#235: East TN bike ride – Bristol to Cumberland Gap

I just got back from 3 weeks in KY. (and TN, GA, VA, etc.)  I took a folding bike with me on  the train/bus, and biked from Bristol, on the VA/TN line, to Middlesboro, KY, where my family picked me up.  It was 107 miles, took me a day and a half.  I recorded things that seemed interesting along the way.

2m: Catastrophic flooding in Eastern KY the past week.  I’m not personally closely connected to people most impacted, but the region is my homeland, and I feel it.

4m: Jean Ritchie, from near Hazard, KY, sings “Movin on Down the River”

7m:  It’s very hot, and I’ve noticed in my travels that air conditioning is becoming more and more normalized, crushing my soul.  But check this out, public and gov’t buildings in Spain will be cooled to no more than 81 degrees F in summer, and heated to no more than 66 degrees F in winter, to address climate change and dependence on Russian gas/oil.    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/05/world/europe/spain-air-conditioning-limits.html

Also in air conditioning news  – Did you know that the U.S. uses almost as much energy for cooling as the 1.2 billion people of Africa use for everything all year?    https://time.com/6199353/air-conditioning-will-not-save-us/

8m: bike trip clips start:  Kingsport, TN, concert on the library lawn.  And the library also has a seed library!

10m:  TN music pathways historical marker: Leslie Riddle, African-American influencer of the Carter Family’s songs.

RIding Kingsport to Bean Station; night in the cemetery overlooking Cherokee Lake;   Too many cars and too much pavement!  and gas station cashiers who don’t understand.

26m: historical markers atop Clinch Mountain: Grainger Co “Valley of Independence” has pictures and stories of important people. 41 of 42 of 42 people honored are white men; there is one woman (white) who appears in a drawing/advertisement.

36m: heading through the bike path tunnel into Cumberland Gap

44m: in KY!  IMHO, land should be forested, for what will we sacrifice forests?  to grow food? or to mow lawns for some bizarre aesthetic?   Life on the farm: how about a copperhead right outside your bedroom door?  snapping turtles are always fun too.

Well, they say “Nature bats last.”





#234: Manya,Sigrid,Kalia,Jules&ErinGFN,CalebPP,Smiles

2m: Sigrid and Winston and family have a pear tree in their yard that still technically belongs to the woman who sold them their house many years ago, who wrote it in the sale agreement that the tree would remain hers, tho she lives in TX.  But Sigrid and squirrels eat all the pears.

5m: Manya and I are picking gooseberries at the Flo community gardens and talking about the difficulty in  getting things repaired in the US as compared to her Indian homeland. 

FIxing things – did I mention CLEANING and LUBE??

10m: Chung Ha sings (and pants) about going for a “bike” ride.  have you seen the bike sticker that has a picture of a bike and says “Put the fun between your legs”?

14m: Jules and Erin from Grow Food Northampton, and KC, at the GFN food distribution table behind Macdonald House in downtown Northampton.

24m: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sing the Onion Song

27m: follow up with Kalia about the high cost of having a place to live, even camping free, and meeting basic needs without stable shelter, or a place to cook food, or chompers for eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

31m:  Hoyt Axton sings Greenback Dollar

36m: Caleb, one of my coworkers at Pedal People stopped at my house for post-route replenishing after his double-routes on July 5 (holiday delay).   He shares about his Pedal People experience, a conversation which inevitably turns to consumerism, waste, the plastics industry control of economy and disposability culture, etc.   Oh, and the Valley Time Trade barter network.

51m:  I ran into Smiles when i was downtown doing trash pickups, sitting in the shade of a tree with her guitar.  She always shouts a Power to the Pedal People cheer when she sees us, even if I don’t see  her at first.  She sings an original,  “Don’t arrest the Clown”,  and “Bury me Beneath the Willow”




#233: Freedge, DavidEbike, LolaSwimming, Ali WP

This week for OutThere, live from the Dow studio at Valley Free Radio:

3m: Aimee Francaes, Shanna Fishel, and Tony are repairing the Freedge/take-it-or-leave-it food shelves on the bike path behind my house. The Freedge here is almost one year old. facebook: Northampton Community Freedge

9m: David who lives downtown recently got an ebike. Being on oxygen and unable to ride a regular bike, it has completely changed his ability to go where he wants. He can even bring groceries on his bike up on the elevator and unload his vehicle in his kitchen!

