Road Entry#13 (Bus - Bellows Falls, VT to Burlington, VT - 12:38pm - July 18, 2010)

Lost Water-bottle.

I just left my second item behind on my journey. I left it in Alex's car after she dropped me off at the Bellows Falls train and bus station. I am taking a bus from Bellows Falls to Burlington for the night, before I make my way to Canada tomorrow morning. The plans changed from the last time I wrote, there was no sailboat and no water adventure. There was a different adventure, and I will share it with you.

Friday night I got into Bellow Falls where Alex picked me up at 5:45pm. We then drove 35 minutes to her dad's house in Weston, VT. Weston is a town of about 500 permanent residents and then with a somewhat larger summer community. The town of Weston is comprised of the Vermont Country Store, the Weston playhouse, and the Weston park as all township landmarks. To say the least, it is very small. Alex's dad, Andrew, lives right in the heart of Weston where he used to run the Weston Toy Shop for 20+ years. His storefront used to be the first floor of his home while the second floor is where he has lived with his girlfriend Kennie. When I arrived to the home, Andrew and Kennie were still at a Beatles cover band concert and Alex helped show me around the house and the backyard. The house sits on a large half an acre of land with a river running through the back. Alex and I spent the next hour chatting and getting to know each other. Alex is 28 and just graduated from Parsons School of Design in Graphic Design. She has lived in Boston, Connecticut, Paris, and New York since she finished her undergraduate from Boston University. She has immersed herself in the French language and culture. She is very interesting to talk to and has a lot of unique stories to share.

Andrew and Kennie returned from their concert with an appetite lurking amongst the four of us. We had a delicious wheat pasta dinner with mushroom and sausage tomato sauce and a side of broccoli. All of the vegetables and fruit that we ate were grown in the backyard of Andrew's home. He has a large garden situated in the middle of that massive backyard. Andrew and Kennie are keenly aware of their ecological impact and their environmental responsibility. If you must, you would might call them hippies. I like to think that most people should live this way and consider the affects that they have on the planet and their communities (local, regional, national). More on this later. After dinner and conversation, we all went to bed in preparation for Saturday.

I didn't realize how tired I was until I woke up at 10:30am after ten and a half hours of sleep. I woke up to Alex doing Yoga in the backyard, so I decided to go on a run. It wasn't a great run, I got a cramp halfway through and only ran 3.88 miles. In order to get really prepared for the Honolulu marathon and lose the weight I want to, I'm going to have to step the exercise up a bit more. I currently have a goal to run at least 13 miles a week, but that is not enough. I am going to set my next weekly goals to 22 miles per week starting August 8th. I haven't even assembled the pull-up bar in the past week, terminally slacking on my commitments to getting 3 sets of 10 pull-ups under my belt by the end of the month. At least I am still loosing some weight - down to 207 now.

After weighing myself in their quaint bathroom, I ate some lunch with the family before heading out to Solarfest. Alexandra, Andrew, and myself were supposed to go sailing for the day and night on Lake Champlain, but he decided that Monday would be better and he and Kennie wanted to see a show at the Weston Theater later that night. Alex found Solarfest as a replacement activity and I was prepared for anything because I was their guest, not being stubborn at all. I was looking forward to going on Lake Champlain, but Solarfest definitely made up for it.

Solarfest was a environmental and music festival held in Tinmouth, VT - about 40 minutes away from their house. It was a three-day festival being held on this farm for the weekend. Solarfest's audience, participants, sponsors, endorsers, and key-note speaker are all people that consciously protect the world through renewable energy living and thinking. I would say that the festival attracted around 2,000 people from all over the New England and east region of the United States. The slogan for the festival was "The premier environmental festival of New England".

Alex and I were only there for Saturday, but what a Saturday it was. The sun was shining, the solar panels were generating, the music was flowing, and the people were happy. We walked around together for the first hour to get a sense of what the festival was all about. In one area, the food vendors cooked delicious vegan, vegetarian, organic, and home-grown meals for the hundreds of people who either ran out or forgot food for the weekend. Under a very large tent, environmental companies and vendors set-up display booths to promote their product or service to the audience. In the far northeast corner of the farm was the family theater, where families and children would come together to learn and play with a centralized "green" theme. On the northeast corner of the farm was the main stage. Here is where most of the audience sat, talked, listen, and enjoyed the tunes from many local (New England) and sensational music groups.

At 5pm, Bill McKiven, was introduced for his hour-long keynote speech. Bill is a writer on environmental change and a pioneer in the "global warming" debate. He has lead hundreds of political movements to help policy makers and political leaders understand what scientists have all concluded is an international hazard and toxic world we live in. He and some others have established a website called www.350.org to unite people from across the world regarding awareness, support, and movement for a environmental revolution. Bill and his colleagues chose the website name 350.org because numbers are a universal language to unite. NASA scientists discovered in 2009 that the world's safe and sustainable carbon dioxide levels should sit at or below 350 parts per million. The globe's current carbon dioxide levels sit around 390 parts per million. We have already exceeded the threshold for a safe and sustainable planet. That is why we must all do our part in protecting the earth - for nature and culture into the future. I know this can be a daunting idea, but it is reality. The continent of Asia set a continental record in Pakistan last month where a 129F degree temperature was recorded. It is that dramatic. Bill said that the last time an United States monthly average fell bellow it's previous monthly average from the year before was in 1985. That means if the July's average in Massachusetts was 79F in 2009 it will be 80F average this year. And that hasn't changed in 25 years!

One interesting thing Bill said this weekend was the during the Jimmy Carter administration, solar panels were installed on the White House but then removed once he was out of office. They weren't removed for malfunctioning or efficiency standards because Mr. McKiven found those exact solar panels being used by a university in Maine last year. He and his 350.org supporters are going to march some of those solar panels (along with newer ones)own the east coast to the White House later this year and have them reinstalled with the help and guidance of the Obama administration. Along with Obama's help and 350.org - October 10, 2010 will be a culminating day in environmental protection and sustainable thinking. 350.org is declaring 10/10/10 a global work party day, where people put a sustainable action plan into effect for their home, community, county, state, or nation. Examples range from a family installing a garden in their backyard to an entire city making sure every single bike in the city is functional so that cars don't HAVE to be used for their commute and releasing CO2 emissions.

I was sincerely moved by Bill's speech and proud to have sold my car last month. Just one small step I can make to help the world is a good thing.

After dinner, I worked up an appetite by hula-hooping for 30 solid minutes near the family theater. I got some water and an organic and vegetarian pad thai. I sat down in front of the main stage and enjoyed both the music and the food. Everything was orgasimic.

We stayed at the festival until midnight. We heard some amazing musical acts - especially the Rubblebucket Orchestra - and enjoyed the bonfire as a culminating bookend to the day. I danced around the bonfire with no regrets and no reservations. I was one with the fire, the beat of the drum, and the stars above. I couldn't have been happier. I thanked Alex profusely once we were riding back to her home in Weston. We listened to one of the albums by Rubblebucket on the way home. What a great way to start my solo adventure and couch surfing experience.

Today has consisted of a shower, some breakfast, and a bus ride to Burlington. I am now getting picked up by Jade Christie-Maples - my next couch surfing host.

Much love and peace.
Jeremy

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