Monday, April 15, 2013

It seems to me that we should always be thinking about the environment, that somewhere in the back of our minds there should be a little notice like: "remember change to LED light bulbs" or " turn off the lights and shut the power down". I was thinking today about our earth and world, and specifically about my vegetarianism. Now don't worry, I'm not some diehard vegetarian who shuns all meat eaters, it's just the way I choose to live, and I respect other people who live differently. But one of the main reasons that I choose not to eat meat, is because of global warming. Beef production especially. Cows on a corn fed diet, tend to release much more methane than cows on a grass fed diet. Not to mention the amount of pollution the factory farms let off. I think that if people would just eat a little bit less meat, not even a lot less, I'm not asking anybody to give up hamburgers or steak, just a little less, then production would go down, and the businesses won't be as large. Of course a lot of people say to me, " Oh, you're only one person" "Oh no, you won't help anything." But I think that eating just a little less meat may just be a small step in the right direction, and that may be all we can handle right now. I've recently watched a great documentary called Forks over knives, all about a completely plant based diet that has helped me learn a lot more about this issue. If you are interested in this issue, you can go to the website, it's just called Forks over I also happen to know that the movie Forks over Knives is on Netflix, if anybody wants to watch it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Just got back from DC yesterday, I promise to post the many pictures from our trip tonight!!! On Tuesday we rode the remaining thirty or so miles into DC just in time to witness the full glory of the cherry blossoms. We were supposed to meet up with a group from PBS to interview us, but it turns out they were on the other side of the river in Virginia, so we planned to meet at one of the memorials. I thought the interview went great, but some of the camera work was a bit crazy. The camera man actually wanted to get on the back of the tandem, without any instructions or experience, he told me to wait and jumped right on. Needless to say, I doubt he'll be getting more than .5 of a second out of that shot due to the constant swaying of the picture because he didn't keep his feet on the pedals or even tried to stay straight, so my dad was wobbling around all over, trying to keep the bike from tipping. I liked the question that the interviewer called "Lucky", had asked me. He asked me what my take on the whole we're going to inherit the earth deal was. He asked my dad about some group called the Cornwall society, who are against bringing churches together for some reason. My dad said that he would have preferred another question that he knew more about bu t understood why the interviewer was mixing it up, so that we wouldn't have rehearsed answers. After the interview we rode ourselves over to Gallaudet college, filled with excitement and new energy from having arrived in the city. From Gallaudet we packed up our DC clothes for hill talks, which the executive director of PAIPL had taken down for us to have. Riding back to the parsonage were we were staying, my dad had to carry a huge yellow duffel on his back as I secured it with one arm. When we got there I was introduced to pastor Mike, his wife Judy, Son Karl, and daughter Maya, all very nice and welcoming. In fact, Karl was nice enough to let us take up his room for the night because he was the only one who had a bunk bed. Wednesday was capitol hill day! Let me tell you something, the senate offices from PA, have the best candy. We visited the aids of Senator Pat Toomey, Bob Kasey, and representative Marino. The first two visits went pretty good, I talked about why I went on the bike ride, the letters and drawings I collected, why I was concerned about climate change, and then I just kind of listened to the rest of the people in my group talk. The last hill visit though, we could just tell that the aid wasn't interested in anything we had to say. We had a meeting in the hallway instead of the office, and she barely even looked at me, let alone let me tell her about all the people who wrote to congress, who wanted to be heard. I think she just didn't want any emotion to enter the conversation for fear that it may make things complicated. She also said that chickens were the big industry that aided in global warming by releasing methane, when actually that's cows. Even I knew that. So I just kind of stood there the whole meeting, and then we headed back to the cafeteria, and then to the parsonage. Soon after that we left. OK, so I feel like if I don't at least somewhat describe the beauty of Washington DC, this blog post won't ever be complete. When we first rode into the city, I was immediately awakened by the beauty and business of everything around our group of bikes. We could just see the tip of the Washington monument from the place were we stopped to wait for the others. Actually it was so busy that we had to often get off our bikes and walk on the sidewalks because there was simply just no way that we could possibly ride our mammoth bike through the crowds. I also noticed just how fashionable everybody seemed to be. Everywhere I looked people were decked out in lacy sundresses. I guess that was the fad of the week. Oh, I nearly forgot about the cherry blossoms! By the time we got there they were in full bloom, and when the wind picked up, cherry blossom pedals would rain down on passing pedestrians. I think I got some good pictures of them. I still can't really wrap my head around the fact that the ride is over. I had such a great time. I really think that our little group made a great team, we all got along really great, although there were some times when potential scuffles could have broken out. I'm just glad that we got along as wonderfully as we did. I hope that we all meet up again some time. Anyway, I'm back home stepping right back into my school routine. (PSSA's yuck) As well as the school play (robin hood) and really just feeling strange not riding fifty miles a day. This is probably going to be my last blog post for a while, so until later. -Hannah For pictures of the ride check out the page Pictures and video on this blog.