Monday, October 19, 2009

Road Pick Up

Yesterday we participated in the road pick up which occurs each April and October. A group maintains a four miles section. One volunteer coordinates the pick up with the county to obtain vests, tools, bags and liability waiver forms. A second volunteer distributes the items at 9 AM and retrieves them when finished at 11 AM.

This time was different in a few ways. One difference was the quality of the bags and the scheduled date when the county will load the full bags. Normally the county gets the trash on Monday after the pick up on Sunday. However, this year we were provided with thinner, weaker, less expensive bags and the country won't load the trash until next week "due to budget cutbacks".

About 25 people attended, the largest group that I've seen in the last five years. There wasn't enough vests or tools. Perhaps the reason for the large group was the potluck breakfast at 8 AM. Generally we meet in the parking lot of the Star School. This time the school was opened for the breakfast.

Julie prepared for road pick up.
Julie prepared for road pick up.

After breakfast we were given a tour of part of the school that included the solar electric system which is being doubled in size to about 35 kilowatts, new well that pumps water from 1,200 feet below, straw bale building and amphitheater. An anemometer was installed on a ridge behind the school and is being used to collect data for the installation of two wind generators. Two weeks ago when we had the wind storm the anemometer recorded an 80 MPH gust. The actual speed of the gust was over 80 MPH, beyond the range of the equipment to measure.

With a large group it took only an hour for the road pickup since each of us had a short section of roadway. After we finished Julie and I drove the the dirt road where we live and began picking up trash in the area where the road meets the blacktop. A woman whom I do not know but must live up the road past our house slowed down and said "thank you" to Julie. When she passed me she slowed down again and repeated "thank you".

It was an enjoyable morning. I hope we continue the potluck breakfast. It was another opportunity to meet old friends and new neighbors.

(Footnote: The Star School is a charter school with 115 students, mostly Navajo. It is located about two miles from our house. Since we are a few miles from the grid, the school generates electricity and implements sustainable practices.)


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