Miles Traveled: 187 Location: Portland, OR
Why we do this: Today, prisons represent the symptoms of a cultural dysfunction in our society. To many they represent a clean industry that can be hidden on a country road behind a tree line. To the business community they represent a steady income stream freed of the vagaries and vicissitudes of the market place. To the rural poor they represent a steady job with benefits and early retirement. . To our elected officials they represent the political gold of money and votes during electoral campaigns. To the tax payer they are an invisible drain on the state budget. To the public school systems they represent a place to hide their failures. To many inmates, they are the gates of hell that lead to a life of despondency, despair, desperation and addictions. Now you understand what a cultural dysfunction is? If not, go read the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe and then tell me what is the difference between the House of Usher and our culture that lives of the pain and suffering of of its own citizens. Over 13 million of them at last count and the count goes on.
And the beat goes on: I was struck on the ride into Portland by the number of work crews that appeared to migrant labor from Latin America on the farms in the country side. For who knows what reason, I thought it was just a border/California issue. However, it seemed as if the old school buses with trailing porta-poties dotted the country side. Then I saw an article in the paper where the census said rural America is disappearing. There is just something that is so out of sync. No jobs in the cities and people are headed to the cities from the farm where there is work. Then from somewhere in the back of my mind came the stories I read from a social history class where the unemployed fathers were taken out of the city to work in the country for the CCC during the depression. So, today we hire both legal and illegal migrant labor to do the work and the money is moved to Latin America. Don’t believe it, then ask western Union
Just plain nice people: I think of all the things that could be said about this odyssey is that I have a chance to meet and be the house guest of so many truly kind and generous people. Don’t know that I have ever experience the company of so many truly generous and compassionate people in my life. And to a one they all served truly healthy food which is deeply appreciated on skipped meals and truck stop cafes. Beds are good to. The ground has been a friend of many years However, a soft bed is a welcome change and nothing but nothing can be said against sheets. My only hope is that I will be able to maintain all and I mean all of these people that just invited us off of the streed and into their homes. About half of them, I never knew prior to my arrival.
The find of the entire preparation phase has been the gel seat. We have almost reached 4,000 miles and my bottom is doing just well. Found a craftsman, to disassembled the seat, carve out the foam and then insert a gel seat pack. Now, there is age. This is a big and at the same time a big problem with gel seats. If you leave them in the sun (uncovered) while eating lunch then when you come out, there is a big space that has been absorbing the deep dark rays and the gel heats up underneath. The gel absorbs the heat and feeds it back to you as over a couple of hours A fascinating experience that defies description and as such i will not describe it.
well it after midnight and tomorrow’s showtime is 1300 in Seattle. So, it is to bed and know I wish each one well.