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday 4/8/13 Not too much went on today so the post is goanna be kinda short, we started our day off at the Cracker Barrel in Hagerstown Maryland. Today was the first day that was actualy sunny and warm! I ordered peach pancakes and milk with a frozen glass! Mmmmm frosty.... Although Now I'm regretting not getting the gravy and biscuits. So far it's been pretty easy being a vegetarian on this trip, lot's of great meals and hospitality everywhere. If one thing's for sure we have been well fed this whole time. So the most of the ride for the day was along a lovely toepath, but on the way we rode by some civil war battle fields including that of the battle of anteitam. We also visited one of the civil war cemetaries. I never knew that over one third of the dead people are unknown soldiers. Walking through there is like walking through a feild of blank stones. All along the path we were riding on there was beautiful wildlife. Also plenty of gnats, we were going so fast along the flat surface that my dad got most of them for me. Luckily I've gotten really good at bug flicking on the go, so I was never at one time too covered in bugs. Oh, and the river! The potomac river really sparkled in the sunlight for pretty much the whole time we were riding. We were (ahem) "Forced" to stop at some brilliant scenic spots To snap some photos. At one point we stopped under a railroad track where we got some forced advice from a woman and her partner, to "Stop and eat in harpersferry! Yeah you can get Burgers in Brunswick, but Harpersferry has history! go,go,go, go! history, history, history! one of the bloodiest battles in HISTORY!" Literally this lady was waving her hands at us motioning for us to go and make the (very long) walk across the railroad track. We ended up in Brunswick and eating at a yummy taco shop(Not hamburgers)called, El Sloppy Taco in Brunswick Maryland. They make great quasidillas, and slushies too. If you ever find yourself near enough to go there I recomend the veggie quasadilla and strawberry slushie. In poolesville that afternoon, we went to dinner at a beautiful house where I had the best shower of my life, and the best tatertots too. Me and my dad slept at another house because of space issues, which was also equally beautiful. We slept in the basement on mattresses, greatest night's sleep so far on the trip. We woke to the family's adorable dog Jenny, a black labridoodle who reminded me endlessly of my mutt Oakley at home, because of their similar lab behaviors. We ate a great quish breakfast before hitting the road.
Yesterday 4/7/13 Orbisonia is a wonderful little town, emphasis on little (Only like one square mile total.) We bought our lunch for the next day last night at a super market just down the street from where we ate the most delicious pizza ever! (Mentioned in previous post.) Maybe it was just the low calorie levels, but hey, it was good enough to satisfy. This morning, we woke up and had a hearty breakfast of granola bars and eggs, before hurriedly packing our stuff up (in our case just dumping everything laying around into one big pile to be dealt with later. After that, we were off to 9:15 bible study, because we happened to be staying there the one Sunday that mass was held at 10:30 instead of 8:15. That church was something else, beautiful and old. My dad and I were sent off to talk to kids at Sunday school about our mission, and to collect prayers from anybody who wanted to write one, so we got to see the whole shebang. Below the main level, bible study was held in a small little cellar. complete with coffee, donuts, and cookies. Upstairs though, it seemed as if we had stumbled into the belly of a giant ship. After walking through the (lovely) chapel, we entered a room, where winding around the walls, a very old looking wooden balcony held kids trying to get to their classes on time. The reason it reminded me of a ship was because, everything was built from this old dark wood that resembled that of an old pirate ships. Further more, the room was slightly rounded and several smaller compartments that could be closed off as class rooms. Kind of like captains quarters. I don't know, the whole place just screamed "Ship" to me. Anyway, we got lots of prayers including one that said "I hope you get to Washington without getting run over, hit by a truck, or anything else that will happen to you." The only part I'm slightly worried about is the "Will happen to you." Part. There were also lots of cute pictures with good air and the bad air, lots of bicycles, and lots of kind words. After Orbisonia, the ride was basically uphill for about ten, fifteen miles. We stopped briefly to refuel at a gorgeous outcropping looking over fields of farmland, where a group of cows seemed to be in council. We stopped for lunch at Cowens gap, pitettes (Really mini pitas), cheddar cheese, hummus, avocado, dried pineapple, dried white peaches, and spicy dried mango (Not my fav.) The view was excellent, I'll be posting some pictures, getting there we rode along this road that was completely surrounded by trees and wildlife. Therep the were some rolling hills coming up, but after lunch a HUGE hill carried us down to the road. We missed our turn, which was supposedly going to be a shortcut, but actually would have been very hard to manouver especially with our packs. For the remainder of the trip we were riding along a busy road, a few annoying cars who imagined that the road was their domain would beep and drive uncomfortably close, but there were no casualties. Unfortunately we were going to take a picture by the border of Maryland, but we passed the sign without realizing it and ended up pulling over a few miles in and waiting for the rest of our team. at that point we were in Washington County, and only a few miles away from the place we were staying. showers, cots, soap, lasagna, zetee, and fudge! Compared to the church floors, our sleeping quarters were pure heaven! Unfortunately the wifi wasn't working so I am writing this two whole days late. Anyway, the day was pretty, the ride was HOT but smooth going. I'll be posting another one of these for Monday. Pictures below: us at Cowens gap

