Jeffrey is still on NYC time, so he was ready to go hours before sunrise. For safety, we waited until dawn to hit the road.
For most of the day, we pedaled south on wonderful bike paths. Yet the paths slowed us as they wound through the countryside, and forced us to stop frequently to thread our trike through gates designed to exclude anything larger than pedestrians and 2-wheelers.
A silver lining in that cloud was being away from motor traffic.
When we crossed North Temple Street in Salt Lake City, Jeffrey was inspired to take an 8 mile detour to photograph me in front of the 1893 landmark Temple building.
The silver lining is that we made new friends.
We stopped at the Electrify Bike shop in West Jordan so Adam could make some adjustments.
We bought from Adam a new black fiberglass pole for our Stars and Stripes. We fly the flag for safety, and to emphasize that human rights and Americanism are inseparable.
This evening we thought of Morgan, Joella, Adam, Tasha, and other people we encountered along today’s 66 mile (106 km) route. These nice folks with their kind words and gestures are friendly, charming, reassuring, fun. But they don’t remind us of why we travel so far, so slowly, to talk with our fellow Americans.
Frou-Frou reminded us.
Frou-Frou was walking a poodle. When our trike approached, she scooped up the animal and asked evenly, “What’s this about?” Frou-Frou cut Jeffrey off with hateful propaganda. Those People come here and expect us to take care of them. Those People [even when facing death] should stay home and make their own countries better. We can’t take everyone. Et cetera.
Jeffrey gently mentioned that ordinary immigrants get no government help. That the persecuted get help only if they prove their cases. That people don’t choose to be refugees. That “everyone” isn’t coming here.
Jeffrey soon stopped countering the lies. It was pointless to mention (e.g.) who picks Frou-Frou’s strawberries (immigrants), who funds her Social Security check (immigrants paying billions of dollars for benefits they can’t collect), who will care for her in the hospital or nursing home that looms in her near future (immigrants), and who says that we should offer refuge to the persecuted (Holy Writ and American law).
Because Frou-Frou doesn’t listen.
Poor lady. So angry and bitter. Jeffrey thanked her kindly and wished her well.
We do the Rides, not to preach to the choir, but to open minds and hearts (and wallets; please donate to Human Rights First).
Some hearts and minds (and wallets) can’t be opened. But you don’t know until you try.
We are reminded of a Primo Levi poem.
There is good in every encounter.
The next time Jeffrey is ambushed by the “stay home and fix your country” trope, he will be ready to ask the speaker:
“What country did your family leave, instead of fix, so that you could close America’s golden door?”
How’s that for a silver lining?!
Good riding. Interesting people.
First Ride I’ve seen that much venom…you help change minds and help so many. Bravo for your calm.
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Safe travels, Jeffrey!
Wonderful episodes – thanks for including the negative as well. And for not engaging anger with anger.
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Thank you for a meaningful post and great pictures.
Hi last year at this time you were near garden City Utah. We met I was the manager of the Bear Lake motor lodge. I am now in Baker nv on hwy 50. You should come stop and say hi. Hope you are doing well and hope to see you.
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Utah is one of the fastest growing states so we are building to make affordable housing for all. Sorry you ran into a stinker but glad for the good people you did talk encounter.