“THE JOURNEY IS OVER…OR IS IT?” (Tuesday, December 7, 2010)

This morning, one of my best friends, Scott Sokol, drove down from Baltimore to help me document the conclusion of the ride. For the final three miles from the hotel to the Jefferson Memorial, he “blocked” for me with his car. It was a cold afternoon, made even colder by the gusty winds, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves, save a few intrepid tourists. A news stringer met us there to film some footage, for three local DC networks, on what ended up being one of the most crowded news days of the year.

It seems fitting that the ride would end on the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the singular event that catapulted America into World War II, unified a nation, and produced the “Greatest Generation.” With the threat to humanity even greater today, it is time for our generation to answer the call of history, only this time we need to come together to end our war with the planet. For those wondering how we pay for this green energy “moon shot,” consider the fact that we’re still spending $5 billion a month in Iraq and $6 billion a month on the Afghan war. It’s a matter of national priorities.

In response to the press release I sent out this morning (see below), got a call from Sirius XM Radio, which plans to run the interview tomorrow.

NBC Universal called to schedule a photo shoot for Thursday. Other coverage in the DC and national media markets included:

‘Rocket Trike’ Finishes 2,500-Mile Journey to DC

Bipartisan Support Found for ‘100% by 2020’ Green Energy Goal

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Today, renewable energy advocate Tom Weis completed his 10-week “Ride for Renewables” at the Jefferson Memorial after traversing 11 states in his futuristic-looking “rocket trike.” He is promoting 100% renewable electricity for the U.S. in ten years, a goal first proposed by former Vice President Al Gore.

“Almost everyone I met during this ride wants to see a modern day, green energy moon shot for America,” said Tom Weis, President of Climate Crisis Solutions. Citing massive unemployment, energy dependence, economic turbulence and climate instability as top concerns driving this public desire, he said, “The solution is an American-led green industrial revolution.”

Ride backer Bill McKibben, founder of and author of Eaarth, said, “Politicians won’t lead until we build a citizens movement powerful enough to challenge the might of the fossil fuel industry. That’s what this ride is building towards.”

Phil Radford, Executive Director of sponsor Greenpeace, said, “What stands in the way of clean energy for all is the dirty money in politics from the oil and coal industries.”

Ride sponsor Lester Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute and author of World on the Edge, warned that emergency action at war-time speed is needed to save civilization from a deepening climate crisis: “During World War II, America completely restructured its industrial economy not in decades, but in months, and we can do it again.”

David Blittersdorf, CEO of ride sponsor AllEarth Renewables, Inc., called for greater leadership by the renewable energy industries. “It’s time for America’s renewable energy trade associations to step up and lead by embracing this bold vision of 100% renewables by 2020,” he said.

World Future Council sponsor Randy Hayes, pushing for U.S. renewable energy laws that would allow Americans to profit from selling green energy to the grid, said, “Let’s shift from a nation of energy guzzlers to a nation of clean energy producers.”

Weis hopes to meet with the President and First Lady, and key leaders of Congress, to share what he has learned on Main Street America. A video blog documenting his journey can be seen at:

Principal sponsor: AllEarth Renewables, Inc.


Then Scott, despite the effects of a lung and heart transplant he endured five years ago, toughed out the cold to videotape my arrival. Talk about a great friend. Here’s the approach to the Jefferson Memorial, followed by the final ride video:

As the sun began to drop, Scott again “blocked” for me with his car to the home of Alice and Lincoln Day, who had ever so generously offered up their beautiful guest apartment for me to use while I wrapped things up in DC. The Days are co-producers of the film, “Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives” ( Thanks for making me feel so at home, Alice & Link! Scott then took me out to dinner to celebrate (thanks, buddy).

