|July 2, 2009
Whitecourt, Alberta - Grand Prairie, Alberta - 178.9 miles
By Willy Wanka
Waking up in a hotel with waffles and maple syrup is no punishment! I woke up a bit later then the rest of the team. Sometimes I walk and move around in my sleep and I think last night was one of those cause in the middle of the night I woke up next to my sleeping bag. It’s called sleeping not midnight exercise!
Back to the waffles, they were awesome! The car was charging outside and I did an interview with a local newspaper. Soon after that everybody was ready to go and there we went again! Rolling more miles/kilometers with the destination: Inuvik! The trip was smooth, we ended up stopping for the night in Grand Prairie. Again there was a Super 8 hotel sponsoring us for the night! Thank you very much! A local newspaper arrived did an interview with Marcelo, we had set up the array to charge and unloaded our stuff. After settling in Laura and I watched the car while Josh and Claire did grocery and Marcelo did a phone interview with twenty-twenty. Guess what we had for dinner? SALAD :-D haha I am getting used to it now. Bye bye meat helloo carrots. (I’m still a carnivore)
We wrote our updates, went for a short swim in the pool and found a relative safe spot to park (hide) the solar car. Right now I’m finishing my update, ready to take a shower and then it will be nighty night!
Back in the drivers seat today my belly is full with fruit and delicious crispy waffles. We drive about 180 miles from Whitecourt to Grand Prairie to stay in another Super 8 hotel. The road took dips and curves, at one point my ears popped descending 300 feet on a small stretch. Fields of canola shone golden in the sun and the skies stayed pretty clear until we arrived. I walked inside the GP hotel lobby and the three boys are at the desk and when they see me they scream “chocolate!” Their hands are full of kisses and the basket is nearly empty but I mange to grab one piece of candy, and one for Claire. Turning around I see a water slide, pool and hot tub just through the glass door and wonder if this could get any better, or if I am so tired I am hallucinating. Willy and I keep watch over the solar car charging in the parking lot while Claire and Josh get groceries, make an awesome salad and Marcelo does a phone interview with 20/20. With only 20 minutes left until the pool closes, Marcelo comes out to relieve us of babysitting duty so we can slide down the twisty windy blue plastic slide and into the pool, we are such kids, Willy and me. Splish splsh and then I take a bath and into bed for an early morning with the array.
I stayed up pretty late the night before following our personal solar car fireworks extravaganza. Marcelo and I had worked on updates pretty late, and so I was very much tired this morning. The cool weather helped very much to wake me up enough to set up the array. Marcelo, Claire, and I all had coffee and waffles, and I talked to Claire about my recent jobs organizing for the environment. Following breakfast, a reporter came to cover the solar car in Whitecourt at the Super 8. Willy talked with her for a while, and I even heard her comment that the Xof1 was a big story here last year too. Our group drove toward Grand Prairie after the interview. We passed over a beautiful river in the hills of Alberta, and I got some books at a rest stop. I got one on edible and medicinal plants in Canada, and another that helps in identifying animal tracks. So far, we've been pretty good with just the van and the trailer, but I want to be prepared for anything. We made it to Grand Prairie in no time, and the press was there almost as soon as we had arrived. Marcelo did the interview with the Grand Prairie Herald, and then went for some time by himself in the hotel room so that he could make some calls. This was the Super 8 that allowed Marcelo to stay for free last year, and they were happy to extend us the offer again this year. Even though the manager was on vacation, we still got a place to sleep, shower, and catch up on work. Claire and I went for a walk to the grocery store, but not before making several trips to and from the van to get some things that we were supposed to bring up to the rooms. By the time we thought that we had everything ready upstairs to make a salad, and the money to get groceries, we realized that we had made a bad mistake as environmentalists...we forgot the canvass bags. I left Claire with a big black umbrella to shield her from the coming rains, and I hoped she would wait for me, not flying away like Mary Poppins or something. I did a wind sprint back to the trailer, snagged the bags, and ran back to my grocery procurement companion as quick as solar car in the desert. We had a list, empty stomachs, and the decisive impatience necessary to getting through with the shopping at breakneck speed. Back at the hotel, we made some “Ensalada Nicholas” with balsamic vinaigrette. We delivered the salads to the rest of the crew members, and went back up to enjoy the rest of our masterpiece. While we were eating, we had a bit of Claire showed me some of her photos she has compiled from Africa, which were put together with care, passion, respect, and skill. Hopefully I can learn to take such poignant, engaging and meaningful pictures as she someday. When we were done with our salad, the other crew members went to take down the array. I talked a bit more with Claire and attempted to help her with the dressing on her bandage, but she insisted she do it herself. Never one to shy away from a challenge or opportunity testing her own strength, Claire will probably even take her own sutures out when the time comes. I spent a good deal of the afternoon hanging out with Claire, but after a while we had to get to work. Marcelo, Claire and I worked on updates until the wee hours of the morning, and fixed some problems with the website. We finally got up to date with the past week or so, and headed to bed for some much needed rest.
