Yesterday I dropped my daughters off for a week at Grandma’s house in Port Angeles. Driving home I stopped to meet the owner of a burger joint on Discovery Bay located between the ferries and Port Angeles, the perfect distance for an electric car quick-charging station on Highway 101 that could juice up Seattle and Port Angeles electric vehicles everyday, and the government might help pay for it.
It was a giant mistake walking in there… Or was it?
I had spoken to this business owner a few times by phone as an electric car driver who wants to get my kids to Grandma’s house without polluting the air, and needs a place to stop for a quick-charge and a bite. With several thousand Nissan Leaf drivers in Seattle now with the same driving range, the burger joint stands to gain a steady stream of new customers. But when I said the “government can help pay for it” the scary old regular on the next barstool lit into me. And he didn’t quit.
Before the Vietnam veteran finished his anti-government assault on me and the hippies, the customers had taken their burgers outside on the deck to eat. I tried at first to make some points and made it worse. He barked me into listening to him and then when he finished, I asked for my turn, he said “no” and left. As I apologized and walked to the door, the owner called me back and said, “You should talk to Casey down the road. He’s opening up a new place in the old store. He’s into this kind of thing.”
2 minutes later I walked into a gutted building with paint buckets and cabinets all strewn about, where a young fit bearded guy fiddled with a vise. When I said, “electric quick-charger” he lit up, but not like the old veteran. This vibrant young man is building a family-friendly organic produce and fish market/pub/playspace/orchard/outdoor adventure business and a picnic area/bus stop he plans to call “The Local 101, the perfect distance from the ferries for a stop and a stretch, especially with young kids. And the little creek over there has thousands of salmon going up it every year.” He was immediately picturing the place for a quick-charger, “maybe 3!”
He asked me, “Have you read Sacred Economics? That was the book that changed everything for me, local sustainable community. I’ve got a little kid now, and we’ve got to do everything differently if they’re going to have a good life.”
So he talked to friends and family. They helped him buy a place — 10 acres just up the hill — and the run-down store complex to fix up so he can sell local sustainable goods from the peninsula at a gathering place for locals and travelers. He’s pursuing his dream with lots of help, “I couldn’t do this on my own, no way! I’d never dream of it, but now we’re doing it! We’ve got to do it. For our kids. I mean really, live into Transition or… what? What other choice is there?”
We had one of the best conversations I’ve had in months, only minutes after one of the worst. I helped Casey get connected with a quick charger, and he helped me grow my project, Plant-For-The-Planet. While he asked about getting the car chargers, he never asked about electric cars, and before I left I found out why. “I can ride my horse to work.”
Today I mailed a thank you card with an apology to the owner of the burger joint for helping me out instead of throwing me out.
Look for Casey at “The Local 101” opening sometime around April 2014 near the intersection of SR 20. And hopefully you can plug in while your kids enjoy some local delights.