There is something about paying acute attention to the cracks, crevices, groves and the shape of a rock that allow for an intimate experience with said rock. Yesterday I went rock climbing at Stony Point for the first time, and while I have climbed rocks before, I have never “rocked climbed.” The chalk dustings on the boulders, the visualization involved (from breath to hand and foot placement) made the experience I had yesterday beyond enjoyable and one that I will soon be repeating.
Between exposing my own limitations and finding what was called “rest in work,” by my dear brotha’, I found the experience to be humbling, because I was asked to trust myself, and use my own critical thinking skills to see the trail many other before me had used to climb the same stone. The latter served as a reminder to myself that the wheel has already been invented and what I mean by that is, the path already exists and it is up to me to be able to visualize the route for myself–by utilizing my knowledge, strength and experience.
The whole experience was meditative, from watching others climb, to actually doing some climbing of my own. Perhaps, my one gripe about the location was the amount of glass that was present along the trails. I seriously kept thinking that Smokey the Bear should also be doing a “pick up after yourself” campaign during his off season. All in all the experience was great though, and today I am very aware of my body, the strength that it has, and the places which could benefit from some growth.
In other news:
Chico’s own Michelle “Moss” Wurlitzer has designed another community mural, the mural’s location is a community garden;
Yeah, it is true. And after some much needed familia time in Virgil Village, and Highland Park, I have landed in LVT (Lake View Terrace)– home to murals, Hansen Dam, and just a few miles away from Angeles National Forest.
While here in Los Angeles I have been reconnecting with amig@s all over the city. From Jesse Akitve Ramone over at the Bike Oven in Highland park; to Anne-Marie DeHerrera, the Curriculum Director of For Learners of All Ages in Sylmar; and even some quality time with M.F.A (Theatre emphasis) Alejandro Molina who, has co-authored the book Vive Pez with Virgilio González. Without a doubt this time back in SoCal has been healing, refreshing, recharging and funkin’ awesome!
Why you ask?
The book Viva Pez will be the first book that I translate (from Español to English);
New bicycle lanes in the works for Highland Park that could translate to safer riding down Figueroa Blvd.
Co-editing a new book with Paul Grubb and Anne-Marie
Good stuff que no?
As for today, word along the grapevine is that Mental Monday’s (hosted at House of Brews in San Fernando) will be having their 5th year anniversary in two weeks, 24 June 2013–same open mic time, same bat channel. Er, umm, that’s a Batman reference for those that don’t know, and well the open-mic runs from 6:30-9:30. Che-Che-Check it out! I will be there to celebrate the occasion.
In other news, there have been some delicious posts emerging from the Rawveganista’s blog, and if you enjoy juicing, now is the time to subscribe! Not just because the Veganista is having a glass straw drawing (as part of the “Juicy June Rawveganista Giveaway”), but because there are amazin’ dishes, drinks and food tips that are emerging from that digital kitchen. too have been inspired to share some of my own juicing, practices in the form of a video.
In short, between gardening, cycling, reconnecting with Loved ones, writing and editing, this is continuing to be an amazing month. Did I even mention that I was awarded my degree in English Literature by Humboldt State University last month? Strange, yes, but true. In any case, keep an eye out for some new and exciting events in the upcoming days, weeks and months ahead–A trip to the Viper room, mount climbing, that sort of thing.
I have reached Yuba city, which is south of Chico, Biggs, Durham and Live Oak. Hooray for the many hours that went into this ride. Seriously, this leg of my journey has been the most trying on my patience, endurance and self determination. The heat here has left me sweating immensely–the whole ride through the Tehama trail, and route 163 like riding through a sauna. Oh life, you place me in so many interesting situations. Anyway, I am still just a few hours north of Sacramento, and will be completing the final leg of this journey within the next few hours.Yes!!! I will be completing the cycling leg of this journey and catching a train down to Los Angeles for the rest of this journey.
I have mapped out the road thus far, and according to good ol’ google maps the journey has been 243 miles in total. (This is a rough estimate that does not include my side trips, through places like cottonwood, or detours caused by highway closures near cities like Red Bluff). Yes, my journey from Mount Shasta to Sacramento has covered some epic mileage and while I wish I could have caught the train out of Dunsmuir, if I had, I would not have seen the beautiful parts of California that I have seen over these past few days.
From Dunsmuir to Chico, from Bianchi Orchard to Biggs city, from McBride Springs to Red Bluff I have seen California in a new light. Each stop along this journey has provided me with a greater knowledge of this beautiful region that I call home. This trip has provided me with a greater personal comprehension of what it means to be a Californian; what it means to be a cyclist; and what it means to be a ecological conscious individual. More than anything however it has reminded me of the importance of laughter within trying times of patience.
It was during my trip out of Chico and towards Yuba City that the heat really hit me. As a documentarian, I felt the need to share this somewhat frustrating part of my journey. In retrospect I was glad to have found the space to laugh at my situation on highway 162, I really needed it:
When I started this travel log, had been living in the Arcata/Blue Lake area. An area within the North Coast of California that is home to Redwoods, massive logging, Humboldt State University, the Humboldt Circus, The Toyon Literary Journal, The Yurok, The Hoopa, banana slugs, trillium flowers, and so much more My intention in starting, and now continuing this site has been to share the places, events, and people that I see along this journey of life.
Now, as I sit in my Virgil Village home, near life-long friends and close to familia, my brothers, mama, papa, grandmother, y grandfather I am once again humbled. I am humbled for many reasons, I traversed nearly 700 miles to be arrive in Virgil Village; I can loved ones’ smiling faces again; but more than anything am humbled because I have realized (once again) that without these wonderful people within my life, and the knowledge they have shared with me that has shaped my being, I would not be here.
