“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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“PARTY OF NO VS. PARTY OF SLOW” (Tuesday, November 2, 2010)

Called the Indianapolis media outlets this morning, but couldn’t have had tougher competition, this being election day. Pedaling out of town, had the typical experience of cars slowing down to take pictures, but the one that really stuck out was a guy at a stoplight who commented to his friend: “You’re looking at the future right there, man.”

Gears started popping again today, making it tough to get into a groove. Weather is also starting to turn. Highs today in the low 50s, with the wind chill making it feel more like low 40s. Not ideal peddling weather, worse when you’re drenched in sweat, but arrived in Rushville before dark, with 64 more miles behind me. Along the way, rolled past another one of the many curious cows I have encountered on this trip.

Rolled down a side street to ask directions to the local sheriff’s department to ask for permission to camp in one of the town park. Lucky for me, the person I asked was Randy Kaster, who was very excited about my mission and had a few choice words to share on why he didn’t vote today. Countless people I have encountered on this journey share his disdain for the two major political parties. I call them the party of “no” versus the party of “slow.” Either way, we lose.

Randy then kindly offered to have me camp in his backyard (where I am writing this from the comfort of my tent). Yet another heartwarming example of the generous nature of Americans. Earlier, over pizza and beers, I learned Randy is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Marine corps (1980-1992). I also learned that Rushville is named in honor of Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and served as the presidential campaign headquarters for Wendell Willkie’s 1940 presidential campaign. It also boasts one of the most beautiful historic courthouses in the state.

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