9/5/19 – Day 2 – The Dalles to Arlington, OR
Today I traveled 60 miles on the freeway between The Dalles and Arlington, Oregon. I passed hundreds of wind turbines that always delight me whenever I see them spinning around. I calculated once that a single turn of the blade generates one kilowatt-hour. It would take me five hours to do that on my exercise bike I built back home hooked up to a 1965 Chevy alternator. For these big boys it’s just one turn and a mere two seconds per kWh. One thousand turns makes a megawatt hour, a feat accomplished in just half an hour. A megawatt hour would power my whole house for two months. These gentle giants stand tall and proud working hard every day. Some people don’t like them. Maybe they would be more appreciated if people understood what they do. They think they kill birds, which they do, but not as many as cats. The wind blows mainly at night. During a single 10-hour stint, one turbine can generate enough electricity to send an all-electric Tesla Model S from Seattle to Miami and back. I think the wind turbines are beautiful. Just like with a person, you have to look deeper to see the true beauty.
I was met in Arlington by my good friend Bob who offered to come to town and take me to his home for the evening. It would have been 15 miles uphill and off course for me to bike there. We loaded Sunride in the back of his pick up and after stopping at the grocery store. On the way Bob drove as fast as 65 miles per hour. That was a good test for the solar module atop Sunride. As it was built to do, the solar module bowed and flexed through the wind but stayed perfectly in tact. When we arrived at his home, while I was unstrapping the bike it fell crashing into the side board of his pickup. Oh no, I thought, what damage have I done to the vertical supports for the solar modules? Lifting the bike up and inspecting closely we saw there was no damage, not even a dent in the frame supporting the modules. This proved Sunride could take a fall and survive unscathed. She was sturdily built and now tested.
We had a lovely dinner consisting mostly of fresh vegetables from Bob and Cathy’s garden. Even though Bob and I can talk for hours about politics, religion, and any other subject, it was a short night. I needed a good rest. Their lavish guest room provided exactly that. The next morning over oatmeal and fresh garden fruit Bob mapped out a route for me straight from his house, by-passing the freeway altogether, straight to La Grande, Oregon. It would take two days to get to La Grande, but it would be marvelously scenic and full of adventure.