I happy to share one of my favorite jazz solo pieces for guitar. Music is such a huge part of our family. We have spent so many hours playing for the kiddos and dancing and singing. Izod button up dress shirt and lumberjack hat were just perfect for that autumn feel.
A YouTube first, an abstract pour using lacquer as the medium. This is an ongoing art series using the infamous Arminex nail polish base that we saved according to regulations. Oh, the scandal! Oh, the drama! Well, we took all that pain and frustration and sorrow that came out of the Arminex International, Inc. fiasco and made it into art.
Find every opportunity to turn your pain into something beautiful.
Just another bread run in the Radwagon.
So, the #ebikechallenge evolved for us. We started at, "Is there an ebike that can handle me?" Then it became "What can this ebike do?" Now it's become, "Let me tell you why you want this Radwagon."
I'm not here to compare specs on parts. I'm here to tell you that this bike works. It hauls multiple people, loads and loads of groceries, and we have verified that it can easily pull a couch on our trailer. This bike deserves all the attention that it gets every single time we go out. And gosh, people will walk right up to you and ask you very direct questions about this bike. So many people that we've met in our home town talk about how they want one just so they can stop buying gas, but are unsure about how they handle in real life, or if it is actually worth the investment of going electric. Or like the elderly man that was so excited that we pulled up to check out his estate sale because he kept seeing us out and about and grinned ear to ear while telling us, "You know, you're cheating the system." It feels like that every time we're out on it.
Just a picture of us out by a farm.
The desert summer was super hot, so we did some night trips for groceries.
The Radwagon legitimately carries two adults. It will also hold an additional child and pull a trailer. This bike is a beast.
We ran across this beat up gas can on the side of the road. It felt like it was full of symbolism, so I grabbed a picture and we rode away on the Radwagon.
We took the Radwagon to meet the solar panel farm. It was like kindred spirits.
You could pay way too much for an electric bike, or you could buy a Radwagon. Tell them Danny Dannels sent you.
And we made another video about the life of our Radwagon. See you next time!
The Radwagon and boulders on the mountain.
The eBike Challenge is a photo and video diary of the journey our family has taken to find an ebike to enable our ecowarrior existence and reduce our footprint on the world. It is our way of encouraging other families to take the bold step of reducing their needs by switching to the environmentally friendly transportation option that ebikes provide.
So, if you've been following along, you know we bought some ebikes that didn't work out. We had been looking at the Radwagon originally, but like everyone out in the real world, dropping two grand on a bicycle makes you hesitate. We bought the wrong bikes, had a bad time with them, but it all worked out. We ordered the Radwagon from radpowerbikes.com and I get this receipt while I'm in the kitchen talking to my wife and giggling about the new ebike with the Chromebook open.
Well, I reply, "I'm so stoked" to the Do Not Reply email receipt because I was being goofy, and lo and behold I get an email back from their Thomas in their Customer Service department telling me that they were stoked to send it to me. I was floored, but that was just the start of it. The bike drop ships the next morning and I get this thing in like two days through FedEx, which is like asking your Aunt Alice to deliver a package for you. Definitely is not in a hurry. The driver though, he was all smiles and going on about how he had heard of the Radwagon before and he was excited to deliver it. I don't know of anyone at FedEx that has ever told me they were excited, even when I'm the one shipping, but this guy was genuinely excited about dropping it off.
Folks have to be careful about setting the bar too high. You tell someone that something is great, is better be. If it is better than great, well, that takes some hands on determination to be decided upon. First I had to put the thing together, and I took some pictures.
The giant Radwagon box in my office.
The loop is a handle bar and a tie down.
Running boards, seriously, the bike has running boards.
Unpacking reveals the Radwagon.
The front end packaged up.
Unwrapped handle bars hanging.
Stuff in the box.
The supplied tool kit to put the bike together.
Putting the bike together was exciting all on its own. There is a fulfillment that comes from building things. You're part of it. It's something you did. I put together our Radwagon and we ran errands and got groceries and went on a date night because we're cute like that and all couples need to go do things like that. Gotta, gotta, gotta do fun things with your partner in life, mandatory.
Hillary and I go on adventures together. We went all over the place, and did all the things that a family of 10 people need to do, and we did it on a Radwagon.
Riding around up in the hills on date night.
The only time the Radwagon was ever locked and left unattended. Notice the double Kryptonite locks.
Full load of groceries.
One of us always stays with the bike now so we can talk to the people that walk up and start conversations about this bike. We get to talk to someone about every three miles. We've met more people in our hometown since we bought these bikes, than in the entire four plus years of living here.
Super overly dramatic sun picture of the Radwagon.
