TRAVELA Road Trip to Sustainability
PHOTOS ANTON WATTS WORDS EVAN SCHAPIRO
4 minutes read
There is something so mind-opening, liberating and gratifying about a road trip. And a road trip that leaves as tiny as possible an imprint on our environment is even more inspiring. We sent this couple on a voyage in our Kona electric — out of LA and into the open desert. Our couple found relief, connectedness and a bit more about themselves on this Sustainable Road Trip, and their account was enlightening.
Smog to Solar
A wet and windy winter's day in Los Angeles, and my mind was as crowded as the clouds above the Hollywood sign. It's the season of long lines at gas stations and cash registers. Smog and stress hovered over us. Downtown LA is a beautiful sight — filled with striking architecture and diverse citizens — but today, the hustle of the city left us drained. We needed an escape. We needed to get energized. We gave our Kona electric one single charge — 250 miles, zero emissions.
We drove deep into the desert. We almost zipped past an old, seemingly abandoned gas station but decided to stop in to experience its new purpose. We needed a few supplies for this desert voyage, and The Station in Joshua Tree was the perfect spot to gear up. The Station is a dreamy shop, filled with outdoor gear, vintage goods and a friendly crew. It indeed functioned as a gas station years ago — oh, how times change!
The beautiful thing about the shop is that the staff loves chatting about their products, art, auto, food, design and California culture. We shared laughs with the crew and bought a pair of vintage binoculars; we received a recommendation for a hike in Joshua Tree where the most beautiful jays often appear — Barker Dam.
We left the shop and laughed as we noticed our Kona electric parked against The Station's beautiful, vintage gas pumps.
The pumps were now as dry as the desert sands, which was okay by us. We still had a full charge to burn. No gas needed.
Come for the zucchini coffee cake,
stay for Patti's coffee talk.
We didn’t burn fuel when we left The Station,
just a bit of Palo Santo.
We continued down Garnet Road and raised our eyes to another long line. This time, the feeling was sublime, not stressful. I stared at an infinite row of windmills. They rose like monuments in the desert, producing the Coachella Valley's energy as they made their routine revolutions.
I later learned that there are over 4000 separate windmills in the San Bernardino Mountains. And these 4000 simple, beautiful structures provide enough energy to power Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley. Energizing. We drove down the valley, and I let my hand ride outside the window, like a wave.
I felt the wind's power. I took a deep breath;
the fresh air whipped across my face. As the sun broke through the clouds, we pulled over. We took it all in.
I raised my head to meet the power of the blazing sun. I recalled that, along our journey, homes, hotels and businesses solar panel-paved roofs. I marveled at the progress we have made in harvesting the elements of the universe. Surrounded by clean energy production and consumption, our place in this landscape just felt right.