When an accident like Exxon-Mobil's oil spill in Mayflower happens, you expect some environmentalists to come to get their own eyeballs on how the situation is handled by the responsible party. I was delighted about who I did see while I was in Mayflower today, looking for photos. This guy is an environmentalist for sure, but he's also a megafamous rock star. Here's the story.
I was headed to the logistics office to check in with them before taking pictures. That's what the foreman told me to do as I approached the spill site to begin with. I was waiting to make a right onto Highway 89. Just then, I saw a gigantic old white convertible topping the hill over the railroad tracks on 89 and it made a right onto N. Main Street where I sat.
I knew two things:
I whipped a U-ey in the street and bumped into a telephone pole trying to get turned around. Yes, I'm a big dork, but you already knew that so shush and let me tell the story.
I followed the huge car - a 1959 Lincoln, come to find out - down the road back to the Northwoods subdivision, where the pipeline had burst about a month ago, spilling oil and driving residents from their homes. I thought perhaps the obvious out-of-towner driver of the Lincoln would turn into the neighborhood to get their look at the work there. Nope. They kept driving past. I followed. They kept on going! The road turned to gravel. They kept going. I flicked my headlights on and off. They kept going. l honked my horn as friendly as possible, so they wouldn't feel threatened and think I'm a wacko chasing them (maybe I was, but never you mind that). I held my camera (phone) up and snapped off a few shots. I wanted to know what kind of car it was, and at this point, I wasn't sure if I'd see it again. (I did.)
If you know anything about this car, you'll know who the big rock star is. It's not very prominent in the above photo, but if you look at the bottom right of the car, you'll see a camera sticking out like a curb-feeler. The gravel road jostled that baby right off the car and they had to back up to retrieve it. It was at that point that I got out of my car and asked the gentlemen if they were looking for the neighborhood with the oil spill. I gave them my card and said I had wanted to take pictures too but was redirected to the logistics office. The man driving the car was wearing big sunglasses and some kinda Indiana Jones hat, but it was obvious to me, it was Neil Young.
Neil and his passenger, Ben, were headed to the Northwoods subdivision to get some video of the spill site. I'm not sure what else he wanted to do there, but in our short conversation, I agreed to lead them back to the opening of the neighborhood. I also decided that I was there with a small camera and came from a short way to get photos for a local blog whereas, they had come across America with two large cameras and had a little more weight to throw around both before and after any video was taken. It was best for me to respect that Neil Young wasn't here to be a spectacle, but was interested in seeing for himself what exactly was happening with the spill.
I wasn't leaving without asking for a picture with Neil though. I mean, Hey Hey, My My. Right?
I have to say though, that if they weren't looking to attract attention, that giant car wasn't doing them any favors. It brings up a point though. If Neil Young is about being green, what's he doing driving a land yacht like that? It's gotta eat gas like a crazyhorse. I did a little research and found that there is much more to that car than I saw. This car, measuring 19.5 feet long and weighing 2.5 tons, is a hybrid and gets about 100 mpg. Have a look at the video below, where Neil explains in 2008 that he is in the midst of building this car, and that there are cameras all over it to keep sending data to the number crunchers - not as a "camera for old men backing up the car" as I might have sort of suggested to him.
The name of the company for this project is LincVolt. You can go to www.LincVolt.com and see explanations and photos and videos of the car and its purpose.
This page of the site was of particular interest to me, since it explained why all those cameras are on the car and gives you an idea of the paradox that is efficiency in a large vehicle.
"The Lincvolt team is proving a propulsion system right now that performs with a higher efficiency than any cars we have seen or heard about, and our car is twice the size of those cars with much more power.
There will always be big people that need big cars to travel long distances smartly and efficiently and we are answering that demand with a propulsion system capable of delivering smart powered SUVs and trucks.
Lincvolt has a propulsion system that out-performs the not yet released Chevy Volt and Chrysler series hybrids in power, MPG and overall efficiency. We have more than twice the power with superior MPG on our "long ranger" systems, capable of running on a variety of petro and bio-fuels and natural gas. Smart efficient cars and trucks can be big and safe, carrying huge payloads and performing tasks not anticipated in current designs.
Lincvolt's departure is imminent. The trip will prove our technology in a 2.5 ton 19.5 foot automobile, making automotive history with an extended range and mpg that has never been attained in a full size vehicle.Lincvolt's journey will be carried live on the web at Lincvolt.com, with live real-time statistics on the site. You will be able to view our location, MPG, altitude, speed, battery power, and generator activities as they happen. The public and the automotive community will be able to view our statistics and use the information for the common good. Stay tuned to Lincvolt.com for details of our historic trip across the USA. We will be available to local media on our route.
Thank you for believing in us!"
- - The Lincvolt Team