The gathering of family and food called us North for yet another Thanksgiving, and as always we backed out of our driveway thinking about the footprint this annual migration leaves. We took off with our usual milk crate for recyclables and lofty ambitions to leave a small impact – despite driving 1700 miles in 4 days. And even though I bought carbon offsets for the family truckster, I’m counting the days until I can actually get a Prius…or we have a better rail system.

Overall we did pretty well with our road recyclables, and managed to fill up the crate again. I heard that 5 million people will drive home on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. So take a look at that pile we collected, and then multiply it by 1.25 million. That’s how much unnecessary waste we could keep out of the landfill if we all recycled on the road. Just a few years ago, I would have tossed my own recyclables into a gas station garbage can each time I filled up. But never again, as I’ve proven to myself time and time again just how easy it truly is.

Check out a random act of greenness and wind farm sighting after the jump…

This trip, we did a few other things to lessen our impact. We brought more of our meals with us, which eliminated gobs of fast food and convenience store trash. We continued to fill up our water bottles along the way, instead of buying bottled water. Though I have to admit, I drank some very questionable water from a Kentucky gas station and wondered aloud about my bottled water-free pledge. I’ve never been one to shy away from microbial adventure, but I’ll probably look into bringing a gallon or two from a trusted source next time.

Near Findley, OH, we stopped at a Valero gas station and did the family fire drill. I caught a random act of greenness in the men’s room. Not only did the owner think to hang this appeal to conserve, but also installed windows to let in the natural light.

Just a few miles earlier, we spotted super-sized wind turbines towering over flat cornfields near I-75. Jen snapped a quick photo (see below) as we admired the beauty of their design. We also wondered what they were hooked up to. Turns out they are part of the AMP-Ohio/Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm, and have been kicking out 7.2 megawatts to the city of Bowling Green since 2003. This is the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi River, and each tower is 257 feet tall. I have to say, it was very inspiring to drive by these structures, and I’d love to see something like this in the Lowcountry.

As always, the trip was a great way to hone our green travel skills and pick up a few new ones. Happy green road-tripping everyone.



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