Driving Across America

Monday, September 11, 2000


I finally got to see Arcosanti. They started building it in 1970 when I was 7 years old. I saw it on TV and was very excited about this city of the future and wanted to go visit it someday.

It wasn't that impressive. Since I'm 37 now, I figured it would be finished, but what has happened is that they've torn a lot of it down and started over since they got new and better ideas. They also use 99% student labor.

Here are some pictures:

Paolo Soleri came up with the term Arcology. It stands for Architecture + Ecology. Arcosanti is an urban laboratory to experiment with these ideas for improving cities.

Urban Sprawl Problems Arcology Solution
2D, Horizontal city, spread out 3D, Vertical city, compact
Consumes tens of millions of
acres of prime farm land
Built on marginal farmland,
uses about 5% of the land
City built around cars.
50% of the land used for vehicles.
2 hours average commute.
Stress on health and family life
City built around pedestrian use.
Conserve on infrastructure.
Eliminate commuting.
Better health and family life
Energy inefficient.
Reliance on fossil fuels.
High population
Energy efficient.
Use of solar energy.
Low pollution
Consumerism and high debt Frugality and low debt
More vulnerable to natural disasters Less vulnerable to natural disasters
Socio-economic isolation in suburbs.
Retarded cultural evolution
Best of urban and country living.
Lots of nature.
Continued cultural evolution

The food at the Arcosanti-Cafe was the best I've had this whole trip. It was mostly vegetarian like Lentil soup, Tofu, and salad. It felt good to eat something healthy after all of the junk-food I've consumed. They grow all of their own food. It's part of the Arcology mentality to be self-reliant.

I witnessed a small tornado or a very large dust devil. It was so fascinating to watch, I forgot to take a picture of it.

It's so hot today, my car seat and back are moist from my sweat. I opted not to have the computer on during the day during the drive. The Pentium III generates way too much heat.

The quality of my phone service indicates how close I am to a major city. Digital = in a major city. Analog = outside a major city. No Service = Way the hell out there.

This compass I duct taped to my dashboard, is really paying off.

I don't like this extreme hot and cold. I look forward to returning to the mild summer and mild winter of Seattle. It's not only 110 today, but the humidity is high too.

Biosphere 2 is way out in the middle of nowhere (no cel-phone service!). Biosphere 2 reminds me of the movie Silent Running.

I hit 3,000 miles today! Time for an oil change.

The last tour was at 4 pm and I had to speed to make it on time. I caught the last tour and by the time that was over, the gift shop and visitor center was closed.

They had this large wall called an evaporative cooler. It was sucking in the outside air that was about 100 degrees and it would pass thru small holes in the wall. The wall had water running down it constantly and the evaporation causes the air to cool. The air coming into the building was nice and cool like an air-conditioner.

Statistic of the day: There are 77,000 struts in the Biosphere. If joined end-to-end, they would reach reaching 20 miles. Check out these pics of Biosphere 2:

I'm back on the road and heading to Texas. The temperature is much cooler! I decide to take a short-cut, but it turns out to be a dirt road. The sign says "No Pavement Next 50 miles".

This is another free-range area. There are cows in the road. I put my laptop on some pillows to cushion its ride since the road was quite bumpy. The full moon is really helping me see where I'm going. My windshield hit a branch and got this crack.

I almost hit a bat. They're laying on the road. I keep scaring up bunches of them. Some have a wing-span of 2 feet!

I wish head-lights had the ability to look in the direction you need them. This would be a great feature for off-roading at night. When you go around a sharp turn, you could actually see what's coming up. If you had to go up over a big hill, the head lights would shine up the hill going up, then shine down going down.

The air smells really good tonight. You just don't get this smell in Washington.

A lot of people I meet on the road want to know what this web page address is. I think I'll get business cards made up at the local Kinko's when I'm in Texas (if they have Kinko's there).

Date Created September 15, 2000
Last Updated April 12, 2006