So the ride has ended, but something tells me the journey has only just begun. I write this from Washington, DC with my funds nearly depleted, no apartment waiting for me back in Colorado, no consulting contracts waiting in the wings and no idea what comes next. During these past few months, I’ve been living in a state best described to me by Sister Mary Luke Murphy of the Sisters of Divine Providence as “Abandonment to Providence.” This entails living in the world like a pilgrim, with no fixed abode, in total trusting dependence on divine help for all that we need; to go where we are sent; to adapt to circumstances in the grace of the present moment without worry or overeagerness; and in the face of difficulty to do calmly what depends on us and leave the rest to the Universe. In other words, let the Great Mystery unfold.

Will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings…

“NEWS VAN VISITS 4 LOCKS ROAD” (Wednesday, December 1, 2010)

Woke up this morning to a driving rain, which later turned to sleet. Was grateful to be warm and dry in Lockhouse 49 updating my blog and website. Will be interesting to see how muddy the trail is tomorrow. Called local NBC affiliate WGAH late morning, which was interested in doing a story on the ride. Just a few blocks from the lockhouse, the news van encountered a tunnel it couldn’t clear with the satellite dish on top, then got stuck in the mud backing up to turn around. So I triked down 4 Locks Road to do the interview there.

Skies started clearing in the late afternoon, so it’s back on the trail tomorrow. I’ll sure miss this place. Will also miss all the home cooking I’ve been enjoying (Bob & Sue brought up dinner again tonight – thanks, guys!). Tomorrow it’s back to freeze dried dinners and sleeping in a cold tent. Tonight I’m enjoying Bob’s homemade blueberry wine.

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“PRESIDENT KENNEDY’S LEGACY LIVES” (Monday, November 22, 2010)

Called the Pittsburgh media outlets this morning and got a call back from The Daily News in McKeesport about 15 miles down the road, where I stopped in for an interview.

After getting breakfast in McKeesport, made my way to the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail, which runs 132 gorgeous miles through rural Pennsylvania. Very excited to be back on a bike trail with a front porch river view. No more cars for now.

Early in the day, saw lots of evidence of the lingering effect of generations of mining in the region. One stark example was the Red Waterfall, a beautiful little waterfall on the side of the trail that runs over rock stained red from acid mine drainage.

Here is a creek that runs rust red.

A little past the town of Van Meter, I was told to watch for a large chunk of coal on the side of the trail (looked more like black granite), commemorating one of the worst mine disasters in history. In 1907, an open flame lamp set off a massive underground explosion in the Pittsburgh Coal Company’s Darr Mine, killing 239 miners. I was told by locals that the victims included a number of children working the mine. A lightly trodden path through the woods behind the stone takes you to the mine opening, so I walked through the falling rain to honor the dead.

A United Press Dispatch reported on December 20, 1907: “Superintendent Black, who was in charge of the mine, recently resigned, as did David Wingrove, former fire boss, on account of the gaseous nature of the mine. It is said they notified the officials the mine was unsafe for the men to work in.”

In addition to learning about tragedies like the Darr mine disaster, I learned other things about the history of mining in Pennsylvania while pedaling the trail. Like how Pennsylvania coal was instrumental in producing the coke (in brick ovens still in evidence along the trail) that was needed to produce steel in Pittsburgh’s famed steel mills. This same steel helped fuel America’s industrial revolution, making Pittsburgh, and coal miners, instrumental in advancing modern civilization. So Appalachia has a proud heritage that demands respect. Few have worked harder, or under more difficult conditions, than our nation’s coal miners (coal company CEOs are another story) to keep the lights on for the rest of us. But times change. We now know that coal burning poses the single greatest threat to our continued existence on this planet. So the mining and burning of coal must end, but not at the expense of hard-working coal miners, who have earned guaranteed retraining and reemployment in the green jobs sector, if not guaranteed pensions for life.

Rode down the trail 33 miles, before coming across a campsite in Cedar Creek Park with a half-cabin overlooking the scenic Youghiogheny River that was just too perfect to pass up.

Was as good a place as any to so a little show and tell on the rocket trike.

The campsite also had a fireplace, and I haven’t had a campfire this whole trip, so tonight’s the night.

