Friday, August 18, 2017

Peace On The Prairie

                                PHOTO CREDIT: POPSUGAR

"If white supremacists march into our towns armed to the teeth and with the intent to harm people, they are not engaging in activity protected by the United States Constitution. The First Amendment should never be used as a shield or sword to justify violence."-- American Civil Liberties Union of California.

We're waiting for the solar eclipse out here in the land of "Liberal or Let It Go." Many communities are gearing up for a population explosion...which I am already beginning to see. Fuel trucks began running in pairs a few days ago. Now there is a seemingly endless line of vehicles by the gas pumps at this truck stop near Salem, Oregon.

Last night, the French Prairie rest area south of Wilsonville was PACKED. But, when I woke up in
the middle of the night last night ( I camped-out at a covered and well-lit picnic table) I was amazed by what I saw. Every parking spot in the entire rest area was taken. It looked like a big used car lot.
But what surprised me the most was the silence that covered every inch of the place.

I stood up and looked around...doing a slow pan from the back tree line to the line of big trucks on
the other side. Silence. The only real sound came from the sporadic traffic on the nearby Interstate.

Yes, there was absolute peace on the prairie last night.

And that is as it should be...all of the time and everywhere.

But now, grown adults plan to throw their brains into the garbage soon.. All I can say is
they better not bring it to Oregon!

See, last night I saw the real Ladies and Gentlemen. They said "excuse me", "Hi, how ya doin?" smiled, were good to their kids, smoked away from everyone else, picked-up after their puppies and held the door for me.

No one waved a banner, nobody screamed words of hate and nobody hurt anybody else. No one died
at that rest area last night. And yet, the entire area was filled with people. I highly doubt that all of those people practice the same religion or are of the same political persuasion.

Yes, there was absolute peace on the prairie last night.

But I truly believe that if some fool would have come in beating a bad drum last night...he probably
would have been booted to the other side of the freeway.

We didn't need dissention in the ranks last night...we needed STFU and that is exactly what we got.

Now people from all over the Country are gathering here in Oregon. But we aren't coming together
to tear anything apart. We are uniting to watch our planet's grand connection with the sun. And I hope
that when it finally happens, every individual that watches that miracle also has an epiphany of conscience.

I feel like the solar eclipse is a message from God. I believe that God wants us to join together in
peace again. A sincere solidarity of souls.

There really is no White Might Right. That is just mortal stupidity in action. The real wisdom will
be written by the sky...this coming Monday.

Come On Up For The Rising

                                Me in the Mexican restaurant where I recently stayed 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pass It On

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ruthie On The Road, Update

And just WHERE have I been?!

On the road. Hitchhiking across States like I do every Summer.

But this time the experience has meant a great deal more to me.

Recently, my blood pressure spiked again and I suffered through a very painful headache. I was in
a city in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

I hitchhiked up to Gowanda, New York when the police decided that I had gone far enough and
sent me back to Pennsylvania. I didn't put up a fight because I was getting very tired. Several days later
my near-stroke experience took place.

My blood pressure rose to 200+/100+ when they measured it by cuff in the ER. I got pills, I got
IV's, I got an x-ray, blood drawn and a CAT scan. Then they gave me oxygen and I fell asleep
for hours, on a gurney, in a darkened room.

Afterwards I contacted a friend who got me to where I am now: Iowa. Yes, I typed Iowa.

The State has absolved itself in a loving and very generous way. But my friend and I have
agreed to keep the details of this new experience to ourselves. So, I just won't be able to tell you
what is happening now.

I took a series of photos on this journey. A few other people did, too. I am sharing them here:

Some people don't believe that I actually hitchhiked with a walker/wheeler across the Country.
Travel regulations/ road construction or weather sometimes required that I take public shuttle
transportation. But those rides were just short hops. The majority of my journey found me sitting
in my wheeler, on the side of a highway, with my thumb out in the wind.

One of my rare meals on the road that actually included a china dish and a stainless steel fork.

One road led to another and another and another! So I just kept on going.

Art is always part of travel.

Sometimes I have been fortunate enough to sleep in a room like this one. Note the appropriate
picture above the bed!

Other times, well...

Sometimes I waited for a ride in the burning heat...

And other times the temperature was just fine...

Diner food was great!

What my bad heart condition did to my legs was not...

If I could buy a ticket away from this, I would. I can't. My heart and my lungs
and my kidneys are dysfunctional to some degree, now. This "rash" indicates that I will probably
die long before anyone refers to me as "elderly." But gee, I've lived! In my own amazing way,
I have!

I saw a great deal of beauty throughout the Country including this gathering of brightly-tinted flowers
in Attica, Indiana.

And every road took me to somewhere amazing...

with some commercial breaks like this one by Interstate 55 in Illinois.

And then there were the rest areas like this one where I ate a batch of dollar store oatmeal
cookies and then walked down a hill to the Interstate. After I sat down in my wheeler, I noticed
a crop-dusting plane swooping and arcing around in the sky. I waved my arms. A few moments
later, the plane flew directly overhead at a low altitude. I waved my arms again and the plane
tipped its wings at me. Then it dropped low behind a hill and after a beat, it shot back up and
flew over at me again. This went on for about ten minutes before the plane finally disappeared

I could have gotten some whiz-bang photos of that bright yellow flying machine but I chose
not to.


Because I decided earlier that morning that I would keep that day to myself. So I did. My moments, my memories,

No pictures, people...maybe next time.

Life on the road took its toll on my body. At a high elevation, early in  the journey
I was often caught between the high heat of the day and the chill (42F with a wind)
during the night. And I wasn't always fortunate enough to find an inside place to
stay during the nighttime hours. My nose burned and peeled all the way out to New
York. Note my "raccoon eyes" that appeared after one particularly harsh day in the
sun while wearing my Dollar Store shades.

I fell in a park in northern Idaho and tore open my leg. It took several weeks for
those wounds to heal. They did become infected and I had to visit a doctor to get
some much-needed antibiotic pills.

I met quite a few unusual people on the road but one guy really intrigued me. He is a bus
driver and after I injured my leg I took a short trip with him.

He behaved like any other bus driver except for one unique characteristic: During my ride
with him, he waved at every single semi that rolled by. I mean, he WAVED like a man
who had never seen a big truck before.

He paid no extra attention to any other vehicle on the road...just the tractors with trailers.

I never did find out why.

Yeah, sometimes I pulled back the sheets and slept in what I consider to be luxury.

But then came the nights when I slid into my sleeping bag at a rest area like this one.

And that is a small glimpse at what I experienced on the road in 2017.

What am I doing for an encore?

I will be spending my second night in a Mexican restaurant...sleeping in one of the
fat vinyl-covered seats in the dining room. Later, I plan to watch the crowds gather
in this State on August 21 and watch the total solar eclipse beside the Pacific Ocean.

Someone once said: "What we do makes us what we are."