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February 07, 2009

Sacramento, Ca - San Rafael, Ca
By John Schaefer,
Was Museum Day, when all are free in Sacramento. We set up in front, hoping for enough sunshine by noon to charge up and travel on to the Bay Area. That didn't happen; it was cloudy until after lunch. But we had lots of interesting conversations

The museum crowd gave us a good sendoff (with the “1-2-3 Solarcar” cheer that Marcelo uses in schools) and with Tim leading us we made good time across the Central Valley on back roads, with no interruption from faulty computers.

As the day waned, Marcelo decided to stop at a winery on Highway 12 to charge the car in the last hours of daylight. Alas, the winery was closed, although its owner stopped by to welcome us. As we turned around to leave, the van’s back tire went flat and it was only with Tim’s strong back and legs that we got the lug nuts off.

After no other incidents, we arrived at Jonathan (?)’s house on Clorinda (?) in San Rafael.

By Elaine Hebert,
The crew took part in Free Day at the Towe Museum on Saturday, left mid-day as the sun came out. Ten of us gathered at Ruth MacDougall's in San Rafael on the next leg of Power of One's journey. Thanks to Ruth for a great lasagna dinner that night. And thanks to Jonathan Toste for hosting Marcelo in San Rafael.

John Schaefer made note that Marcelo maintains calmness and a positive attitude through all sorts of situations, and it's been a great learning experience for him and for us all. I look forward to the reports and photos from when Marcelo and Power of One cross the Golden Gate Bridge.

I had the privilege of hosting Marcelo, John, and Bret at my house for the three days they were in Sacramento (Feb 4-7, 2009). These (very nice) guys were flexible with sleeping on air mattresses, rugs, and futons in my house. My place is in a bit of disarray as I'm still renovating my 1910 Victorian after many years. It took a while but Bret and I figured out how to get my router to cooperate and give Marcelo access to the Internet via his laptop.

The cloudy/rainy weather forced the Power of One crew to stay put in Sac'to for a few days. The crew very much enjoyed hanging out at the Towe Auto Museum, and Kaela and Derek and everyone else there helped put together a media event on Feb. 4 on very short notice. Marcelo has posted some photos from that event.

By Marcelo;

and them there was 10 of us...

The weather forecast called for a sunny morning in Sacramento, the plan was to charge the batteries and drive to San Rafael as soon as the batteries were full. We made the best out of it, we were in good company at the Towe Auto Museum, all the staff and volunteers were so friendly and extremely helpful, even one of the docents volunteered to help us with the crowd around the solar car, thanks Bill! Today is a free museum day in Sacramento, Towe Museum received about 4,000 people last year, they expect to that number to exceed today.

There was some patches of blue around us but not were we needed. Anxious to get on the road I started to check the weather further down the route, sunny in San Rafael. So, Let's go! It was already 01:00pm. Getting a group of adults to cheer "1, 2, 3, solar car" was fun. Until now I have only had elementary schools kids powering the solar car with their enthusiastic cheering, the mature crowd at the museum was just as enthusiastic and cheerful as the little ones. Well done everyone!

Tim and Lisa met with us just outside Davis city limits, taking the lead of the convoy to San Rafael. Everyone armed with walki talkies, conversations were flying over the air waves, funny comments and observations and even singing "You are too good to be true.... Can't take my eyes of you..." (I had this song stuck in my head) everyone chipping in singing bits and pieces of the song. Of course we all sound terrible, we didn't care, we were having so much fun. The afternoon went by, the sun was getting low in the horizon I didn't think we would have enough energy to make to San Rafael, called John (A.K.A. Jonut) on the radio to relay the info on the battery status, we made a decision to pulled over at the next suitable location. It happen to be a winery but it was closed, grape nectar on another time. We deployed the array, got it facing the sun soaking up solar juice into XOF1's batteries. What a perfect solar car day, warm in the sun, wonderful company, the view at the winery was picture perfect! We took the opportunity to take photos. John was comfortably seating by the vines, we all gathered around him for a group photo. It was an irresistible opportunity to pull his chair back. Bret and I standing by John shared the instantly urge to do it. Naturally, we didn't drop him, just enough to get him to throw his legs up in the air while trying to keep balance, John being a good sport had a good laugh, we all did!

The owner of the winery stopped by to see what was parked by the entrance of his winery and quickly engaged in a friendly conversation with the crew. "I was wondering what this thing was..."

