Author Archives: seanme

“Crazy; But That’s How It Goes”

On the outside, our Greyhound bus may look like this:

https://i1.wp.com/www.used-buses.net/bustypes/img/greyhound-bus-1.jpg

Don’t let  that fool you though, here’s a little insight into the Los Angeles-Phoenix jaunt we’re on now:

We’ll have an update tonight with details.  If we survive…

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McCain Reflective on the Stump

http://markhalperin.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/mccainfirstteerm.jpg?w=360&h=235

John McCain is giving an interesting stump speech in Columbus, OH today, described by ABC News as similar to “his current stump speech, but with verbs in the past tense.”  The speech looks ahead to January 2013 – the end of the next President’s first term in office. As McCain describes it, the speech is an opportunity “to describe what I would hope to have achieved at the end of my first term as President.”  In addition to success in the war on terrorism and and a revitalized economy, McCain remarks on vibrant voluntary National Service in the country.

Voluntary national service has grown in popularity in part because of the educational benefits used as incentives, as well as frequent appeals from the bully pulpit of the White House, but mostly because the young Americans, no less than earlier generations, understand that true happiness is much greater than the pursuit of pleasure, and can only be found by serving causes greater than self-interest. Scores of accomplished private sector leaders have joined the ranks of my administration for a dollar a year and have instituted some of the most innovative reforms of government programs ever known, often in partnership with willing private sector partners. A sense of community, a kinship of ideals, has invigorated public service again.

We’re looking forward to McCain speaking more about National Service throughout the campaign and seeing a comprehensive National Service plan from him soon.  If you’re interested in McCain’s full vision for America, take a look at the full speech here.

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Don’t Forget!

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Yesterday began the week known as “National AmeriCorps Week.” What’s the purpose of National AmeriCorps Week?  According to their website:

  • salute AmeriCorps members
  • thank community partners for their great work
  • bring more Americans into service
  • get things done!
Here’s some stats about all the amazing things AmeriCorps members are doing around the country:
  • 542,000: Number of people who have served as AmeriCorps members since 1994.
  • 705 Million: Total number of hours served by AmeriCorps members.
  • $1.43 Billion: Total amount of Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards earned by AmeriCorps members.
  • 1.7 Million: Number of community volunteers managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps members in 2007
  • 4,100: Number of nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations that AmeriCorps members served with last year.
  • $5 Billion: Amount of AmeriCorps funds invested in nonprofit, community, educational, and faith-based community groups since 1994.
Check out the AmeriCorps Video Contest and vote for your favorite video!

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I Believe In You

Late night update from Seattle.  

Matt and I finished our 32 hour epic from Denver to Seattle via: Laramie, Rock Springs, Salt Lake City, Tremonton, Boise, Baker City, Stanfield and Ellensburg. It was an interesting ride, including great lines like this from our driver, Roger: “This is a journey, not only of sight and sound, but imagination.”  Don’t you forget it. 

https://i1.wp.com/photos.igougo.com/images/p103545-Liverpool-Magical_Mystery_Tour.jpg

I also became friends with a man who also made the Denver-Seattle journey. I never picked up his name. I met him when he sat down next to me pulled something out of his pocket. He said it was “something special.” It was an one dollar coin circa the late 19th century. It looked something like this:

https://i0.wp.com/i3.iofferphoto.com/img/item/211/532/96/1891olot13ob.jpg

In describing it, he explained to me, “You see, I like really old… cool things.” 

He was planning on going up to Canada, but only had an ID from Hawaii on him. After he asked me if I thought he’d be allowed to cross the border without a passport, he told me he knew a guy in Canada, and maybe after the border patrol spoke with his friend, he’d be allowed to cross.  

My next set of encounters with my friend was on the second half of the trip. He walked by me on the bus, and told me he wanted to talk before the ride was over, but I shouldn’t worried, because it was good. When I was later getting Subway, and we had the following exchange:

Him: Hey man, I wanted to talk to you.

Me: Oh yeah, what about?

Him: What words can you tell me, that I can say to myself, to think good thoughts up here (pointing to head)?

Me: I don’t know man.

Him: What words do you believe in, because I believe in you!

