Tag Archives: mollykeenart.com

Completion of Bike Tour- 1,500 Miles Canada to Oakland

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PleasantRevolutionIn June 2016 the start of summer, I rode the Amtrack train to Seattle, Washington from Berkeley, California. 24 hours by train with my bicycle panniers and an extracycle bicycle that I had boxed and ready for shipping. From Seattle, I joined with 12 other cyclists and we started out on a journey that would last 2.5 months and over 1,500 miles of pure cycling. We organized over 31 human powered festivals with the 4 bands on bicycles. We are called the Pleasant Revolution and put on Biketopia Music Festivals all over the world.

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We each had loads on our bicycles consisting of microphone stands, stilts, food, stove, pots and pans, 2 amps, a subwoofer (80 pounds made into a trailer), cables and more! At the end of the tour, I personalized the people that went on the entire tour into a drawing.

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1-adley  1-heather

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We all had large bicycles making it possible to pull anywhere between 100-180 pounds. What is so challenging about bike touring? It forces you to slow down. If you need to ride 45 miles (which would normally take an average cyclist 5 hours to bike) in a group, it takes three times that amount. So you are slower, there is no destination because if you focused on that you would constantly be stressed and worried about getting there. In this specific community, you had to let go and enjoy. Swim, eat, talk, play music, and let things go with the flow. Sound easy? It was life changing, but with all that down time and time on a bicycle makes for some great reflection and inner work. I love cycling alone but with other people, it’s immensely powerful. I think its something that everyone could benefit from. You have to be strong physically but even more important, mentally. Balanced and rationale and put the group first.

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Here you can see the humans pedaling/making the electricity for the music. The bicycles have individual generators on the back wheel that are connected to a utility box designed by Rock the Bike in Oakland. From the utility box, you have output to the speakers and microphones. Pretty incredible!

The tour was incredible. The bike tour is so much more than cycling especially with the power of community and riding with a large group of friends with similar values and mission. Below are the group agreements created by the 2016 Pleasant Revolution west coast tour:

  • Slow is beautiful- take a breath, slow down, and pedal
  • Leave no trace.  Become a steward of the earth-  pack it in pack it out, clean up after others, dig a hole when you poo, gather wood in a considerate manner.
  • Be an active guest- consolidate your belongings, do a chore, cook a meal, give a gift.  Make your impact on someone’s space neutral or better than when you came.
  • We offer the highest musical and performance content.
  • To change the world, we must change our own consciousness and lifestyle, the bicycle liberates
  • Use music and performance as a political platform whenever possible.
  • We work to uplift the feminine in all of us to move beyond the patriarchs well as the binary to create balance in our group and ultimately in society.  We work to embody nurturing, supportive, loving energy among us.
  •  We respect to act in the highest regard for the webs of all life.
  • We operate on modified consensus- everyone’s voice matters and we won’t move forward on a decision if some have a strong block, however, if one is willing to stand aside even if the decision being made is not their preference the group will move forward with the decision.
  • Hold a culture which allows folks to speak any discomforts and work to address it right away
  • We work to educate and inspire the communities we travel through on fossil fuel alternatives.  We work to be a living example of sustainable living.
  • Everyone should strive for direct heart centered communication.  We should address conflict on a person to person basis, if the group needs to be called in we will facilitate that.  Take it to the source.
  • Everyone should be emotionally responsible for themselves, able to employ de-escalation skills on themselves when necessary.  
  • This is a Group lead tour- every person is a working part and doing their part. This is truly living interdependence.  We all have the opportunity to lead and be led.
  • We work to uplift everyone’s strength while also challenging growth in each individual.
  • Always do your best and have fun!

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    Here is the extra cycle Novara bicycle I rode for the tour. You can see the frame is extended backwards making the bicycle into a cargo bicycle. Her name is Gunther! Can you find the stilts?

We are talking about a 2018 6 month Europe tour that we already have a solid group of 20 cyclists for and I am already planning on making some murals for the tour and getting funding to make community art projects happen. Why do we start planning something almost 2 years away? We need funding, sponsorship, grants and more. It is  great timing for booking festivals and for planning out the route and logistics. I look forward to it.

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Santa Rosa to the San Francisco

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We made it back home! Can you believe it? All the way from Seattle to Bellingham, Vancouver, Salt Spring, Victoria, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, Bainbridge Island, Seattle again, Olympia, Portland, Eugene, Brownsville, Coos Bay, Florence, Fort Bragg, Jenner, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Oakland! 

 

The last couple of days were wonderful, annoying the last moments. We ended up staying at a geodesic dome in Sebastopol with a pool for Nates birthday. We had a beautiful brunch in the morning to celebrate and rode a couple miles to our Petaluma to play our Farmers Market show.

 

The show was incredible, we were overwhelmed with all of the food that we were gifted to the crew and we loved playing!

On our way home, we were lucky enough to go by Yuba Bicycles headquarters in Petaluma and get a tour and talk to the people that work there. We test rode some bicycles. Two of our 10 extra cycles were from Yuba so we were happy to provide feedback and hang out with them.

 

For the final 20 miles, we decided to take a ferry into San Francisco. We were able to fit all of our bicycles and it was my first time to get into San Francisco that way. We were all so excited to see the city and it felt so weird to see that familiar city skyline. It had not really sunk in until that moment for me. We are home. My bed is close by. We are not sleeping in tents anymore! It was a very strange feeling I can not quite describe it.

  

BUT! Our shows were still not over, we had two more to play and decided to stay together as a group at night to not end the energy or disperse. We played a Friday night gig at Oakland’s art walk called “First Fridays” and we had a 10 bicycle system instead of our typical 4. There was also a huge double decker bicycle called “El Arbol” or “The Tree” that lights up and is also a generator bicycle as well. It was a beautiful show and we had an incredible turnout.

  

The second and final show that we had was at PLACE for sustainability where we had all the acts of the tour players, and I even got to sing a song. It was a blast and we spent the night all together to keep the tour going! The next day, it was hard to part and felt very odd. I still can feel the feeling but not quite put it into words. Pedaling away from everyone after almost 3 months of being together anywhere from 10-2o people at one time. We really loved the tour, hanging out with each other all the time and playing music with one another. We are even talking about riding 6 months and playing shows in Europe 2018 summer and there are still more plans in the work for the future of the tour! Thanks for reading and following. This tour has been a blast BUT there is more to come so stay tuned.

Jenner to Santa Rosa

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Leaving the coast was a much needed break from hills and from the dew filled air. The coast has such a dramatically different feel than even 5-10 miles inland. Jenner was beautiful, we met a man that owned the community center, and he let us stay at it. Everyone in the town of a population 136 were so nice and welcoming. The town lays at the mouth of the Russian River and is on the Pacific Ocean. The state route highway 1 runs through it, as well as the 116.