On a reflective note, today marks the 47th anniversary of one of the darkest moments in U.S. history: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. By happenstance, I had the opportunity to visit Dealey Plaza in Dallas earlier this year. I walked up the grassy knoll, stood behind the picket fence and saw the “X” on the street marking where the president was shot. But you cannot kill a dream. President Kennedy’s bold call to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade was successfully achieved.

Another great legacy of President Kennedy is how many people he inspired, and how many continue to be inspired by his leadership today. I chose the 48th anniversary of his historic “moon shot” speech at Rice University to launch my ride because we need a modern day, green energy moon shot today to revive our economy, put unemployed Americans back to work and protect the planet for future generations.

If only we had a president today with the kind of vision embodied in President Kennedy, who famously said on September 12, 1962 at Rice University: “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

We can choose to green our energy grid, but that would require extraordinary political leadership to rally the American people. It would also demand the rarest of traits, exhibited only by our greatest presidents: the political courage and personal strength to stand up to the powerful and wealthy special interests, in this case, the fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies. The easy choice is to keep doing things as we always have, while unemployment lingers; the economy stagnates; China claims the mantle of world economic superpower; and the climate continues to deteriorate. The hard choice, and the one that will “organize and measure the best of our energies and skills,” is for President Obama to boldly challenge the nation to renew America with renewable energy by the end of the decade.

Will end my post with this poignant June 28, 1963 quote by President Kennedy: “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were and ask “why not?

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“KID IN GO-CART” PULLED OVER BY POLICE (Friday, November 19, 2010)

Up with the sun this morning in the hopes of making Pittsburgh by sunset. Before leaving, walked down to the campground host trailer to pay, but it was padlocked, with frozen ice on the deck. They’re probably in Florida. So rolled on down the highway, where I saw this great combined solar/wind system being used by the state Dept. of Transportation.

Rolled on to Steubenville to meet a reporter with the Herald Star (thanks, Connie & Tasha at Kwik King for the hot chocolate on the house). He seemed stunned by the number of people who walked up to ask about the trike as we conducted the interview.–pedaling-for–environment.html?nav=5010

Then pedaled across the bridge spanning the Ohio River into West Virginia.

Got several miles down the road before I heard police sirens behind me. The two squad cars didn’t pass me, they pulled over right behind me.

The first officer informed me that bikes were not permitted on Hwy. 22. This was news to me and I explained that I had avoided Interstate 70 for that very reason. The second officer smilingly told me they had received a call that a “kid on a go-cart was riding down the highway.” Not too far off the mark. When they heard my story, and that I was trying to make Pittsburgh by dark, they graciously gave me the go-ahead to continue riding on the shoulder. Thanks, officers!

About 22 miles outside of Pittsburgh, was pulled over by another patrol car. This officer also told me bikes were not allowed on Hwy. 22 and that I would have to exit and take the windy, mountain roads into the city. Being told I had to pedal through “extremely difficult” terrain was not what I wanted to hear this late in the day, especially being so close to my destination. Even with the electric motor providing a little help up hills, my legs were still about shot and my battery nearly dead. I made my case, but he just asked for my license. Just when it looked like I might not make Pittsburgh by tonight after all, he came back from his patrol car, handed me my license said I had clearance to pedal on the shoulder into the city. A huge relief, and much appreciated.

A few miles later, the incessant rumble strips finally took their toll, causing my iPhone to shake loose. Still attached by a cord to the solar charger, it took a bad bounce and fell through one of the “Fred Flintstone” holes in the bottom of the trike, dragging along the pavement until I could pull over. I fished it up through the hole and discovered the glass had been badly chipped on two corners, including the one with the camera lens, but it still worked. So now you know: the iPhone4 can take a licking and keep on ticking.

