Sustainable SW Blogs
Our friend Caleb visited us at the Portland rental that we're in through the month of August. He showed us a big lump on the back of his hand. Wendy immediately recognized it as a "bible bump", also known as a ganglion cyst. These cysts appear near joints and are caused fluid leaking into the surrounding tissue. We used a folk, DIY technique to get get rid it and whacked it with a big book. We did not have a bible, but we had the Shulgin Index, fitting don't ya think? We took a video of the process. Caleb was completely shocked when it worked. So we we. Sure beats a visit to the doctor!
If there is one road trip tool that is essential it is a way to keep your beer cold and carbonated while on the road. We have been traveling for four months and this little DrinkTanks growler has been awesome. It uses threaded CO2 cartridges that you would normally purchase to fill a flat bike tire in an emergency. Since we find ourselves going through cool mountain towns and then off to the trails this has been the ideal way to keep our beer cool and carbonated in the car while we are on a long run.
Drinktanks 64oz Growler: http://amzn.to/1Vc4SOc
Drinktanks Keg Cap System: http://amzn.to/1LC4bMs
CO2 refill cartridges: http://amzn.to/1JnstWX
This is not a way of getting around the law - just an option if you qualify. Read all the rules in the links provided. 93,98,70,0,C
1 Timothy 2:5 gives the most concise answer...For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Once we signed up volumes appeared in our inbox. Conscientious Mikey actually read all of the documents sent by Kresser, the volunteer coordinator. They totaled more than100 pages and featured medical info, mapping and a runner's guide. Mikey figured there to be 30 pages of unduplicated information. I got the synopsis and off we went to Randal, WA to seek out our tiny spot in the forest about 12 miles from town. Our aid station was located at the 188th mile of the 200 mile race. If your not familiar with aid stations they are composed of a tented area with chairs and a couple of tables, usually right on the course and stocked with what runners need: food and beverages, places to rest: cots and blankets, drop bags, and medical staff. This is also a place where a runner can drop out. We started out nervous having learned that this station's medics and perhaps all of it's volunteers had dropped out. Mikey's lifeguard status was deemed enough to make him the medic.
Relieved to arrive due to having climbed a gnarly single-lane, forested, dirt road, we popped out of our car delighted to meet Jim. Before responding to our greeting Jim pointed to our tire and said, "hear that?" I heard, "pssssssssttttt," coming from a large gash in Hondo's rear tire, and then I watched it flatten in less than a minute. With a good spare and nothing but time we celebrated that Jim had already set up the stocked station with a stove, organized freezers, plates of sweet and salty snacks, hot coffee, and coolers full of nuun (liquid electrolytes) and water. Rather than dwell on the car's condition we got to know the super guy who'd flown in from Indiana to help out. A runner himself, though I call guys like Jim human Swiss army knives, they can (and often do) do anything, whatever it takes. I could see that he enjoyed this role.
At about 11pm the first of the runners came through. We jotted his name and number on the log we were asked to keep and text messaged the info to the folks at the finish line. Frontrunner Gavin Woody's presence was foreshadowed by a light bouncing in peek-a-book fashion in the dark about a minute before he appeared. I had no idea what to expect of a person who'd just run 188 miles and had been out in the wild for nearly three days. Gavin was clear headed and all biz. "Where's the water? The nuun?" He grabbed three VFuel (gel) packets and said something about the next runner being on his heels before returning to the trail in the pitch dark. The next runner was actually about 20 minutes behind and was being waited for by his crew, a guy named Roma from the Ukraine who dazzled us by opening a bottle of wine by banging the bottom with a 2 liter bottle of Coke. We had no cork screw. Gavin's miscalculation of the next runner's distance showed me that in spite of how these runners may seem, to varying degrees they are tripping from a combo of sleep deprivation, physical exertion, and adrenalin. Another runner explained that the ground had transformed into faces (in his previous 200 miler) and told us that he had been stepping on them. He seemed bothered by it. Yet another told of illuminated cities that could be seen through the woods. Of course these were not actually there.