 

Typically heading inland there are a lot of hills, but to our surprise we didn’t hit any! We passed through Gurneville and had a beautiful dip into the Russian River and had some lunch before hitting into Santa Rosa, wine country and lots of traffic and cars!

Santa Rosa was amazing, we got to stay with Carolyn’s brother, Sean. He had a house and he let us stay in his driveway with our tents. We played a show at the Santa Rosa farmers market. It was amazing, we had a lot o participation and her brother came as well. We did a little wine tasting, a lot of riding and the anticipation of arriving at home is at the forefront of our thoughts! We are really trying to enjoy every moment. Less than a week left!

Bellingham to Vancouver

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We made it to Canada! Check out the above photo of the 4 bands with a burning man sculpture that was used 20 years ago and is pedaled by solar energy! Canada was epic and we are so happy to be traveling now around the islands and B.C. We love this place!

  

What a beautiful ride we had to get into Canda! Crossing the border from United States to Canada was a breeze, we had to ride on the I-5 to cross but it was relatively easy. We only had 33 miles to ride this day, so we swam, took lots of breaks (as we always do) and arrived to Vancouver to the house of Adley’s brother, Chris. Chris let us stay in his back yard and was so gracious with his home. There are now 16 of us, three more joined us in Canada. Craig, our drummer, Dara an amazing writer and experienced cyclist that took a group across the U.S. with a theatre group the Agile Rascals and then Mega, who juggles, sings and dances. She has ridden with the crew before in previous bike tours.

  

We stayed a total of 4 nights and played a gig at the Vancouver Art Gallery in conjunction with eatArt that helped us with the burning man sculpture. We had a beer garden and a dance floor. There was also tricycle bikes they brought that people could test ride that we pretty amazing.

    
It was an incredible show as we played on the steps of the gorgeous gallery.

   

The show was incredible. I was pulling people from the street with my stilts and our sound was incredible. It was a sunny and beautiful day. It was great to relax and take time in one city. Vancouver is gorgeous right on the water and at the edge of huge mountains and glorious hiking. I was so excited to get to know the area and to get to celebrate Canada day! July 1st, they celebrate the joining of three colonies, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Providence of  Canada into a single dominion within the British Empire. This all happened on July 1, 1867 .

  
We are in good high spirits and excited to continue the tour, meeting beautiful people and playing a lot of music. Have you gotten a chance to hear all the musicians on tour with us yet?

Check out the links below!

Biking WA – Mukilteo to Bellingham

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Rain started as a sprinkle as we drifted beyond the trees and the rivers and streams. Light playful rejuvenating rain. Heavy and thick getting louder and more powerful.

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Soon enough we were in full on downpour where our waterproof gear was suddenly not and we were chilly little bikers! For a couple of hours we rode in the rain. At first it was fun and exciting, but then it became cold and uncomfortable.

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The ferry was beautiful, and quite the ordeal with 12 bicycles. We walked on and the ride was only about 15 minutes to Whidbey Island. We were greeted with huge uphills! Beautiful, but wet ride! I am glad that we waterproofed all of our gear before it started. Because it did not stop anytime soon.

IMG_9183 Here is the first part of the ride from Mukilteo to Fort Ebey State park that was right on the water. It was a beautiful spot, but unfortunately rained the entire time. We were greeted with quite large hills on the end of the ride, which was difficult.

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We finally found a warm place to stop for lunch and made nori sandwiches and wraps then we’re off again. Beautiful and hilly Whidbey I remember coming to the island as a child and as a teenager for my grandparents’ reunion. Memories now shared with my present experience of this rainy bike tour. The land, so green and luscious. The trees, swaying with beauty, and the puget sound with smells of salt and seaweed. Smells from my childhood.

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We rode across the island only 50 miles to our camping site where we arrive with pouring down rain and tons of hills! One thing I love about this group is our ability to work together. We had two tarps. One tarp for cooking dinner and keeping the food and crew dry and the other for a team of people holding up a tarp so individuals could set up their tents! What an experience so organized and loving with all that rain! We were pretty cold and miserable. We warmed up quickly in our little tents and got dry as night fell.

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Here is the second part of the ride where we rode over a military part of the island. There was a lot of planes flying overhead and a navy base. It made for an interestingly loud ride amongst the beautiful green trees.  We made it to the Look Out Arts Quarry in Bellingham after two days and lots of rain! It was beautiful and we are thankful to have experienced that magical island!

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West Coast Bike Tour Day 1! Seattle to Muckeltio

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Imagine 12 people, 8 cargo bicycles, 4 normal bicycles, riding along the road with gear being carried completely by human power. We are talking about 2 powered speakers, 4 microphone stands, tons of cables, a mixing board, drum kit, a bass guitar, tons of percussion instruments, 3 guitars, 1-18″ subwoofer, a pair of stilts, merchandise and juggling balls! This is a list of gear we are carrying for our shows! In addition we also have our camping gear and bicycle load as well! It gets pretty ridiculous! The Biketopia music festival bicycle tour has begun!

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I met 11 of my friends and cyclists at the king street station in Seattle who all rode a 24 hour train from Oakland. We rode to my beautiful friends house Heather, who lives with her son, Luka and dog, Pepper. They have a stunning home in Ballard and she was gracious enough to let twelve people and 7 tents up in her front and side yard. It was incredible. We were so thankful to have her for our first night together, she helped us out way more than just a place to stay. She was our road side helper and let us borrow her car and did everything she could to support us. We don’t know what we would of done without her!

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The night was wonderful, everyone was super tired from the train and had a great sleep. In the morning we ran errands, had some meetings and interviews with venues and radio stations for our July tour dates in Seattle. This tour is going to be amazing.

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We left riding our first time together north at 5pm! There is a saying that we have in the biking community that the first three days of the bike tour is called the “The Three Day Hump!”. This means lots of problems on the road, getting to know your bicycle better and learning how to strap it and carry the large loads.

It was a late start, but thank goodness summer is here because sub set this day at 9:30 pm! We rode to Mukilteo about 25 miles and actually the police stopped us and asked us if we needed help. They offered us a place to stay, 92nd park just a mile from the ferry. Thank goodness for that because there were 10 tents!

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That night, the rain started! First it was just sprinkles but then more and more! The night was dreamy with frogs croaking and the raindrops playfully falling from the tents. It was a great first night on the road. I am feeling so thankful for my friends, my cargo bicycle and my community. It is a really special group!

Biketopia Music Festival Summer 2016

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This summer I am apart of an amazing group of 18+ humans that will be taking part in a beautiful project called the Biketopia Music Festival by the Pleasant Revolution! This 2016 summer, we’re touring the pacific northwest from Vancouver to the bay – twenty of us, musicians, dancers, clowns, jugglers, on bikes.

The Pleasant Revolution

For the past three years we have been organizing bike tours from California through Mexico.  On these tours we have carried all our musical equipment on bikes, but wherever we played, we had to rely on electricity.  This year, we hope to abolish our dependence on external energy sources by purchasing a pedal-powered sound system from the good people of Rock the Bike, a Bay Area based small business who’s been working for years to develop a sound system which runs completely off of kinetic energy generated by people riding bikes.

