WASHINGTON - MARCH 20: Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in the Iraq war, speaks during a rally calling for an immediate end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in Lafayette Park near the White House on March 20, 2010 in Washington, DC. The U.S. first invaded Iraq seven years ago this weekend. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Bay Area anti-war activist and mother Cindy Sheehan is leaving this morning on a three-month, cross-country bicycle tour to call for peace in honor of her son, who was killed in Iraq nine years ago today.
At about 10:30 a.m., Sheehan was getting on her bike at the Vacaville gravesite of her son Casey, who was killed while serving in the U.S. Army on April 4, 2004.
The first leg of her "Tour de Peace" bike ride will cover roughly 40 miles between the Vacaville-Elmira Cemetery and Sacramento.
The tour will end in July in Washington, D.C., with the final stretch from Arlington National Cemetery to the White House.
Sheehan said in a phone interview this morning that since her son's death, she has come to believe that many foreign conflicts arise from U.S. dependence on fossil fuels.
"We believe that our nation is too in bed with big oil," she said. "We want clean, renewable, sustainable forms of energy developed."
Sheehan, 55, said she sold her car seven years ago because she became convinced that gasoline-dependent travel is a "major detriment to peace."
She said life without a car has sometimes been a "pain in the neck," but that she feels good about her decision.
A handful of riders are joining Sheehan on the first leg of her trip, and she plans to meet up with others along the way. Among other things, they are calling for clean mass transportation and more bike paths, she said.
"Something's got to give, something's got to break," she said. "We've got to end these wars."
Sheehan ran for Congress against Rep. Nancy Pelosi in 2008 and was the Peace and Freedom Party's vice presidential candidate in 2012.
More information on the cross-country bike ride, including the route, is posted online at www.tourdepeace.org.