Moi Caveat! This is a lengthy post that is with tasty info about farms, downloadable content and written by one heated cyclist.
Michael Ray De Los Angeles
Editor, Kaleidoscope Soup,
Contributor, Lorax Community
Guess where I am? Ready? Chico, California!
After a morning nap, and possibly some sacred/self time on this Sunday morning, I will take off to the road and continuing my journey south. Yesterday I rode in from Red Bluff (some 42 odd miles) through the Tehama trail. These rides have been seemingly small steps but progress is still progress–even though Sacramento (and by extension Los Angeles) is still a way’s off.
In Red Bluff I drummed for the peeps @ “The End Up.” In the morning I stopped at the farmer’s market. Delicious Carrots, strawberries and cherries have fueled my route 99 bike ride. Not to mention the walnuts that I tasted at Bianchi Orchards, one of the many farms that I stopped at while biking the Tehama Trail. Small note about the temperature, It was some 100/37.7778 Fahrenheit/Celsius throughout the ride. A thermometer, on a building in Cottonwood (as well as one in Los Molinos) confirmed what my internal thermometer had been telling me since I left Redding the day before, it is HOT!!!
In Chico I cracked open de ol “lookie box” (my computer) and sunk my teeth into some editing and revising–juicy stuff, let me tell you. The final product? Why an updated and revised republishing of my poetry collection, The Pirate With The Golden Gun!
When I first constructed this collection I read excerpts @ Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, House of Brew’s Mental Mondays, and Soapbox LA. In this updated edition I have included works that have been published by Humboldt State University Women’s Resource Center The Matrix. They are reflective of the subject matter that I address as a writer today.
Bringing The Pirate With The Golden Gun, back into the light of day has been an exciting process, so much within my life has changed since I wrote the poems in this collection. Not only has my physical location changed from southern to northern California but I have been exposed to a whole spectrum of authors–something that I address in the forward of the book.
I will post a recap of Dunsmuir at my next stop (which may be Oroville,hmmmm why does that name sound familiar?). So, until next post I would like to suggest that go your Poetically juicy copy of The Pirate With The Golden Gun.
Its true. I am no longer on Mount Shasta, I am now 8 miles south in Dunsmuir, California– in a word stuck here for the night. I’ll get to that in a bit, but first I’d like to disclose a bit of info about my journey up the mountain. Ironically, the journey started where it began the day before, at McBride Springs Campground. The sign “rough road” (that I posted earlier) appeared shortly after mile 2; McBride is 3.5 miles from the entrance– did I mention that the campsite is also a few thousand feet up as well?
No? Well it is; approximate 4500 feet above sea level.
Did I mention that Mount Shasta has snow on it all year long?
No? Well Shasta has snow on it all year long. The temperature was approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit/ 12.7 degrees Celsius this morning.
Well before I can even get to this morning….or how I ended up in a very windy Dunsmuir, I’ll start with yesterday. Yes, yesterday I biked up to Bunny Flat, a 10 mile ride that left me very aware of my body. I am talking about sweat, a thirst, and muscles pushed to their limits. YES!!!
Between you and me, miles one through six were a piece of cake. It wasn’t until mile seven that I really began to feel the weight of gravity. More so, I could feel the weight of my recording equipment, sleeping bag and recently acquired drum. How these things manifest into my life is something that I am still attempting to comprehend. In any case I found time around 8 mile to do a bit of recording.
Sometimes poems are best read aloud, near the tops of mountains.
Well, another night on the mountain has come to a close. Yesterday I biked up to McBride Springs Campground, started a fire with wet wood, and shared some warmth with Sara May Sun and Melanie. Good times, laughter and conversations with great company. While they are on their way to Eugene, Oregon, I remain in Shasta. Today I will be pay homage to my departed brotha’ Michael Falvo.
In short, nearly a year and some odd months ago Michael Vincent Falvo was climbing Mount Shasta (during the 11.11.11 weekend) and his physical body didn’t make it back down. At the time I was engulfed in my studies and I didn’t make the funeral (although I wanted to be there). I would have loved to been present for a family that I knew was hurting. For some time now I have sought closure to the situation.
It is now May, and I am here in Shasta for the first time since 2011. The time here in Shasta has been healing and finally, after two days of rain I can finally see the mountain. A mural on a wall here in town quotes the words of John Muir and well it was a nice read. As I sit here in town, gazing at the looming mountain, its peaks–beautiful snow white tips that scrap the cloudy sky– I wonder what my legacy will be.
I wonder how will I leave this planet, and what lives will I impact. Before I venture south, towards Dunsmuir and Redding I have to ask, what are the things that you care about, what in your life do you value? Furthermore how do you share your passions with those you Love?
I am here, in Mount Shasta, California–again.
The journey here has been wet, yup it is raining– just when I thought I had left the wetness of Humboldt. Oh well, se la vie, that’s life.
Upon waking up today I caught a brief glimpse of the mountain. Despite the mountain’s massive size, the rain clouds prevented any viewing of the peak–or any other part of the mountain for that matter. My companions, Sarama Sun and Melanie are here with me at this point; one is heading to Green Bay, while the other is moving to Maine. We will soon be parting ways, as I begin my journey to Southern California.
Right now, as I write this post, I am sitting in a coffee shopped called Yaks. I ate an epic flaxseed cookie, wrote on a wall, and had got to chat with Sarama about home towns. The people at the table next to me are speaking Italian and earlier I ran across a family that was speaking Russian. Mount Shasta apparently bring together from all parts of the world. Well, at least that is my assumption based on the diversity of travelers that I have crossed paths with today.