Another bike and boulders picture.
Hillary on the back of the Radwagon.
The Radwagon at the local smiley face landmark.
Off subject, this is mule fat, baccharis salicifolia, and I'm allergic to it. It smells like honey if I remember right. I distinctly remember taking one smell and I turned to Hillary in a complete panic and said, "We have to leave, now." Felt like burning needles in my sinuses for about an hour.
Another reflection of us on the Radwagon.
We rode the bejeezus out of this bike. Hillary has been on all but eight or so miles. The bike is 750 watts at 48 volts, so it pulls hard. We've even now used it to tow a couch with our trailer. The bike is limited to 20 miles per hour, so it adheres to local law, which designates it as a class three bicycle. That means we have to wear a helmet, but we don't need a motorcycle license to drive it.
We made a video for you to watch of various moments in the life of this bike. The story is ongoing. Here's the next part. More is on the way.
The first 300 miles. Stay tuned for more of this story.
This tree right here. I remember that someone had backed into it right after it was planted. I was kinda sad about it, which is why it sticks in my mind, but someone went back out and put it back in the ground properly and took care of it, so it could do its tree thing.
Well, it's been a few years now and that tree refused to give up and stood there and did that thing that trees do. Hillary ran across it the other day and thought it had a photographic nature and this is the picture she took. She showed it to me and I told her what I knew of the story of this tree and it was a moment where we kind of took it all in.
It reminds me a lot of how people are. Scars are cool. They tell stories of how we refused to give up, how we stood in the onslaught and persevered, how a little love and nurturing can ensure that even those most fragile among can endure to become bigger, stronger, more able to stand on our own.
I encourage you to find something to care for, to tend to, to be responsible for. Even if it something that has fallen down, or been hurt so badly that it might not survive, lend a hand. Everyone and everything needs a hand sometimes. The love you share today can have profound effects far into the future.
Third ride for the Radwagon.
One was the worst of ebikes. One is the best of ebikes. One represented the epitome of shoddy design and poor craftsmanship, and garnered the misplaced contempt and misconceptions regarding ebikes and the growing role of electric vehicles in society. The other provides example of the ingenuity of a small business coupled with a great design to feed a growing movement of eco-conscious consumers who demand alternatives to the status quo. One gave rise to the other, and so neither story can told be told without going to the start.
One of the few pictures of the two Hyper ebikes we bought.
Disclosure, we're already athletes. We gave up buying gas four years ago. We rented a Prius last year, but other than that we consistently ride bikes or speed skate to do our errands in the small California community where we live. Working online with the kiddos attending school online provides for a very quaint kind of existence that neither I nor Hillary expected to be provided the opportunity with as adults. It's amazing.
So, we decided to replace our aging Trek 7100 bikes with a pair of Hyper ebikes. There's a lot of excitement involved you spend thousands of dollars on bikes. We were pretty pumped about them and immediately zipped off to run errands and have a bicycle date. All in all, I think we put about 50 miles on them before they both went back.
Gears are one of those things that bicyclists obsess about. I skipped the chain on the gears the very first time in less than a half mile. Doesn't sound like much, unless you're an athlete, and you have to decide if you're going to cycle like a pansy, or whether you're gonna get on that bike and ride it like you own it. Personally, I'm of the devastate-my-athletic-equipment variety, so I rode mine. By the second day, my chain was skipping off the main crank. The sensors for the motor is on the bottom of the crank and that's where the chain goes when it skips off the crank, so there was some damage.
Soldered the sensor back together after the ill-fated bicycle date with Hillary.
So, I started riding my wife's new ebike because of mine becoming incapacitated even after repairing it. We were sad about the durability and immediately breaking my new bike. It was one of the next mornings that I took my wife's ebike to our Neighborhood Market #5008 and had the encounter with the new ebike hating manager Carlos who called it trash and didn't want it at his store, and then ran across the painted "Peace Out Friend" rock from Rose Nash over at Hemet Rock on Facebook that brought me so much joy, and we finally came to the decision of yeah, it was time to let it go. So, the brand new ebikes went back to Walmart.
And the Hyper ebikes were gone. We stopped shopping at that Neighborhood Market #5008 and ordering anything again from walmart.com, and we activated our Amazon Prime account instead. Life is good like that. We still get the things that empower our quiet little lives where we raise our family, but without the hassle of going to that big Walbox where they treat you like shoplifting cattle to herd through their low cost bargains. Meh. I like Target's wide aisles better. Besides, every time I go there I find something new, like who knew I needed a new lamp shade? Target did. Heck, I might need a neon pink shag pillow too. lol
Next part of the series is coming up next.
