If the local economy relies, in part, on tourism, and tourism is dependent on fossil fuels, what happens if — or when — gas prices head past $5 per gallon? The Eco-Odyssey is a new effort to demonstrate a carbonless alternative form of eco-tourism.
Gasoline prices were down around $3 per gallon when planning for the Eco-Odysseys began. But Rick Coats, Executive Director of the sponsoring EcoRing, was already thinking ahead to prices even higher than those at the pump today.
The procession of small rail cars (shown at left) known as "speeders" on Saturday and Sunday will be the first public traffic in many years on the tracks between Santa Rosa and Petaluma. Coats says it wasn't easy to get the necessary access for those trips.