Friday, September 28, 2007
I first met Moira on the seacoast of Santa Monica, California, in early springtime, 2007. Our friendship developed over several weeks. Moira indulging me by my reciting newly composed poetry, or excerpts from my in progress autobiography. We bonded through mutual inspirations. I looked forward to our encounters; exchanging ideas and encouragement from this lovely Canadian artist and writer.
Our weekly visits included her bringing me fresh organic salad greens, that were comprised of tiny orange and purple flowers. Thus I named them Faery Food, which describes the donor as well. I was enormously grateful, having been without refrigeration to store fresh food, as I had been residing in my tiny, hand hewn camper for a number of years.
She managed to "evict" me, occasionally, from a semi hermetic crawl space, to the healing graces of her gourmet cuisine, and lavish me with fragrent soaps and hot showers. Gestures of kindness demonstrating the enormous altruistic nature of this woman.
One cannot imagine my stunned amazement when Moira created Suzanne's Angels, and embarked on such a huge undertaking. A journey of epic proportion to the Far North on my behalf, in hopes of generating the funds towards shelter for myself and my darling felines.
Words can never thank her and those brother and sister Angels who have reached out to help me through what has been a long and difficult journey.
Thank you, with all my heart... SUZANNE
Although I had had the front row view of the mighty Pacific and the solace of my feline family and sea-gull companions, it has been an arduous task of endurance keeping mind and body sound and safe, for, now on five years. Crippling pain from a serious accident in 1999, due to multiple fractures was enough. Then to lose my career which took a lifetime to build. My life as a choreographer, dance instructor, and massage therapist, was over; indefinitely.
Enduring this, and the peripheral loss of dignity in having to face homelessness from the inability to earn my financial independence, I retreated to my tiny cabin on wheels.
I was down on my luck. The telephone was strangely silent. There must have been something to be said of many former friends and associates who were no longer calling. It seemed, in some folks' judgement, that I was choosing to remain in this homeless situation. Adding shame to injury.
Then... What can be said of a society that turns a blind eye to such numbers of homeless individuals, many of whom are greatly disabled? The abject neglect of the Armed Forces veterans? How does the America I once loved so dearly allow the police to profile and criminalize the disadvantaged?
I had no results in obtaining low-cost housing, even after repeated and exhausting efforts, from government or other agencies. Rental accommodations in Los Angeles County have become increasingly prohibitive for those with minimal fixed income.
I've always attempted to bring artfulness into my lifestyle, but with the conditions of this stark experience, I was so often bereft of inspiration, with searing pain being a constant companion.
Despair was undermined by lending a hand to others. Those less fortunate in many respects. The shopping cart homeless.
I often had to dig deep into my dancer's discipline and Scottish ancestry to maintain hope and generate momentum to face another day.
On my path, I've encountered encouraging and interesting individuals with their own challenges. I've received kindness from strangers, all of whom made an enormous difference in keeping hope alive, faith in spirit and human goodness.
I've had an inordinate length of time while recovering from injuries to ponder on the anatomy of these experiences; and the process of reinventing myself.
To this end, I am at present recording some evidence of miracles in my autobiography.
I persevere in attempting to improve my health, and recover some aspects of my former creative skills, which that too, is part of the healing process.
I thank my angel sisters and brothers for assisting me in overcoming the daily struggles in what has been a long and difficult journey.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I'm in central Oregon, probably three days from completing this epic ride.
Now that Henk has new rubber and a new drive belt, he's running like a dream. But I'm getting tired. Tired of crappy road food, tired of battling wind and rain, tired of crawling into my tent that's no longer waterproof to sleep, tired of wearing my helmet all day, tired of taking ten minutes to pee because of all the damn layers I have to peel off, tired of missing my kitty and tired of being homeless.
I can't imagine how Suzanne feels after five years without a proper home.
I'm hoping to stop in for a visit with her on my last night on the road. Also hoping the weather holds out a while longer. It's been beautiful and sunny since I hit southern BC, but Suzanne says the first cold rains of the season have already fallen in the redwoods east of Santa Cruz.
I'm getting anxious for her to get set up in a little studio somewhere warm where she can get cozy with her kitties for the winter and complete her book.