This first night was full of strange and funny moments that I compare to experiences I had a Burning Man where people have placed themselves far outside the regularities of the default world, and so have interactions of another variety, hyper real, utterly new, and unduplicated.
Over the course of the weekend a couple of people showed up to help out for bits of time. We slept for an hour here-n-there. One woman slept in fits and starts slumped over in a camping chair. With no complaint she got up each time a runner came in, ready to serve. We were downright lucky that no runners required serious medical help as we were totally unprepared. We approached each one, looking closely at their eyes to assess their mental state. We asked questions like, "do you have a drop bag?" "crew?" "What's your name and number." Most were able to speak, some more articulately than others. Many did not know if or what they could eat. We made a practice of naming everything that we had and wait for a lift of the gaze. "Watermelon, eggs, noodle soup, potatoes, bacon, power bars, Oreo cookies, skittles... " Bacon was most popular. We created apparatus to provide foot baths and applied salves and dressings to blisters. Our station had zero medical equipment the first day. Once requested, a pedestrian first aid kit appeared but contained only the gear to fix a scrape or cut. I imagined having blood pressure monitors, sedatives and numbing agents. If we had a real situation there would be little we could do other than radio it in and hope that someone came. I suppose that's protocol at these races. Note to self: when I'm the runner I will pack valium and Litocane. We were grossly short on cooking utensils too with a single 6" frying pan and one pot to cook all of the food for all of the runners for three days. We precooked bacon, toast, hash browns, and quesadillas in advance so that if 10 runners came in at once wanting breakfast food we could crank out eggs to order and have the rest ready, albeit cold. Keeping hot coffee with nothing but a single plastic pour over cup was practically impossible. The only easy, ready to go stuff we had was candy, chips and cold beer, while we were overstocked in stuff we couldn't cook in a 6" frying pan.
What I most enjoyed of this experience was people, amongst the most memorable Koichi Takeishi, a Japanese runner who did not speak much english, had been at some of the world's most exotic distance runs including races in Egypt and the Gobi Desert. He was bright eyed, warm, and appreciative of our aid. He made intentional funny noises and smiled frequently at us to show how much he enjoyed his eggs, bacon, beer, toast and jam. Really to show how much he appreciated us. He was typical of the runners who made sure to say thank you. His crew told a story about a dream that Koychi had in his 40 minute nap, wrapped in a blanket in our camping chair. In the dream he woke up at the previous aid station, Twin Sisters, which was located a tough 16 miles back on the course. He was relieved to realize that it was just a dream. His crew also said that Koichi was sad to leave the forest and wished the race was longer. Koychi then chugged a Pilsner and headed out.
Hussan from Vancouver BC arrived at the station nearly blind. He was losing his vision and needed to sleep in order to recover from severe exhaustion. When he woke he entertained whoever was up with a comedian like performance. Another runner, a guy from Mexico who we heard was lost for most of the day, showed up at our station in the middle of the night. He slowly and clearly articulated his need, "huevos, ... caliente, comer.." In spite of his ordeal he ate, smiled, and expressed his gratitude before running off into the night.
A guy nicknamed Meepmeep bounced in energetically, scarfed a bunch of Skittles and then quickly bounced back out saying only, "Meepmeep!" A runner that we nicknamed, Willie-Packs-Nothing, was prefaced by crew, a tough guy in wheelchair who also races who told funny stories of Willie's unpreparedness, like regularly showing up too late for stores to be open seeking race nutrition then making due with what he could find. His pacer never before ran the distance asked of him and practically crawled into the station having run 100 miles. Several kids came to crew their parents, pacing them through the final 12 miles of the race and expressed uncertainty about their ability to run the 12 miles. Perhaps most surprising is the age of the runners, skewed to the 40 to 60 range. Surprised? I was. One has to wonder if this sport is fueled by people with high stress jobs needing to shake it off.
