• 06 Oct 2008

    My day started this morning when I met Joey from Brown’s Motorcycle shop in Paso Robles, CA. Joey’s family pre-dates the railroad in these parts and you get the sense that he has forgotten more interesting stories than most of us will ever live. He was, however, microphone-shy and it was with grudging respect that I pulled away from his shop, with a new throttle grip and no interview.

    Sadly, I have to report that my treasured VOTE flag went missing yesterday. It is unclear if it was stolen or fell off during my ride, but I have chosen to believe the latter. A little heartsick, I took off over Hwy 46 toward Bakerfield. It turns out that the charm of the back roads can also inspire ambivalence. Eighty eight miles of two lane, gravel shouldered, highway with lots of trucks can make you long for an interstate. The quaintness of a roadside cafe cannot make up for those moments staring at 3 oncoming semis whose wind gusts will make you more than willing to settle for a Quiznos next time.

    My ride ended with the zipper on my new motorcycle jacket getting jammed so that I could not remove it. There is more to this story, but I will spare you. Suffice it to say that I found my way to Levie’s Tailor shop in Bakerfield where Levie herself freed me from my confinement. Now, the perfection in this moment was that Levie offered to make me a new flag for my bike. I quickly located a fabric store and took her up on her offer. I am one print shop and hardware store away from having my flag back. Very sweet.

    Be assured that I did not forget my interviews today. Please meet Breta Yarborough.

    Breta works full time as a third grade teacher and has two teenage children. We met while she was working at her second, or should I say third, job as a waitress at Margie’s diner. An independent who is undecided in this election, Breta is torn between her conservative views and her concerns for the state of our educational system. She was gracious with me, if a little bit shy.

    Finally, I would like you to meet Amy Shivers. Also a waitress at Margie’s diner, Amy just moved here from Anchorage, Alaska this past January. A soft spoken women in a noisy environment, Amy was direct with a rare candor. She is mere 37 years old and has a grandson and a willingness to talk about both.

    [Click the play button below to hear the audio]

    Amy Shivers

    Posted by jm-admin @ 10:21 pm

13 Responses

  • Daniel Says:

    Neat interview! and post a picture of the new flag! I’m glad you managed to get it replaced.

  • Katie McDaughter Says:

    I would also like to see the new flag. AND I linked your blog on my sidebar! Wooooo now maybe the three readers I have will come over and read yours. :)

  • Jessica Says:

    How fortuitous to run into an Alaskan (from Wasilla!) so early in your journey. I liked hearing her view on her hometown.

    And hooray for Levie and Flag v2.0! If the original is lost, I hope someone has found it and is waving it proudly.

  • Dianne McSister Says:

    Interesting interview! I am really enjoying following your trip! One suggestion on the flag - get a BIG EAGLE for the top of the flag pole to keep the flag on :-)!!
    wife of master machinist!!

  • Craig Wiesner Says:

    One of the amazing things that, I believe, most people would learn if they ventured outside of their comfort zones, is how wonderful most people in the world really are!

    It was interesting, recently, to hear someone say that Republicans and Democrats are not polarized by one side having a “Theory X” view of people (people suck and you have to strictly control them to make sure they do the right thing) or “Theory Y” (people are great and just have to have the right motivation and opportunity and they’ll do the right thing) views of people. I had always thought that Republicans were strictly Theory X (law and order at all costs). But…. this person pointed out that Republicans could be more Theory Y. Leave people alone to do the right thing and they will. Sarah Palin saying that “government should just get out of the way” in her recent debate with Joe Biden sort of lends credence to that idea.

    Still, it seems like the Republican mantra of the last eight years and continuing in this campaign is “Be Afraid!” And that, sadly, is what keeps many people from experiencing what Julie is getting to experience by traveling outside of her own comfort zone.

    In this time of economic meltdown and two war fronts, I think it is an easy path to tell people to be “very afraid” and try to scare them into voting for you. It is a harder but better task to tell people to be brave, have faith in humanity and themselves, to believe that there are better days ahead if we all work together, and to affirm the basic goodness of humankind, created in God’s image and just waiting for your scooter to break down or your zipper go get stuck so that they can help you out.

    Keep going Julie! And remember that each bump in the road is an opportunity to meet some amazing person just itching to do something constructive to make someone smile.

  • Roderick Says:

    There is such great latent kindness in this country, and so many incredible stories waiting to be told. A pity that most who live in the big cities, and only stop briefly off the interstate on their car-trips, will never experience this. :(

    Thanks for posting so faithfully, Julie!

  • Bryan from DC via SD Says:

    Hi Jules,

    My co-worker Yvonne and I are enjoying your blog while touring the Dakotas. Yvonne wants an autographed photo of you when you get to DC with your new found celebrity status. Additionally we have an interview request…please next Saturday take some interviews from a college football tailgate. And for good measure, please include of you doing a keg stand.

    Love Ya,


  • Katie McDaughter Says:

    I second the keg stand request.

  • Cathy C. Says:

    Hi, Julie!
    As a friend of Dianne’s and a lifelong Bay Area liberal with radically conservative friends and family members, I really appreciate the goals of your trip - and I plan to log in frequently to check on your adventures.

    Maintaining open lines of communication across our differences is really the only way change can occur. Polarization will scare people into actions, but it also freezes them into harder and harder positions at the extreme edges. Building on our commonalities, finding the places where we share experiences, is how we can find our way through really tough times and bad situations.

    I really hope you write this trip up eventually into a book. You’ll have more than enough material for it when you’re done, and it would be a wonderful read.


  • Heather Titterton Says:

    Hi Julie,

    You are the bomb!!! I always enjoyed our chats at First Pres. It has been a while, but I still remember some of the wise thoughts you shared with me. I always loved our talks, and it is clear that these strangers love you too. In our home we call it the “stranger ministry”. My kids hate it, but it is just too great to hear people’s stories. I will stay tuned.

    God’s Speed,

  • Sharon Says:

    Dearest Julie,

    Your interviews are wonderful! You are such a thoughtful, kind soul who exudes such compassion and respect for people that my guess is others just can’t help but respond with similar goodwill. It is so exciting to share your amazing journey with you through the stories of those you meet and through the inner experience you share in your entries. Sending tons of love to my brave and creative friend!!


  • Juan Ernesto Says:

    Ok, love the fact that you are out there working the winds of the universe.

  • Linda Says:

    Wow, Jul, what a fortuitous day! There are no accidents, only the universe conspiring with us for our best desires. Your compassionate style brought out the best interview from the young mother/grandmother! You go! My co-worker at Mitty agrees that you could find a book in all of this! AND my class at Mitty is impressed with the bicycle … we blew it up on our SMART BOARD … ??
    Keep going Julie, I am so very proud of your determination and dream.
    Lotsa Love xx
    PS YOU, my dear sister, are a writer!!