Thursday, September 30, 2010


Day 1 Beside The Big Blue of Peeler Lake 8 miles from trail head

Early am Peeler Lake Blue

Barney Lake Blue..4 miles from the trail head

Dave and I just got back from our long anticipated 8 day backpacking trip into the Hoover Wilderness and Yosemite National Park. We were planning on doing the 50 mile Benson Lake Loop largely because it's a back country trip famous for its deep blue waters. A couple of injuries made us switch to 41 mile Plan B which was an out and back trip to Benson Lake rather than the 50 mile loop. Wise move! We built in layover days at Peeler and Benson Lakes which allowed injuries to heal, gave us time to practice our fly fishing skills and soak in the beautiful blue waters and skies.

Huge Benson Lake...21 miles from the trailhead

But I gotta say, I hate coming home from a back pack trip. Now..I'm blue! It's like I have wilderness withdrawal. It's like I left something of myself out there on the trail. I miss the soft morning stillness. The crystal clear reflections of sky, scraggly pines and mountains on water. I even miss crawling up misshapened trails crammed with all sizes of stones...huge boulders I can hardly lift myself and pack over and the tiny stones that make you tumble.

I'm home, but I can still hear the sound of black bird wings moving the air above my head. I miss the chance but important conversations with fellow backpackers. I slept in a real bed last night, but I can still feel the total relief of finding a place to set up camp after throwing pack and back anywhere stationary after an 8 mile day with a hot 2500 foot climb. I'm home now and IT is all still out there doing its magical, etherial thing. The high, distant back country is still changing the people who accept the gift of getting out into IT, letting it sink in, burrow below the skin, and slide into the heart.

WOW! For both Dave and me, eight days away from home, out on the Benson Lake Loop was an incredible, unforgettable way to log miles for our Wounded Warrior Project and Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund.

We'll be back!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Head Out For Some Back Country, Sky High Miles

In a few days, Dave and I will be heading into the Eastern Sierra to begin our long awaited 50 mile Benson Lake Loop. We'll be out 8 days, but even a 3 day weekend in the high sierra is worth looking into for logging some unforgettable Road Warrior miles. If you don't have backpacking gear or don't like idea of using that famous little orange shovel, you can stay in a mountain cabin and come back to a soft bed, a hot shower and fireplace after a day hike. Get the book "Hot Showers, Soft Beds and Day Hikes in the Sierra" by Kathy Morey if you like this idea.

Fall is the perfect time to launch out into the wild--cooler weather, no mosquitos, and very few peeps. Just say, "Bad bear, bad, bad bear" and clap your hands above your head every once in a while. ;-)
The 14 mile round trip hike to Cloud's Rest in Yosemite is a BIG day but the 360 degree views are simply spectacular. Take water and food, not much chance to pump water along the trail.

The Top of Cloud's Rest in Yosemite-You're higher than Half Dome. 

We stay at Tioga Pass Lodge at the eastern end of highway 120 when we want to hit Yosemite in the fall and avoid the cold nights on the ground. They have a great little restaurant and store, cabins on the creek with and without kitchens.
Tioga Pass Lodge in Yosemite
Another very worthwhile and much easier day hike out of Tioga Pass Lodge is to drive down the road 4 miles to the 20 Lakes Basin. Kids love it because you take a water taxi from Saddle Bag Lake and then make an easy, mostly flat loop hopping from lake to pristine lake. Photo ops are never ending.

Typical View Along the 20 Lakes Basin Trail
out side of Yosemite 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"I can TOTALLY do this!"

The Walnut Festival 5K-10K run was definitely the place to be this morning. The weather was perfect and before I had even finished setting up the red, white and blue RW info table, 4 new young Road Warriors had signed up vowing, "I can totally do this!"

Long story short, I gave away every single packet I had with me! 20 new road warriors are on board--and they all agree that putting in 100 miles before 11/11/10 is doable. Three of our new road warriors will be getting our T shirt transfer in the mail this week so they can iron it onto their own shirts.
Iron On T Shirt Transfers given away

Gotta love these guys and gals today, especially the teen agers! They want to participate in something meaningful. They have a heart for our soldiers and their children. The grade school runners loved the Wounded Warrior Project wrist bands--couldn't give them away fast enough.

This was an exhilarating weekend. Bigger and better than I ever imagined. Thanks to all the new road warriors out there willing to do something tangible for soldiers they don't even know. It was obvious that every person who decided to become a Road Warrior this weekend knows our military deserves our miles, our praise and our support. 

We welcome these willing warriors to the road....Gisella, Nancy, Ross, Chris, Alice, Anthony, Helene, Parisa, Juliette, Tom, Whitney, Rowena and Marvin, Tricia, Brent, Jamaica, Elvira, Siobhan, Laurie and Kevin. 

Remember to have fun out there!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 Brings Out Proud Patriots!

Young American Patriots Fife & Drum Corps
September 11th was HOT today at the Farmers' Market in more ways than one! Not only were we treated to the historic sound of a fife and drum corps, but we had record warrior sign ups, record donations and words of praise for 2 veterans recorded on our Road Warrior T Shirts...
Chris Miller writes words of thanks to Corporal Allen Silveria

AND...We blew our old record of 5 Road Warrior recruits in one day out of the water with 15 new sign ups! From curious moms with strollers to guys in cycling gear, everyone wanted to know the same thing..."Tell me about Road Warriors". And I did! These new warriors will be logging about 11 miles a week for the next two months and looking for sponsors to support their awesome commitment. 

