Monday, July 21, 2008

Big Sur: Joy, recuperation, and soul

Last week, when I told friends that I was riding my bike down to Big Sur to camp, the two most common responses were, "Why?" and "You know that Big Sur is on fire, right?"
After watching a small soulful show of The White Buffalo playing at the Fernwood bar in Big Sur, it would be easy to assume that Big Sur was still on fire. The fire burning there now is not a dangerous one; it is a fire of energy and beauty that was exemplified when the large man with beautiful long hair names with the moniker of "The White Buffalo" moved the crowd through a set of soulful folk-rock songs that would have set any place on fire.

Meghan and I met up with Tim and his fiance Jill at this rustic bar and over a few locally brewed beers, we were rocked to a completely different mind-space. The White Buffalo isn't all that well-known, he had a song on the soundtrack for the surf movie, "Shelter" and he has released one EP. It seems that he may not want to be any bigger than he is.
But check out this beautiful song:

Love Song 1 - The White Buffalo

Beyond that it was sad to see the entire mountainside of Los Padres National forest charred from the Basin Complex fires. A lot was burnt, but not destroyed, as we all know fire is a necessary force for revival in the forest. But it was truly exciting to see the people of Big Sur reviving themselves and coming together. There was a great energy everywhere we went. It was as if this natural disaster brought everyone together a little bit more.

It added to the strange magic that makes Big Sur what it is.

From my Perception, Big Sur is doing just fine.

Now playing: Shearwater - White Waves
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Short Rant

This is purely for me to vent a little bit:
I went in to the doctor about a month ago for a physical. It was mainly because of two things: I knew that my insurance was soon to expire (changing jobs and all that) and because prior to that I hadn't been to the doctor in about 3-4 years.

Everything went fine and I am ok but my insurance sent me a bill telling me otherwise.

I was billed $330 for my physical and I found out that my insurance, Anthem Blue Cross would not cover the physical, this was considered, "preventative care." I called them and they verified that they would not cover preventative care, yet that if I went in with a cold or flu, they would have covered it.

It made me very upset that I would have to pay for this "preventative" care. I made an office visit and they gave me a slight discount, but it was nothing substantial.

Obviously this is a dent in my wallet during the summer, but I will survive. It just brings about bigger questions and problems.

Health insurance is a faulty system that allows a vicious cycle to continue. If they are promoting good health, shouldn't they be more focused on preventative care? If people are more healthy and check their health more often, they wont have to go in when they are really sick or injured because that wont happen as often. Preventative care should be insurance for healthiness. Obviously these big health care companies care less about health of their members and more about health of their gigantic billfolds.

It time to change the health care system. I am tired of waiting. And I am one of the lucky ones who has a decent health care plan that accompanies my job, what about the millions without health care? There is something deathly wrong with a society that values capital over health!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Break Pt. II / The New Roadtrip

Its not a completely new concept or anything, but to me it seemed like an astonishing discovery.I discovered over the course of about 7 days that the absolute best and most efficient way to travel over short or long distances is by bicycle. And with gas prices the way they are it seems that there really aren't many other options.

It started a few weeks ago at the Kate Wolf Memorial Music festival in Laytonville (North Mendocino county) with a few friends. We spent the weekend camping, swimming in the river, meeting people, jamming, hula hooping, and listening to some great music: Highlights included Greg Brown, Taj Mahal, The Wailin Jennys bringing the crowd to tears with their harmonies, Ani Difranco, Ruthie Foster, and many more.

After the festival was over, my friend Perry and I descended into the depths of hell (the Legget fires) on our bikes. As we got closer to the smoke and the fires it seemed as if someone was trying to tell us that maybe this bike thing wasn't the best idea. But after some greasy burgers and interesting conversation with the local sherriff, we ascended the coastal mountains and were blessed with crystal clear views of the Mendocino forests and coastline.

We made our way down the northern California coast averaging about 50-60 miles a day and had a blast. We camped at bike camps, ate great food, and shared with fellow bikers. We met some wonderful people and some strange people. We watched the sun set on the coast and the fog descend upon us every afternoon and morning. We went swimming in the Navarro river, napped on pacific cliffs and ate dough nuts out of dumpsters (interesting story).

It was an incredible journey and it really got me excited about bike touring. Its so easy, its a great workout, and its inexpensive.

In the past i really enjoyed going on roadtrips as a way to see places and meet interesting people, but I feel that current gas prices don't really make that kind of frivolous gas-burning acceptable (that and global warming). I think that bike tours are the new road trip. They really teach you to appreciate your surroundings and every mile of the road.

Im realizing that its very late and my words are blurring together. I will post a link to my photos from the trip in the next few days. Here are a few pictures:

Some travellin friends Organic coffee in Fort Bragg

view from the coastal town of Elk

View Larger Map

Now playing: Chavela Vargas - La llorona