Monday, June 30, 2008


<--Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Hello, all. Becky here. Thanks for sticking with my blog for all these weeks. It’s been fun for me to share my journey with you, and very important to feel your support and encouragement.

Yesterday we were headed into Philadelphia. The roads were busy and hilly. Once again, the van broke down. We had it towed into Philly to a Ford dealer, hoping and expecting they would honor the warranty by the Ford dealer who “fixed” the van in DC. No such luck. We’ve thrown thousands into the van and are not the least confident that it will last 2 more days to make it to NYC. We’re also at the point that we just don’t care if it does. We’ll just ride our bikes and have our gear shipped to us somehow.

Today we got to spend a whole day in Philly. Shelby and I went downtown to the historic district and then went shopping for something to wear to our party in NYC. Somehow we can’t bring ourselves to wear smelly, dirty clothes in NYC. Now, you might be asking “why don’t you just wash them?” They’ve all been washed, many times, but they look and smell no better. When we’ve washed clothes in campgrounds, we then tie them to the top of the van to dry on the way to the next town. As they flap up there with the extra bicycles, our clean clothes catch bike grease, dirt, and whatever blows down the highway. I cannot exaggerate how disgusting they have become. We are all looking forward to returning home and opening our closets to clean fresh clothes nearly forgotten.

We’re all a little concerned too about returning to our “real lives”. Today I had trouble remembering my work address. I think it will be rather disorienting to be back in regular communication with persons other than the 10 I’ve been living with. We’re not sure if we’ll know what to do without an entourage.

Tomorrow we’re in New Jersey, staying at the home of Nora’s aunt and uncle. And then on to our final destination. I am equally glad to have made this journey and to be coming home. I know I will be thinking about and learning from the experience for months to come. Here are some things I’ve learned so far:

I can bike just about anywhere, by myself or with others.

I can thank the hills instead of cursing them, for they make me stronger. (thanks, Jack)

I can, with minor limitations, keep up with a bunch of twenty-somethings.

My body doesn’t like extreme exertion for more than four days in a row. But with a couple days rest, I’m always ready to go again.

There are great numbers and variety of people working in reproductive health, rights, and justice and related fields. They do not all agree on language, priorities, methods, or politics. Each is unique, gifted, dedicated, and necessary to the movement. We need to value every voice and its special place in our work. We have much to learn from one another, and the work needs us all. Competing with our colleagues or judging their work as less critical is self-defeating.

A world placed in the hands of the 10 young women on this trip is a lucky world indeed. There is hope.

Eating gluten-free for six weeks on a cross-country trip is nearly impossible.

Every state is struggling with similar political attacks.

Lots of progressives feel isolated, often ostracized by religious forces. In every state activists are desperately seeking religious allies.

Never go anywhere without a Blackberry.

Friends make every challenge worthwhile.

Those are my random thoughts on Monday evening. Thanks again to my awesome staff for holding it all together and keeping this blog up to date: Adele, Saskia, Virginia, Kelli, Sarah, Autumn. I miss you and can’t wait to see you!