I recently returned from a 5000km road trip to Arizona, and along the way I tried to make a few key sustainability choices to reduce my impact as a road tripper.
Firstly, I knew that with 22+ hours of driving each direction, many stops at coffee shops would be made, and I wanted to ensure I wasn’t throwing away single use coffee cups at every turn. Therefore, I made sure to pack 2 of my favourite Keep Cup reusable coffee cups to reduce my waste (the previous post talks about these more in depth and provides a link to purchase!). A great tip I have was taking my reusable cup in to the hotel continental breakfast and filling it up with fresh tea and/or coffee for the road – not only saving on waste but also on cost – a win-win!
When planning for the road trip – we selected the most fuel efficient vehicle we had access to, my 2014 Kia Rio. We utilized the “eco mode” in the car for all of our driving, as well as cruise control, and managed to get our fuel consumption down to about 6L/100KM or 40mpg approximately. My dream is that my next long distance road trip can be taken in an electric vehicle.
Along the way, I made note of how many Teslas we passed – and my final count was around 11. This number doesn’t include the nearly 30 Model 3 Tesla’s I saw on Interstate 84 in Northern Nevada – loaded onto delivery trucks making their way East to some happy recipients. That was a great sight to see – especially as someone who holds a reservation for one! (I’m pretty excited to test drive a Model 3 this week in Victoria, more on that in the closing remarks!).
I was also very pleased to see many wind turbines and solar farms (some of the largest Solar Panel installations I had ever laid eyes on). I was so enamored that I forgot to snag any pictures, but I found some online of the First Solar Copper Mountain facility near Las Vegas. You can read more about their stats here.
I really wanted to try some unique AirBnb accommodations on this trip, and did manage to stay one night in a yurt in La Grande, Oregon. This was my first experience in a yurt and any fear I had that it would be cold was immediately erased. This yurt was heated, well insulated, and super comfortable. It even has private soaking tubs connected to the hot springs on the back deck for a truly relaxing experience. Listing available here. I’m really excited to stay in a Tiny House tonight in Victoria – you can be sure I will post about it in the coming week!
Once safely arrived in Lake Havasu City, Arizona – I took the opportunity to lace up my hiking boots and get out into the desert. One day in particular, we hiked over 7 miles and my mom (our host) explained all of the different types of Cactus species and that the desert is particularly green this year due to extra precipitation.
The last experience I really would really like to highlight was our visit to the Big Warm Springs in Duckwater, Nevada. Located on the Shoshone Reservation, this spring is considered sacred to the local indigenous tribe. I am so happy my travel partner found this hot springs online and suggested we visit, because it was one of the best experiences of the entire trip. We had the springs to ourselves, and even got a friendly wave from a car load of locals coming to unlock the (nice) washroom facilities. If you’re ever in the area – definitely check it out, it was peaceful and exactly what I needed on such a long drive.
Well that about sums up my road trip experience, and although it was not carbon neutral, I believe a few decisions made along the way definitely helped mitigate my impact.
Coming up this week!
I am off to Victoria, BC tonight for the IMPACT Sustainability Conference and I am beyond excited! I have so many exciting things lined up in addition to this conference which will cover issues around sustainable tourism (my favourite!) – I will also be test driving a Tesla Model 3, visiting a Tiny Home builder, and meeting with a tour operator running Tesla tours in cars powered by the sun!
Hope everyone has a great weekend,
Until next time,