While bunkering down indoors, hiding from today’s pollen explosion and snuggling with my neti pot, I’ve been evaluating the environmentally good, bad, and ugly of our recent Ferment and Firmament Tour.
First things first: gas fail. Even though the Corolla often gets 40 mpg on the road, let’s be honest. We just spewed 1.07 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is the constant battle in our brains. How do you travel and develop new appreciation for the Earth and its inhabitants without damaging the very thing you love? I don’t have the answer, but we try to find a balance. Knowing that we tend to log a smackload of miles with each year’s vacation, we zip around on two wheels and live as lightly as possible the rest of the time.
There was no way to avoid using gasohol this go-round, but trash, at least, could be controlled. So before leaving, we came up with a game plan:
- We decided at the onset that all meals had to be on plates. No fast food with throwaway packaging. While it sounds like a pain in the tookus, this rule turned out to be one of the great joys of the trip. It forced us to get off the main interstate drag, where we could rest and enjoy places like Big Mama’s Kitchen in Joelton, TN, Jerry’s Diner in Weatherford, OK, and the glorious BTC Grocery in Water Valley, MS.
- Buy local, consumable souvenirs. For the next several months, every time we enjoy wine from Arkansas, peppers from New Mexico, or olive oil from Arizona, the best moments of the trip will come alive.
- BYO water bottles and coffee mugs. From hotel breakfast bars to rest stops, no one batted an eye when we used them.
- Pack bulk snacks to avoid the junk-food temptation at gas stations. No one should have to eat Combos. Ever.
- Take along a sturdy bag for recycling. Anytime we picked up a sixer of local soda or brew — oh, Rocky Mountain Soda Co., what would I give for another Loveland Lemon-Limeade — it was nice to know the cardboard and glass wouldn’t go to waste.