Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I think every state we enter is our new favorite (except Indiana, no offense), and Wisconsin's rolling hills and National Wildlife Refuges were awesome. There were also some unnervingly long cave/tunnels, which were even scarier for Jon as he made his way through alone as Sarah rested her knee.
Turns out, one of volunteers we met at the Catholic Worker House recommended a toy store where we stopped the next day, en route to Red Wing. He had even called ahead to let them know we were coming. They welcomed us with free carousel rides and we took an extended lunch break to watch the llamas (?) and play a round of mini-golf. By the time we left, this had already been posted at the entrance to LARK toy store.
Also, in Red Wing, we found the World's Largest Boot.
So now we have a break from biking and have scheduled interviews at some of the Twin Cities' organizations working with homelessness. We're now headed over to Catholic Ministries to help serve lunch, and then interview some of the service providers on their staff. 3 days, 7 interviews!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I have had the great pleasure of riding with the Homeless Cycle team for over 24 hours straight, giving me an insight into what the daily lives of these courageous Davidson students is like while they are on the road. For all of you trusty followers of the blog, the ones who support the Homeless Cycle website every day (and this one especially goes out to all you Blog-O-Moms…) I am going to give you the 7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Homeless Cycle.
1) The team carries not only their bicycles in the van, but also one banjo, one mandolin, one guitar, one harmonica, and possibly one fiddle. The team has written such great hits as “Go To Sleep Ya Little Johnny”, “Don’t Need Know Peanut But the Butter”, and “Cuz I’m A Yeti”. More serious tunes that show the band’s softer side include the loosely titled “Cartographers”, a song about home written on the road.
2) The Homeless Cycle will never listen to Taylor Swift the same way again due to some avant garde performance art in Chicago.
3) Once the crew took cover from the rain in Indiana under a bank drive-thru and practiced stepping, not realizing that security cameras likely witnessed the entire performance.
4) On the second day of actual travel, two unnamed crew members biked off with the key to the van, leaving the unnamed driver stranded at the Lincoln Memorial. Several forms of public transportation reunited James with the key at the Reston Virginia Pizza Hut. A special thanks to Karen for reminding us that Pizza Hut is an establishment we all can trust.
5) The Homeless Cycle finds stretching very important. So important, it takes almost an hour each morning for the bikers to be ready to hit the trail. They have plans to release a “Stretching of the Homeless Cycle Calendar: Spandex Addition.”
6) The Fourth member of the Homeless Cycle is Bruce, the Australian guiding compass of light. Some may call Bruce a GPS. We just call him a robo-friend.
7) Common phrases include “I Slaapp Da Bass, Mon”, “Where is Bruce taking us?”, “So…You guys ready to go?” and “It’s not Kermit the frog, it Aaron Neville!”
Thanks to Sarah, Jon, and James for teaching me about homelessness in my own city and letting me live vicariously through their van lifestyle. If I could, I'd do it all over again.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday we began a whirlwind tour of interviews across Chicago – Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Alliance to End Homelessness, the Pierce Foundation, Housing Action Illinois, and Housing Opportunities for Women. We talked to a number of people on the street and heard some powerful (sometimes tearful) stories. These days are more exhausting than the biking days, by far.
Britt Shawver, director of Housing Opportunities for Women (HOW), has been incredibly helpful in informing our research from her wealth of experience with housing initiatives. She’ll also be joining us for the first leg of the journey tomorrow as we bike towards Milwaukee! James and Molly will drive up in the Sag Wag. The fambly keeps growing.
“Wait, where’d the clam-shell go?”
Saturday, June 5, 2010
We rolled into Chicago yesterday - there's good news for weekend recreationists, because Rollerblading is back in style. According to further research on the Lakefront Trail, so is Biking in Jeans and Sweating Through Collared Shirts. We're staying in Kim's place just outside the city, and David took us out to a great Ethiopian dinner followed by a Taize worship service. We're heading to off to volunteer at Good News Partners, and wanted to leave you with this quote from Neil from National Coalition for the Homeless in DC. More soon!
“So should someone be all better before they get into housing? I think all you have to do is walk up and down the street of your average city and ask yourself the question, ‘Do you think everyone who lives in all these units of housing are ALL BETTER’? And the answer’s probably no. They’re probably pretty typical. Some are wrestling with addiction, some have demons……Our philosophy is that everyone belongs in housing and housing is a human right. Who deserves to go into housing first? And the answer is we all deserve to go into housing. So do the chronically homeless deserve to go into housing before the family with little kids? Does the family with little kids deserve to go before the US military veteran? So you’ve got to ask yourself the question, there’s all these populations and there’s this hierarchy that we as a society have created that says on a compassion scale, the people who have long beards…are kind of pitiful, and the mother with the young child, let’s put them next….So we have this weird dynamic with the unhoused where we assign them a rating on the pity scale but rank them somewhere on this hierarchy of need and the reality is we’re all in need of housing and we ought to flatline that hierarchy. We ought to say everyone is in need of housing and it’s not really for us to say who is more pitiful than another person. Our job is to get people housing. It’s not our job to sit and judge if someone’s deserving of housing or not. I certainly wouldn’t want to be judged on your ranking of how I live my life and I certainly wouldn’t want to do that to someone else either.”
Thursday, June 3, 2010
5:45 Wake up, brush teeth
5:55 Thunderstorm starts
8:30 Get on bikes
9:45 Chased by large, barking dog
10:45 Chased by large, silent dog (really scary)
12:30 See James and Van in distance, relieved to be so close to lunch. Turns out to be 2 and a half miles away. Thanks, Indiana.
2:00/3:00 Time change - hello Central Time!!
3:15 Second storm starts rolling in.
3:30 Arrive in Renssalaer
5:00 Meet up with Sarah, Elinor, Catherine and Josh at Devon's Family Diner!
Here we come Chi-town,
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Today was a big 70-miler so we're beat.
Look forward to more elaboration later...but just know that we had homemade tacos and horchata from a very nice doña in Logansport, IN.
Thinking of family and friends back home!