|May 24, 2009
White Spings, FL - Homerville, GA
By Laura Peruzzi;
Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here plays as my eyelids get heavy my first night on the team. Frogs and critters are ribit ribit and chirping in the parking lot of a Dairy Queen in Homerville, Ga. as the fours of us, Marcelo, Josh, Valerio and I all sit in the van joining the animal sounds outside with our unison typing. Tap tapping away on our laptops, the events of the day are documented and the website updated with stories, locations and quirky insights into our unique journey.
Our trip here from the festival in White Springs was about 64 miles. We stopped occasionally to photo and videotape the solar car coming around a couple of curves under the oak trees and spanish moss. We entered Georgia, welcomed by a sign blasted with bullet holes and promising peaches. We passed fields of blueberry bushes and tune Josh's brand new ukulele all while communicating with Marcelo in front of us via radio. "Car Passing." "Block Left." Cars frequently pass us as we keep a snail speed of 40 mph.
It’s past midnight now, my belly happy with a chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream cone melting the nervousness within and I start to succumb to the reality of the situation: I have been abducted by the solar car and it’s undeniable inspirational presence, it’s sheer revolutionary awesomeness and it’s ability to transcend barriers of age and gender in inspiring wonder. This is the adventure I have been looking for; perfectly timed with my currently free schedule and travel-lust, but with purpose and responsibility. Despite my elation, I begin to feel the pain of separation heavy on my chest as my heart skips beats for a love this journey will bring me farther from each day. My mind floats back to this morning, still at the festival spinning and twirling to fierce fiddles, sharing apple pie and homemade ice cream for breakfast, watching the Tallahassee Hot Pepper Steppers stomp out the peripheral banjos and harmonicas, listening to the soulful
belly-rubbin’ florida swamp blues of the one man band that is Ben Prestage, and rope swinging into the Suwannee River to float down in the cool and rushing current with my love.
I was still wet from the river when I chased down the van pulling out of the festival without me. Josh had told me they would be leaving at noon and when I never got a call from them I kept my eye out to notice they were still at the festival for most of the day. Clouds drew closer and it began to sprinkle as my bare feet slapped hard against the pavement, the van and trailer moving further out of reach in front of me. I was walking to the dance stage about to split a hearty slice of sweet potato pie with Leif before the contra began when the van noisily rolls by, the trailer rattling behind. I see ‘The Power of One’ emblazoned on the side of the trailer and realize that fate will only bring opportunities so close, then the rest is up to us. With all my might I sprint ahead to capture this unique opportunity heading to the distance. The line of cars slows and I pass a car, then another, the line begins to move again and I push myself forward,
determined to make it to the van and alas! I edge up to the driver’s side and wave frantically for them to stop. Valerio rolls down the window with an enthusiastic “Peruzzi!” He turns to Josh in the passenger seat, “I knew she would come.” They tell me to hop in and I tell them to wait one minute for me to grab my sleeping bag and clothes from my car parked back down the road. Josh follows me on foot to help get my stuff and he tells me they thought I wasn’t coming after a strange call back from an angry boyfriend...What?! I never even got a call from them. “Yeah he was threatening, don’t call again...not interested, how about i break your face.” “Really?!?” I say. I hand him a bag of clothes and he checks his phone to realize he had called a different Laura, twice, and her boyfriend had responded confused and angry. Haha!
As Josh heads back to the van with the few things I have haphazardly thrown together from my festival camping gear, I go to say my goodbyes. I am glitter and rain, happiness and smiles!! as I run back to the stage to find my love and say farewell. He feeds me bites of sweet amber sunset pie as I take mental pictures of him to savor on the road. We kiss and embrace and promise to stay in contact, me on the sunny road to the arctic and him headed for the World Poker Tour in Vegas. I hold him tight one last time before running back to the van to hop in the side door and catch my breath. They offer me a double-tree chocolate chip cookie and present my with a choice of tasks: navigate or tune the ukulele. Our journey begins.
By Marcelo da Luz;
It was a very unusual setting to wake up at the Florida Folk Music Fest but again what is ususal with the solar car. Almost everyone here has a musical instrument in their hands. I have been taken by how friendly and hosptable people in Florida, great southern hopsitality.
Early this morning the sun was shining its grace upon us. Unfortunatly, it was short lived, by the time we arrived where the solar car had been parked for the night the sky got overcast. Park rangers escorted the solar car back to its display area in front of the museun (Thanks!). It didn't take long people gather by the car, some people had seem the car on road, happy to take a close look.