Everyone loved spending time with our dog Sesame in spite of the fact that she rolled in a pile of fresh people poo. Yeah, of course we gave her a good wash in the river but... well... lets just say shit happens! Imagine what it was like sleeping in a Honda with her? No amount of scrubbing could clear away my awareness of what she'd gotten into earlier that day!
I was moved and inspired by the peak experiences that the runners had, especially those who ran with others and in groups. Their eyes were bright from being in the wild and living out real adventures. The bonding experiences they had were authentic, and not available to most people. They were unpackaged, unpredictable, unduplicated, emotional, visceral, and sensory. Though many runners of the Bigfoot 200 complained that the course was more obstacle course than runnable trail, they were good sports about it and seemed authentically happy.
Though we had planned to stay another day after the last runner passed through our station I called the finish line and asked for someone to relieve us so that we could get our tire fixed in town before repair stations closed - a good thing since the nearest town with a tire for our vehicle turned out to be more than 70 miles away. We made it there an hour before closing.
Sensitive to how producers handle volunteers, having myself run a volunteer based event for more than a decade, I felt reduced by how we had been greeted, "Do you know where to go?" was the extent of our conversation with the race director. Surprising I thought at the time remembering that on the same day it had been announced, "free entry to next years event for anyone who came and ran an aid station." They needed help badly. I later learned that she'd been tracking a lost runner that afternoon. Criticism that I have of this event, the missing medics, and needed inventory at the station, come with an understanding of the difficulty behind producing big events. It is not missed on me that Candice is doing something amazing by putting on 200 mile races, of which there are few, probably because no one else is willing to produce them. She told me after the event that she was horrified when the medics she hired did not staff each station as she thought they'd agreed to. Days later an email came in from Nick Nudell, the organizer of the medic volunteer team, Ultra Medical Team, stating he won't with Candice again. The experience he describes of the race is a match with the shortfalls we experienced first hand. For volunteers and runners alike, attending a first year event ought to come with an expectation of a few kinks in the systems. That said this team has room for growth and improvement.
Mikey and I signed up to volunteer at the Cascade Crest 100 miler, an older race that I have heard described as family style. If your looking for a rewarding life experience I recommend helping out at one of these races. Check out Ultra Sign Up for a list of those that are coming up next. We're also eye-balling Run Rabbit Run. Most of these races still need help. Maybe we'll see you there!
This summer while in Oregon we felt the pull of the coast and Columbia River Gorge. Standing on a beach in Manzanita Mikey looked at me, head tilted the way that Sesame does when she is trying to figure out what we're saying, he noted my browned skin, sun kissed hair, and muscles observable from continuous barefoot runs down the beach and he said as though realizing it, "you belong on the beach don't you?" I thought back to when I had found my genetic father and met him for the first time. No one was surprised to learn that he was a surfer.
Late July we bolted from escalating temps in Montana and made a dash for the beach starting out in the old fishing port of Astoria perched where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean. Brackish is an apt metaphor for Astoria. Like brine that makes potent sour krauts but is not suitable for all dispositions, the dreary and impoverished city was heavy with signs of alcoholism and mental illness. Much like when we were in Arcada, CA, we heard stories of having been laid off told by folks without a home who joined up in parking lots and huddled behind old victorians that seemed as though they might collapse. Women at yard sales spoke of people who are moving out and of robberies. A sad sign posted to a stop sign read, "Yard Sall." Luxuries like health and fitness were missing, no trailheads could be accessed from the place and healthful food was tough to find. Though the city sits on water there were no clear ways to enjoy water. My feeling was that this city failed it's community, evidenced by thick, loud traffic created by 18'wheeled trucks carrying loads of timber that seemed always to be traveling down the city's main walking areas. One could find efforts being made to revive the place like new shops, restaurants and cafes, a hostel (soon to switch to hotel model) and small creative projects here n there meant to capture the history of the old, rusted city, but nothing softened the dreariness or balance out the decay of the many historic buildings that were crumbling all around.
