When an accident like Exxon-Mobil’s oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas happens, you expect for some environmentalists to come to get their own eyes on how the situation is being handled by the responsible party. I was surprised at who I saw there near the spill site, while I was looking for photos. He is an environmentalist for sure, but he’s also a megafamous rock star. Here’s the story.
I attempted to go straight to the spill site for the story and pictures, but the foreman said I needed to get authorization from the “logistics office.” That may have been their way of getting rid of the lady with the camera (me), but it turns out that’s fine.
In the process of searching for that office, I was waiting behind a couple of cars and aiming make a right onto Highway 89. I was next in line for the stop sign when I saw a gigantic old white convertible to my left, topping the hill over the railroad tracks on 89. It made a right onto N. Main Street, driving right by my driver window in the direction from whence I had just come.
I immediately knew two things: first off, no one from around here owned a car like that, and secondly, the guy driving that enormous car looked exactly like a very famous rock star.
While the math danced in my head, I whipped a U-ey in the street and was abruptly met with a telephone pole on the “go” end of my vehicle. Neither I nor the car were incapacitated by this interaction, so we both proceeded in the path of the perceived rock star.
I followed the huge car – a 1959 Lincoln – down the road back to the Northwoods subdivision, where the pipeline had burst about a month prior, spilling oil into the River 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. I wanted to know if they’d be able to bypass the mythical logistics office.
They didn’t even turn in there. They kept driving past. I followed. They kept 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 nevermind that).
I held my camera 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.
If you know anything about this car, you know who the big rock star is (but also the title of this article gives it away). 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. They had driven another city block’s worth when they somehow noticed it missing and started back for it.
At that point, I had already played the good neighbor and picked it up out of the road. They were grateful enough. I 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 there but was redirected to the logistics office. The man driving the car was wearing big sunglasses and some kind of Indiana Jones hat. Maybe he thought he was in disguise, but it was obvious to me, it was Neil Young.
Neil and his passenger/assistant, who said his name was Ben, were indeed looking for the Northwoods subdivision to get some video of the spill site. I wasn’t sure what else they 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 camera and came from a short way to get photos for MySaline 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 probably 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.
However, I wasn’t leaving without asking for a picture with Neil. 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. If Neil Young is about being green, what’s he doing driving a land yacht like that? It’s gotta eat fuel like a crazyhorse. I did a little research and found the reasonint. This car, measuring 19.5 feet long and weighing 2.5 tons, is a hybrid and gets about 100 mpg, according to online documentation.
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 scientists and engineers — not as a “camera for old men backing up the car” as I might have 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 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”
The Reason This Saline Writer Was in Mayflower Monday
A friend of mine noticed there have been trucks coming from the Mayflower oil spill site, turning onto Reynolds Road in Bryant and heading to our county landfill. This had me very curious to know why it was coming all the way from there to here. It’s kind of a distance. I know, because I drove it on Monday (and ended up meeting Neil Young).
I figured the best way to find out what’s going on is to just ask. So I emailed Michael Grappe, the Executive Director at the Saline County Regional Solid Waste Management District. (Now called Recycle Saline.
The contaminated dirt from the oil spill in Mayflower appears to be going to our landfill in Saline. Is it? Where else might it go? What precautions are being taken to contain the crude so that it doesn’t spread?
Our landfill is not a hazardous waste landfill. The material we are receiving from Exxon is not classified as hazardous waste.
Exxon, through an audit process, has deemed that we are the only landfill in the state approved to take their waste. This is purely a corporate direction approved and monitored by ADEQ at the Mayflower site around the clock during the Remediation process.
We are only taking oil bearing soil which is placed in subtitle D lined cell that prevents seepage outside the barrier, hence no ground water contamination.
At the site in Mayflower Exxon, is reclaiming the oil and restocking it.
Here are the key aspects that I noticed in the reply and you can tell your opinion.
- The material Exxon is bringing is not classified as hazardous waste.
- Saline has the only landfill in the state approved to take the [non-hazardous] waste.
- It’s purely a corporate direction to bring it to Saline’s landfill.
- The oily soil is placed in a container that is constructed to prevent seepage.
- Exxon is reclaiming the oil and restocking it.
P.S. It looks like the Log Cabin Democrat out of Faulkner County is working on a big story… http://thecabin.net/latest-news/2013-04-23/send-us-your-questions-about-mayflower-oil-spill-and-its-impact#.UXgmorVwrSg
The Neil Young Story Has Legs (and MPG)
The Point 94.1FM and The Buzz 103.7FM both interviewed me about the Neil experience.
Scroll down to see other news sources that picked up this story.
Thank you Magic Eraser. No More Telephone Pole.
Yes, this is the bumper that bore the brunt of the very vertical obstacle (telephone pole) between me and the legendary rockstar + environmental dude, Neil Young, after “whoever was driving my car” whipped a zippy u-turn, having recognized said rockstar attempting to fly under the radar, albeit while he himself driving a spectacle in its own right, a 1959 Lincoln, 19.5ft long & 2.5 tons, yet garnering 100+ mpg. I like run-on sentences for drama.
See www.lincvolt.com for info on the amazing engine that propels that car, and is part of the reason for Mr. Young’s visit to the Mayflower, Arkansas oil spill. P.S., As the title would suggest here, a Magic Eraser combined with a dab of H2O and a bushel of elbow grease took the telephone pole’s blood right offa that there bumper (passenger side).
RELATED STORIES IN THE MEDIA:
Rocker Neil Young tours Mayflower oil spill … – Arkansas Times – www.arktimes.com
Spilled tar sands oil could be creeping toward the Arkansas River – Grist-Apr 24, 2013
I met Neil Young today in Mayflower Ark (site of the spill … – sync.democraticunderground.com
I met Neil Young on a Gravel Road in Mayflower Today. Yes Really. – neilyoungnews.thrasherswheat.org/
Neil visits Mayflower oil spill site | www.bad-news-beat.org – www.bad-news-beat.org/2013
Rock Legend Neil Young Visits Mayflower Oil Spill Site – legalpronews.findlaw.com/
Rock Legend Neil Young Visits Mayflower Oil Spill Site – US News -www.newsfury.com
Mayflower Oil Spill 911 Calls – Silobreaker – news.silobreaker.com/
Neil Young News – neilyoungnews.thrasherswheat.org/
Nobody else seem to know who Neil Young is… | benb | pleonast – pleonast.com/