Thanks, Dusty & Gay Blech! An Epilogue

From Dusty & Gay, August 7, 2011:


The Save Our Schools rally and march on Washington was an outstanding event and, as you no doubt could have guessed, filled with very clever, creative, and passionate teachers and people concerned about public education in America. We have heard that some of our followers have contributed to S.O.S. Thank you!

Gay and I wore our New Mexico bike jerseys and rode our tandem bike named “Bipurbole” to the Ellipse where the rally was held. We saw five other New Mexico educators and spoke to many people from all over the country. We were very proud to be a small part of the ongoing S.O.S. movement.

We both had wonderful, fulfilling careers as teachers and we worked with some extraordinary people over the years. Our ride was to celebrate all teachers and our own 64 years of combined teaching. Our ride was intended to draw attention to the S.O.S. message:  decisions about our precious public school system, the cornerstone of our democratic society, must be made by educators. Businessmen and politicians have promised solutions to complex problems by offering panaceas. We believe that there are no panaceas!

Improving education is like a bike ride across the continent. There are ups and downs, days of tremendous challenge and days of inspiration. No single strategy will suffice for traversing the mountain passes of Colorado, the desert stretches of Utah, the winds of Kansas, or the tiny county roads of Appalachia. Planning, preparation, strength, a spirit of adventure, good equipment, lots of support from friends, and a good road map can ensure success. And so it is with public education. Education is a journey not just a test. With a strong national curriculum (a road map), lots of support from all of our communities, and a commitment by our young people to the adventure of education, we can save our schools and our democracy.

Our ride was also a journey of personal challenge, great adventure, and fun. Gay and I would see this country like we never had before. Until the end of our trip, we did not travel on a single freeway or large highway. County and small state roads took us on a meandering course through the country. The ride was a rural experience except the beginning and end.

We started our adventure with a day long ride on our tandem all over San Francisco. Toward the end of our trip, we decided to “tandem” as many cities as possible. We toured Colonial Williamsburg, and Washington D.C. arriving in our national capitol at the Jefferson Memorial from Mt. Vernon – beautiful ride. We had a chance to visit some dear friends, Martha and Joe Hass in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, spending a day at Gettysburg en route. The Hass and Blech children grew up together and we all had wonderful times volunteering at our kids’ schools.

From Pennsylvania, we went to New York City for a bite of the Big Apple before our long I-40 drive. After a stop at Dayton, Tennessee to see the Scopes Trial Courthouse, we rode through Nashville on their new bike trail to visit the new and old Grand Ole Opry. We rode the bike trail in Memphis in the evening, paralleling the Mississippi, and had a piece of caramel cake at Miss Cordelia’s!  In Little Rock, Arkansas, we started at the Clinton Library and rode a 32 mile loop along the Arkansas River, crossing the river at the Big Dam Bridge, the longest bike bridge in the world. That evening, we visited Central High School where the Little Rock 9 helped to integrate the public schools – what a place! After Oklahoma City, we scurried home because of car trouble and 110 degree weather. We are home! Tomorrow morning we ride in the Sandias with our kids.

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