You might be asking “Milnor, what the Hell does a bunch of food have to do with adventure?” So insightful. Great question. Guess what? I’m going to tell you. My truck is currently sitting in the long-term parking lot in Albuquerque. In the back of my truck are my bikes. I, however, am sitting in Southern California. No car. No bikes. Well, I do have a last resort bike, which is a single-speed mountain bike conversion, and something that works for basic transportation, but something that does not work for any significant riding.
I have basic needs. Food, water. So, when it came time to go get food I found myself in the unfamiliar position of “Oh, how am I going to do this?” Normally, depending on the amount of food required, I would either hop in the truck or hop on the bike and get it done. But now I was faced with a different option. Walking.
Here’s the thing about Orange County. This is the least proactive community you will ever find. There is more opportunity for being proactive than just about anywhere else but the population is, at least on the westside of the I405, rich, white, entitled, defiant and conservative. So walking to get food is not only a rare happening but also something that can be viewed with subversive contempt. The main idea here is to amass wealth, buy new cars and houses and then try to keep anyone else from getting the same shit.
Walk anywhere at anytime and you are met with a constant stare, gaping mouths, finger pointing and “Oh my God look at that loser,” type of attitude from children driving $100,000 cars and SUVs. I once had an old, white, Newport Beach resident, someone who looked a lot like Judge Smails from Caddyshack who gave us this amazing line, “I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn’t want to do it. I felt I owed it to them.” This man yelled at me after he discovered I had ridden my bike to buy food. He screamed I had no right to be on the road, and apparently my shopping by bike had cracked the foundation of his entire belief system which was probably “get rich as fast as possible, build an enormous house, then build an enormous fence and keep everyone else out.”
So yesterday I packed up my trusty Cotopaxi daypack and started walking. Now, there is a local market less than a mile from my house, which is where I bought this assortment of stuff. It all fit PERFECTLY in my pack, and due to this being California the price came in just under $53,000. Walk, shop, pack, walk, unpack, eat. This was REALLY easy, and after you do it once you realize this is what most of us should be doing all the time. But somehow we don’t. Over 50% of all car trips in the US are under five miles, but yet we don’t ride and we don’t walk.
Leaving my belongings in another state was a GREAT way to not have an option. Sure, I could have used Uber or borrowed a car, hitched a ride, etc. But why? And don’t go giving excuses of “It’s too hot,” or “I don’t have the time.” Just take all that shit time you spend on Instagram and use it for walking, and don’t be afraid to sweat. One of the most successful people I know lives in Houston with no car!! Yes, you read that correctly…HOUSTON.
I know that many of you are conservation minded, are proactive and are probably doing this now. Good on ya. Keep it up. I think one of the issues with conservation is that there is a tremendous lack of humor on both sides, and the messengers of the past don’t work for the politics of today. I once went to a meeting of the Newport Beach city council when they were discussing creating bike paths and realized within about two minutes that these rich, isolated, out-of-touch people who didn’t actually ride bicycles had ZERO interest in actually improving the situation, and even if they did the red tape was beyond repair. It was then I made the decision to leave this place as soon as humanly possible and find a place that at least had a vision for the future. But until then I’m going to make the walk to shop movement the norm and not the exception.
And for those of you who are thinking “Damnit Milnor, you didn’t take this food adventure nonsense far enough.” Well, this last image is for you. There is ALWAYS another level.
Damn, bro, stay close to the toilet….
I think the walking is brilliant. I’ve recently taken up street photography to increase my own walking. BTW your selection of goodies look great. I might just add canned sardines to the list.
I can’t handle sardines but tuna is gold.
When walking a mile or two doesn’t loosen things up, it’s time to get out the big guns.
Something I adore about Bellingham, is how much stuff is walkable.
It’s a great feeling to get to a community that doesn’t require a car. And I love cars.
Luckily, here in the twin cities of St. Paul/Minneapolis biking is not only tolerated, but encouraged with many streets with bike lanes. I have not been oggled while walking, at least not in recent memory. Big trips to the grocery store require the car, but we do walk to the store when we need a few small items. We also have a couple farmers markets reachable by light rail. Life is good…
That is WAY too progressive for SoCal. You might get arrested here for even suggesting that.
Lived for 7 years in San Francisco, so I goy used to see people biking everywhere pretty much any time of the day. But I also have the experience of living in “suburbia”, not Newport but a city in the Bay Area, where most of the people only sleep. I was there for few months and didn’t have a car. The walk from where I was living to the closest grocery store was 30 minutes, normally under excruciating sun. I used to walk empty handed and came back loaded with groceries. Nobody walked, it was so weird! Specially for me, being European, we walk everywhere. Every time I came across another walker we said hi to each other, while all the soccer moms driving their huge suburbans (most practical car to go get your nails done) looked at us walkers like if we were nuts.
I think is great you “reveal” against this suburbia stupidity. Keep at it!
A few weeks ago I ended up walking from an off-road shop to a nearby mall. It was like an adventure race, but I was the ONLY person walking and people were slowing down to gawk at me. I walked over glass, needles, trash, human fluids and the debris you get from millions of autos and cheap building materials. It was depressing to say the least.