There are so many ways to reach out and touch someone's heart, to connect with them without actually meeting, to share a gift that can be re-shared. Recently we received such a gift and we wanted to share it with you. It showed up on one of those days that everyone has, where the cards are stacked against you for some unknown reason, when it takes everything you can to react as a rational human being.
Hillary and the Peace Out rock
It was just a simple grocery run up to the local Stater Bros for some lunch. Quite honestly I had been quite frustrated that day. I had ridden my brand new class one electric bike up to the local Walmart Neighborhood Market #5008 to get groceries. Sadly, the manager became very upset over my electric bike for some unknown reason and attacked me saying that he didn't want that trash at his store. I was stunned to say the very least, lowered my eyes and quietly said that I was very upset by this. I left and went back home without the groceries that I was after.
Of course, I sent off an email to Customer Service that went nowhere and received no resolution, and so that weekend both of our brand new electric bikes went back to Walmart for a four-digit refund. I was frustrated and the kiddos were upset about the donuts I didn't bring home that I had promised. And Hillary who is quite protective of me was appropriately agitated as well. Grandma who lives with us so upset that she called her doctor and had her medicines sent over to CVS instead of that store.
Hillary showing the tag for artist Rose Nash
So, after recomposing myself, I rode my brand new electric bike up Stater Bros for some cookies for the kiddos instead. And honestly, it's just a different environment at that store. Folks take time to stop and say hello while they're working, you know the opposite of the Walmart herding mentality that seem to permeate their locations. Bah!
But there I was, checked out, going to unlock my bike and get the cookies home, and I noticed the painted "Peace out, friend" rock sitting on my crankshaft. I walked over and picked it up, read it, and understood it. I stood right there and cried as I unlocked my new electric bike. Sometimes those heart-tugging moments make a grown man act all sensitive and stuff while he's out and about being athletic and all.
My wife of course was obviously touched as we rehashed the day's events. The cookies disappeared as cookies always do with seven kiddos running circles in the house. And we realized that is just how it works for us.
Life is so hard, for everyone. That is reality. Any hardship we've ever faced, we've done so as a family. And in the middle of those trying times, we find reasons to celebrate. Sometimes those moments come find us when we need them. Such was the manner in which the "Peace in, friend" rock came to us.
The last known location of the "Peace out, friend" rock.
We've diligently worked to teach our children to share, to care about the world and each other, and to pay forward. It's all that adulting stuff, and social responsiblity that we talk about, and caring for each other, even if we never meet the people we reach out to. As hard as those concepts are to instill in ones habits, we continue to share everything we can with our family, friends, and fans.
As such there was no way we could keep the "Peace out, friend" rock. When our new Radbike came in shortly thereafter, purchased with our re-appropriated funds, we used it to take the "Peace out, friend" rock to a new location. Whoever finds it, we hope that it brings you a smile.
Hillary modeling Mentality CTFU and Mentality Sideshow on an outcrop of decomposing phaneritic gabbro that proliferate in the San Jacinto Valley.
Painting rocks is a great craft for nail polish fans. The "Peace out, friend" rock appeared to be one of the cobblestones that are embedded in the local arroyos, dry washes that gorge with rushing water in the Southwest monsoon season. It's just big enough to write a message, but no so big that you can't carry it in your pocket.
So, I challenge all our fans to find a local stone and write a message in nail polish and seal it to make it last. The "Peace out, friend" rock is a great example. Make it out to someone you'll never meet. Tell them to be strong, to not lose hope, and to never quit. Take it somewhere and say goodbye to it freely. Your gift to the world will touch someone's heart.
The EcoChallenge is a world-wide event involving average people stopping in the middle of their day to so something remarkable. Folks all around the world are taking responsibility for the state of their environment. We've been involved in these activities for the 14 years that we've been together. We've cleaned rivers, parks, fields, abandoned properties, all in an effort to reduce the litter in our world.
The EcoChallenge stole our heart when we learned of it. Our planet, our community, our home, this is what we fight for every day. It is what we teach our children. It is at the very heart of who we are and how we run our business.
The Snail is part of the meme culture of the internet. Imagine receiving more wealth than you could ever need. The only catch is that for the rest of your life, the Snail is slowly coming to kill you with the slightest touch, creeping like death that makes you have to constantly look over your shoulder.
The Snail represents inevitability coming to reap the cost of your excess. Thus, pollution, litter, wasted resources, these are the Snail coming for its due reward for the excess squandered.
Next time you're out and about, stop and take a few moments to pick up some litter and help us beautify the world. It is more than our responsibility. It is quite literally the only world we have.