Today I took a three-hour road trip with my two daughters from Crescent Lake (in Maine) to Boston. Instead of the Interstate, I chose a country road that dipped up and down, past pastures spotted with cows and horses, villages of wooden clapboard houses, and long stretches of leafy green trees. The air was thick with humidity so we all rolled down our windows, propped our elbows on top of the door frame, and felt the wind tangle our hair. My eldest daughter sat in the passenger seat and selected the soundtrack for the trip on her iPod, though much of what she chose had an old feel to it with acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies.
My heart swelled inside my chest, the way it used to when I drove across country in my old Datsun station wagon listening to a favorite cassette tape of folk or old-time rock and roll. In those days I rarely worried about the cost of gas, I ate cheaply at truck stops or roadside stands, and was only a little nervous about camping in some isolated spot by myself.
I love to travel and will travel in just about any style, any where. But I think there is nothing quite so liberating as getting behind the wheel of a car, rolling down the window and setting off with no set destination– or deadline to reach it.
Sadly, the cost of gas is prohibitive and traveling alone in a car is probably not the most environmentally conscious way to get from here to there. But I feel more than a little hopeful knowing that my nephew is volunteering for the 2013 Tesla Days Energy Independence Celebration that will take place in Philadelphia from July 6-10. The event, sponsored by the Tesla Science Foundation, honors Nikola Tesla, electrical engineer and inventor.
According to the foundation, Tesla believed we should not “satisfy ourselves simply with improving steam and explosive engines or inventing new batteries; we have something much better to work for, a greater task to fulfill. We have to evolve means for obtaining energy from stores which are forever inexhaustible, to perfect methods which do not imply consumption and waste of any material whatever.”
Perhaps one day soon, these innovative thinkers will make it possible to travel inexpensively across the country in an electric vehicle with the music turned up.