Purchasing a sound system from Rock the Bike not only supports their ingenuity and innovation, it also allows us to share our message in the most authentic way possible.  Your donation will aid in supplementing the cost of our two month bike tour; this includes cargo bikes, touring gear, musical equipment, food, camping and ferry fees.

Bike touring, and performing with a pedal powered sound system is 100%  community effort.  Not only are we learning to live through alternative means, we are also realizing the power of a group of passionate people joining together to accomplish magnanimous feats.  Every donation counts, even a small amount will get us one pedal closer to our goal.  Please follow us, share our story with your friends and loved ones, and let us know what you think!

Pleasant Revolution Group Photo

The cyclists:

Molly, Carolyn, Adley, Nikki, Kristina, Nate, Maisha, Heather, Omar, Finn, Matt, Mega, Robyn, Robin, Seairra and more!
Within the Pleasant Revolution there are a number of potential musical acts that could play depending on venue etc. which include but are not limited to:

1. Bicicletas por la Paz or “bikes for peace” which is a band I’ve played and toured with from Oakland to Mexico in 2015. They are a Latin circus funk band that has songs in Spanish and English.

2. Heather Normandale is a singer-songwriter, performer, independent music producer and music teacher. She studied music via anthropology, doing an ethnography of curandera music in Ecuador, interviewing street musicians in Quito, and then taking off on her own busking adventure through Europe with a team of musicians charging their amps with bike powered sound systems. Connecting with our deeper nature and the nature around us has been a constant theme in her activism to protect and preserve the wildness within and around us. Her most recent CD delves into the theme of water exploring the space between our earthy, aqueous nature and the subconscious. “Trembling Water” plays with our many connections to water, alluding to the creative process and our mirror like connection to nature. Her lyrics are rich and emotive, poetic and thoughtful. Rolling rhythms of finger picking on the banjo, mandolin or guitar drive the melody and message of the songs.
3. Kristina Bennett
4. Maeisha
Here is  a look at some of our shows coming up! We hope you can join us!

June 25th – Biketopia Music Fest, Bellingham, Washington – location TBD, for more info check Facebook event here.

June 26 – Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, Washington – 12 – 3pm,  for more details visit the event page.

July 2nd – Biketopia Music Festival  at Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada –  3-7pm with bike ride to follow. For more details visit event page.

July 5th –Biketopia Music Festival at Salt Spring Island Farmer’s Market – in Centennial Park,  Salt Spring Island, BC,  12-5pm.   For more details visit event page.

July 8th –Biketopia Music Festival in Centennial Square,Victoria, Canada. 6-10pm. — for more details visit event page.

July 12 –Biketopia Music Festival in Pope Marine Park, Port Townsend, WA.  3-7pm

July 15 – Peddler Brewing Co. in Seattle, WA  at 7pm for an outside bike music festival. For more info see event pagewww.peddlerbrewing.com

July 16– Biketopia Music Festival at BikeWorks Seattke, WA–  3-7pm with bike ride to follow. More details coming soon.

July 17 – Outlander Brewery and Pub in Seattle, WA. 

July 19 – Biketopia Music Fest at Artesian Commons, Olympia, WA. From 5-9pm – for more information visit event page.

July 30 –Biketopia Music Fest, Portland, OR

More TBD

Mural in the Desert

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Where: Joshua Tree, California – Joshua Tree National Park at the Joshua Tree Music Festival; 8ft x 10 ft; Acrylic paint; 2016

Hot sticky dry heat; the type of heat that makes you want to shower with your clothes on. Gusts of wind make the sun bearable as live melodic music floats through the air leaving traces of dance moves. Joshua Tree Music Festival in Joshua Tree, California is a unique festival with gorgeous scenery and over 4 unique music stages with quality music from all over the world. I have found myself here for the second season in a row. It is a magical place located in South Eastern California and the park is slightly larger than that of Rhode Island. It is huge! It straddles the San Bernadino county and Riverside county border and has over two desserts, the Mojave and the Colorado each with their own ecosystem and different elevations.

File_000(6)This was the first mural I have painted for the festival and what an experience! There were hundreds of people getting to watch and explore the process with you throughout 4 days. The beginning of my murals are not my favorite as they are just one layer of many and many to come. Sometimes I get frustrated with this process as people immediately judge it and think that it is done. For example here is the start of my mural.

The Progression

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The Final Piece. 
Not much to see, but that is what is so beautiful about the art process. People do not know when it is done. They ask me all the time “Are you done” when I have barely begun. Process is so important because it teaches you not to be attached to the piece and to what the viewer thinks. I go through different layers of my art and it is hard to share this process sometimes. People ask me about it, want to know more. And to be honest, I do not sketch and I myself do not actually know what the final piece is going to look like. I prefer not knowing, and letting the experience of the setting, environment and people around me shape the way that I paint. That is super important to me, and talking about the piece is something I want to do, but more so on what the viewer experiences rather than what I intended the piece to be. We have so many opportunities in life to be told what to do, what to experience and what we should see. I want my artwork to be something that is always right, because it is a feeling and unique to each viewer.

I painted a total of 3 days in almost 100 degree weather and high blowing winds. It was not the easiest of tasks. Not to mention the fact that the board I was painting on was also moving with the wind! It was quite the experience. I had lots of patience and of course, the festival to take breaks and enjoy. I met so many wonderful people while painting. I was quite engaged with a handful of people that would come to me once or twice a day, check in and talk about the process. Many were surprised with the final piece. They would tell me that they would have never expected it to get to that point. I like that element of surprise. I had some great photographers take progress shots which was wonderful.
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My piece was next to a beautiful art installation about two years old. It was “The Swings” that had two large swings and you could play on them and feel child like with them. People loved the swings. They would stop at the swings way more often then they would look at my painting but of course, the painting was an after thought and they did come and see it if they were not too blissed out from the swing. I liked this experience because I could hear laughter of adults, children and older people that were so thrilled to have the swing experience. I think this had something to do with my painting. That emotion of you tummy going up and down, up and down. As well as the feeling of letting go. The laughter. Children saying “THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE”. And there I was, quiet, observing in a secret spot just taking in all of the energy around me. Quite peaceful. It was a stunning installation. I was quite happy to be working alongside of it. The photo above, the rainbow metal structure is the swing.
There was also one interaction that really struck me and I will never forget. I was done with my painting, I had just finished on the Sunday, the last day of the festival. The sun was setting, I had taken all the pictures, cleaned up and was just sitting. I was looking at the final piece, wondering how I even created it and admiring the work, time and energy that I put into it. This was a contrast to the energy of the festival as people were running around and listening to music and dancing and I was able to exist in this alternative reality.So there I find myself admiring my piece alone.
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It is the last day and unfortunately the swings broke! No one was allowed to use them and they still would try to use them. I would do my best to tell people the bad news and ironically they would become more aware of my painting and I met more people this way. There were two women specifically that were trying to swing, and I said sorry-the swings are closed. Their attention was brought to my painting and they were speaking about it in front of it, not knowing I was the artist. I finally let them know that I painted it, and they were excited to chat about it. I told them my story about my mother and how I paint in her memory and the woman told me that she does the same. Her father passed just two years before and we had a wonderful time sitting in front of my painting connecting and getting to know one another. Really special and made me realize that in putting yourself out there, being vulnerable not only with painting in front of people, but in
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The mural took me about 20 hours total to paint, I used house paint that I got from ACE hardware. Just the basic colors and I mixed them. I use paint brushes and all is detailed with hand and paintbrush. I prefer the old fashioned way! I hope you enjoy the mural, whatever you see is what you are supposed to see. It is meant to be specific to the individual. Enjoy and thank you Joshua Tree for inviting me to paint with you!