GORGEOUS MORNING, SO GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN!
Marcelo, Josh and I had a little sleep in this morning, leaving the hotel around 7 to walk over to the garage where the car was. Lee was there with a couple other coworkers and I could tell he was just a teensy bit excited for us to uncover the lady of the sun. It was a sight to see the car parked in front of a beast of a truck. Its one thing to see them fly past you on the highway, but to stand back and see the contrast is something else. The truck looked so unforgiving next to the sleek solar car, a thought that was rectified by my learning it was in the shop because it had hit a deer the night before. Ouch.
Marcelo drove it back to the hotel and Lee gave Josh and I a ride back. With my freshly handicapped hand, I stood back and took pictures as Josh and Marcelo set up the array. I happily settled in as the first shift solar babysitter. We had our Super 8 breakfast of waffles, yogurt, and coffee outside next to the array. Progress was definitely being made, 4.4 amps and sitting at 104 volts (109 is full). The weather was so nice. It was the kind that you couldn't tell if you were hot or cold because the breeze and the sun were competing with eachother for their respective titles.
We left around 10am for Grand Prairie, about 170 miles away. I was supposed to be driving for the next three days, but in life's poetic nature, my hand had left me unable to do any comprehensive duty besides computer work. After having a handful of frustrations with this job a few days before, I shook my head and resolved that I would make this term go a lot smoother. Procrastination has always been my dependable copilot, but updates have forced me to take some time out from my good friend. I worked on the day's webpage throughout the day so that I would not have to deal with the whole lump that night. So far so good.
We arrived at the Grand Prairie Super 8 around 3pm, where the the Herald-Tribune met up with Marcelo for an interview. Michael and Laura stayed with the car while Josh and I went to the grocery store. Shopping is usually an errand that I make much more painful than it really is, but Josh did a good job at entertianing me through this lower-ranking chore. Once we got back we got to chopping...atleast Josh did. I don't trust my left hand with a frisbee, much less a knife. Our inventory of deliciousness: romaine, spinach, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber, carrots, avocado, raisins, olives, garlic, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegrette, complemented by a slice of rye with oil and oregano and two bite size, on clearance, Canada Day cupcakes. A pile of color I know my mom would be proud of, Josh and I went down to the parking lot to deliver our meatless masterpiece to the car watchers. I opened the side door where Willy lounged in the captains seat, his eyes were already gauged at plate level, and I almost saw his heart sink down to console his meat depraved tummy. He had expressed dire cravings for fried chicken or potato salad and with this void now realized, tried tp compensate by turning the plate a few degrees to display the cupcakes as the light at the end of the tunnel. Laura knows whats up, making up for his enthusiasm ten fold. Silly carnivores.
Josh, Marcelo and I met back in the room to eat our portions and Marcelo told us about the one and a half hour telephone interview he just had with Eamon McNiff from 20/20. If all goes right, we should be we on 20/20 next Friday!! Around 10pm, with light still a pleniful commodity, he went out to Willy and Laura to find a place to safely board the car for the night. We expected it to only be a few minutes, but they didn't return for another hour or so. At 11:30pm we opened shop, working on the website and updates until 1:30am, then bid a good night to the morning. PEACE.
|Waking Sunny Serendipity up at Lee's Garage.|
|The rest of the staff come over for a better look.|
|Posing next to our lovely lady. Thanks for your help!!|
|Parking the car in front of Super 8 to catch some rays!|
|The car casts a new shadow without its fairings.|
|Marcelo and Josh do a pre set-up-the-array dance.|
|Marcelo tells Josh to hurry up so they can get back to dancing.|
|Marcelo is so sick of gas guzzling goones he's got smoke blowing out his ears!|
|Willy gives an interview to a local newspaper reporter.|
|Josh and Marcelo take down the array in front of the Super 8 staff.|
|Marcelo's patriotism keeps him warm while driving solar!
|Thank you to the entire staff at Whitecourt Super 8!!|
|The first sign of moose!|
|A ways to go, but nothing the sun can't handle!|
|Birch as far as you can see!|
|Pulling over for a shot of the future.|
|One sunny mile at a time!|
|Approaching bridge over Peace River.|
|Scream it from your support van rooftop, SOLAR POWER!|
|Here comes the passing shot!|
|Laura takes a break from sitting behind the wheel.|
|Sleek shots never get old.|
|You may be big but solar power isn't gonna back down!|
|Only 69k between us and Grand Prairie.|
|Blue and white always look good together.|
|Bright fields of canola backdrop a sun powered tour.|
|Welcome to Grand Prairie!!|
|Super 8 Grand Prairie sponsors the solar crew, just as last year. Thank you!|
|Man, Im feeling cool, literally.|
|Laura waits for the "It's all yours," cue.|
|Two solar cars are definitely better than one.|
|If you didn't want attention, you should be driving a Honda, Marcelo.|
|Marcelo sits down at the afternoon office for an interview with the Grand Prairie Herald.|
|Breaking down the array as the rain really starts to come down!|