Monday, May 24, 2010
Denver to Last Chance - May 21
It took us forever to get going this morning following the trauma of a failure with the new electric bicycle. When we attached the front wheel with the motor in the hub, we didn't have everything quite right so after a couple hours of riding, the wheel fell off. Sean was and still is pretty upset about his new baby's health but we expect he'll have a full recovery. Since we don't need the bike until after getting to brother Peter's house next Friday, we have plenty of time to figure out a good way to fix it and then with Peter's help, we'll get Sean's baby healthier than its ever been.
We portaged a few miles out of Denver to avoid traffic and headed east with a gentle breeze, light traffic and gently rolling hills. Within about 1/2 hour, the gentle breeze started picking up and soon we were facing 25 to 30 mph headwinds coming from about 2 o'clock outré of the south east. We struggled along for about 40 miles before deciding to call it a day with the plan of starting early before the winds pick up tomorrow. We are at a junction in the road that used to have a town called Last Chance. We are parked behind an abandoned "Dairy King" restaurant, hoping that the baseball sized hail that is predicted for this area doesn't show up! A couple of high school kids came by to warn us about the hail and parked one of their cars under a tree to protect it from the weather. It's 6:30 now and we hope the threat of the storm is over although the wind continues to batter us about.
Aside from being exhausting, our 4 days in the Denver area were educational and inspiring. Also being able to share and connect with people who we only knew from phone conversations and emails was very rewarding. Seeing Catherine's son Daniel and cousin Jim's family added to the warmth we are feeling about the people we spent time with.
On the educational front, our visit with Jim Fournier and his biochar project was both educational and inspiring. As I've said before, Biochar holds huge promise for cleaning up unwanted biomass, creating a non-toxic soil health product and sequestering CO2.
Building the electric bike the following day was not only very educational but the open hearted generosity of both Dean and Chuck gives me hope for the kind of businesses that will succeed by creating communities of trust through good service and products.
Learning about Boulder's bicycle and city planning from a group of bicycle enthusiasts who love their jobs was great fun and way more information than I can retain. It's all available on the City of Boulder's website that I can't look up now since I'm writing this way far away from internet service.
Last evenings event for Sustainable Colorado was sobering and somewhat depressing. Being reminded of the horrible state of the world by really smart people tends to get me down. They did offer solutions but walking out of the event and into the Denver streets where there was no sign of those threats, made me realize what a huge job lies ahead and how unprepared our civilization is to deal with what's coming.
The generosity that Paul Sheldon of Natural Capitalism Solutions showed us over the phone as we prepared for this trip was surpassed by his open hearted enjoyment of our visit and his eloquent support of our project. He made us sound like real heroes which we don't really feel like but we do love the support we are getting from people we admire and respect like Paul.
Catherine returning with groceries as we head off for Kansas
Heading east towards Kansas
Sean checks out some Last Chance real estate
Our campsite behind an abandoned "Dairy King"
Catherine looking like a serious biker