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Proyecto de Pedaleo – Collaboration Mural

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This is one of my most favorite projects I have ever done. The murals that keeps painting itself…

Vienen desde Seattle Cristina! Mexico! Beautiful! 12742448_815486748552274_4099817604893194673_n Mexico! California! Yes! 12670322_804344156333200_4109102368704856084_n 12670554_809261105841505_6849309011698076449_n 12647525_802356846531931_3636936079675793018_n 12744607_815487928552156_494096165187563378_n 12646996_806501459450803_5194471518189293325_n 12347703_784427168324899_5109186728106992705_n 12592401_799718863462396_609506109077819445_n 12541166_801464986621117_7802651288094113071_n 12541009_802356886531927_3074796416029057138_n 12670110_806501496117466_4043224842760332899_n 12439540_799719906795625_5099429797484874940_n 12391299_785882841512665_1429675794084120982_n 12376508_785221584912124_8730392073311550586_n 12226919_775824765851806_3836251116168647645_n 12348013_783186095115673_1656918665007762061_n 12313552_779722598795356_5439720303886848775_n 12346574_780811968686419_6792227552521666329_n 12347793_783186291782320_223210873390970866_n 12239583_775824795851803_2504142713499328588_n 12308749_779722462128703_3201813429675870790_n 12366285_784050021695947_2835233678314186598_n 12088392_760388220728794_4562033277990765589_n 12347577_784427074991575_3041376503097520681_n 12108179_760388184062131_3466970195729643554_n  12219326_771613792939570_2873509282572244229_n 12208856_771622142938735_6752253056477016121_n 12345443_780812555353027_7927194467437689071_n 12342596_784427118324904_5466104802676059047_n 12006237_748938231873793_833417898214344283_n 12359965_783186355115647_5380800740189347486_n 12342524_785221621578787_4667617655200650302_n 12341404_780812422019707_2429764771460050472_n 11164799_683131381787812_9115220073727280353_n 12105882_764664750301141_3960902484411507910_n 11068304_687614024672881_7605146776557258569_n 12645142_806501376117478_3070912247589358610_n 12109265_759356994165250_5673157183717858127_n 12341377_780285068739109_6114608443086874168_n 12341339_783186255115657_1772778972687439328_n 12043205_759359097498373_8560607580710529277_n 12314023_780284522072497_9142651834022999622_n 11050659_674209252680025_1217103449483997940_n 12241453_775824632518486_4879052105354297233_n 12239628_773707676063515_4174821280400285822_n 11014931_687613881339562_8540182453926254271_n 11010616_768789366555346_2295969924401638950_n 12107751_761175053983444_7447352164543470525_n 12239597_775824659185150_1088410451528852223_n 12191929_769012633199686_3270511815902872379_n 12189802_769012773199672_361749079545191825_n 12189682_771622122938737_5736437508194590461_n 12187650_769012659866350_7620234306019662383_n 1897982_748938085207141_159569422041242702_n 12143355_769012709866345_3426044938605775703_n 12036805_765899790177637_7451067676275242094_n 12140823_760388150728801_3901057440400167876_n 10999640_674209479346669_4161809373608525570_n 10647015_683148088452808_8189605994458828589_n 10420357_674209932679957_7501759322314638576_n 12122886_769404819827134_1206073913274287070_n 12115452_775824835851799_2794512302507571165_n 12036845_759359234165026_2676114869130917200_n 10246311_769012536533029_4640190016464976948_n 12011275_748938258540457_1301916847842035031_n 11220099_764393686994914_4598073069734273868_n 11193437_683130941787856_5481388070810590155_n 11108213_683130931787857_7507626238384722192_n 10986564_712993878801562_3554285581591217137_n

Baja California

The Inspiration: As many of you know, I am not a stranger to staying on peoples couches, floors, back yards of anywhere I can with a tent. My journeys have been filled with hospitable and beautiful humans who have treated me like a family member. Among the many Lupita and Gabino from San Quintin stand out to me as shiny examples of this. Parents to daughter, Stephanie, they have welcomed hundreds of travelers yearly who bicycle down the Baja Mexico. They took me in for almost a week!

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They are made me feel like I was apart of their family and took care of me in ways that parents would. I met them at a hard time in my travels and they made me feel that I was not alone. Lupita and Gabino have so many travelers stay with them, they made a guest book and started having people write entries. Then it turned into a map where people would pin where they started their travels from. The day that I first stayed with Lupita and Gabino they were full of excitement for me to mark with a tiny tack where I traveled from. They led me to a large map that was covered in plastic lamenant and many different colored pins all over the map of the world.  It was incredible to see these physical pins from so many people. Connecting the world to make it seem smaller and that we are all the same. I was so inspired.

I knew this idea would come up again. And sure enough, three weeks later I was able to make it happen at the “Casa de Cyclista” in San Ignacio, Baja Mexico

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The Process: I ask to use some paints from the surrounding neighbors in Mexico and many of them laughed at me and then watched me paint from the street. They had no idea why I would want to borrow paint from them. Sure enough I found green, blue and white. The only colors we found. It was enough though and after one day of sketching (I typically don’t sketch but figured I had to in order to get the world perspective right) that I was underway painting.

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How long: It took me almost 4 days to paint. I had a little helper with me who got me coffee, and sharpened my pencil. He also just watched in awe as I painted. He would even help me erase my pencil lines. What a beauty this little helper was!

The exchange: Free stay and food for the mural.

The Location: San Igancio, Mexico at the Casa de Cyclistas. Click here for the Casa de Cyclistas Website. Thank you to Casa de Cylistas and thank you to Lupita and Gabino, ustedes tienen un lugar especial en mi corazón!

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Mural in Oakland 

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moon-and-back

Where: Oakland, California at the Oakland Music Compex (OMC) in West Oakland with acrylic paint; January 2016

Happy New Year Mural! This piece is located inside the music studio of musicians. The building is amazing and is home to many working artists who practice and record. While painting I could hear multiple bands at one time.