What great hearts you have for our military.
New Road Warriors Jamaica & Daughter Elvira

Not only will we have 15 new road warriors logging miles and raising money all the way to Veterans' Day, we also have today's donations from our 9/11 memorial. Tallying up our incredibly generous donation of $750.00 from Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association plus the heartfelt 9/11 donations from our market shoppers....

Today we raised $1101.22!

I wish I could express to you the enthusiasm and sincerity with which each donation and decision to become a road warrior was made. If you know an active military person, veteran or family of a veteran, please let them know that the heart of America is for them, and always will be. Tell them about the mother who handed me her $10.00 donation as quarters filling up a baggie. She and her daughter had gathered them together that morning. They did it as family....counting quarters to give away to support our military children. Tell them the words one of our new road warriors wrote on the T shirt we will give to Corporal Allen Silveria...

Thanks for your big sacrifice 
so we still can live our dreams.
De todo corazon, Gisella

Saturday Oct 2 brought in $26.00 more in donations
for a total of $1127.22 and
10 more new Road Warriors!
We are still aiming to reach our donation goal of $1500.00

Friday, September 10, 2010

BIG Weekend On Tap For Road Warriors 2010

We'll be at the Pleasanton Farmers' Market 9/11
On tap for Saturday 9/11...Couldn't believe it when I looked on the front page of the Livermore Independent Newspaper and saw the headline "Funds Sought for Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund"...above the fold even! Thank you Independent!

The paper did a great job announcing our "Donate $9.11 on 9/11" Campaign to raise a total of $1500.00 for Freedom Alliance at the Pleasanton Farmers' Market (on Angela Street) tomorrow, the anniversary of the 9/11/01 attack on our country. We are believing great great things for tomorrow. If you are a road warrior, stop by and let us know how your miles are going. I'll have some RWs2010 T shirts to give away to the early birds. Here' the T shirt transfer design we came up with....
 Thank Our Vets..Sign A T Shirt Saturday 9/11

AND on Saturday 9/11, everyone can take part in honoring two local Iraq war veterans--our market Director's sons, Allen Silveira Corporal, USMC and Wesley Peeks Sergeant, US Army--by writing words of thanks and appreciation on the back of two Road Warriors 2010 tee shirts we are going to give them. I've got the marking bring the words of thanks.

On tap for 9/12--the Walnut Festival 10K...We have been invited to set up our info table and invite the Walnut Festival 5K and 10K runners to sign up for Road Warriors. Look for us near Nordstrom and PF Chang from 8:30-10:30 am. It's still not too late to put in 100 miles before 11/11/10!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

PCFMA Pledges $750.00 to Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund

I have been staffing a dietitian's booth at our Pleasanton Farmers Market for the last 7 years...I have always been proud to be a part of our market because of the caliber of people I meet there and because of the market managers and director who take such good care of me.

I'll be at the Pleasanton Farmers Market on 9/11 

More reasons the market is special to me....some of our Road Warriors have signed up there and other visitors to the market have stopped to write "thank you" cards to our active military men and women.
2 grateful guys writing thank you cards to our soldiers

...Something Incredible Happened Last Week...

Last week, I got an email from John Silveira, director of the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association (PCFMA). Both of John's sons enlisted as Marines and served in Iraq, one serving 3 tours of duty. After reading Jim Ott's newspaper article about Road Warriors 2010, John wanted to help us. He let me know that PCFMA will match up to $750.00 of public donations for the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Program.  A total donation of $1,500.00 to the scholarship fund will be a tremendous encouragement to the college aged student whose father or mother gave all in service to America.

Donating $9.11 on 9/11

Shoppers can make a donation at the Pleasanton Farmers Market by writing a check to Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund. I'll be at my booth to accept donations on 9/11. What if 82 people make a donation of $9.11 on 9/11? We will have our $750.00 to be matched by $750.00 from PCFMA.

Click here to meet some of the students who have received scholarships from Freedom Alliance.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"The Road" Comes To Life as Watercolor

Every time our Road Warriors 2010 window opens up on someone's computer, the viewer is greeted with a fairy tale-like photo of a trail in Del Valle Park. Gotta say, I never get tired of looking at that trail and picturing myself smack in the middle of it. Yup, I'm right there putting in my road warrior miles on that dirt path snaking around oaks and through honey colored hills...taking the time to check out billowing clouds that look like the icing on a cake....looking for critters and listening for red tailed hawks.

Who wouldn't want to be out there, on the the hills...and away from traffic and jack hammered city streets? It's a joy to huff and puff in beautiful places and I am constantly grateful for the opportunity to use my legs, heart and mind to take me through this version of God's country. I have a hunch most of our road warriors feel the same way and are equally grateful to be able to turn their miles into something bigger than themselves.

To everyone logging miles for our vets...
You are all doing a great thing out there!
And we want to thank you in this way....

We are incredibly honored that local watercolor artist Marie Pascal has accepted our request to create her interpretation of Gene Frieders beautiful photographs of our valley's open road. When she is finished, her original artwork will be presented to a Road Warrior to say "thank you so much" for putting yourself out there to make a difference.