• 07 Oct 2008

    Travel lessons from the road. Do not sit with a retired CHP officer at breakfast if you are riding a scooter in the desert.

    It turns out that they are uniquely qualified to terrify you in ways that the un-uniformed cannot. I set out this morning toward the Tehachapi range in full knowledge of the winds that rail on both sides of the mountain. The result was 50 minutes of alternating between reciting the Lords Prayer and singing Amazing Grace loudly into my helmet.

    Yes, I got tossed a little, but it was a spectacular ride.

    This evening I was excited to go to DiNapoli’s Firehouse in Barstow to eat and watch the debate. Although the background music was so high, it was difficult to hear the TV and impossible to record the conversation, the food was great. It was here, however, that I encountered the first evidence of the rage that can be just below the surface of this election. I was engaged in a conversation with a couple from Sacramento, a local veteran named Dan and his best friend. Dan is working at Edwards Air Force base as a contractor. Suddenly, a man from another table approached our group and, leaning into Dan’s face, indicated that he had no business talking with us. He loudly instructed him to read the book ‘Liberal Fascism’, as it would tell him everything he needed to know. For the next 30 minutes, his anger grew as did his outbursts. I wish I could adequately capture the sadness of knowing his frustration and simultaneously feeling inadequate to reach out to him. When Dan and his friend left before the end of the debate, I decided their escort to my scooter might be a good idea, and followed them.

    It is with this encounter in mind that I would like to share with you my interview with Michael Loughran.

    Michael lives in Vista, California with his wife. He has grown children and is a sales rep for an engine company out of Tennessee. A kind spirit, he was raised in a staunchly Democratic household and after supporting Gore, Michael determined that he is much more aligned with the GOP platform. We talked at some length, which necessitated my clumsy editing. If you can look past that, you will hear his poignant story of a friendship lost over these politics.

    [Click the play button below to hear the audio]

    Michael Loughran

    Let me be clear. The examples of fractured relationships and expressed, as well as suppressed, rage are felt on both ends of our political continuum. What reveals itself in these conversations is that most people want it to be different. My sense and hope is that it will be.

    On a lighter note,

    VOTE flag update: For Katie and Daniel, I promise to post a picture of the new flag as soon as I am able to get it printed and secured to the pole. Turns out that there are no Kinkos here in Barstow and it is not looking good for Needles tomorrow… a subject for another day. Thanks for your encouragement and love.

    Posted by jm-admin @ 10:38 pm

8 Responses

  • Daniel Says:

    Sounds like quite the day! It is scary, though, to me the thought that the concern behind this election is so strong for many, and so infused with emotion that it can evoke fears for one’s safety, let alone its capability of shattering even some of the strongest of friendships. It does reaffirm the insidious power of an idea, though, and demonstrates how simple it could be for wars to be fought without want for anything more.

    Maybe, sometimes, it’s important for us to step back from the trees and reflect on what we really are looking at, thinking about, and doing. This is particularly true with an issue like what we are facing right now, where no matter where you stand on these issues you could look across the aisle, state, and country, and agree that the reason you care so much about the candidates we have in front of us is because you care about the country, and where it is headed. We are generally not disagreeing over the direction we want the country to go in. We are simply disagreeing over the best path to take.

    To me, and perhaps it’s just a product of my inner overly-argumentative mind running in circles, this seems like a time to discuss and try explain to others why you believe they could be wrong, and to be open to the fact that perhaps you are wrong too. Although odds are you won’t be able to persuade them and they won’t persuade you, you and they will both learn a lot from that dialogue. Isn’t that a benefit to us all that we should all truly respect?

    Ride safely, Julie, and most importantly, have a lot of fun on the way!

  • Katie McDaughter Says:

    Wow, my boyfriend writes longer comments than I do.

    Anyways, I really liked this interview. It seems that it really cut to the heart of what you’re trying to get at with this trip. I hope you get more great interviews like this one. :)

    And I agree with Aunt Linda, I think you should write all of this into a book! Hehe :P

    Love and miss you mommy.

  • Linda Says:

    Hi Julie,
    My first reaction is a little fear. Please be safe, ride safe … but then I know how much you have prepared yourself for this.

    My second reaction is amazement. You are talking with incredibly caring people. I believed they were out there but wondered how you would find them! If you could talk to his estranged friend, you would probably find him to be just as caring. I hope we will all heal when this is over.

    Sooooo much fun to follow. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

  • Roderick Says:

    A treasure at every stop! I’m pleased to hear your first pro-McCain voter. Glad to see you don’t just attract one type of person.

    Sleep well, dear. Another state tomorrow?

  • Don Says:

    As many others, I follow Julie’s travels and want to make sure she has a safe and successful trip. I found myself clicking around on the site and noticed the section which states “where is Julie now?” so I ventured in. I then noticed this as the headline: “Julie‚Äôs current location: Barstow, CA. Julie is arid.” I could not help but laugh out loud and wondered what the headline will read if she hits rain. Please don’t have it end with “Julie’s all wet…”

    Ride safe Julie!

  • Lisa Burns Says:

    This is such an amazing undertaking, Julie. I have bragged about you to so many friends who admire what you are doing (AND given them the URL to your blog).

    I also have friends who have had their relationships profoundly affected by the state of our country. One democrat who had a bit too much wine grabbed her dear friend (a republican) and demanded: “Where are the WMD’s?” after none were found in Iraq, as if the republican was at fault for bad intelligence on Sadam.

    I have been invited to a party in the next few weeks where political discussions are expressly banned. This is truly a sad state of affairs and doesn’t seem the right answer.

    –Lisa Burns

  • Dennis Says:

    Julie: Glad to see you made it to D.C. We Were looking for our pics on the website!? WE are the Cal-Trans Surveyors who spoke with you at the Boron rest Stop on Hwy 58 East of Tahachapi Ca.
    Sorry about Prop 8, That should never pass “…and God made them MALE and Female…” you know that.


  • Michael Loughran Says:

    Julie: I just now came across your post card w/your web address and looked you up. For starters, I would like to say, I appreciate the opportunity meeting you and given the time to “share my political point of view” with you. Who knew the girl on the scooter was adversed in listening to both sides of the political platform! It was a pleasure.

    I am just uncertain about the “new leadership” soon to be in the White House. Barack has been sleeping with so many dogs, he is bound to have fleas. I have no trust or hope in the upcoming years. Who will protect us? My faith is being tested. Is this the same man who had no time for visiting troops aboard because ‘he was too busy’ in his pre-election year?

    Don’t get it.. never will. Take care.. Michael

    PS.As an aside, my artist friend and I are still not talking.. He remains a Socialist at heart and I remain on my rock - strong leadership, defense, and family values. God help us!

    In any event, thanks again for the opportunity to meet with you - you are a woman of vision and purpose. I do admire the task upon which you undertook. Perhaps next time, you will be more prudent in your choice of transportation… ok..my suggestion.. ride a Harley and stay in the wind. Godspeed in all that you take on! M