I started with the moon and got into a drippy white paint scene and then started with writing out the poetry that the musicians selected. Poetry, lyrics, words and drawings. The musicians and I (Sara and Max) came up with the concept. We wanted something with words, but not over the top. We wanted to words to fade out and then become stars and constellations. We made sketches this time, which I normally do not do, and it was helpful in the creation of the piece.

The Progression:

 

  



Here I am! This was day 2 in the process. Below are more detailed images of the poetry and intricacy of the words,

 

   

  

   

The writing is poetry from the band, it is not meant to be read easily. I want viewers to engage with the piece and have to try and read it. In addition it makes the energy more scattered and interesting. I like the idea that you have to work for it! I think I put something like 30 different poems and sayings and songs.

 

   

How long did it take: 4 days, 8-10 hours a day

What I learned: Painting on a ladder is dangerous. Especially if you are on the top step! Communicate with building managers before you begin the mural and take more progress shots! It would be great to do some progress videos.

The Exchange: Paid commission

Whats next? I am on the hunt for a studio space in Oakland so hopefully some shows and some good time for making new work!

Biking Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsyvanlia, Philly, Delaware and Beyond

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Cycling, cycling and more cycling down the East Coast!

    

Above is a Rail to Trail, converted rail road tracks made into a trail that was 17 miles long. So many people were using the path and it was one of the most enjoyable, car-free trails I have been on. It creates a strong sense of community by having those biking trails,

      

  

The 17 mile bike path was incredible and every time I found myself on a trail with no cars and dense silence from the trees around me, I always was thankful for it. That is why I ride, for that serene and full feeling of being immersed in nature.

With that said, some of the bicycle paths that I took (via google maps) were absolutely horrible in the sense that I had to walk my bicycle because the sand was so thick and impossible for me to ride. There were sometimes the roads were 2-6 miles long and often I had to turn around because it was so ridiculous. I follow whatever google maps tells me to follow, and sometimes I think that it was made for off road dirt biking!

  
  

I continued from Rhode Island south in to Connecticut where I rode on a bridge hundreds of feet in the sky. I was alone and pretty scared as well as claustrophobic being that high up. The bridge lasted a couple of miles and was over a huge river. It was a path that was squished next to 5 lanes of traffic and when another cyclist passed by, it was hard to squeeze through! What a rush!

   
  

 

From Connecticut I took the ferry across to Long Island and rode to meet my friend Tricia who I met and was friends with in Oakland CA. She now lives on Long Island where she grew up and has a son and husband now. It was lovely to catch up with her and spend a couple nights on Long Island. We went to a cross fit competition in long beach for all one day, swam in the ocean which was incredibly warm and got to catch up with one another.

   

   
 

Long Island was beautiful and full of vineyards and agricultural land. The houses are huge and old and apparently its become quite expensive to live out there. I saw a lot of horses, deer and animals too!


  
 

From Long Island I took the train a bit and then rode into NYC and met my friend from college, Jon who let me stay with him for a couple days. Jon and I ventured all over the city and had a great time exploring the 9/11 memorial, Central Park, Empire State Building and many other sites! It was one of Jons first time riding in the city so I felt so honored to explore with him. I really love exploring cities and being able to do it by bike, exploring bike paths and falling in love with bike riding all over again. I cant get enough of my bicycle!

 

  

   

I absolutely loved New York. I was blown away at the public transportation, how easy it was to bike anywhere in the city, and how pedestrian friendly it was! At some points while riding, I could see multiple buses, train cars, subway trains, bike paths, car paths, and waterfront spaces for pedestrians. This city has a great mapped out infrastructure and I don’t care what anyone says about riding a bike in New York. Its possible! Not only is it possible, but its a magical thing to experience. I would definitely be commuting if I lived in NY.

   

  

   

Next stop was Philadelphia where I stayed just for a night with some lovely people from Warmshowers. I saw a lot of murals and left promptly because the Pope was in town and it was hard to get around. It was a rush riding into Philadelphia as I was riding solo and got into some bad parts of town. I felt quite vulnerable on my bike. There are roads to go around these parts, but in many ways I like to ride through the whole city to experience what it is really like. Maybe next time I go with someone!

  

  

Next stop: Washington D.C. where I found my friend from childhood who let me stay with her a couple of nights. I loved D.C. it was very clean, organized, had free museums and I even got a glimpse of the Pope! I was able to see my childhood friend, Lauren Goodman and we had a wonderful time walking around the city and seeing Georgetown where Lauren went to school.

 

 

Next was Atlanta where the city was organizing an outdoor weekend music festival featured around rap. It was another world, like anything I have seen. It was interesting!

  

 

  

From D.C. it was onto Durham where I was reunited with Soul Sister, Gillian and I was fortunate to stay with her for a weekend. It happened to be Durham Pride. Highlights included donuts, days of rain, and my beautiful friend!

 

 

Next was Atlanta where I met up with a vehicle and friend Jesse who ended up giving me a two week ride cross country. We camped, stayed with friends, and met new friends along the way. My bicycle went with me as well, and so it was again wonderful to explore the cities that we traveled to by car.

The next stop was Nashville, Tennesse. Although out of the way, so glad we went to this city because it was full of great music, interesting people, and a lot of sights to see. They had a great bike path through the outskirts of the city so you can get around pretty easily by bicycle.

  

 

   

   

Next was New Orleans!  It was a city that reminded me of a town in Colombia called Cartagena because of its Spanish and French architecture and for the tropical climate. It was hot hot hot, which apparently to the people of New Orleans was not that hot contrasted to what they dealt with in summer.

    
  
  

I felt it was hot! We spent a couple of days in NOLA and enjoyed swimming, parks, and friends! There was even a gorgeous tree that had chimes hung to the branches which created an art tree with an orchestra of healing sounds. What a colorful city! Vibrant, diverse and amazing!

  
  
  

Then is was Austin Texas! A place that I have always wanted to go, and almost moved to directly after college. I got to see my cousin, Elizabeth there and really get to know the city riding around. Lots of bike lanes and lots of biking!

  

  

Then onto Arizona, Tucson! We just stayed for a short time I did not feel like I got a good grasp on what the vibe was like. But lots of driving and lots of freeway. I am definitely not a big fan of driving I think most of you know!

 

  

 

These last bunches of photos are from our camping journey a couple days on the way back home. This was in New Mexico and we found a cool place off the freeway. It was quiet and the stars were loud!

  

Then we were onto Joshua Tree where I linked up with the Joshua Tree Music Festival! I was able ot see my riding mate Maud, who I just absolutely love! She was in Southern Mexico and decided to take a month break in LA. I was so lucky to link up with her!

