|February 28, 2009
Andrew Molera State Park, Ca - Cambria, Ca
So this trip started by surprise. I had met Marcello through a friend of mine who shares our passion for saving the environment. About a week ago I was asked if I wanted to join the support crew and help Marcello down to LA. This was a really cool opportunity I thought, but I was going to have to see if I could take the time off of work. A few days went past and I decided I would check up and see how Marcello was doing. Our friend Bob told me he was at a local restaurant planing out his trip so on a whim I thought I would go say hello. I found him at a table with his new navigator "KO" who was an old friend of mine as well. I joined the two and it wasn't long before they asked me "So when can we leave? How about tonight". Because their previous support driver wasn't able to go they were in desperate need of some one to drive the support van for them. After a few frantic phone calls to my boss explaining the situation I was on board (Thanks Gordy!)
The next morning we set out at about 11. The reason we left late was there was some maintenance to be done on the solar car such as the specially made tires are only good for 700 miles of driving and have to be replaced as they wear thin. Replacing the tire was my first good look at the heart of the vehicle. I was impressed with the design and the quality job on the machining. Very cool stuff. Next we had to clean the solar array and we would be good to go (BTW: I'll get you back for spraying me with the water bottle Marcello).
The drive over the 9 was a fantastic way start to the beginning of the trip. Seeing the faces of people in the passing cars made me feel like I was really part of something historic. It's not every day the average person gets to see a solar car driving down their street. The biggest challenge for me was to keep aware of all the other cars around us and to keep Marcello informed of the traffic situation ahead. We arrived in Santa Cruise at about 1:30 and stopped at Trader Joe's for some much needed refreshments. We headed out about an hour later and pointed our 3 GPS' towards Monterey. We got their sooner then we had imagined and with the sun still out we decided to push forward to Big Sur. We found a little hidden campsite and decided to make camp as the sun was starting to set. Rather then setting up a tent we laid down a 2" foam mat in the trailer and got out our sleeping bags while KO set up a bed for herself in the van. That night we felt an earth quake that must have been at least a 3.8. In the morning we found out it was KO moving around in the van and we had left the trailer hitched :D.
I can't wait for tomorrow.
We are in the San Luis Obispo Amtrak parking lot charging up the Power of One solar racer with as many rays of sunshine the solar array can convert to battery power as we scan the sky trying gauge the weather. We've been pushing forward on our way to LA in advance of what was projected a huge storm. It may be where we have been as we bask in a high cloud cover, 75 degrees warm. I am learning the ironies of traveling by solar power alone. This means fair weather isn't enough, it takes clear skies to get a full charge and to run at optimal levels. While Marcelo and Jost WiFi at a local café I take my cappucino and sweet and hang out with the solar array. The decoration of which makes me think of a certain electric cupcake with similar sprinkles on top. I live in a small world where even as I meet more and more EV builders, I realize we are all fairly closely connected. In this case, Marcelo, the builder of Power of One, had seen my friend Bob's electric chariot on the web-based Hippie Gourmet. I, on the other hand, had heard of his solar car heading towards the Artic Circle from a friend who was too vague on the details for me to learn more about this adventure until Bob called me up and informed me of the X of 1 arrival on his driveway. Chorus of : "it's a small world after all." After an amount of weather uncertainty, I found myself and Jost taking off as the "support team". Immediately we start meeting people who work with or know of other people in the EV world we know. "come back!", they say, "this is the EV place to be!". Marcelo has an important event with the Canadian consulate in LA, one one doesn't turn down after breaking and setting a much higher bar for solar car distance so we continue. Every where we stop people are mesmerized. Many are not quite sure about what the technology is and think the solar racer is the electric car of the near future. They ask, " where can I put my groceries/ golf clubs?", " Isn't it awfully low for other cars to see??" & "I don't think I could get into that!". But we also meet tech types, engineers and solar power installers. We stop at Santa Cruz Traders Joe's for supplies and an NEV pulls up, a guy at the camp in Cambria asks about our KoKam Lithium Polymer batteries because his VW conversion can't hold quite enough lead acid batteries for his commuting needs. Soon an "E-go" electric scooter arrives and in San Luis Obispo, EVeryone shares a certain pride in what the Cal Poly Team has done with their solar racers and wonders what our affilation is. That this is an independent project void of institution sponsorship draws sighs and surprise. But it's time to go, the car is 95.9 v charged, time to move on and see how far we can get before it rains.
|The sun is comming out, get that cover off!|
|Mandarines, om nom nom|
|He wanted our food|
|A little bit of light refraction|
|The open road|
|Hummm how is this going to go|
|Its going to be a really cool shot|
|What could go wrong?|
|Stear clear of the cones Marcello!|
|Awesome garlic burger|
|He'll be comming around the mountain when he comes|
|Who's that cruising over my bridge!?|
|Computers by the sea|
|Melow cat watching Jos|
|No sun in the sunset, no electrons in the batteries|