The Blog

Monday, June 21, 2010

Morgantown to Coopers Rocks via Auto Repair

Catherine's first blog!!

Our last visit with a “sustainability  hero” was really a grand finale. After our night at the ice rink in Morgantown we went to see Paul Brown, a professor from WVU who has retrofitted his house to make it almost self sufficient with water and electricity.  He drives an electric car which he charges with the solar electricity from his roof. The same solar panels that cover the entire southern roof supply 95% of his electricity needs. Water catchment from the roof supply water that is treated to make it potable. It is stored in two large insulated tanks in the basement, one for cold and one for hot water.  The catchment tanks were built in the basement out of the Styrofoam blocks designed to be used for building foundations.  A great solution to figuring out how to get a pre built tank into an existing basement.  The hot water is heated by solar energy as well. He showed us around the house and the basement explaining simply and clearly how everything worked so even I understood.  What impressed me most was that his strong commitment to saving the planet guides all his life choices. He even has the courage to be running for the state legislature to work for green legislation.  We talked about the radical changes needed if the earth is to survive and the fact that the oil that is still spewing into the Gulf may have already 'tipped’ us over the edge.  Not a happy thought.
I’m not under the illusion that our riding electric bikes across the country is going to help with these huge problems so I was delighted meet Paul who has the commitment to fight for meaningful changes in the government if he gets elected.
We contributed to his campaign.
The rest of the day turned into a lot of driving since the van was not running well and the only Sprinter dealer was in Clarksburg, about an hour away. It turned out to be a burst hose and the repair was free because the van is still under warrantee.
We started biking across Highway 50 heading east, but we met some people who said that it is very dangerous, and we did not want to repeat yesterday's horrible experience.  So we loaded up and headed back towards Morgantown. 
We also met the people that are biking across country on normal bikes in six days, and one of their support people offered us ice cream!
Finally, we made it to a campground near Coopers Rock and, after settling in, went for a bike ride down to the awesome climbing and views that they have there! It was really a fun way to end an otherwise frustrating afternoon.

Our kind of political slogan
Famous Green Riders in Morgantown
Paul Brown's very cool house
Checking out the Zenn electric car
Cooper's Rocks
                                                                        Spider Man