Friday, November 5, 2010

The Homeless Cycle: The Movie

3500 miles. 2 bikes. 1 movie.

Sarah Connette, James Johnson and Jon Springfield set out this summer on a cross-country bicycle trip to answer the question: How can we most effectively house the chronically homeless?

Come watch our documentary about the trans-American journey exploring homelessness and housing issues. Challenge your perceptions of urban poverty and learn about Charlotte's most innovative housing initiative.

Monday, November 15th
5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Davidson College 900 Room
Dinner provided!

We'd love to see you there!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Homeless Cycle by the Numbers

As our final post, we'd like to do some rithmatic. But who's counting?

1 flat tire. (...on the last day...)
11 consecutive days without a shower.
12 pounds of peanut butter.
13 states.
16 host churches.
17 hours of documentary footage.
18 feet - the vertical leap of a mountain lion. (look it up!!)
21 NBA finals/World Cup games watched.
64 days on the road.
85 residents housed in Moore Place.
100s of people talked with/interviewed/exchanged ideas/questioned/challenged/learned from.
350 sandwiches.
500 granola bars.
3,500 miles.
7,000 homeless individuals in Charlotte NC.
22,260 minutes on the bike.
2,552,547 wheel rotations.
2,000,000+ individuals experiencing homelessness in 2009 (HUD).

And as for fundraising:
According to Urban Ministry Center, you've helped us raise around $13,000. We are in awe of your generosity

Thanks to everyone who has supported us along our journey with places to stay, conversation, home cooked meals, donations, friendship and encouragement. We'd also like to give a huge thank you to the Bonner Community Fund for funding this. We can't thank you enough!

Do da maf,


Monday, July 19, 2010


The Pacific is the most beautiful thing. After 3,500 miles of talking about ending in Anacortes, it was surreal to see Anacortes city limit signs. We had a great salt-water swim, set our sore legs down and watched the ferries roll out, talked about sleeping in beds, remembered all the states we'd biked through and relished the moment. It still hasn't quite sunk in that we're finished biking and won't be waking up tomorrow to another 70 mile ride.

We drove down to Lexi's house in Seattle and met up with Elinor and her dad for dinner. It's been so nice to just rest and hang out in a home! And not sit on a bike seat.

This evening we went to Tent City 4 at Lake Washington United Methodist Church. It's one of several temporary encampments for people who are homeless in Seattle. We helped serve dinner (salmon burgers!) for several dozen of the hundred or so residents, who are preparing to move on Saturday to a different church lawn as their 90-day limit expires. It's been great sitting and talking with the people here. James and Jon are staying in the Hilton, a 20 person shelter with bedding made of milk crates. Sarah is in the QueenDome which she shares with one other young woman. The people living here are very diverse but all very friendly and willing to share their stories. Each person has a paper plat above their bedding, on which is written their wake up time so that they can catch the bus to make it to work or wherever they need to be. Ours will be set bright and early so we can grab some coffee and talk with people as they head off on their day.

Let's do that again,


Thursday, July 15, 2010


Made it to Twisp. Our trusty van finally broke down and we had to have her towed from Loup Loup Pass, but once her new parts get in tomorrow morning we'll be all set. In the meantime we have a loaner oldsmobile boat with maroon velvet interior and suspension smooth as chamois butter. We might keep it instead - is that cool, mom?

Here is a link to an article Sarah and Jon wrote at the behest of Davidson's chapter of the Roosevelt Institute - it more clearly articulates our research regarding Housing First:

I think we need more bass...


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Songs from the road

A song, written by Jon, performed by Jon and Sarah, set to footage of Montana.

La la laaaaaaaaaWASHINGTON.

But first. Spain won the world cup. And we watched it. We watched it in a bar in Sandpoint, Idaho. A guy we met told us that an octopus in Germany had predicted the win. We’re not really sure what that means, but we’re pretty sure we could beat that octopus in a game of soccer. Unless it was underwater. Or if it were underwater foosball. Yikes.

One morning in Sandpoint, we woke up to the sounds of a stranger approaching our tent. A dark shadow loomed over the entrance of our peaceful nest, grabbed our shoes and darted off. I (James) caught the shoe bandit red-footed. It was a crazy old lady in jogging attire. She said,“You aren’t supposed to be camping here!,” giggled maniacally, dropped the shoes and jogged off. Later on, she called the police on us (since we were camping in a public park). The officer was very understanding since we weren’t causing any trouble. And later that day we found a giant chair and sat in it.

From Sandpoint we battled the wind to Colville, WA where we ate huckleberry ice-cream (75 cents a scoop!) and dined at the popular local watering hole, The Acorn Saloon and Feeding Station. We also may or may not have stormed an unsuspecting RV park and showered…for the first time in…10 days. From Colville we rode to Tonasket, flying down the final 6% downhill grades a-whoopin and a-hollerin to the sagebrush, sunset hills, dismissive horses and each other. In the great town of Tonasket, we met the greatest people ever on the planet. Ivetta and Gene have welcomed us into their home with open arms, hot showers, summer sausage, zucchini bread and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. We just couldn’t resist staying with them another glorious day.

It’s hard to believe we only have…THREE DAYS LEFT UNTIL ANACORTES….and then another day into Seattle.

It’s your birthday tomorrow? WE CELEBRATE TONIGHT!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dear Glacier National Park,

I don't know how to say this. Sometimes when we're together, I just can't find the right words. I get so nervous. So weak in the knees. Well... those three days we spent together were magical. I'll never forget you. No other national park will ever compare. Call me?

But seriously, the mountains, the waterfalls, the glaciers, the wildlife...we were pretty much always in awe of the beauty surrounding us. Jon ascended the infamous Logan Pass while Sarah and James hiked through the snow to Hidden Lake and saw some mountain goats! Sarah and Jon later hiked up steep slopes to Mt. Brown Lookout, which gave incredible views of the snow-capped mountain ranges. Best. Hike. Ever. The next day Jon and Sarah rode down the other side from Logan Pass. Jon rigged up a flip-cam to his helmet ("HELMETCAM!") and captured the breathtaking descent and views from Going-to-the-Sun Road while Sarah whooped and hollered for miles. Best. Ride. Ever.

We have also fallen in love with western Montana. We try to swim in the cold, clear snow-melt rivers whenever possible, and that water sure does feel good on our knees. Jon floated down river with his newfound life jacket and had to bail when the river started getting rough. We're pretty proud of the giant mug of hot chocolate that we concocted in Eureka, MT. Eureka! Last night in the small town of Troy, MT we happened upon a Christian Bikers' (motorcyclists, that is) Revival/Convention: "Born to Die Motorcycle Ministry." They welcomed us to stay for some venison, music and preachin. It was interesting to hear the perspective of people ministering to biker "clubs" (aka gangs) in an effort to get people to "repent" and clean up their lives. Although intimidating at first, these self-proclaimed "spiritual soldiers" with their leather jackets and handlebar mustaches were welcoming and friendly. Despite being hardcore Christians, they certainly hadn't lost any of the roughness of biker gangs - "Anyone who claims to be a Christian in the clubs but is a hypocrite, I'd take their cut and then their bike. If that wasn't enough, I'd shoot em in the kneecap, for fun." (...) We certainly heard some controversial messages from the preachers, and had interesting conversations later over Huckleberry shakes about judgment, evangelizing, moral relativism, community, religion.... and then watched a campy Japanese action film.

Great day to be a wampuscat,