  

  

  

What a great way to end the tour! Since I was so close to LA I just decided to work a couple weeks out on Catalina Island. More of that to come….I feel so lucky to have my friends that I have met along the way. This journey of bike touring the east coast has been filled with love, exploring and change. I feel super clear minded and open, I feel charged with love and space for more change. I am always growing and transforming. Just because I challenge myself by traveling and learn a lot still does not mean that I know everything. I am always open to new experiences and exploring new spaces. I feel full of gratitude for all I have seen and done. Now is a time for rooting and grounding. Lets see how it all unfolds!

Love you all! Thanks for supporting me!

 A Mural in Burlington, Vermont

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Vermont is a beautiful and magnificent place! It is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States, it has forests that cover over 75% of the state! The green mountains are located within the state and the state is bordered by Massachusetts, New York, Quebec Canada and New Hampshire.  I ran into old friends, and made new ones. I never could of imagined it would of been this green and luscious, I am still in awe of the beauty and how friendly people were. Billboards are outlawed and there was no sign of cooperation’s, just tons of farm and local businesses.

I made my way to Burlington, Vermont after New York. We took a ferry about 20-30 minutes across Lake Champlain. I met with my friend, Cody that I met on a bike tour of the west coast and he actually met us on the other side of the ferry. He took us swimming and showed us around town. We got caught in a storm that was so intense but short. We met a woman who let us stay in her garage until it past.

It was great to catch up with Cody, to swap some bike touring stories and he hosted us for two nights. It was such a blessing. We also met wonderful people through warmshowers.org and turns out Ian knew them! Dan and Christine were their names and they help run a community bike shop and a bike shop in town. We ended up staying 1 week with them and so thankful for their hospitality. Their project is called Burlington Bike Project and if you click the name you can check out their project and website.

Their website also features me in their blog. You can click this link to check it out.

Who: Essentially the Old Spokes home is run as shop for just about anyone who needs help with their bike and then Bike Recycle Vermont helps create access to affordable education, job training opportunities, and a supportive and encouraging environment for people who need it!

Where: Burlington,Vermont

  

  

How long did it take: Only 3 full days of painting! This also included a day where many cyclists came through for a celebration of the North neighborhood called “The Ramble”. This included a community BBQ, displaying of the mural and tons of kids and adults asking about the mural. It was a pretty incredible space.

Dan and Christine introduced us to some beautiful people and we were able to plug into the Burlington scene pretty easily with their help. Potlucks, cooking, music listening and making, hair cutting and just hanging out I would move to Burlington because of the people and bike culture. They had a lovely co-op that we hung out at quite a bit speaking with cyclists about bicycle benefits, which Ian helps promote and run where you get benefits for riding bikes! It is as simple as that, empowering more cyclists to get moving and start commuting, touring, or just getting out there and riding. The program is amazing and I feel excited about helping out.

 

The mural was so much fun to create. I really enjoyed it, although its an older style I felt that it was the best thing for the Bike Shop and the community. I was able to paint certain local businesses and community organizations that the clients could relate to.

  
  
  

Here is the mural in detail, this was also one of the first times that I drew people in my painting. It was fun, I met some amazing people and wanted to include them. Ian is also pictured here with doughnuts as he handed out doughnuts to cyclists a couple mornings in the street. I drew Dan and Christine of course, and then I am meeting RJ and his children who helps organize Bike Party Burlington.


     

Here is more on the mural!

  

 I love to ride my bike. It makes me feel the true sense of the word free. I feel alive, I feel free, I feel strong and I feel like I can do anything in the world that I set my mind to. It is a beautiful feeling and a wonderful way to see the world.


  
  

We left Burlington after a week and headed to the state capital, Montpelier which is actually the smallest capital according to population in the United States. There our goal was to check in with all the businesses that supported Bicycle Benefits and make sure that they were still accepting cyclists and just promoting the cause. We tabled at the local co-op again and met some amazing people just encouraging people to get on their bikes. Bicycle benefits program is great it allows cyclists in many cities throughout the U.S. to buy a sticker for their helmet for only $5. Then they can go online and see the different local businesses where they get a discount. Discounts range from 5-20% off purchases, free cookies, free chocolate, free coffee, and more. It is allowing local businesses to support cyclists and cyclists getting rewards for cycling.

  
   

We got to ride through a lot of green beautiful mountains, I felt like I was back in Washington State. I am still in awe of the State.

   

   

Rain, rainbows, libraries, meeting new people!

              

I would absolutely live in Vermont, I loved it there. I think that I would have to live through a winter to actually understand what the state is all about. But either way I would be open. Thank you to all the people and friends that we met and spoke with. What a beautiful life! The plan now is to head east! New Hampshire and Maine!

Tijuana, Playa de Mision y Ensenada, Mexico

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Never had I experienced that type of cycling as what I did in Tijuana! I’ll explain…It was an amazing city despite what many people say and I had a great time there thanks to our hosts and my cycling buddy Adley.

  

The ride was crazy from San Diego to the border maybe 15 miles of an easy ride. We took a ferry and loved chatting it up with the captain.

After the ferry you pass a couple of navy bases and it feels almost like Armageddon. There are US planes with people jumping out of them with parachutes, helicopters everywhere and guys and girls running through obstacle courses. You hear gun shots practicing  in the background and it feels almost scary.

Anyways we cross the border after exchanging money and are sent through a whirl wind of people. We pass the hundreds of people trying to get back into the states, an incredible amount of people! I couldn’t believe it. Apparently Mexico is one of the most visited borders in the world.

I received 6 months of visit from Mexico and then we were off. We had friends Liz and Elvis who live in downtown Tijuana so we were off. The problem now is that we don’t have GPS so we were sent to the streets  to ask people for directions. From experience most people you ask for directions they tell you anything they can and typically it’s not the right way. If they don’t know something they still tell you a way. There is a need to not just admit they are wrong.

After an hour of searching we found the house had an amazing time with Liz and Elvis who had experience bike touring in Europe and were just incredible people. Great conversations, good food, and wonderful hosts.

In the morning we were off by 11 and that’s when the chaos started. No bike lane and a major highway. Add in an element of being lost and we were in a crazy situation. We figured it out quick but there was a good six miles that I didn’t even change gears or think about how hard to was to ride up the hills because I was so concerned about the cars. This is a different ball game and the way the cars were driving was a wake up call to always give the right away to the car and always assume that they don’t see me. I’ve never riden like this before!

But all was fine and safe. We made it though to playa de mission almost 40 miles where we were lost again looking for a biking hostel. Those 40 miles seemed like 80 because we were just riding so hard.

We were searching for a place to sleep when suddenly we were honked at by a white Subaru that (in english) asked us where we were going. It was a woman and her friend and she invited us to stay in her guest house. It was getting dark so we jumped at it and came to a huge house on the hillside complete with food a bed and comfort all over it. Warm showers and a delicious meal later we were in biking heaven.

 

  

The next day we rode 10 miles to Ensenada when we got pulled over by a “green angel” who told us we were not allowed to ride on the toll road and that we had to go around through a mountain in order to get to Ensenada. We pleaded with him to give us a ride as we weren’t allowed to continue and he agreed to take us to enaenada. I was so happy because I really didn’t want to go around.

