Miles traveled: 167 Total Miles Traveled: 9,812 Location: Boon, NC
Least we forget: Sat on the front porch of my cabin today thinking about the visits I had and wrote about yesterday. All were people that had no special training to do what they are doing. None are in the business of selling religion. However, all are in the business of extending a helping hand to reach into those places where men and women are locked away and forgotten. It is one thing to be punished with the loss of freedom but in today’s world their sentenced is not just for a period of years but a life sentence. If that is not bad enough, 70 percent of their children will be relegated to the same fate. Not because they were born bad but simply because the situation they will be born into. This proposition is allowed to persist because it is to the benefit of a large segment of the population whose drug habits and economic well being is tied to sacrificing these men, women and children on the altar of political expediency.
Rain and Hurricanes: It seems as if I just can’t get away from water falling from the sky this season. Irene totaled my motorcycle in Rhode Island. Now, Katinia has me marooned in Boone, NC for a couple of days. Had hopes of riding the Blue Ridge Parkway for a couple of hours today. Then again, the rain was with me for five days across the heartland of the US. They tell me it will rain 2 to 4 inches a day for today and tomorrow. Tomorrow is my last presentation is Mountain View Correctional Facility.
The last presentation: In a way, this is a rather poetic end to the 11,000 mile journey going to each corner of the nation to talk of women and children in the jails and prisons of the nation. This facility holds some 980 men in a high security environment. From the outside it looks beautiful but can not help but wonder why would anyone set a place so far away from a potential skilled volunteer pool, a host of social services that come from a metropolitan area as well as from a potential support network of family and friends. The only reason that comes to mind is that is a case study in employment opportunities for the rural unemployed.
The mud room: The one good of many good things about KOA camp grounds is their utilitarian design. You are looking at my front porch (swing), mud room (wet boots), garage (bike cleaning equipment), kitchen ice box (cold keeps food cold) and stove on the left side (jetblue two cup water heater). All of this in about 15 square feet and we have not even enter the cabin yet.
Simplicity at its best: As you can see, there is not much here but then there is everything a person needs: shelter from the weather and a place to sleep. All the rest is mind food. I have been living off of the motorcycle for almost 60 days and if the truth be known, I have everything I need in life. All of the rest of the junk I have accumulated, I have not missed at all. However, underlying this statement is the fact that when a person is engaged in life there are precious few other things needed. Have always had great respect for Henry David Thoreau but never quite got what he was about. Visited Waldon Pond with a friend and had one of the most enjoyable outings of the trip. However, today while sitting on the swing drinking coffee a few things came to light in an experiential manner. At this moment, I am of the opinion I understand his opposition to government. I am also of the opinion that nothing has changed.
My life: Don’t know why but if I was asked what are the two most important places in life; my answer would be motorcycle and desk. For the last 60 or so days, it seems as if I have moved from one to the other and all other functions have been in support of one of those two. Be it setting up a tend, packing or unpacking the bike, working on dinner or sleeping. However, there is a third point that can and should not be ignored. As I have traveled the highways and byways of the nation, I have connected with more people in my travels as I have never connected before. I think my biggest regret is that I when I connect with them I am saddened that I will soon be leaving their company. If at all possible, many I would like to have as neighbors for the rest of my life. These are people that are open, outgoing, warm and have a sense of life that is oh so precious.
In closing: One of the biggest issues facing Thoreau was government and slavery. I made a comment that nothing has changed. My undergraduate degree is in US History and my graduate degree is in the Hisotry of Latin America. Much of the history of Central America in the 70s and 80s, I lived as an army officer of Special Forces/Infantry. If you change prisons for the institution of slavery, I see no changes in the corruption of government and the forces embedded with that corruption. As I traveled the highways and byways of the nation for alomost 11,000 miles, I see precious little concern about the instituion of prisons as there was slavery in the time of Thoreau. Our leaders are asleep at the helm and the public has been anesthetized by the good life.