Saturday, April 6, 2013

baked oatmeal and mild farmwork started out our second day of biking. (Filtering carrots, or pulling out the seedlings that grew too close together was the farming part of the morning.) Met some really great farm animals yesterday, but I was too tired to post any stories last night. Hopefully I'll be able to post some footage of them soon, (Unfortuanatly the video camera died so I won't be able to upload until I get back). Basically the non-human family consisted of two very beautiful white horses, several very sassy sheep, and a handful of baby goats, much to my delight. This morning was rather frosty, but the sun was shining, keeping our spirits high. On the road leaving Bethany and Micah's wonderful farm home, an amazing scenery greeted us in every direction. Off to one side rolling hills and grassy fields, to the right, cute houses with barking dogs and covered pools. In huntingdon, a beautiful potluck lunch was layed out for us, complete with deliceous chocolate peanutbutter cake. There was also much descussion and questions about PAIPL, the trip, and bike routes for schools. I really liked listening to the people of huntingdon's bike friendly ideas. Especialy one from the owner of Standing Stone Coffee shop. He had the idea for bikeracks that were also spectacular works of art. Personally, I think it's a really cool idea, and I hope to be locking my bike up on one next time I'mthe neighorhood. After a very fruity smoothie from Standing Stone, we were on our way along a boring stretch of highway for about five miles, but luckily we were riding along the glistening Juniata river, which was just so pretty and captivating, making the concrete seem grander and the bumps seem smoother just by flowing fifteen yards away. I'm so glad that already on this trip, I've met so many interesting people, who I will keep in my mind for the remainder of the journey, and long after I suppose. There was the nice couple who whole heartedly welcomed us into their home, the smiling old man (turning seventy soon) who kindly directed us to a faster route (Saving us a huge climb) and proudly stating that he'd lived in the area his whole life, the pastor who loves to hunt,everybody who rode with us through downtown huntingdon and coming out of state college, and the many people who have supportingly beeped their horns while passing on the side.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Great first day! Took some effort but we're off to a roaring start! This first real climb, (all the way up and down pinegrove mills mountain) has proven to me even more how ready I am for everything that there is to come. This morning I was only picturing myself rolling down over the last hill with my dad leading the way, and pulling into the driveway of the farmhouse where we are staying, it's hard to believe that the daydream is over and the adventure is beginning. Already the first part is over. I've got some great pictures of our bike loaded down like a traveling camel. Luckily our bags got a free ride up the mountain so we didn't have to mess with the extra weight. Tomorrow though, those bags are sticking with us, all the way. To my apsolute glee, This morning I was given the apsol pleasure of speaking to a group of preschoolers at Grace Lutheran Church. I'll tell you something talking to little kids, can really make you rethink what you think is possible. My favorite thing about talking to pre-schoolers is their ability to come up with the most believable reasoniong for the most rediculas things. One question that the teacher asked me was, "So what will happen if it rains?" Before I could answer, kids were spitting out their own ideas left and right. My personal favorite explanation casme from a little boy who had been listening intently from the very beginning, making sure his two cents were thrown in at every possibility. "I bet that, they uh, um... press a magic button and a big huge tarp comes right up out of their seat, and keeps them all dry!" Man, I wish I had a magic bike. That would be really handy. Unfortuanatly, when the weather gets rough us bikers turn to rubbery rain pants and water proof coats. Today the ride was not too long, which I suppose it made up for in steepness. The long climb was not as bad as I had thought, meaning I wasn't wasn't really gasping for air and at no point did my legs turn into noodles and slip off the peddles. Truthfully it was all worth it for the view. I feel nice and accomplished having gotten up that mountain without a scratch or stop. I think I'm ready for the next few days, and ready to tell my story to anybody who will listen. This afternoon I rescieved sixty more prayers! I am so honored to be carrying these words of incouragment and hopes for our world. Thank you so much if you are reading this and you have written a letter that I am taking with me, for your support and everything else. Thank you. Pictures below, Us at the top of the mountain, baby goats on Bathony and Micah's farm, us at the waffle shop just before the start of the ride.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

       Small part of my packing list:
  • Very small toiletries
  •  EXTREMELY fuzzy blanket
  • Tiny pillow pet (because it folds up)
  • Laptop (So I can keep blogging)
  • Video camera ( so I can document the ride)
  • rain pants....(Much to my dismay) 
  • biking gloves, shirts, helmet, leggings etc.
  • I pod!!!!!