We arrived in Ensenada, fixed out bikes at a local bike shop and ate with some hilarious people who reminded us of cartoon characters and had a great time.

  

 

We stayed with a friend of glorias, daphne and stayed 2 nights as a storm hit and we didn’t want to ride in the rain! She had two children and seven and we had our hands full playing with them and being special guests in the house. We left her house just a half hour before another big storm hit. We made it out in time and even had time for some wine tasting at the oldest winery in North America San tomas!

 

Dana Point, San Diego and Ocean Beach

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image I love this part of California. Great bikes lanes, gorgeous roads and just endless amounts of cycling. I really love it. South, south, and more south we go! Off to Dana point where we stayed with a family in the hills who had 3 dogs and a very interesting story to tell. We found them through warm showers and they gave us a place to stay and a warm shower and even cooked us dinner. What a lovely experience.

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They were a couple from Houston and love to tour. They just moved to California for the husbands job which involves helping dismantle a nuclear waste site that is near the ocean. He said it takes about 30 years to do. When they retire hopefully in 5 years they want to bike tour and pretty much live on their bikes. Super nice family.

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The next day we rode about 45-50 miles to Encinitas to see my family…Amy and Matt and the kids (5 total!!!) and get to spend time catching up with them and getting to know each other all overs against. It was so great, we had dinner together and we took the golf cart out the kids and i got some snuggle time with their two puppies who are adorable. What a great nights sleep!

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 Sal gave Adley and I the grand tour where we saw the property including the wine cave (above), that we says is haunted. We saw rabbits and dogs and horses and a swimming pool! Truly a unique and beautiful house. Maddie let me sleep in her bed and Adley slept on Sal’s floor! I loved it!

Next we were off to the San Diego Ocean Beach farmers market to perform on the street. We said goodbye to the family, saw the kids off to school and were off! Beautiful warm sunshine and a lovely day in front of us!

At Ocean Beach it was an actual gig and they help us get set up with a whole sound crew. I had my first solo back up singing experience and we just had a ball! I ran into a girlfriend I met back in mazunte Mexico last year when I was getting yoga certified. Small world! Here is to growth, new challenges, new perspectives and letting go of worry. Too many times do we plan ahead or think about yesterday when the moment is here. To live now. To be content, thankful and full now. Tomorrow off to Mexico tomorrow!! Dont know if I am ready for it yet, California went by so quickly!

  

*all of these posts are posted a week after it happened! We are currently in san quintin Mexico but blogs take time and internet! Love you all!

Biking to and through Los Angeles

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IMG_1127What a different experience it has been since we hit Santa Barbara. Next was Malibu, we camped on a hill near a construction site and behind a grocery store that’s was settled in a little forest. We actually door knocked for a little bit asking million dollar home intercoms if they had space for 3 tents. It didn’t work out too well. But the hill worked out perfectly.

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The next day we were on on way to LA to Venice beach and played a show at the WhitZend where we were greeted warmly and even had a green room to hang out in and play music before and after in. Incredible stage with beautiful lighting and awesome sound. I never thought it my life I would be playing music, let alone with all my friends and biking. Pretty wild.

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The next day we said goodbye to Gillian who set off to Costa Rica for a festival and then set off to Harry’s house that we met from Warmshowers. He sweetly offered us a place to stay about a 30 mile ride away in LA (yes the city is huge).

He was not home when we arrived so he left the house open and to our amazement were offered a guest house and a huge huge huge yard! It was a special place and as Harry said we “scored”. I love warm showers it makes me feel like I am not on the road but rather in a home. People that open their lives and houses to is really makes me believe in people and accept the generosity. Really it’s a full circle as we learn from each other and share experiences and stories. It’s truly beautiful.

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I was also able to see my friend Diana from college who happened to be in LA as well! What a great reunion, while i was gone she helped look after my things in the Bay Area at her parents house while I was traveling.

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Harry was so much fun to hang out with and after our two shows that we had in La we took a little break and stayed an extra day and played music and drank delicious wine!

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Unfortunately while at Harry’s my friends Carolyn and mega left back to San Francisco. So the dynamic of the group is changing it will for sure be a different ride.

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We have a show in San Diego on Wednesday so we are off riding our bikes 116 miles south!

Lompoc and Santa Barbara California

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Rode 62 miles from Lompoc to Santa Barbara. We got to see the ocean again! I missed it dearly! Found another cyclist named Cody from Vermont that joined our group for a while. Always nice to meet friendly cyclists on the road.

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We stayed with a warm showers house in Lompoc, with a Seattle native, Alden. We didn’t actually meet him he just gave us keys to his place and said make yourself at home. So generous and hospitable and there was a lot of seahawk gear around the house. I cant believe how open and welcoming people are of us!

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The essentials…kale, salt and vinegar chips, broccoli and a flower. The picture above is the backyard of where we camped in Santa Barbara.

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We get hungry…really hungry. We split the work load into teams, and everyone carries food evenly. Carolyn is our featured cook, we tried to get everyone to split the load but she is just so darn good at what she does! Coconut curry veggie stirfry was the hit of the tour. Adley, the inspiration and 3 time Oakland to Mexico adventurer and musician carries an amp and an electric guitar in his panniers. He is crazy. Literally, crazy. But he loves music and he loves what he does…and did I mention that he is also the fastest in the group? Not that I am keeping track, but really…is this guy serious?

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Once we hit Santa Barbara we stayed again with a warm shower host Alex who let us set up tents in his backyard. A musician himself his roommates and our band were jamming all night. We played a little bit at the farmers market and then enjoyed a good nights rest after I made lentil burgers and salad! Yummmmm! I am constantly in awe of how generous, welcoming and beautiful all the hosts we stay with are.

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Rafael, one of the house mates took us to a bike shop he volunteers at, Santa Barabara bike coalition and he helped teach us how to is our broken spokes and true a wheel! Great knowledge! I even picked up a bike bell! Ring ring! Love this place!

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Next we are on our way down south of course taking the Pacific Coast Highway and as many back roads as we can!

How to Start a New Adventure – Following Heart

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Traveling is a choice. We can chose to make time for it or leave it for our dreams. It takes making it a priority and follow through.

I say this all the time but you never will have enough money, or enough time, or the perfect scenario for traveling. Just do it, like today. Like right now.

I came back to the United States in May 2014 after being gone one and a half year in South America. I am not going to lie, I was pretty exhausted. I wanted to visit Seattle, my hometown, after feeling the need to connect with family and friends. I wanted to sleep in the same bed for longer than 2 days. I wanted a warm shower with my shampoo! Every time I walked into the same house, to find my bed, my clothes, my jewelry, my food etc, I almost became overwhelmed with thanks and appreciation. The gift of being in one location and building community is such a luxury! Never had I looked at my life from this perspective and still 6 months later I feel the same way. Its ingrained in me. I got rid of almost everything that I own in those months and really love to live the life in a more simple way.

