October 29 – I’m safely settled into the home of a friend in Brooklyn.  We're safe on high ground as ocean waters, pushed by winds of the hurricane, flood into low-lying areas and causing power outages and extensive damage.

Unaffected by the flooding, we have electricity.  So I’m settled and taking advantage of opportunity to read “Non-Violent Resistance (Satyagraha),” by M.K. Gandhi (I love to read, but it was too much of a luxury for me to carry the weight a book on my bike, so I haven't had the luxury of reading for weeks).  I also appreciate the chance to check email, get some much needed rest, and write. 

I’m tired, and not wanting to write....  Gratitude tends to help in situations like this, in all situations really….  I’m grateful for prayers, a dry place to shelter from the storm, food, health, clean water, friends, people with integrity, people who work to keep other people safe, hospitality, family, internet, honest information, my bicycle, the power of the love that people share with one another, electricity…. 

I had a conversation with a volunteer fire chief in rural Ohio, which I’ve recounted frequently in conversations but I haven’t written about yet.  I’ll do so now. This fire chief invited me in for a friendly round of questions…I think he may have been concerned about my wellbeing and making an impromptu mental evaluation to determine whether I was a hazard to myself or anyone else on the road.  He asked enough questions to get some engaging stories from the road, which was fun for me, as well as information on the scientific evidence as presented by AE911Truth.  As I was describing in detail the scientific evidence, perhaps more articulately than he’d expected, he asked, “Are you an architects or an engineer?”  I told him that my university degree is in environmental toxicology.  As I was telling him that I studied organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, ecosystems analysis and human anatomy and physiology, he exclaimed, “You’re a smart little thing, aren’t you?”  But I’m typically not clever enough to think quickly of comeback lines in the moment.  As I was riding out of town, I did think of my response to his comment:  “I’m smart enough to treat 9/11 like it matters.  And so are other people who continue to ask important questions and seek the truth about happened on 9/11.”

And from a pastor in Montana to his congregation, “Whatever you accomplish, give the glory to God!”  I'm grateful for health and strength and courage to ride a bike over 4000 miles across the country, for all ways I was met with hospitality and generosity, for every sincere and caring conversation about 9/11, for persistence in the human spirit to seek truth in order to heal.

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October 27, afternoon - Manhattan

Riding a bicycle is a great way to see New York City.  True to the pattern that existed throughout the country, people warned me to be careful of the people ahead.  On the way towards NYC, I received friendly warnings, “Be careful riding your bike in the city streets – it’s dangerous there – they’ll run you over there and not even care.”  In my experience, that’s simply not true.  The drivers in Manhattan were as careful as anywhere else.  Drivers gave room on the edges of the lanes even more so than in other cities, 
waited for me to cross intersections rather than cutting me off when making right hand turns, and waved me through intersections ahead of them.  Traffic in Manhattan adheres less strictly to the lanes as is necessary to be free-flowing around obstacles.  I found the conditions, at least on a Saturday afternoon, to be good for bicycling.  And the broad-view of the city from the middle of the streets is excellent, much better than the half-view from the sidewalks.

After traveling all the way across the country, I most wanted to stop in at fire stations in lower Manhattan, to let firefighters there know about the 4000 miles and 95 days on the road to raise awareness for AE911Truth.

The responses I received were pretty much the same as all the way across the country.  Polite professionalism.  What was different, was being informed of the number of firefighters lost on 9/11.  At most of the seven stations we visited, the firefighter I was talking with had not yet heard of AE911Truth.  I asked Steve if this was the first time an AE911Truth volunteer had stopped at these fire stations.  He said, “Yes, I think so - this is the first time.”  Pretty much the same as all the way across the country.

Only one of these local firefighters in lower Manhattan said he’d heard of AE911Truth, from his sister in San Diego.  He said he was too busy with work at the moment to talk with us. But then he offered me a Gatorade, and he stayed to talk with us for another 15 minutes or so.  He said he’d looked at the evidence as presented by AE and it looks important to him, but that he doesn’t talk about it with the other firefighters at the station.   At the end of our conversation, he thanked me for my effort and offered directions to find more stations.

At only one station, was I met with the accusatory statement, “Are you one of those people who say it’s an inside job?”  My answer was, as it is every time I’ve received that question, “No, I’m not saying it was an inside job.  I’m saying that I want a proper investigation based on the scientific forensic evidence.”  He nodded and took a DVD and said he’d give it to his captain.

At one point along the way, near the Federal Reserve, I started a conversation with a couple of police officers.  I told them about the bicycle journey across the country to raise awareness about the scientific evidence from the WTC site on 9/11and offered a DVD.  They said they couldn’t take a DVD while on duty, so I offered a business card – one of the officers was willing to take a business card. 

Looking at the 9/11 Journey for Truth business card, he said, “You’re not from around here are you?” 
“No,” I said, “What makes you say that?” 
He answered, “You don’t get the politics of this place.” 

That sparked some curiosity in me.  I didn't want to miss the opportunity to ask, “How do you feel about the politics of this place?” 
With a wave of his hand, he exclaimed, “All I can say is, good luck to you.” 
My guess is that he was expressing his own despair that an honest open conversation about 9/11 could ever happen given the politics of the city.