The last adventure involved Matt and my friend. While I was checking when our bus was leaving out of Stanfield, OR, Matt was having a couple corn dogs. Then my friend turned around from his seat (mid-chew) and said to Matt: “I really like your friend… and you. I really like you and your friend.”

It made for a fun day and a half experiencing the Northwest with Greyhound. We’ll be here for a couple days with a meeting on Thursday before taking the tour South to San Francisco.  

Here’s a picture Matt took from Boulder, featuring the limited edition AmeriCorps bottle caps!

https://i0.wp.com/www1.indstate.edu/publicservice/Website%20Files/AmeriCorp/AC%20logo.jpg

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The Road Less Traveled

Matt and I are approaching the 20 hour mark from Denver to Seattle, with about 12 more to go.  Since the last time we stopped for food was around 7pm yesterday, Matt’s has resorted to eating a bag of chips and an oatmeal raisin cookie for breakfast.  

One of the things we look forward to each time we board a new bus is getting to meet our new bus rider.  Some are cordial, some all business; each are required to give the Greyhound Rules at the beginning of each ride.  They are as follows:

  • No smoking, use of illegal drugs or consumption of alcohol allowed.
  • Hold onto the back of seats or the overhead rack if you’re headed to the bathroom.
  • Use 12 inch voices during conversation, whether in-person or phone.
  • Use headphones with music devices.
Pretty basic stuff.  In addition, many drivers will also inform everyone of the scheduled stops, when we’ll be getting food and when we’ll only be stopping to drop off and pick up passengers.  Mark, our current driver, is a man of the people: “Don’t bother me during the ride.  I only want to hear if there’s a safety issue.  If you feel, smell, see or taste something funny, let me know.  And we’re going to stop for smoke breaks as often as possible.”  Good stuff.
Here’s a photo from Boulder, in honor of our Salt Lake City to Boise driver, who got lost during the drive:
https://servenextbustour.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/lost.jpg?w=225
We look forward to more fun on the road and cigarette breaks.  Stay tuned for more!

 

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Back in the Saddle

https://i0.wp.com/tarpinhill.net/images/Tarpin%20Hill%20Rocky%20Mountain%20Saddle.jpg

That right there is an official Standard Black Trooper saddle.  More or less unrelated to our next bus adventure, but fits with the theme of a great weekend in the mountains.

Last night Matt and I had a ServeNext meeting in Denver at the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado‘s office.  We had a good group join us, including the Director of Projects & Training for AmeriCorps *NCCC in Denver, the Colorado AmeriCorps Alums Chapter leaders and a group of AmeriCorps *NCCC alums.  Some really great things are happening in the Denver area, especially regarding disaster preparation and environmental stewardship.  The AmeriCorps Alums chapter in Denver is doing some great things, including an Issues Forums every 2 months, social events, and helping lead the efforts for the “AmeriCorps Week” (May 11-18) Kick Off.  The Alums will also be recognized in a pre-game, on field ceremony at the Colorado Rockies home game on May 17th.

We’re headed to Seattle this morning, having just celebrated our 1 month anniversary on the road.  We’ve got an exciting month ahead of us and we’re looking forward to seeing more of the country and meeting more people looking to move National Service forward.  We’ll send an update during our 31 hour adventure to Seattle… hopefully we won’t run into any more tornados!

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Buses, Tornados and Mountains: A Tale of Commitment

Since, Tuesday afternoon, Matt and I have become experts at the insides of Greyhound buses.  In case you aren’t familiar, they look something like this:

To the tune of 3,305 combined miles.  Boston to Cleveland to Des Moines & Louisville, Louisville to Des Moines, Des Moines to Kansas City, Kansas City to Denver.  In Kansas, we came face-to-face with one of these:

https://i1.wp.com/www.desktoprating.com/wallpapers/nature-wallpapers-pictures/lighting-and-tornado-storm-wallpaper.jpg

At least that’s how Matt tells it. (Check out the twitter from Colby, KS).

I’m looking forward to a bed and a shower.  Matt just wants to watch a movie.  Hopefully we’ll get to both of those in the next 24 hours.  We’re headed to Boulder now to rest up and enjoy the scenery.  Next ServeNext meeting: Monday on Denver.

 

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