Got the usual honks and looks today, but even more as I got closer to the city. Maybe the Steelers colors of the trike have something to do with it. Was delighted to find a Primanti Bros. on the edge of town, where I devoured one of their famous sandwiches and knocked back couple of Iron City Lights. Pedaling back up the steep hill to the motel, a hawk alighted on a tree directly above me and watched my slow progress. Thanks to Mike for helping me get the trike into the motel room.

Big ride day today: 65 miles, and my legs are feeling every mile of it.

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“OHIO EMBRACING BIG SOLAR” (Wednesday, November 17, 2010)

Got an early morning call from NBC news affiliate WHIZ (which Paul had emailed in advance of my arrival) wanting to do an interview. So rolled down the old National Highway and met them at the historic “Y Bridge.” You can watch the video and see a photo slideshow at these two links:

Learned from the WHIZ reporter that one of the nation’s largest solar farms is being developed in Zanesville. This popular project, fittingly called “Turning Point,” is expected to bring up to 600 jobs through local manufacturing of the solar panels needed for the nearly 50 MW solar farm. Even more fittingly, it is being sited on a former coal mine. The project is slated to go online in 2012.

Also learned I had arrived just in time for Zanesville’s 52nd annual SERTOMA Pancake Day, a fundraiser for local charities. Followed the news van there for some breakfast.

What a scene. The cavernous basement was packed with people. Later learned they served 6,500 people pancakes and sausage over the course of the day. When the servers heard I had biked all the way from Colorado, Jim Drake (thanks for the contribution) stacked several extra flapjacks onto my already full plate. After devouring those, went back for seconds. Have never eaten so many pancakes in my life. Really enjoyed meeting Scott & Robin Obenour, Cindy, Chuck and Dee Dee.  Before leaving, was approached by a local radio reporter who had heard I was there and wanted to set up an interview for tomorrow. Gotta love small, friendly communities like Zanesville.

From Zanesville, pedaled down the road to New Concord, home of Muskingum University and boyhood home of astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. John Glenn’s historic achievement helped unleash the best of the American spirit. We need a new generation of earthnauts today to unleash that same American spirit to achieve a modern day, green energy “moon shot.”

From New Concord, rolled down the road to Cambridge, which I easily made before dark. Beautiful day for riding. Low 50s and sunny. My buddy Paul had located a campground for me in Cambridge, right off Interstate 70, which was a real score (thanks, Paul!). With the late start getting out of town, only logged 38 miles today, but looking forward to a good night’s sleep. If it rains tomorrow like it rained yesterday, I’ll need it.

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Made media calls in the morning, and visited the Ohio State campus early in the afternoon. The campus newspaper, The Lantern, sent out a photographer to take some pics of the trike.

On a serendipity note, ran into Jeff Stephens, Executive Director of Consider Biking, while rolling down to Columbus State Community College to meet Harvey and talk to his students about the ride. They were into it. One even took it upon himself to find a shop where I could get the trike repaired. Michael and Casey of B1 Bicycles took good care of me. They not only fixed up the trike at no cost, but loaded me up with free power bars for the road. Thanks, guys!

After dinner, Harvey took me as a guest to the local Jewish Community Center, for the first hot tub soak of the trip. My legs are still thanking me for that.

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“LATCHKEY KIDS IN CINCINNATI” (Tuesday, November 9, 2010)

Packed up in the morning, made some media calls and got one last Skyline fix with Sheryl & Joe.

Before pedaling south into the city, rolled up to the entrance of the Rumpke landfill, just down the road from my sister’s house. Already the sixth largest landfill in the United States, Rumpke is suing the citizens of Colerain Township to nearly double in size. Known to most as “Mount Rumpke,” the landfill is the highest point in Cincinnati. What most don’t know is a fire has been burning at the dump since August of 2009 and they not only don’t know how to put it out, they don’t even know what is burning.

Pedaling past St. Joseph Catholic School a little while later, some of the kids excitedly yelled out to me, so I pulled over to let them check out the trike. One of the teachers thought it would be neat if I talked to the kids in the school’s latchkey program, so I asked the principal and we made it happen. Interacting with those kids was the highlight of my day.

