Day 3 Carpool America

Yesterday, Thursday July 17th, after a solid 6 hours of sleep, we all left Jen and Arthur, John’s sis and bro in law’s lovely home by the Finger Lakes of Ithaca to meet Rob Young. Prof Young was John Zimmer’s green mentor and professor from Cornell who is currently working at University Oregon on alternative energy solutions and nano-technology applications. Following a smashing interview, we headed to RPM Ecosystems where Marv Marshall and his daughter Taylor explained their patented process for cultivating rapid growth, super strong trees. whose success rate of of 90% (as opposed to 20% for other trees) is helping to restore the Mississippi River Basin Area post-Katrina.

After the nursery, we got back on the road to get to Buffalo, in time to meet legislative assistant Jason Kaza, friend of Zimride passenger Michael (London School of Economics grad and Rochester High School History teacher.) In front of a magnificent room with great acoustics and Margaret frantically asking if she could rap the gavel and begging everyone to address her as “Madam Chairwoman”, Jason presented John with a resolution. The plaque officially declared July 17th, 2008 Buffalo, NY Carpool Day and thanked Zimride for all their hard work in promoting alternative transportation.

Next Jason took us the city’s cavernous and bizarrely abandoned Central Train Station, which Trevor kept saying was perfect for “I Am Legend II” (his mind works in a movie kind of way.) The strangely unused facility with SO much potential instigated a lively conversation among the group about our generation’s lack of community which mass transit automatically creates and how important car sharing will be for rebuilding that community feel.

We had some Buffalo wings, like the real ones, for dinner, and drove three more hours to Cleveland where we arrived loopy as all hell from exhaustion (John, completely delirious from lack of sleep) where Marriott Hotel had 3 complimentary rooms waiting for us, a list of their green initiatives in tow, and goody bags (plastic, but beggars can’t be choosers) with snacks and sustenance.

This morning, Friday July 18th, Margaret, Trevor, and Ben let John and Cristina rest whilst they drove into Cleveland to meet up with A Piece of Cleveland who goes to home demolition sites, takes the would-be landfill material and reuses it for beautiful modern furniture. Major shout out to Chris, Ezra, and Aaron (and PJ who we didn’t meet) for their great work.

Our meeting was arranged by Kelly from Hard Hatted Women, an organization training women with green collar skills, who work with companies like A Piece of Cleveland, to raise out of positions of economic despair. Great interviews with her people at one of their demolition sites, whose wood will be recycled for other homes and furniture.

Now we are picking up another Zimrider and hitting the road to Detroit to see what the Motor City has to offer 5 idealistic kids…