At about just over one hour of charging under the bright sunshine we had enough bottled sunshine to guarantee a trip to San Rafael. The first time I heard the name "San Rafael" was in my childhood while visiting my cousins, one of my uncles enjoyed a wine named "San Rafael". Interesting how just a name brought wonderful childhood fond memories and now a kazilion years later I am driving to a place named San Rafael, cool!.

Time to "on the road again". Bret helped me ready the car and I got on the road, pulling ahead of everyone. The rest of the crew were still talking to the winery owner, I figured they could catch up with me further down the road but I decided to pulled over to the highway shoulder and wait instead. Tim and Bret joined me soon after, while we waited for John (driving the support van) to turn it around, a call came on the radio. It was Lisa "the van has a flat tire". We left the cars on the side of the road and run towards the van still at the winery. The rear left tire can was as flat. The sun was quickly dropping in the horizon, everyone jumped into action, like if we were on the racing pit stop. It would been more challenging to work in the dark. John got busy jacking up the trailer, I was only able to loosen one of the lug nuts, if I tried any harder I would burst something, Bret was the second to arrive, being a wrestler I thought he would get it loose for sure but no luck either. Bret and I tried using our legs managed to get the wrench slightly bent, Bret used a walking stick to gain some leverage, it snapped in two. Tim arrived, tried using his arms, no gain, those lug nuts were there for good! Only the combine efforts of Tim using his mountain climber legs and Bret finally undid the nuts, they were popping like if the metal was snapping. We got the truck in the air, replaced the stubborn wheel and got back on the road to witnessed fire in the sky as the descending sun colored the sky (pink skies, a fisherman's delight) and highlighted mountains silhouette in the far horizon.

Tim being extremely organized had the entire route printed out, turn by turn. I also had plotted out the entire route on GPS. John developed a self diagnosed "allergy" for GPS. We eventually got lost in San Rafael (it was funny), found our boundaries and made our way to our host Jonathan where we had a warm reception. Judi, John's girlfriend who happened to be in San Francisco meet us there too. You should seeing the smile on John's face. We parked the solar car, unloaded some of our gears and got on the way to Ruth's home where we were expected for dinner. It was a nice surprise to find Elaine and Mark there, they came all the way from Sacramento to have dinner with us.

During dinner we all shared stories, Tim was definitely the highlight telling us jokes and anecdotes, we took lots of photos (some are below), home made wine, a great home lasagna made by Ruth and fantastic everything salad made by Jonathan.

Sadly, everyone will be returning home from here, Tim and Lisa back to Davis. Elaine and Mark to Sacramento. The two warriors John and Bret will be returning home; John to Arcata, Bret to Hopland. It has been fantastic having you all joining me. Thank you for being part of this crazy solar adventure. I'll miss you all, hope we'll keep in touch and stay beautiful.

...and them there was one.

The morning overcast lingered until early afternoon.
The friendly Docents at the museum getting giving some final details before the museum open its doors
Stanley Steamer steaming next to the solar car. Cool special effects
Happy happy joy joy, after a ride by old Sacramento on the Stanley Steamer
The crowd join the team cheering the solar car on its voyage toward the Bay area.
..1,..2, ..3, solar car!
Just as the solar car powered up the sun lights up the way
Crossing the beautiful Tower Bridge
Tim and Lisa, joined the team outside Davis all the way to San Rafael
John - "Hola compadre! Do you copy?"
Marcelo - "Si, I copy!"
John - "do you see any donut shop around here?"
Marcelo - "Negative, I only see farms"
John - "where are you?"
Marcelo - "next to you, just turn around you will see me"
John - "Hola, there you are!"
Marcelo - "copy"
John - "How did you find me?"
Marcelo - "I used the GPS"
Perfect solar car day
Hey, that missing fairing got to be placed back on the car
Running down battery, looking for a place to pull over and charge the batteries
The pull over into a winery to charge the battery
Cheerful Tim as the lead vehicle
Lisa, networking!
"hello people, the solar car is combing your way, get ready!"
Bret takes 5
John basking in the sun
Group photo!
The unsuspected John, looking too relax, got his chair tiled back and amused us throwing up his legs up in the air!
Tim's creative photo of the team
Tim and Bret undoing the nuts, Marcelo and John jacking up the car and trailer
Beautiful site, sunset over a bridge
Driving XOF1 into the night, mission "San Rafael" near completion!
San Rafael at night
A warm reception by Jonathan to store and host the solar car at his home, followed by an awesome dinner at Ruth's place.
Bret, Lisa, Tim, Jonathan, Mark, Elaine, Ruth, Judy and John (A.K.A. "jonut")
The boys doing the dishes