Did an interview with local ABC affiliate WCPO-TV on Fountain Square:

Also did an interview local NBC affiliate WLWT TV.

While on Fountain Square, one of the people who walked up to me was Zach Weprin and his dad. It was getting late, so he offered to let me crash at his apartment right down the road. Zach, along with his buddies Steve and Nick, owns Soho Sushi, a casual sushi restaurant. There’s something really inspiring about childhood friends coming together to jointly pursue a dream. Their hope is to become to sushi what Chipotle is to burritos. If what I experience there (very tasty, healthy, fast sushi) is any indication, I believe they just might do it. Thanks for dinner and a place to crash, guys! Easy ride day today: 18 miles.

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“INDIANA WANTS REAL CHANGE” (Wednesday, November 3, 2010)

The REI lightweight down sleeping bag, with a felt liner insert, was just enough to keep me warm throughout the night, but woke up to ice on the tent fly and frost on the windshield, so packing up wasn’t fun. The sun quickly warmed things up, though, and it ended up being a glorious day for riding. Marti had already shipped my cold weather gear to my family in Cincinnati, so I’ll be trading out gear there for the final push to DC.

Rolled into The Corner Restaurant in downtown Rushville for a hearty breakfast, where folks were curious to know where I was headed in the trike. Lots of enthusiasm for a green energy “moon shot,” like pretty much everywhere I go. William Goin, President of the Rushville City Council, stopped by my table to say hello. The waitress then threw me for a loop when she told me “the guy over there” was buying my breakfast. Thanks, Al Tackett! Thanks, too, to the gentleman who tipped me off to a less hilly, more bike- friendly, route to travel on his way out the door. After breakfast, rolled down to the offices of the Rushville Republican for a quick newspaper interview.

Then pedaled over to the home of Mike Sweet, who I had also met at breakfast, to check out the “green” addition to his home. He’s doing his part to make the world a better place by using reclaimed materials whenever and wherever he can. Way to lead by example, Mike.

After that, wanted to visit the Booker T. Washington school, a national award-winning historic landmark, so pedaled down the road to see it. Now a community center, this historic renovation is the culmination of a long-time dream of William Goins. When I got there, I saw it also housed a Head Start program, so poked my head in the door to ask a teacher if the kids might want to see the trike. Boy, were they excited.

Discovered this homemade wind turbine at Elm Valley Farms near Connersville. Later learned it was built from the ground up by Matt Sherck (and his dad), who likes the idea of making his own energy and being self-sufficient.

Down the road, stopped into the Connersville News-Examiner for a quick interview:

Later grabbed a sandwich at Subway in Liberty, where I want to give a shout out to employee Heather Harsh, for covering my lunch. Then did a phone interview with Ohio University’s College Green Magazine as I pedaled out of town:

The gears were popping worse today, making it hard to get into a groove, but still managed 64 miles. One of my side trips today was to the beautiful Black Covered Bridge. The iPhone battery died just as I was approaching the bridge.

There I ran into Dick & Leslie Haid out sightseeing, who asked if I had seen the low wind speed wind turbine just installed at Miami University’s Ecology Research Center. I hadn’t, and the sun was already dropping low, so they kindly offered to shuttle me the few miles up the road to see it. I’ve seen lots of wind turbines over the years, but never one quite like this. I’ll be interested to learn more about how it performs.

Was really hoping to make Cincinnati to be with my family tonight, but too many miles to go. Briefly considered spending the night at Hueston Woods campground for old times sake (I visited the park as a kid growing up near here), but decided instead to take up climate activists Don Pestana and his wife, Carla, on their generous offer of a bed, a hot shower and dinner. Thanks, Don and Carla! Their teenage son, Anderson, was bubbled over with ideas on how to engineer the next iteration of the rocket trike. There’s something about the trike that really sparks the imagination.

