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June 14, 2009

Chicago, IL-Ofordville, WI- 122 miles
By Laura Peruzzi;
I awake in the Arlington House International Hostel in Chicago, wishing I had a babel fish to understand all the languages swimming around me. The place is filled with accents and attitudes and us five gypsies with the solar car parked out front. Marcelo and Claire have woken up early to go down to the nature museum where the car spent the night to set up the array. After bagels and jam, coffee and phone calls, Josh, Willy Wonka and I head over to the museum too, finding a cotton tree to be the source of the flurries floating throughout the windy city. The trailer is spotless and spacious since Claire got in there and organized our mess. Willy Wonka takes the wheel as we exit Chicago; it is Sunday and everyone is out and about, giving us lots of reactions for good pictures. We pass two cops arresting a guy and when we pass, the officers stop what they’re doing to yell “Solar car!” and the handcuffed criminal yells ‘hey cutie!‘ while I hang out the window capturing the unique moment with the camera. We get pulled over not much later just outside of the city while rolling though the farmland. The Illinois officer issues us our first written warning after the near 25 police interactions, for not having a front license plate on the solar car. The new crew is hilarious in the van singing and laughing, snacking and snapping photos and video. Out of nowhere I feel a tickle on my knee and look over to see a big fat bumble bee the size of a small country walking in circles on my knee. He is obviously lost and thinks I am a flower but sorry guy, no nectar for you...he realizes his mistake and saunters towards my ankle before taking off into the sky. When we stop for gas the bucket comes out and Willy Wonka is confident we can raise funds in this short opportunity. Pulling out 20 minutes later the locals were generous and kind enough to donate $15 just in the time it takes us to fill up and empty out. We get in over a hundred miles today, starting in Chicago with a full battery and after an incredible sunset, end up at Knute’s Bar and Grill just across the border into Wisconsin. Marcelo stopped here on the tour last year and we are welcomed by the cook, Don who is just as drunk as he was last year. He calls Marcelo crazy for doing this a second time and tells us to come inside, he’ll turn on the grills and cook us up some dinner. Inside we happily feast on vegetarian pizza, which Willy Wonka wishes there was a huge slab of beef or ham or moose on...and we toast to the solar car, remembering to look each other in the eyes to avoid the superstitious repercussions. The night grows longer and we get louder, belting out the ballads of Queen and turning the bar into our own private karaoke jam session before turning in for the early morning array game in Orfordville.

By Joshua Holton;
I awoke around 9:00 AM today with a decent night‘s sleep considering my near theft experience. Claire has not yet set up the array, and so she volunteered to have an early morning with Marcelo at the museum. The man who took my wallet was still sleeping next to me. Michael, Laura, and I worked on contacting some press at the last minute until about 11:00 AM. We all headed over to help out Marcelo. No press today, but we helped him tie the spare tires under the trailer. Willy helped me with that, and we were done in no time. Claire had done a great job with cleaning up the trailer. We all thanked her for tidying up. After we got all packed up, Claire had her first video shooting experience. We then drove over to the Arlington International Hostel to show off the solar car. While we were waiting for team members to get showers, I walked to the grocery store to get some food for everyone. We had a quick lunch, and then we left the great City of Chicago with blues songs and the Captain Planet theme song blasting. We drove for quite some time, stopping to take renegade video shots whenever possible. We must have stopped at least 5 times for video, getting pulled over by the cops along the way. As usual, the XOF1 turns out to be 100% street legal! Laura took stills with the SLR while getting into complex and intriguing poses for angle excellence, and I also took some with Claire’s canon, while Claire used my video camera like a natural. Willy kept up on driving. We stopped for Marcelo at a gas station while he did the pee pee dance. We then went to Marcelo’s first contact with someone he had met a year ago. At Knute’s bar and grill, we were warmly welcomed by Don and some bar-goers. They gave us a free deep dish pizza and several rounds of beer. We also played a boat racing game with the Arctic Circle as a destination. After the bar cleared out, and Marcelo went to bed, the group sang an impassioned and rockin’ round of the Bohemian Rhapsody, and We Will Rock You/We are the Champions. We were pretty tired, and so I slept in the van with Claire and Laura, while Willy took the trailer with Marcelo. What a night! Pizza, beer, friends, tunes, and memories of passing state lines and evading the police all combine to give us a great first day for the new crew. For the next two days, I will do PR, Laura will navigate, Claire will do video, and Willy will drive. Go solar car team!

By Willy Wanka;
Goood morning! 9.00am and me and Josh are waking up in the Hostel. Laura was already awake working on some updates and Claire and Marcelo already at the museum charging the solar car. Our big friend that felt in love with Joshes wallet was still sleeping and probably dreaming about other wallets too. We went to the computer room were Laura was as well and started contacting and following up media for Chicago. After lots of calls and emails we went to the museum, did some maintenance on the solar car and tied up used solar car tires underneath the trailer. We went for a short drive, back to the hostel to put the solar car out front and pack our stuff. Also Claire made us some nice VEGETERIAN sandwiches! IM STUCK WITH VEGETRIAN PEOPLE!!! Well I suppose rabbits live a healthy life eating green stuff too. It was ON THE ROAD AGAIN around 03.40am and we left for Madison. It was a sunny day but we left a little to late so we stopped for the night at Knutes were we met Dan. The pizza and the beers were a great refreshment. We finally danced our selves to sleep in a cool little bar, far far away on the Bohemian Rhapsody.