A short drive south led us to Seaside's long stretches of beach dotted in cheap hotels and carnival like amusements including bumper cars - think Coney Island without the cool - no contortionists and fire arts but you can smell hot dogs and see the glow of harsh, look-this-way lighting from blocks away. The towns tourism grid of a few avenues was full with foot traffic, cheap t-shirts, and plastic shit from China. If you've been to Ocean City, MD or Lake George, Seaside may feel familiar, just add a dash of Atlantic City to the mix as casinos are legal.
We continued south passing over popular Canon Beach wishing to avoid getting caught up in Portland's mass exodus and hunkered in a few miles south in the tiny town of Manzanita. If you are familiar with Long Island than imagine equal parts Sea Cliff and Sag Harbor. Portlanders with kids and athletes from Hood River keep second homes in Manzanita. It is a playful place that also feels guarded. The library tapes over their power outlets to prevent laptop recharging. Wifi's are hard to find. On the other hand the cops are gentle on the community of people who stop in for a day or a few and live in their vehicle. We found ourselves a part of this community that by day met along a road in front of the beach and by night searched out inconspicuous spots on residential streets to park and sleep, easy to find with half of the homes unoccupied due to being second homes.
Restaurants in town are mediocre at best but a good grocery makes up for it. It was in Manzanita that experienced a funny moment that seems to be happening more and more. We had parked in a lot next to a popular cafe where we hand cranked a burr grinder and went about a lengthly ritual to make the perfect cup of bulletproof coffee (butter, coconut oil, and as many as 7 other ingredients). Some folks who were sitting outside the cafe glanced over apologetically. I realized that some of them might think that we were making coffee because we could not afford to buy it. The reality of the situation was funnier, we are coffee snobs and the cafe's bean was not good enough. This moment defines vehicle dwelling. When people learn that you live in a vehicle they are quick to assume that you do because you are down and out. On the contrary, we create alternatives to the default culture because we see the possibility for a higher standard of living, a way of life that also requires less self-sacrifice.
The beach in Manzanita is glorious! We discovered free bathing just a 2 mile jog down the shore, up a narrow path to a State Park. We were hardly the first to figure this out. A local resident told me that when his home was being remodeled (which took more than a year) the same showers were his only way to get clean, and a father traveling with a family of 5 (from Calgary) and that lived in a small RV packed with windsurfing gear said he'd been using them during summer time visits for years. Manzanita also featured lovely forested hikes to epic views and tree covered paths to lesser known water access points. As I type this I think maybe I ought to hop in the car and get back over there.
Images 1, 2 - Astoria, OR 3, 4, Manzanita, OR)
Hey everybody we are having a potluck! We’re excited and want you all to show up! People interested in gardening in Santa Fe, Home Grown New Mexico, fellow gardeners, and sustainable types-this is the potluck for you. We’ve all been busy in our gardens this season and what a fabulous season it’s been with all this rain but now it’s time to take a break, get social and share your garden booty. It should be great fun, inspirational and tasty too.
To top it off , Deborah Madison will be our guest speaker. Her talk, ‘From the Kitchen and Into the Garden (and perhaps staying there!)’ will be about different ways one comes to the garden, how it happened to her, is happening, and what matters (herbs!, curiosity, etc.). Deborah Madison is the author of 10 books and lives here in Galisteo. Her latest books are, ‘The New VEGETARIAN COOKING For Everyone’ and ‘Vegetable Literacy’. If you haven’t heard Deborah speak, she is very engaging and fun to listen to. We can’t wait to hear what she’s been up to!
Here are the details:
DATE: Sunday September 13, 2015
TIME: 6:30 pm
HOST: Paul & Christine Drumright’s home
ADDRESS: 6 Cuesta Road • Santa Fe (Eldorado), NM
PHONE: 660/6277 or 505/466-9299
GUEST SPEAKER: Deborah Madison
DIRECTIONS: POTLUCK DIRECTIONS
Please sign up for this FREE event below at eventbrite so we know how many people are showing up!