18m: Electric Slide song, by Martha Griffiths

22m: Lola Reed enjoys swimming

26m: My thoughts:  Have you ever thought about depaving some ASSphalt, especially on  a 95 degree day like today?  Call me, I can help, I have a sledge and pick.    Plus, thanks to Northampton drivers for their courtesy.     And, discovering another cherry tree!  and another mulberry tree, a big boost during a Pedal People route when the sun is blazing down.  Don’t forget to drink your switchel (in a quart jar of water, add a heaping spoonful of honey/sweetener and apple cider vinegar,  a pinch of salt, shake and drink as desired.  Then make another one and repeat.)

31m: Eddy Grant sings Electric Avenue. (I said Eddy is from Trinidad but i was mistaken, he’s from Guyana. Anyway, he’s ultra-cute, IMHO, and appears to be a responsible global citizen. Oh, and i now read he has a case against Donald Trump for illegally using Electric Avenue in a campaign ad.  )

35m: Nick Mattern, (we have a mutual friend Kathy Kelly)  is working on a campaign to stop armed drones. bankillerdrones.org

37m: Rodrigo went on a bus to the Poor People’s Campaign and Moral Revival March on June 18th. The event was multi-lingual, but most importantly they were speaking Heart language.   Paz y Justicia.

41m: Tem Blessed performed at theJuneteenth celebration in Amherst on June 19th.

44m: let’s take a walk to Fitzgerald Lake with Ali Wilson-Pierce,  who is now 7 years post-Pedal People, 10-week old baby at her busom, 35 years old, social worker at the VA, and still $75,000 in student loan debt.

53m: Aretha Franklin says “Think!!”




Ep 232: NHS bike trip: Brant, Ava; automobeasts vs cyclist (Charlie, Salem); corded vs battery; Pitt’s transfer day

Cherries!  Mulberries!  Chestnut flower aroma!

sorry for the sound quality of my voice, the mic in the studio is still problematic.

5m : Northampton High School math teacher Brant Jones coordinated a 4-day bikepacking trip of 7 NHS sophomores a couple weeks ago.

14m: Ava Medaugh was one of the students who biked.  It was far from her first long bike trip, but the hardest.  oh, the uphills of Western Mass.

sad to say, I had recorder issues and Ava’s interview was cut short.

19m: bike trip them song (request) : Bon Jovi, Wanted Dead or Alive

24m: my rants about ecars, texting/videochatting/recording while driving (or biking!),   The driver who ran over and killed local musician Charlie Braun while he as riding his bike past  NHS last October was sentenced this week. She was on a 53-second videochat, her 2-year old in the back seat, when she ran the stop sign and crushed him.

Also my friend Salem Mazzawy was hit in Granby last Saturday morning, riding his bike near his house at dawn.  The driver left him on the side of the road, where he was discovered by neighbors an hour or two later.  He’s in the hospital with Traumatic Brain Injury and a broken neck, but stable.  His partner Adele Paquin has posted on facebook trying to find the driver, and when people ask what they can do do help Salem, she says, Ride a Bike! https://ne-np.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=5302826679797222&id=1552226788190582

35m: Prince sings about Mulberry Puree.  (or is it Raspberry beret?)

39m: Shannon from Valley Bike Share, at the opening of the Bay State Village bike station on Riverside Drive. and a word from Emily Hamilton, new vbs cyclist.

41m: one of my friendly bike path buddies

42m: Winston Close (and Nari ) talks about retiring his reel mower for an electric corded mower.  and why he prefers a corded mower over a battery-powered mower.  Batteries: expensive/intensive to manufacture, don’t last as long, disposal problems, etc.  No-mow May. ?

45m: my friend Pitt (Peter Mukuria) shares his PrisonRadio.org commentary about the day he was transferred from a VA supermax prison, where he as spent over a decade,  to a MD prison.

Peter “Pitt” Mukuria

56m: Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney: Ebony and Ivory




Ep 171B – Patrick Angel mine reclamation, Katt B, Noriga-Trinidad

The episode got misplaced in the audio-digiverse.  Originally from Nov 20, 2019.

