Alternative Day…And Hurry!

There’s this wedding I want to attend in December roughly 2,000 miles away. I have some vacation time, and the romance of taking a train cross country seemed inviting. Then I checked the schedule. Let’s see. Take an 11-hour ride to get to a “hub” (apparently trains can’t go west out of Dallas…they have to go north, then west). Then a 4-day journey after that, complete with a bus transfer in that hub city. The cost was more than a plane ticket. Much more.

Then I thought, “Take the bus.” Yeah. It takes 2 days, 3 hours and 15 minutes. The cost is more than a plane ticket. Not by much. But more nonetheless.

So much for the travel time romance.
So much for trying to save some money.
So much for finding some small way to decrease the old carbon footprint.

I was discouraged until…

I saw that some high school students were having a contest at the Texas Motor Speedway. That’s right. Some high school students have come from 16 high schools to compete in a solar power car challenge. The car costs range from nearly $9,000 to $30,000 (which they raised from local sponsorships) and the deal is this: You build your solar car, you come to the contest, you drive around the track & see who can do it best. One group was able to zip around for 3 hours at nearly 40 m.p.h. Another could get their car to 70 m.p.h. but their teacher discouraged it because it cost them efficiency. While I’m pretty darn impressed that high schoolers will spend 15-months working on a car and raise the money and all that, I’m not at all surprised at their ability & resourcefulness.

Imagine what we could do with serious budget numbers (instead of hawking shares in the team or selling bumper stickers for the car or car-hopping at Sonic or however else they raised the cash) and N.A.S.A. scientists. Hmmm. Think big oil interests are lobbying against such an idea?

Or, one of my favorite characters in the Southwest is at it again. T. Boone Pickens. He’s one of those guys who made a gazillion dollars in oil and now throws money around like the cartoon Texans are often shown. Anyway, he’s calling a press conference for today to talk about how the U.S. is too dependent on foreign oil and he’s going to haul off and tell us how he’s investing his money these days.


He even used a phrase in an interview that I heard my friend Mike use and it cracked me up: He said the United States is the “Saudi Arabia of wind.”


So, let’s hop to it, folks. Let’s get that solar power and wind power thing up and running.

The sooner the better, if you’re asking me. And if we could get those bullet trains that Japan has that run on magnets done before December (and maybe have a set that runs west out of Dallas), that’d be great.

Why does this seem so hard to implement?