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Day started out a little rough, but ended on a once-in-a-lifetime note. Carb-loaded up at breakfast, then made tracks for Indianapolis, eager to get to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Been feeling a strong pull, partly, no doubt, because of the iconic nature of the place. The Indy 500 is part of the American fabric. Whatever the reason, knew I had to get there.

Hit a detour a few miles into the ride, but eventually worked my way around that. Small things like this impact you on a bike in ways that riding in a car doesn’t. Got back on the frontage road and started feeling slack in the chain again. Then it snapped. Repairing the chain on the rocket trike is not like repairing a chain on a regular bike, as half the chain is housed under the seat, which in turn is bolted to the carbon fiber body. It’s also very long and runs through two pulleys that guide it along the bottom. So called roadside bike assistance for the second time this trip to request a tow to the nearest bike shop. Luckily for me, it was just a short 8 miles away. As I waited at a truck stop (thanks for the mocha, Tina!), got a call from a reporter at the Lebanon Reporter.

The tow truck driver dropped me off at Nebo Ridge Bicycles, where I met a bunch of cool people (just seems to come with working at a bike shop). Want to give a big shout out to Brad, Jonathan, Brian, Joel and Tim for dropping what they were doing to get me back on the road. Required some acrobatics, but Brad managed to rethread the repaired chain through the rear pulley. Even though the job took about an hour, they didn’t charge me a dime. Was even treated to expresso (they have their own machine) while I waited. If you ever find yourself near Indianapolis, do yourself a favor and drop into the Nebo Ridge Bicycle Shop in Carmel.

As I started pedaling away, felt the chain underneath yanking up on the seat. Reached under to figure out what was wrong and discovered a severed electrical cable (not good), which must have been cut when the chain snapped. Didn’t explain why the chain was pulling up on the seat, but needed to be fixed regardless. Brad directed me to a car stereo shop down the road that did electrical work. To repair the wiring, we had to remove the seat, which revealed the other problem. The chain was pulling up on the seat because it needed to be threaded through another pulley, which we then fixed (thanks, Chad).

By now, was starting to wonder if I was ever going to make it to Indianapolis, but was back on the road, racing down busy streets towards my destination. Finally, there it was, similar to how I remembered it as a kid when my Dad brought me here oh so many years ago. The exit gate was open, but the entrance gate was closed. It was 5:15pm and they closed at 5:00. Couldn’t believe it, but something told me to just chill, so I parked the trike at the gate and walked around a little to get a better look at the track. Right about then, a vehicle rolls up the exit ramp. Sensing she probably worked there, I walked up and asked if there was any way I could get in. She told me if I was willing to drive (blindly) down the exit ramp, yes, but I wasn’t eager to be surprised by an oncoming car in my little trike. So she called a security guard inside, who agreed to hold the lane open for me if I hurried (thanks, Nadine!).

Hopped in the trike and raced down the ramp and back up to the security building, where I had the pleasure of meeting Jim “Woody” Woodlock. We talked for several minutes and took some photos. Then I asked where I could get the best view of the track. He suggested I ride up to the front of the museum.

As I was working on the best photo angle there, he yelled up that he had a “treat” for me, if I hurried. I abandoned the shot and rolled back down the hill, where he told me Ron was coming by to unlock the gate and take me onto the track, but we had to move fast, as he only had five minutes. I felt like a kid at Christmas. Ron then proceeded to give me a private tour of a lifetime. Here’s the rocket trike at the Indy 500 start line.

I’ll let the videos speak for themselves.

What a thrill! I can’t thank you enough, Woody and Ron, for your amazing kindness and thoughtfulness. As I got ready to leave, Woody said to me with a smile, “This place has a lot of history, and now you’re part of it.” The rocket trike has been on hallowed ground.

