Friday, January 23, 2009

Beatlick Travel #9: Revolutionary Grounds

Inaugural Day, Tucson AZ

The transition to warm Tucson has been great, the cold nights gone for the season hopefully, although it has rained here for the last two days and there’s a quiver of a wet chill in the air. I sit and write here now at the Revolutionary Grounds Coffeehouse and Bookstore on 4th Ave. The shelves hold titles like “The Marxism of Guevara,” “Emiliano Zapata,” “The Urban Homestead,” “ The Anarchist Cookbook,” and “dominKNITrix.” The store hosts groups from poets to knitters to There are brochures for Independent Booksellers: Doing Our Part to Keep America Interesting (

It was here Beatlick Joe and I came on inaugural day to watch an especially installed television for the proceedings. “Anna” a social services student was first one in with a bottle of champagne chilling in her cooler. We got there about 9 a.m. The coffeehouse owner joined us with sparkling cider soon and a roving reporter from the Arizona Daily Star came in and interviewed our growing ranks.

I feel like the earth has shifted under my feet – we were not kind to Bush there in the coffeehouse as we enthusiastically hooted him out of office. One young man at Anna’s table wore a black t-shirt with white lettering: 1/20/09 …end of an error…

It was a really memorable social scene and we all enjoyed the camaraderie as we collectively stood up as President Obama was sworn in. We bonded there in a fun and unique fashion over the high hopes and champagne. I had three glasses. I haven’t been so gleeful that early in the morning since I took the 9 a.m. tour of the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam.

Tucson has provided a great urban campsite. We are parked in a well-established neighborhood amidst the 4th Ave. Historical Business District. We buy groceries and fresh water at the co-op. In the mornings we get coffee at one of the cafes in exchange for bathroom privileges. There’s the Epic Coffeehouse, the Chocolate Iguana, Revolutionary Grounds, of course, and the Metro Market. They have the best bathroom, plus lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, the cheapest bagels, and the only cafĂ© I have found with the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Love it!

We also collect what we call our gray water, not drinking water but washing water, from the local bathrooms. We discreetly enter with our jugs in our designer recycling tote bags. Slowly our little ban reveals itself – where’s the best place to keep the candle altar, the cookstove, the water bucket.

Moving around in the bus is like a dance. You have to move five things to get to one thing – every time! We are quite content in the van on a rainy day. We have a crank radio, DVDs that we can play with portable deep-cell batteries that are rechargeable.

Ever so often we pop for a hotel room or campground so we can wash up and recharge the batteries, they take over 12 hours to recharge. I even recharged my phone on one yesterday, plus watched a movie, and still have juice. We have one box dedicated to CDs, DVDs and one box for dictionaries and books. So we’re getting there.

The worst thing that has happened: One night as Joe was crawling into the bed, in the dark, I reached out for something and the smallest, tiniest little corner of my not even long fingernail caught his eyeball. It was a nauseating experience, I missed the cornea by about one-fourth of an inch. It was bloody for five days. Horrible experience.

So that was the initiation. Movements have to be slow and measured – the way my mother used to operate.

Happy Trails
Indian Country next, into the wild!

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