Day 19 – to Grand Valley SU farm / sports center, MI (57 miles)
I went to sleep to the sound of gunshoots lastnight then woke up several times thinking it was time to rise. The bullfrogs must have been playing tricks on me. Joshua makes everybody sweet potato, apple & banana pancakes for breakfast – they are delicious & the hive of activity in the kitchen keeps people around for a chilled out morning.
I leave with Vale, Cristina & Cheryl. We ride a beautiful scenic trail & stop for lunch at a farmers market in Middlesville. I buy honey sticks & a jar of honey & realise that my body is craving sugar. We get mixed responses of support & disbelief from the sellers.
Along the ride we find Rob on his bamboo bicycle & lose Cristina & Vale at a turn. Rob, Cheryl & I cycle about 10 miles off route – luckily in the right general direction – we miss a bike trail for a busy road but the ride a good aside from a few dodgy roads. We ride through an all American suburb & it is everything you’ve ever seen in the movies – the American dream. Big white clean houses with emmaculate lawns, big cars, self contained play areas for the kids & a clean safe cul de sac. I can see the appeal & the curtains twitching. Rob & I talk activism & politics though I wonder how much he understands my accent. Generally I have had to repeat myself 3 times for the Americans. How strange to be in an english speaking country & experience language barriers.
We arrive at Grand Valley Student Union farm. I get the chance to wear a full on bee suit & help transfer the hive. The people leading the session are incredibly passionate about bees & it brings joy to my heart. I wonder if I’ll swat one by accident. We are told that bees are the only animal other than humans that we know can communicate abstract concepts – they communicate through dance & live by democracy. I find myself wishing that politicians were as clever as bees.
The SU serve us up a pot luck dinner & we hang out there chatting to students & making faces at small children (a favourite pasttime of mine). Youtube sensation, Dumpster Dan, arrives with huge boxes of dumpster chocolate & sweets. Joshua arrives by car – he smashed into a telephone box earlier & seems badly hurt though insists he will be fine.
We ride a mile to tonight’s sleeping area – the university climbing gym, which is, of course closed. I sleep on a giant safety mat which makes a wonderful mattress.