Raced in the fading light to yet another motel (which is busting my budget, but not a lot I can do about it – not a lot of campgrounds in big cities and towns). Couldn’t negotiate the trike down the narrow hallways and make the turn into the room, so the staff kindly offered to store it in the conference room and keep an eye on it for me (thanks, Dawn and John). Logged just 23 miles today, but have abandoned the need for big ride days. In fact, I’m no longer projecting when I’ll arrive in Washington, DC. I’ll get there when I get there. If I hit snow, I’ll just hole up for a while until it (hopefully) melts, then continue on my way.

Got my “tricks” and “treats” today, in spades. Just had to wait a day.

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“A CRASH & A SHERIFF DEPUTY’S KINDNESS” (Friday, October 29, 2010)

Began the day by getting to drive Matt’s TWIKE around the block. Talk about fun. Test-drive one yourself, and you may never go back to a car.

Then it was back into the cockpit of the rocket trike for what turned out to be an 83-mile ride day. Started with a hearty breakfast in nearby Urbana before heading north towards Fowler, site of the enXco wind project I cut my teeth on when I first joined the wind industry nearly seven years ago. Met Neil Bernstein and his son Daniel on the way out the door, who were real excited about the ride. Thanks for the generous contribution, guys!

Weather now starting to get a little cool, but a beautiful day for riding. Encountered six hawks and two large dogs, as I rode by a farmer’s yard. They were barking with what was could only be described as joy and ran alongside me for a good couple of miles. They’d have gone further, I’m sure, if I hadn’t stopped to let them rest.

Made a side trip down Main Street in Rankin and a little while later, in Hoopeston, where I ran into local Alderman Bill McElhaney and Republican County Clerk candidate Dennis Miller, both big supporters of wind power. Finally crossed the state line into Indiana (one more state down). A short while later, a woman in a van flagged me down. She was a reporter from the Danville Commercial News whose son had just called her saying he had seen me on the road. We did an interview in the parking lot.

Finally spotted a huge wind project on the horizon to the north and made tracks for it. I was soon pedaling through a massive wind project, with hundreds of turbines dotting the landscape, as the sun began to drop. The setting sun, behind all those slowly rotating wind turbines, under a pale blue sky with wispy white clouds turning pastel pink, was a postcard perfect moment (but for the iPhone battery dying at that moment). What happened next was not.

As there were no towns of any size nearby, I had to make Fowler before dark. Missed my target by a few miles, which forced me to ride in the dark. Kids, don’t do this. Knocked on the door of a farmhouse to make sure I was on the right road. I was, so at least that.

By now, it was not only pitch black, but I was riding on a section of newly constructed black asphalt with no painted stripes and no shoulder (ironically built by a wind company), so it was hard to discern where the asphalt ended and a sharp, nasty drop-off began. Got a little too close to the edge at one point and over we went. Fortunately, it was a soft, grassy landing and the trike didn’t roll. Crawled out of the cockpit to survey the damage, fearing the worst. Not a scrape on the trike, which was lying on its side, and just a few small ones on me. A woman (never got her name) who witnessed the accident pulled over to see if I was OK, and was kind enough to slowly drive behind me as I pedaled the last couple of miles safely into town.

Briefly thought about pitching a tent in the town park, but was chilled and still soaking wet from sweating all day, so rolled up to the Sheriff’s Office to ask about other options. The dispatch, Courtney, called around (including to a church) to see if she could find me a bed for the night, but struck out. Finally, they proposed storing my trike, charging the battery up over night, and driving me up the road to the next town where there was a hotel. At this point, that sounded good to me. Before leaving, they loaded me up with Halloween candy and other snacks for the road.

When we got to the hotel, Deputy Jason Dexter asked me to please wait in the car, which I found curious. He came out a few minutes later, handed me my room key with his business card and said, “I really admire what you’re doing. Here’s your room key. Just do me one favor and email me when you arrive in DC.” He had personally picked up the tab for my room! I was flabbergasted. He said another officer would be by in the morning to drive me back to Fowler. Indiana’s Benton County Sheriff’s Department truly personifies the motto “protect and serve.” Thank you, Jason, for your heartwarming generosity.

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