coal plant

“TORNADO WARNINGS & 80 MPH WIND GUSTS” (Tuesday, October 26, 2010)

As I was preparing to head out this morning for Champaign, via Clinton, got a call from Terri warning me about extreme weather. The news was reporting wind gusts of up to 80 mph for the region (several semis had already been knocked over) and tornado warnings and watches were in effect. No way I was going to chance that and risk shooting through the air like a real rocket. Very disappointed, though, as I had really wanted to present on a panel tomorrow at the University of Illinois’ Sustainability Week. So emailed my regrets and got to work updating my website from my room with a view of a coal plant.

Matt Childress, however, was determined to get me there, and started scheming with colleagues on how to transport me to Champaign in a way that would maintain the integrity of my ride. Turns out one of the other panel speakers lives in Springfield and owns an electric car, which he is offering to use to tow me and my trike over to the university in the morning. What a great analogy for moving forward as a nation: by working together and being creative, we can always find a way.

Sarah Phillips Eccles and her 6-month old daughter Ursula from next door stopped by to offer me breakfast(!). She and her husband Randy had been working the local radio stations on my behalf, which led to a couple of interviews, including with Springfield-based WTAX. Sarah later dropped off some homemade cookies, and shared with me a heartfelt blog she wrote (below). Thanks for everything, guys!

Got a call tonight from Matt’s buddy, Kevin Smith, asking about the dimensions of my trike, so he could rig up a special trailer for it (a project that kept him up until 2am). Just before calling it a night, saw an AP article from my friend Paul Alexander on today’s “massive windstorm,” saying “the unusual system mesmerized meteorologists because of its size and because it had barometric pressure similar to a Category 3 hurricane, but with much less destructive power.” Really glad I hunkered down through that. It meant not being able to swing by the Clinton nuclear power plant, which I had hoped to profile tomorrow, but there should be others.

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“LAST DAY IN LAWRENCE” (Wednesday, October 13, 2010)

Spent the morning uploading the last of my videos, washing clothes and organizing my stuff. Spent much more time in Lawrence than I had planned, but no real choice. Have to stay on top of the social media component of the ride. Am hoping some help arrives soon so I don’t lose more precious ride days. Want to make one final shout out to Marci and Joe for tolerating an unexpected houseguest – it was much appreciated!

That afternoon, met a local inventor who built his own electric bike at a coffee shop, then was treated to dinner (thanks, Scott!) by Scott Allegrucci, Executive Director of the Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy, one of the organizations leading the fight to block a new polluting coal plant in western Kansas.

It’s incredibly energizing to meet activists like Scott who are really making things happen. Looking forward to getting back on the road tomorrow morning.

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“POLLUTING COLORADO COAL PLANT” (Friday, September 24, 2010)

Kicked the day off with a mocha at Peppy’s Drive-Thru Coffee. The staff were all smiles, having never seen anything quite like the rocket trike roll up to their window.

Big media push today. Started the day by swinging back by The Fort Morgan Times for a quick interview:

Later hit the Brush News-Tribune:

Pedaled a few miles out of my way to get some shots of Xcel’s coal-fired power plant in Brush.

Was then fortunate to catch Washington County Commissioner and geothermal expert Bruce Johnson at home (he’s someone I had met years ago assisting enXco with a proposed a wind project for Washington County), so I stopped by to talk to him. Have always liked Bruce, so it was really good to see him again.  Then made a stop at the Akron News-Reporter.

Bruce called ahead to the next town to alert Cheryl Patterson (co-owner of the Otis Telegraph) about me. She was kind enough to drive out to meet me to get a photo of the trike before the sun went down. In response to my question about camping options in town, she generously offered her own backyard. The Patterson “campground” came complete with a laundromat, hot shower and a cat named “Snickers” (you might be able to find an amazing story about how their cat survived 16 days trapped under their porch by googling it in the Telegraph). Cheryl then treated me to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, joined by her bubbly 4-year old granddaughter and teenage son. Another big ride day (87 miles).

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