Malkolm is cycling on! He is now cycling from Alaska to Washington DC, and then continuing on to the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun in December.
It all started with Bird Year, Malkolm and his parents' year-long, fossil-fuel-free journey in search of birds. Cycling a total of 13,133 miles (21,144 km), they identified 548 different bird species and raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation. Bird Year turned them into confirmed cyclists and taught them that climate change was more serious than they had thought.
In 2009, Malkolm biked from Whitehorse to Ottawa as a part of Pedal for the Planet: the project called for the Canadian Government to become a leader in the struggle to come to grips with climate change. The Harper Government did not even meet with the young cyclists.
Malkolm is now 18 and just finished high school. On August 24, he dipped his foot in the Pacific Ocean in Skagway, Alaska. Then headed up and over the White Pass to the Alaska Highway on his journey to Washington and on to Cancun.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bogalusa (Wendy)

For those of you on tenterhooks after reading Malkolm’s tornado blog, breathe easy. We survived. The events I am about to describe took place right before the tornado day.

Rain bashed noisily above our heads, and thick clouds dimmed the dawn. Ken crawled out of the tent to make coffee and found a note under our stove. It was written with large neat handwriting. “Go back to bed. We’re doing B’fast: Ham, Eggs, Grits, Coffee, Juice Etc. Hot showers???”

We hadn’t planned to come here to Bogalusa. The day before, we’d been sipping coffee in Starbucks in Slidell, joking about getting arrested for cycling on an interstate. We just wanted to nip over the Pearl River into Mississippi, and we thought the interstate bridge would be safer than route 90.

It took determination to get on to the interstate. Two lanes of transport trucks thundered past as we wove our way over the potholed shoulder. One truck driver blasted his horn angrily right behind me. I nearly swerved into the ditch. When I saw the bridge, I suddenly felt frightened. There was no shoulder and there were no breaks in the traffic. That bridge did not reach the standard required by Team Bird Year Safety Officer.

I nervously suggested that we detour north 35 miles to Bogalusa where there was a recommended bicycle route . . . nervously, because Bird Year has had its share of detours lately.

Late in the day we pedaled into Bogalusa. A steely-haired man leaned out of his car window and yelled. “Where are you from? Where are you going?”

“Yukon. Florida.” I shouted back. He caught up to us at the next corner and invited us to camp in his yard. As I cooked a curry supper, Charlie d’Aquin brought out platters of hors d’oeuvres: spinach dip surrounded by a rings of celery and rye bread, and a plate with chunks of fresh fruit. Two of the fruits were new to us – kumquats and tomatillos. Next came buttered mirliton (chayote), a home-grown squash. We hardly had room for the curry. Chai tea followed, made with whipping cream.

Before we got the breakfast invitation, I was already happy we had made the detour. When we cycled to the Pearl River and found a quiet bridge with a huge shoulder, I was even happier.


Billunit said...

Your route through Mississippi on the road from Bogalusa will be much better for birding, too. Keep it going!

Parus said...

Hey Malkolm and company,
Sounds like you're well on your way. 435 now. that's pretty good by bike. I hope you're planning on swinging by St Mark's NWR. There's always a surprise of some kind there. I also recommend Paynes Prairie near Gainesville FL if you don't already have wood stork.
Then, further south, Myakka River SP and Venice Rookery. No doubt you already have some of these planned. Good luck! I expect you to end up around 520-550.
Happy Birding! --Chris W, The SW WI birder.

Matthew said...

Grits! yay!

Bird Year said...

Hey - we have finally figured out how to respond to comments.Yeah, Grits! Oatmeal! The road is much better since Boglusa, altho' it has been too cold for most birds to show themselves. We did hear a really cool Barred Owl last night - it sounded like it was partying.