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May 13, 2009

Bonita Springs, Fl - Miami, Fl
By Josh;

Marcelo was up bright and early to move the XOF1 to a parking lot to charge, as the neighborhood foliage was obstructing the sun’s rays. Matt was playing some great guitar licks while singing the notes he was playing simultaneously. I talked a bit with Matt about Buddhism, and with Nick about extreme sports, politics, and the benefits of both organic farming and renewable energy. Willie Wonca and Grant watched the solar car, and even came up with a version of bowling that involved duct tape, the parking lot and bug spray. Jamie brought us some bananas and blueberry muffins, which vanished in an instant due to collective hunger. They also climbed pretty high up a tree by the solar car, which surprised me. After the car was charged, we drove to a local school in Naples to show off the XOF1. We arrived a bit late, and had to attempt to leave before the kids got out of school. Some after school traffic was slightly chaotic, but we managed to escape unscathed. The team continued down toward Miami. We got some good shots of the car, and stopped for a recharge near a Miccosukkee airboat rental shop. The Everglades were gorgeous, green, and thriving with life. We even had some locals stop by to check out the solar car. The crew shared a coconut and sat in the shade of the XOF1 while it recharged. Meanwhile, Marcelo napped in the trailer to recharge himself. After soaking up some rays, and relaxing a while, we headed back out on the road again! Willy Wonca was adamant about spotting an alligator, and finally saw two of them after a day of searching. In Miami, we used Grant’s I-phone to navigate the winding suburban roads. Apparently, the local government wanted to prove that they were using stimulus money wisely, and had built roundabouts at many of the intersections to show it tangibly. I was amazed how the Marcelo and the XOF1 whipped around those tight curves with such precision. We arrived at Audrey’s house with a warm welcome. Laurie, who had been with the crew earlier in the trip, contacted a green organization about the trip. Audrey found out about the project, and shared with us her home, and a pool party in the backyard. With some authentic New York style pizza and some wine, we were ready to relax. I had the chance to interview Louie Martinez from Wind Power Inc., which is a brand new company that develops wind turbines with private investment. I also had the chance to talk with Robert Ruano, the director of the City of Miami’s Grants and Sustainable Initiatives. He organized a press conference with the Mayor at City Hall for the following morning. We stayed with a Peace Corps retiree, Helena, at one of Audrey’s other houses. She has spent some time organizing a micro-credit lending organization in Colombia. It was great to finally be making some political progress with the XOF1 squad.

Matt and Nick, our generous hosts in Bonita Springs.
Jamie getting a little lesson on the PPT for the array.
A fuse that had to be replaced.
Marcelo working on the array.
If you look close, you can see Grant hanging out in the tree above.
Nick, an earth friendly fellow, and xof1 an earth friendly car.
Finally approaching Miami.
Looking good Xof1!
Getting pulled over in the Everglades.
Watch out for alligators!
Willly wonca wanted a taste of coconut, so he cracked one open and shared with us.
Josh getting a taste of fresh coconut water.
Jamie's turn.
Nice view of the Everglades.
Local airboat attraction.
Airboats everywhere!
Sunset in the glades.
We thought we could see some gators here but no luck.
Our arrival into Miami. We were greeted by Audrey as well as the Sustainability officer of Miami
and the State's Energy Commissioner.