably have to wait now until I get to Wilkes Barre. I'll post more photos then and some commentary I've been wanting to write.

In the meantime, all is well.

Friday, July 17, 2009

From Sunbury

Please check out the newly annotated Photo Gallery below. Hopefully I'll be able to post again soon. I have experienced a very strong reaction to the stretch of Route 11 between Duncannon and Selinsgrove and want to share my reflections and some photos. No time today - libraries limit the time on their computers, and my laptop refuses to get me online using WiFi.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Photo gallery July 9 - 11

July 17 - Sunbury, PA - Degenstein Library
Finally a bit of time to fill in the blanks about last week's walk through the Harrisburg area.

Tim, from Bethlehem, and Jaqi, from Coopersburg, joined me for several days, and bravely walked the long miles through Camp Hill and Harrisburg. Tim is in large part responsible for the media attention the climate walk received in Carlisle and Harrisburg. He's been sending notices of the Walk to the media from the beginning but with few exceptions the press in the big cities along the way simply ignored us (Birmingham, Chattanooga, Knoxville, etc). Jaqi helped found the Lehigh Valley organization that concerns itself directly with Climate Change - ICE, Initiatives for the Climate Emergency - that drew more deeply into the issues and inspired me to do something dramatic to draw attention to the urgency of Rapid Climate Change

Walkers Unite!

A bit of beauty, one of the reasons for my concern. What will happen to the streams and rivers as a result of changing climate patterns? Will the birds and little animals that live in this habitat survive?

Chris and Patrick joined Tim, Jaqi and me for a few miles just north of Carlisle. Most of the time we were walking along a landscape dominate by trucks and construction, but we found a little oasis at this spot.

Chris invited us to park in his driveway overnight, and we got to meet his lovely family: Carla, Zane and Everett

This tender moment could be the image of what our walk is about: grandchildren.

Zane wasn't sure he wanted this truck in his driveway, but by the next morning he didn't want it to leave. He enjoyed pretending to drive it. I hope he has a carbon-friendly way to indulge this pleasure by the time he's ready to drive.

We stopped at a little yard sale to get a couple of coffee mugs and ended up buying some freshly picked green beans and visiting the beautiful garden behind the house. Jolene represents the ideal "of what your walk is all about," as she proudly told us. We enjoyed the herbs and other veggies that she threw in with our beans.

We were enjoying this gorgeous display of flowers and were going to compliment the store owner, but got sidetracked when he started telling us that we ought to walk to get Obama out of office, and that a woman would never be president because it's against the Bible - "Women are create to serve men." Scary!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Things are getting hot

After so many months alone on the road and with very little attention from the media, things are getting hot, with friends and fellow greens joining me and the newspapers finally paying some attention.

A reporter for the Sentinel called me from Shippensburg to set up an interview as I walked through. We talked, he took a few photos and the article was published in the Friday, July 10, paper. Click here to read

Also in Shippensburg I met up with Blyden, a PA Green, and Jaqi, a good friend and ICE co-founder from the Lehigh Valley. Blyden lives in Shippensburg and hosted Jaqi and me at his home where we enjoyed meeting his wife, Allison and daughter, Chalaina. On Thursday we walked 7.4 miles toward Carlisle then rode back to town where we had our photo taken near this huge array of solar water panels. I wasn't able to find out exactly who owns and uses them, but I was delighted to see them and hope they will be preserved.

In the countryside we saw several Amish buggies and even more bicycle riders, a welcome sight for me after so many months of being practically alone on the road with the cars and trucks.

We were astounded by the beauty of this flower - can anyone tell me what it is?

Please be sure to check the posting below this one as I just posted it today.

Visiting Wilson College

This week I had the pleasure of meeting a classmate from the Class of '65 at Wilson College, in Chambersburg, PA. Route 11 passes directly by the college so we walked through town and stopped by our alma mater for a few hours. We ended up spending the night parked in one of the campus parking lots near the Conococheague Stream. We slept to the sound of water running over stones and woke up to the singing of birds.

The next day Martha walked 7.5 miles with me toward Shippensburg. We hardly noticed the miles passed because we talked so much, catching up on the 25 years since we had last seen each other.

Great company - thanks, Martha!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

At last some co-walkers!

Guy was the first to walk with me as I approached Pennsylvania. On Monday, July 6, a fellow Green from Philadelphia, Vivek, walked 7.5 miles with me, from Greencastle to Marion, PA. Here he is in a photo I took of him beside my motor home. Vivek wanted to make a strong statement and wore, back and front, signs I had made that say WAKE UP to the CLIMATE EMERGENCY. We walked in heavy fog early in the morning, then in hot sun later. It was wonderful to have his company, and people seemed to pay more attention to two of us than just to me alone. We kept thinking that a group of five or even more would make a real impact.

Yesterday evening and today, a Wilson College classmate ('65), Martha, joined me for a walk through Chambersburg, our alma mater. We were well received by the communications office, and we've parked the motor home here for the night. I hope to post photos very soon.

Tomorrow another friend joins me, and on the weekend another. Hopefully this will continue and we will find a way to make a splash. Let me know if you would be able to walk with us. The climate problem isn't going away, and far too many Americans are oblivious to the issue. Let's make it VISIBLE!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Northern Virginia/West Virginia

Guy has joined me for a few days and we're in West Virginia now, blogging in a Mexican Restaurant in Martinsburg. We spent two days with relatives, helping them pick berries on their fruit farm - we had a good time.

Back in Virigina - my friend, Nancy Tate, told me to be sure to stop at the Little Grille Collective, right on Route 11, when I reached Harrisonburg. Good advice! The good food - I had a bowl of vegan chili - and gentle vibes reminded me of the Green Cafe.

Across the street I saw this neighborhood center which I couldn't resist visiting.

In back of the center I found a community garden, reminding me of the garden I visited two days earlier in Charlottesville. It makes my very happy to see thriving community gardens because they represent one of the main ways we need to face into the future: neighborhoods producing at least some of their own food, people of all ages becoming closely involved with the earth, understanding their connection to the soil, the water, and the sun that come together to make our food.

One of the pleasures of walking is coming across odd buildings like this one.

Happy 4th of July - Interdependence Day!