At first, I was reluctant to set up the array, best to leave it facing up (horizontal), difused light was comming from everywhere. Bright spots in the sky turned to small patches of blue, we got the array set up. As soon as I saw the sun shining I started a happy dance. I tried to get some people checking out the solar car to join my happy sundance but no luck, they were content to watch me jumping around in randon dance moves.- "Hey, its sunny", hurray!!!!" - Happy to see the sun shining but I was happy to stay another day should the weather turned for the worst. We were having such a wonderfull time, meeting so many nice people, I would welcome an excuse to stay.
Breakfast this morning was gyros. Valerio and I took turns watching the solar car, talking to people, while Josh spent time going around the stages anouncing the solar car and spending time with his mom. Glad I had the chance to meet her. She was intrumental in getting us at the festival.
Near where the solar car was on display there was a demonstration on how to build a log cabim the old fashion way by Willy, he started building it 3 years ago, he hope it will be complete within the the next two Folk Fest. I now have a good excuse to return to Florida Folk Fest, got to come back to see it finished.
Great music, friendly people, good food, occasional sunshine.
Just before we left I was chatting with Mimi, who offered to show me how
who was doing some crafts using sOn my way to I even had a craft lesson from Mimi.
to craft a flower using a local Florida plant. Also, near by there was an older gentleman making casting net, between neddles he was playing the fiddle, this place was live to music. Even I, who only play "radio" felt compelled to learn how to play an instrument. Valerio is showing me how to play "spoons" so I can make some background noise while he plays saxophone and Josh play the keyboard.
As the day went by we had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about the project, many have already heard of it, they were happy to see it in person. The team might be growin quite a bit, Claire and Lucy (systers) we met at the festival will be joining the tour in Washington or Raleigh.
As the day went by the weather improved, more patches of blue. Our departure was eminent, the battery was getting juiced up, 94V, ... 95V, ...96V, ...97V yeah! That's half of the battery capacity (full at 109V). Our planned 14:30 departure didn't happen until 17:15. It turned out for the best as
Laura, a new team member joined the team on the fly, almost missed the "solar car circus" as Earl Brown from Fort Nelson fondly calls his escape with the solar car.
Just before we left we had the opportunity to have most of the park ranger joining us for a photo op, it was great. Being to a lot of parks by never seen so many park rangers in one place. Glad they came by. We sad oul
By Josh Holton;
After a couple good hours of sleep, we set up the XOF1 to charge. We charged up as much as possible, and then proceeded to check out the music festival. We had gyros for breakfast, and showed off the XOF1. I met with my mom, and also an old friend Norman who helped me cope with the loss of my late father when I was three years old. I also stepped into the museum to check out handmade stringed instruments and antique keyboards. I barely had enough time to see my mom and hear a few tunes. I somehow managed to talk with some girl about the nature of limited infinity, and purchased a quality ukulele for only $40!…Such a great deal! Valerio and I had some good southern fried chicken and iced tea while Marcelo formed a rose from a palm frond under a thatched lean to. It was interesting that right next to the solar car was a man chopping wood to build a log cabin. We had direct and stored solar power in perfect juxtaposition. The park officials gathered after some time for a photo op with the XOF1. Shortly thereafter, rain poured from the looming storm clouds. We were waiting to hear from the potential volunteers, but it appeared that Claire and Lucy might have to start late, and Laura was nowhere to be found. At the last possible minute, just as our van was about to depart, Laura rapped at the passenger’s window. She was out of breath, wearing only her bikini, and just in time to catch the team. She quickly grabbed her things, and we were on the road again! We drove all the way out of Florida, stopping finally at a Dairy Queen parking lot in Homerville, GA. We got some free food and parking, and we had just enough time for me to tune my ukulele and get some rest.
|Park rangers gave a a ride and escort the solar car to the display area in the morning|
|Making casting net|
|Josh and Claire talking strategy, Claire will be joining the team in a week or so|
|Mexican Folk dance|
Most likely everyone in the audience play an instrument
|Playing the "Chicken Robot" got the crowd going|
|Wood carving, making a bow|
|Courtney (second from the left)|
|Park rangers came by to pose for a group photo by the solar car. Thank you everyone!|
|Mimi (right) showed us how to craft a flower using leaves of Florida plant|
|XOf1 by the entrance of the state park|
|On the road again!|
|Lightning in the skyes ahead, rain|
|Josh applying a water repelent to XOF1's visor, more raing ahead|
|Valerio, Laura and Josh. DQ here we come!|
|DQ, XOF1 and Ash|