By Claire;June 14, 2009
A horrendous first impression. After proudly proclaiming I am a bonified 'morning girl' just a few hours earlier, I woke up to a text from Marcelo saying that he was leaving without me to set up the car. I ran out to the lobby, swollen faced and dishelved, relieved to see Marcelo still waiting. Insert tail between legs. I pleaded a quick case and ran back to dress myself in a pitch black room with 15 other girls soundly sleeping. Marcelo is one of those people that you'd wish they would just yell at you, an immediate punishment so you can go on and start feeling better about yourself. He is one of those people that you really don't want to disappoint and there is no torture like self-torture. His spirits remained high amid my tardiness and we were off to set up the array.

He walked me through the lifting and positioning of the panels, all the pins, locks, tensions, and braces that needed to be addressed in a particular order. I always surprise myself when I doubt my own knowldge and skills, as basic as right and left, for fear I might mess something up. I guess it's more understandable when a half million dollar piece of globetrotting machinery is at stake, but still, It's like holding someone else's infant child...'are you sure you want me to hold little Joey?'

Once the array secured and soaking up the sun, we made a very bold move, one not for the flimsy or nimble,or those that can't take strange or unidentifiable smells. Yes, my friends, we were going to clean the inside of the trailor. I really didn't think it would be that bad, but it was one of those 'you're already carving a block, you might as well build a pyramid' situations. And so we did, only no one besides us will ever see this pyramid and it will last, tops, two days. We had to compromise our individual cleaning philosophies a bit though. I come from the school of "demolish and rebuild," and Marcelo was trying to practice 'Only touch something once.' What ended up happening was he would stand there with something in his hand, contemplating its final resting place and end up passing it to me, where I would add it to the organized chaos of rotating piles. We basically destroyed the place, but whether it was our organizational philosophy or straight up endurance the job got done.

The rest of the sunshine troop joined us around 11:30 and after merveling about the newfound surface area in the trailor, we all took on jobs for our solar centerpiece, cleaning and oiling the joints, putting the trailor on the hitch, washing windows, adjusting the array, taking pictures, making press calls, writing updates, talking to passers-by. Then to the hostel to display the car and grab some grub. My family would scoff at the fact that I am turning out to be the one in charge to preparing the food. I am a big fan of 'now' food, if something isnt ready to eat right there and then I would rather smear honey on cardboard or go without. Just the other day I was so lazy to make something decent that I broiled s'mores in the oven. Anyways, we ate, talked to some of the hostelers about the car and cleaned up, for as Willy warns, you never know when you'll get another chance.

The drive out of Chicago was my first time to see people react to this roach on wheels. Some laugh, some yell, some are confused, some jump out of the car, and some didn't even flinch, which I thought was strange. Slowly the green part of America began to emerge and carried on the road trip tradition of jamming out unmercifully between calls and computer work, singing about folsom prison, stairways to heaven, sitting on the dock, cortez the killer, and empty bed blues. Cruising over the land on pavement rolled out like fresh taffy.

Could I have possibly gotten this far without mentioning that I can now, with an unhealthy confidence, jump out of a moving vehicle. It would be fun to leave that statement there, but for my father's sake I will explain that I am a very conscientious jumper and that I may be embellishing a bit when I saying moving, moer like braking. No matter, we jumped out of the van so many times, scattering like mice to find a spot to film or photograph the car going by. By the second week I should have the full Jason Bourne rollout technique down. I'll keep you posted.

Well, today's update will all I will be able to write about for today's update. I need to go do something that I can write about. PEACE.

By Marcelo;
Looking forward, got too busy to write the update, I'll get back to it soon. So, hang in there the adventure continue....
Stay beautiful
See you on the sunny:)

Here is Claire! First day on the team!!!
The XOF1's camping outfit at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Catching some Chicago sunshine
Claire cleaned the trailer!
A radiant Claire joins the solar fellowship.
A solar dog.
Setting up the array today.
Securing the tires: check. Rust in the eyes, check!
Trailer outside the Peggy Notebaert
Working at the car wash, yeah!
Josh is enjoying the Windy City.
Josh is happy, and Claire approves.
Laura, the flower eater.
"How does he get in that thing?"
Getting out at the Arlington House
"How fast does it go???"
Parked in style.
This place was great, and had great people too.
Laura's prepping the gps for safe travels.
Claire stylin on our solar safari.
Howdy, Laura!
"It's a spaceship! I knew it!"
Our new videowoman, Claire, is loving the shots in the city.
The XOF1 Crossing bridges, and inspiring America
Nature prevails, and we reach for the sun, like the vines.
"What was that?"
"Is that a solar car???"
"Does it have AC?"
"I don't care, but I'm getting one!"
Renewable energy in many forms.
This biker was astonished and amazed.
We ain't got the blues no more.
Bright blue skies greeted us.
Illinois farmland.
Biker gang in the country.
Here comes the sun!
Living Green
Police love the solar car.
Marcelo's got a bright idea.
This cop gave us a warning, but still wanted a photo.
Stay cool
Fields of sunshine.
Video vixens.
Claire getting a cop shot.
The team in his shades.
Marcelo, the solar panel on wheels.
"The moon controls the tides! Like this!"
The CFSP: Cows For Solar Power
That shadowy cowgirl navigator on the job again
Laura's legs are the "bee's knees"
Claire's countenance outlined with sun rays.
We plug into the sun.
"Only solar power? I don't believe it"
Josh is pretty cool. He's even more chill than that ice behind him.
A pink and lavender Wisconsin sunset
Marcelo can fix anything, especially radio chargers.
Knutes was really great. Marcelo trailered in the solar car here a year ago.
Don was excited to see Marcelo and the car again.
Reunited and it feels so good!
Chicago deep dish in Wisconsin.