At two stations, I was invited in for a photo inside the station.  And firefighters at one station offered me a t-shirt because they were impressed that I’d ridden 4000 miles to visit their station. 

October 27, morning - arriving in Manhattan


On Saturday morning, Wayne and I rode the final 28 miles into NYC without stopping.  We encountered dozens of cyclists on the road.  I was happy to see the George Washington Bridge, signaling the end of my three-month marathon across the country on behalf of AE911Truth.  



Entering onto the bridge, I had a short conversation a police officer and gave him a DVD.

A video-journalist met us on the other side of the bridge.  Wayne, comfortable with cameras, jumped right in and started talking to the camera while I stepped aside to deal with a rapidly rising panic.  Of all the challenges I faced all the way across the country, big trucks and narrow shoulders, crosswinds that threatened to blow us into traffic, approaching the first few firefighters and police officers along the way, etc., the challenge that required the greatest courage in me was facing a video camera in NYC.  But first my courage failed completely and I felt literally sick to my stomach from the distress of it.  After this first encounter with the video camera, it took half an hour for me to regain my constitution.  I did wait until I had pulled myself together again to continue the ride along the bike path into Lower Manhattan – I wanted my focus to be on the purpose of the journey and my ride into the city. 

An AE911Truth petition signer who greeted me on the bike path near the West Village helped me to regain my focus o the purpose of my cross-country bike tour, raising awareness to contribute to healing in relation to 9/11.  She brought food to share and business cards that she’d had printed for me.  And then as we rode and talked together on the way to WTC 7, she recounted her experience of personally witnessing WTC 2 destroyed on 9/11.  I could see the trauma still painfully alive in her face even eleven years later.

After touching in with WTC 7, the final destination of my 4000-mile bike ride, I was surrounded by a small circle of friendly faces and two video cameras.

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October 25-26, Red Hook, NY, through the Nyack

Engineer and AE911Truth petition signer Wayne Coste joined me for the final 120 miles down the Hudson River and into NYC.   After the intense focus of riding solo for nearly 2000 miles, this was quite a distraction for me – it took a day for me to regain my capacity to focus clearly on work and navigation.  At the same time, it was good to have upbeat and experienced company on the road (Wayne rode across the country five years ago on a supported ride, so is familiar with distance cycling).  And it was good to have a friend with a camera along to document a portion of the ride.

On Thursday we made several stops to drop off DVD’s...Rhinebeck fire and police departments, and Hillside fire department – the volunteer firefighter at Hillside was preparing for the incoming storm.  In Hyde Park, we gave a DVD to the public library, spoke with a village historian outside the library, and with a maintenance worker at the United Methodist Church.  

In the afternoon, at a Poughkeepsie fire station we had an extended conversation with a fire fighter about the bicycle trek and the evidence, the first time he’d heard of the evidence of molten iron, constant acceleration of rooflines, asymmetrical damage and symmetrical collapse, sounds of explosions, etc., or AE911Truth.  He accepted a DVD, thanked us for our effort and offered directions for the road. 

The roads had variable shoulder widths, sometimes narrow, and consistently moderate to high traffic.  We left DVDs for the Wappinger Falls.  Stopping for directions, we gave a DVD to a man with a “chemical safety fire police” insignia on his sweatshirt.

We got a late start on Friday.  The days are now so short that we made only one stop at the Cold Spring police and fire departments.  The east side of Hudson River and the New Jersey side after crossing Bear Mountain Bridge, is surprisingly beautiful, with lovely fall colors and continuous gentle cascades of leaves. 

We stopped to visit a couple, friends, who were preparing to pull their yacht out of a Hudson River marina just ahead of the incoming storm; they had reacted negatively in the past to information about AE911Truth, so we kept the conversation narrowed to family life and left a 9/11 Journey for Truth business card at the end of the visit. 

The ride through Nyack and into Orangeburg at dusk was dangerously urban, with narrow shoulders and high traffic.  


 


Comments

10/30/2012 3:24pm

So glad to hear you're safe! What an amazing journey!!! But it sounds like you might be stuck in NYC for a while. I'm sure everything happens for a reason ...

Reply
10/30/2012 5:27pm

Congratulations Rena and Pam!

I am so glad that you both completed your journey safely. I hope that you are considering writing a book about it.

Good Works

Reply
10/30/2012 11:34pm

Rena, Congratulations, You really made it coast to coast!

Although I wonder if someone isn't telling us something. Just before you arrived in Republic we had a wind storm more severe than any in recorded history. You got to the other side of the nation just before a hurricane - winter storm more severe than any in more than 100 years. What are we doing to ourselves?

A young woman, college student, was killed about 5 miles away from where I am typing this, a young boy was killed at a church camp in Grand Forks, BC - about 20 miles north of me. Our local Public Utility District is estimating several million dollars damage to their power lines alone. The estimates tonight are 40 dead and between 20 and 50 billion in damages on the East coast.

Is this because we are shipping coal to run electrical generators in China to manufacture Walmart items? No, not all because of Walmart - China - Coal -- but a sizable amount. I am getting more and more worried about the world my grandchildren will inherit.

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