Patrick Angel,  former mine reclamation inspector, talks about growing up in Eastern KY around the strip mining.   After retiring as a mine reclamation inspector with the Dept of the Interior,  he started Green Forests Work, to plant trees on sites that were legally “reclaimed” with only grass.

32: Katt B, friend in Northampton, shares about people in our community struggling with opioid addiction

37: Noriga from Trinidad, on making and eating Ital food.  a recording from April of 2019

Ep 171A: Mitch the miner, Teresa Osborne

Mitch and Teresa Osborne are family friends from Harlan Co, KY. Mitch passed on May 17, 2022, at age 67, and I wanted to replay this as a tribute. This interview is actually from October of 2019, but somehow got lost in the shuffle and didn’t make into the archives at that time.

Mitch talks about his career as a coal miner in his younger years – working underground vs driving a huge dozer above ground – the impact on the body,  his family, the mountains, etc. 

Teresa shares about how she got there, the mountain economy and options.

48m: visit to Bell Co jail with my dad

#231: Catberry, KC Abundance, Dr Dorcas DirectCare, Bike Lab, LiquidSoapConspiracy, Chistes

We got a new soundboard and mics in the studio…sorry for the live mic sound quality, we’re figuring it out.

For today’s show…
It’s mulberry, and juneberry season:
3m: Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty sing Pickin wild mountain berries
6m: Catberry re Florence Farmers Market
11m: KC at Abundance Farm
14m: Mama’s and the Papas sing Safe in my Garden
17m: Dr. Dorcas Lacayo, Dr in Erie PA, talks about financial and paperwork pressures of medical care, and starting a direct care model to bypass some of the things that distract from patient care.
25m: Aretha Franklin sings Never Gonna Break my Faith
30m: Poor People’s Campaign march on DC announcement
32m: Lisa and LinGen talk about their bike lab experience
38m: No one wants to be addicted… to Opiods, to Oil
39m: This is my rant of the day: Liquid Soap – How many ways can they find to put things in plastic that are just fine as bars and powders??
49m: Los Tigres del Norte cantan La Banda del Carro Rojo

53m: Chistes con Jose Rafael

#230: Kalia camping out, Dr Steve Fisher becoming a radical professor, Solki running

Welcome to the new time for Out There! Fridays 4-5pm. I just returned from another trip to KY, and have some stories.

But first, from today, back in MA, I ran into my friend Kalia at Cans4Cancer, and she told me she and her bf have an official campsite for the summer, $750/mo.

On my trip back from KY, I paid a visit to Dr Steve Fisher, my most influential professor from Emory and Henry College, who I hadn’t seen in about 30 years.

Then there’s my young biking buddies from KY, Isaac and Mallory.

50m: And my niece’s cousin Solki from upstate NY, a 9th grader passionate about running.

#228: Dribbling to the Super Max

Who says you can’t visit someone in solitary confinement in a Supermax prison?  With a basketball, t-shirt, and bicycle as my traveling companions, I took a 3-day bike trip from my KY home to Pound, VA, to visit my friend Pitt, locked up there at Red Onion State Prison.  Technically no visitors are allowed because of COVID, because he’s in solitary, because I’m not on his approved visiting list, etc.  but you know, a big part of a visit is just the fact of the visit, the anticipation, the knowing someone came, just as much as the fleeting few minutes talking on the phone through the glass.

On the third day, I arrived at the road to the prison, on an old strip mine site.  They “reclaimed” it with a prison.  I stashed my bike over the embankment, changed into my shirt (“END SOLITARY CONFINEMENT:  I’m tired of playing with myself”), grabbed my basketball, and went dribbling down the road the last winding mile or two towards where the prison was, according the the googlemaps satellite image i had been studying.


(7-9-22:   Pitt has been transferred out of state to Maryland, probably largely due to his fighting for the rights of those in solitary confinement in VA, as well as being part of an ACLU case.  https://www.courthousenews.com/appeals-panel-sympathetic-to-fight-against-solitary-confinement-in-virginia/

Peter “Pitt” Mukuria

Tune in every Tuesday from 3 to 4 pm on Valley Free Radio, 103.3 FM in Northampton, MA USA or streaming online at valleyfreeradio.org