The past week and a half have been physically challenging, emotionally powerful, financially strapping and full of surprises and wonderful people who have helped me get from Madras to Vale, Oregon where I am at present. In just a few days I will be arriving into the Boise area. And next Sunday the 6th I will be performing the new play When People Lead, which I’ve been working on almost every day since Madras. I’m excited about the days ahead, but here as I’ve been doing, let me share just a few of the highlights of this most recent leg of the walk.
The first long stretch I've encountered between Madras and Prineville where I realized towards the end I didn't have enough water! I got a bad cramp in my right foot as a result.
Mount Jefferson in the distance.
Notice the blue tub. Thanks to Ian Nelson for this. It has been a great daytime home for my tent and extra water supply.
Next Gas 84 Miles - This was a long stretch that started in Prineville.
The Ochoco Reservoir.
Here we see Chris, a long distance biker I met at the Reservoir campground. He got a flat tire so I helped him with some duct tape Louis Flores gave to me before I started this walk. Chris walked with me for a few miles before hitchhiking back to Prineville to get a new tire.
Entering the Ochoco National Forest for a big mountain pass climb.
Ochoco Mountain Pass Summit - 4720'
Listening to Louder Than Words from Tick Tick Tick Boom as I descend from the Ochoco Mtns. Song given to me by Laura Wilcox (great social mvmt. song!), IPod given to me by Stephen Flowers. Powerful moment here for me!
Met another biker who was headed into the mtns. I just came from. He was riding from Colorado to Portland for a wedding!
The view coming out of the Ochoco Mountains.
The exposed rock layers are truly amazing. We're looking back in time!
I was tired when taking this photo, but something in me told me to capture this beautiful tree with the dramatic sky as its backdrop.
As I turned around, I was in awe at the image I saw. I'm now a few miles away from Mitchell and my feet hurt, it's going to get dark soon, I was walking up hills again at the end of the day - ah, but this sky!
Equality Cart shines!
Full Equality NOW! in its rightful place - at the end of the rainbow. I'm getting emotional right now thinking of our dreams for equality someday, through our efforts being realized.
Yup - this about sums up how I felt walking into Mitchell. Exhausted!!!
Arriving in Mitchell. It was so spooky! Twilight. Worn-in buildings. Reminded me of the movie Identity. So, I had to take a series of photos.
This hotel was actually very nice. I didn't stay there of course. I stayed in the public park in my tent.
Climbing the steep mtn. pass out of Mitchell I noticed this on the ground to keep bikers/hikers going.
The view as I continue the asent out of Mitchell.
OMG is right! This was one of the toughest climbs yet!
Summit out of Mitchell - 4369 ft. This was a great moment!
So much open space out here!
Welcome to Hotel Equality. This was the first night I heard coyotes howling in the distance as the sun set, which is their nightly ritual.
The sunset from my roadside villa.
The next morning - working on the new play, When People Lead. I've been spending 1-3 hours each day working on the play before I start my 8+ hour walking time. It's been tough.
Sonia and Michael saw me and the rainbow on the cart and pulled over. Michael shared a story of when he and his boyfriend at the time were discriminated against in California for being gay. Sonia was looking for her hat. We had a great chat! They totally lifted my spirits.
Crazy tree with everyone's shoes thrown on it. I'm not sure what the deal was here, but cool to see.
I have no idea what I was doing here. Maybe I was in awe of the rocks? Probably. Rocks are cool.
In the John Day Fossil Bed National Monument. This was breathtaking - another reminder of why queer people should be safe to live anywhere. Would you want to leave this is this was your home?
I walked through that, which is the east entrance to the John Day Fossil Bed area on Hwy 26 (the road I've been on since Gresham, OR).
Look at the beautiful scenery in the background. Isn't it just lovely?
Welcome to Prairie City! Where will I sleep tonight?
How about the Strawberry Mountain Inn? I met a young man named Tyler while walking through town. His grandparents Linda and Bill let me stay at their wonderful inn for the evening! They were great!
Linda in Prairie City connected me with Gus, an 89-year-old rancher just north of Unity. Gus was amazing! Over beers and pizza we talked well into the evening about New York ( where she's from and where I call home), politics, stories of our pasts and so much more. The next day we talked about gender identity/expression and sexual orientation.
While I was listening to Touch by Sarah McLachlan I rounded a corner and came upon a sign that said I was now entering the Mountain Time Zone. I immediately burst into tears. Getting the demand for full equality to every town and every countryside is what we need to do now, and I realized I am very much a part of that process.
Entering Vale, Oregon. Notice I'm now wearing the safety vest Bonnie and Jeff in Brightwood gave me. Some nice folks from the Dept. of Transportation I met this past week asked if I needed a vest because I was tan on a tan landscape. I realized, better to be safe and wear the vest.