So I worked 6 months in a bar and restaurant and made some wonderful friends and great money. Life was good! I was riding my bike, I was reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I even displayed my artwork in 3 different Seattle locations. My art inspiration was pouring out of me and my family was feeling closer than ever. Everything that I had dreamed life would be back home midst traveling was exactly the way I thought it would be and more. I got everything that I wanted. Really, it was all right in front of me.  So…why wasn’t I able to live out that life with full happiness? There was a little something in the back of my heart that was trying to tell me…something wasn’t right.

There are constantly times in our life where our heart speaks. It is doing it all the time. Turn left or turn right. This would be good for my body and maybe this would be maybe not the best. We make choices. Sometimes its literal and sometimes its nothing more than a breeze in the air that gives us a certain feeling. It is different for everyone. The heart is a small (or large) feeling in the back of our hearts that pulls on us in little tiny ways, and the only way we can listen is to be silent and trust. It is a small muscle that will grow so strong with practice and patience. And yes, absolutely this sacred gift is within each of us. We already know deep down what we need and want. It is just a matter of listening and acting upon that feeling, and that is what’s so beautiful about life: we are constantly having to make decisions and choices and its all up to our own individual hearts in the end.

The outcome of all choices will be beautiful either way. What is important is that we aware of where it comes from and how it makes us feel. In my life, I listen to my heart all the time. I choose to take risks, become uncomfortable, change the way I see things constantly to understand the world in a more harmonious and deeper way. That way works for me! I want to speak about growth with a stranger, with a loved one, with the nature. I want to soar higher than I ever knew possible. I want to push my body in ways I didn’t know it could go. I want to climb mountains and sail oceans. I want to learn new things constantly. I want to speak Spanish for months on end and I want to live my life the way my heart feels is right. Is there logic there? Absolutely not. Is there love there? Why that is what is fueling it.

So I made a decision to leave the life was comfortable and in January 2015 and was off to Oakland, California where I used to live for 2.5 years. There I found my good friends in a cooperative house living situation. Sharing food, house meetings, garden, giving to the community and working together to live a sustainable and healthy life collectively. Musicians, artists, open communicators, activists and heart followers. In this house I found my friends who were ready to take on a adventure with me. The adventure I had dreamt of – Bike touring.

I met a dear friend of mine, Lukas from Germany while traveling in Peru. We traveled together for a couple of months after meeting at a mediation retreat near Cusco. We shared so much together: painting, singing, trying new things, cooking, learning Spanish, English and German and making new friends. Lukas was traveling by bike. He was the first cyclist I met that had toured. I would hear his stories, see his pictures and how different of a perspective his travels were contrasted to mine (buses and hostels).

Ever since meeting Lukas I knew this would manifest for me in my life. I didn’t know that it would be this soon, and I was not prepared but when are you ever? When the opportunity is there you must take it! So I link up with old friends in Oakland who have made this trip two years in a row, onto their third. I had trust that I could learn the ropes from them, and travel with some friends for a bit. The group we cycle with is a band and we are called “Bicicletas por la paz” translating into Bikes for Peace. We play Latin circus funk and we carry all our instruments and have gigs lined up along the way as we travel by bike. We camp in campgrounds, in random places off the highway, in friends houses, use warm showers (couch surfing version for cyclists) and we meet beautiful people that take care of us.

Its going to be an amazing ride southward and I am up for the challenge. I cannot wait to see the different landscapes of California and Mexico in a new way. I do not have any plans. I don’t know when I will return, quit my job and moved my things into two boxes. What I do know that I will be following my heart and that is what I do best! I don’t have any answers, there is no “right way” to live. We just have to find what is right for us!

To end, as I was preparing for my trip I emailed Lukas asking for advice. This is what he had to tell me: “For your Journy I wish you happynes and fullfilment and that you will meet beautifull people. If the situation around you is difficult, you only have to conact with a silence place inside you. There is no fear, no problems. This is the reality. Loos all fear and trust in every moment, you are so strong! The most important things for a your Journey, is your Opinel knife a good tend and a air mattress…If you buy one, you will love it! But the most impotant thinks you need are not heavy but so beautfull. A huge bag full of confidence and the next bag full of patience and you need always a open heard. If you have this, the material things dont have a big importance.” -Lukas 

Bike Touring – The Starting Point Oakland

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Bicicletas por la paz! A travelling group of inclusive amazing cyclists who like to play music, smile and ride bikes!

We are off to Cambell San Jose area! This bike tour has started, 5 in total and we will be heading to Mexico over the next couple of weeks touring with all of our belongings on our bicycles. New adventure!

Well the first day of our tour was rainy, stick filled streets, and lots of wind. California hasn’t had rain in months and the first storm in a while has miraculously hit on our first day. But our spirits were high and we were ready to take on the 40 mile ride or so. We had to take the BART train to the most south station and started from there. It was ridiculous day to start as we were head on with strong winds and pouring down rain. We were just getting used to our bicycles and it was pretty horrendous for a first day!

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6 hours later and lots of different directions later we reached our destination at New Jerseys bar. At this bar we walked in soaking wet with tiny lakes in our shoes and we were cold! It was already dark and we were ready for warmth!

The show was wonderful, lots of high energy, painting and dancing.

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Now today we are off to Santa Cruz through the mountains to play a show in a cave tonight! 30 miles! Should be a good ride!

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Hopefully the rain goes away soon and we wont have to travel with plastic bags on our socks inside of our shoes and walk into shows dripping wet and cold! What is this Seattle?? The storm should only last a couple of days. Can’t wait to get south to see what this California sunshine has to offer. Ready ready for some mountains!

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Ballard Kiss Cafe Solo Exhibition, Seattle, WA

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Proud to announce for the month of January 2015 I will be displaying my work at Ballard Kiss Cafe in Ballard, Washington. I am super excited as it is a lot of my new work. Featured are 12 different acrylic pieces, its a great show be sure you check it out!

Thank you Ballard Kiss Cafe, and to Raymond Owens for helping me set up the show.

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New Molly Keen Studio at Gasworks Gallery, Seattle

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This month of September I opened a studio space to create artwork. The space is in the community of Gasworks Gallery where artists have separate creative spaces to work in. It is super important for me to separate my work space and my daily life as it creates a different flow and motivation. I am excited to see what will come out of this new studio!

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The space I selected has four large windows, tons of light, storage space, is on the second floor and has great energy for making new work! It is an old warehouse building, located just next to Lake Union and the Ivars on the water.

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Here is me carrying canvas to the studio. I dont have a car and as an artist, I thought I would invest in a rental car company like ZipCar or Car2Go but really I was determined to get canvas squared away just by bike and it is totally possible. Well, for now anyway. I do want to get a little bit bigger in my work so it will be interesting how that works in rain and with a 5 foot canvas!

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Stay Tuned for new works and shows!