Well, it's been a while since I updated the blog from our last successful Tour de Trash in Spring 2009, but not to despair, we have continued our noble cause despite public sector budgetary constraints and a dismal overall economy.
Jonathan Lee managed to get out in late April to cover the usual trash spots and came back with the expected waypoints localizing the exact areas that needed roadside cleaning.
As financials continue to crumble at a global level, it is not surprising to hear about the public sector cutting back on spending. As most of you probably heard from local news
broadcasts, Sonoma County Public Works officially lost their budget to collect roadside litter in late April. Given the ever growing cycling community in Sonoma County, it is also no surprise that the ensuing road rage incidents are on the rise. The cycling community feels that it is even more imperative to get involved at all levels with the community now more than ever. Cyclists want to give back to the community that offers us our cherished back roads. SCBC and local cycling organizations recognize that cyclists need to make every effort to keep the delicate balance of sharing the road with everyone else.
Therefore, the ABC Rides are going roadside for the first time to collect the trash ourselves in an effort to continue to serve the community that allows us to ride some of the most beautiful roads in the world. The cyclists themselves will drive out to Jonathan's waypoints with volunteer pickup truck owners and collect the litter. We will then return all the trash items to a dedicated bin that Janine Crocker from the Sonoma County public works has managed to provide just for the ABC Rides.
The scheduled date for the roadside cleaning is Sunday, June 20. Whole Foods came through for us with awesome snacks for our efforts.
Petaluma Roadside Crew Report
The Petaluma crew met over at Sonoma Elementary School on Rainier, Sunday, June 20 8:00AM.
We had 4 pickup trucks available courtesy of:
- Jason "Climber" Clymer, NAPA Auto Parts-Novato
- Eric "Big E" Schleth, Lee's Body Shop-Petaluma
- Keith "Red Neck" Marchando with trailer
We hit the road early Sunday morning and headed for the first pick of the day, a dryer on Sonoma Mountain Road. We had scouts helping us clean the roadside litter while we rigged up the first catch of the day. After some trial and error we finally got the trash over in the trailer and headed out to San Antonio Road for a 42" TV.
Much to our surprise and ironic disappointment, someone actually picked it up ahead of us. There is hope...
Not be outdone we pursued our way to our next stop onto I-street. The mattress that was rotting away for many months drew the unfortunate realization that there was no way that it can be removed from the creek without totally disintegrating into a million pieces. We opted to leave it as a natural rodent habitat much the same way aircraft carriers are becoming underwater diving museums. Have at it, you rats!
With 3 pickup trucks almost all empty, we felt that maybe our cause was in vain. We headed up Red Hill for the scrap yard that no one knows about. Much to our satisfaction, we hit the big one! Litter strewn all along the steep embankment. We had our work cut out for us but we had the Dream Team. As the kids started having fun with all the trinkets that we plucked out from their lodgings in much the same way that abalone is fished, the trucks started getting filled up fast.
We headed over to the next turnout less than 50 feet from the first find and...Bam! Even more trash...Now we were at a point that we had no more room in the trucks to fill. Although it felt like giving up as we crawled back up the ridge and still much litter remained, we knew we had done our part and there will always be another Tour de Trash.
One more stop on Wilson Hill and we were on our way to "STS", the Santa Rosa airport where the bin awaited our prized collections. It was obvious when we arrived that our Santa Rosa brothers and sisters finished their 9th edition ahead of us. We piled our litter on their findings and ate the Whole Food snacks with well deserved appetite.
We took a few looks at that bin and felt good once again that Sonoma County can continue to count on the "good" people to keep the county clean.
Santa Rosa Roadside Crew Report
The Santa Rosa crew met at Norcal Bikeshop where Jonathan Lee led his crew to his familiar trash holes found from his April ride.
"Fathers’ Day 2010, 7:30 am.
A small group of dedicated cyclists gathered at NorCal Bike Sport in Santa Rosa. Coffee in hand, we did a quick briefing on what we were there to do. Up to this moment, Cyclists in Sonoma County, had twice per year, participated on Trash Dump identification rides on Sonoma County’s back roads. On these rides, the riders would carry GPS units and search the road sides for large trash dump sites. Furniture, Tires, appliances, cars, major litter dumps, all took up residence on the sides of the roads throughout the year. One in the Fall and once in the Spring of the past 5 years, these riders would identify these sites and log them into their GPS unit to send along to the County clean up services to come and remove afterwards. This year, with the County budget cuts, the cyclists faced a dilemma, we could identify the sites ( which we did) but then who would we give these coordinates to for removal? The answer was sadly no one.
Undeterred, the cyclists decided to put out the call to their greater community of riders and ask for help in the form of Trucks or trailers to go out and pick these sites up.The initial response to help was large with a lot of trucks offered and helping hands volunteering. But the only date that worked for the ride leaders, turned out to be June 20th, Father’s Day. So the overall turnout was small but high powered nonetheless!
On the Santa Rosa-based group we had 3 trucks and 6 helpers:
- Brian Mischke and his adorable son Ike
- Virginia Luke (who drove all the way out from Napa to help us!)
- Dean Wallace (taking this Fathers Day morning away from his understanding family to help out!)
- Jonathan Lee
- Mark Wisecup (Neither of them Fathers yet at least to their current knowledge).
We opted to cover roads closer to Santa Rosa at first and headed out Olivet and Trenton. The first site we suspected to be a high-value target did not disappoint. As we approach Mark starts yelling “jackpot baby”! We roll up to the discarded shell of a VW bug and a few tires/litter. Out we scramble and throw the lot into Mark’s Truck. We continue to canvas the western county, Vine Hill, Harrison Grade, Morelli lane, Monte Rio, and Wohler Rd to Westside. Oddly we found very little trash sites throughout this corridor. But once onto Lytton Springs rd, Mark again find s a jackpot of sweet trash. Along with aggressive ants swarming our lower legs and biting everyone, and a wild boar carcass (with very cool tusks I might add) we gathered up the mess and off we went.
On Chalk Hill I knew of a swath of road where I always see big things dumped over the edge. Sure enough, Washer, TVs, Mattresses, more tires galore. We semi-rappelled down to hook a line around the washer and pull it out of the gully with Mark’s Truck. More ants, lots of whooping and hollering, and we were done with three full truck loads.
The County did provide us with a large dump bin at the airport which is were we headed next. We dumped our respective truck loads, grabbed some goodies that Whole Foods provided ( thank you Ario and Whole Foods!) and soaked in the day that was still just shy of half over. Afterwards the Petaluma gang came along and filled the rest of the bin with their removal loads!
Great day of outreach: 3 Large Truck Loads of trash that would still be out on our roads, Half a Large Dump bin filled, 80+ miles covered. But best of all. The fact that little Ike Mischke had seen what outreach looks like, personified by his Father working tirelessly alongside his other smiling friends and cyclists!
That to me is of a worth greater than simply removing trash. We will continue on in the Fall of this year, We’d love your support and/or trucks and strong hands and backs!! Stay tuned and thank you for reading."