I've been doing the math while riding, and though I've had very positive response with pledges, I'm still looking for more!
Every time I need an angel on the road, there's one (or three) a breath away.
I'm trusting that Suzanne's will come through for her in the nick of time.
Please pass this on far and wide.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I'm in Prince George awaiting motorbike repairs. I'm hoping to be back on the road this afternoon.
I had a chance to upload some raw videos of the day I broke down and my rescue.
If you go over to www.firehorserider.com and click on the blog, you should be able to view them...
Again, thank you for all your support and words of encouragement.
And thank you so much to Richard, Mark, and John who went way out of their way to rescue me. Real life heroes and true angels.
This photo is of Richard trying to fix the rescue vehicle when it broke down! When the rescue squad had to be rescued, their friend Ron in Fort St. John, a 78-year-old angel, jumped in to drive them an hour down the Alaska Highway and an hour back to get the part they needed.
We were delayed another half day, but that's what happens when adventures collide and angels respond. We all made it home safe and perhaps forever changed by our serendipitous encounter.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I always say an adventure wouldn't be an adventure if you didn't occasionally need to rely on the kindness of strangers. It's happened to me often enough now that I simply expect that at least once on my journey, I'll be begging for help.
It happened on day 2 of this trip when my battery died and I had to call my newest friend Jim in Boulder Creek. He showed up within half an hour with a spare battery that worked as a band-aid until I could get a new one. Had I not met Jim at a stop light the day before, I don't know what I would have done.
And today was another one of those days.
I broke down in about as remote a spot as one could break down, smack in the middle of Fort Nelson and Fort St. John on the Alaska Highway.
I'd already ridden three hours in the snow. My hands were freezing and my spirits low. There was hardly a car on the road, but within seconds of getting off my bike and wondering what to do, I saw a pickup truck heading north. The driver slowed as he approached, and I flagged him down.
Three guys leaped out, ready to do whatever it took.
Within ten minutes, Henk was loaded into the back of the truck and tied down, and I was in the cab warming up and thanking them. They offered me coffee and a danish. The ice on my jacket began to drop off and my hands quickly thawed.
They were going in the opposite direction, but offered to take me down the road to the trucker camp at Buckinghorse River, where I could get a room, have a hot shower and think about what to do next.
They offered to stop in tomorrow on their way back from the hotsprings and if I was still here, they'd take me all the way to Prince George, where my new tire and drive belt await.
I don't think any of these three regular Canadian guys would ever in their wildest dreams consider themselves an angel, but what am I to think? They just happened to have room in their truck, they just happened to have tie-downs handy, they just happened to be coming back my way tomorrow and just happened to be kind enough to offer to pick me and Henk up... Oh, and one of them just happens to be a mechanic.
What could easily have been a nightmare was instantly diffused by the kindness and generosity of these three strangers, Mark, John and Richard.
I could probably sit outside and wait for a truck heading south to hitch up to, but when presented with the option of getting to know these three who've offered their time and resources to a traveller in need, I really can't refuse.
Friday, September 7, 2007
I'm over 7,000 kilometres from my starting point in Venice Beach, past the Arctic Circle by 2 degrees and a day's grueling ride on the bumpy, dusty Dempster Highway that seems to go forever into infinity, yet finally ends at Inuvik on the Mackenzie River Delta, Canada's largest fresh water delta close to the Arctic Ocean.
It's unbelievably beautiful up here. The fall colours are at their peak, and all the way up, we were presented with stunning vista after stunning vista of rolling river valleys, mountain backdrops, and a maze of clear blue lakes and streams in northern boreal forests. I'm in awe of planet earth.
The other night, my friend Kevin, with whom I'm doing this leg of the ride, called out from his tent to wake me. I opened the flap of mine to the arctic 2am sky at Eagle Plains and saw the spectacular dancing northern lights sweeping slowly, melodically, hypnotically across the top of the world.
While I've been up here taking in the magic of The Land of the Midnight Sun, Suzanne was swooped up and taken to San Francisco for the reunion of the Summer of Love.
I'm hoping she'll post a short note here of her experiences. Please stay tuned!
We've had further pledges for Suzanne from generous angels along the way. It's been uplifting for both of us. Thank you.
And for more blogs about the trip, check firehorserider.com