Greetings everyone from the Tar Heel state. We have been quite busy over the past few days. We stopped in Gainesville, FL on Monday where we were inundated with more media than we have seen at any of our other stops. It was about 96 degrees outside with 150% humidity. We sweated our butts off as we professed the good works of PVS to two different television stations, a public radio station, and three different newspapers.
On Tuesday we stopped at Stetson University in Deland, FL where we had a huge turnout and spoke to multiple newspapers including the Orlando Sentinel which wrote a good article about the bus: http://www.orlandosentinel.com
On Wednesday we stopped at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. It rained. I don't mean a little sprinkle either; I mean more rain than I have seen in a six-hour period in my entire life, and that was during our stop. It also rained the entire drive to Greensboro, NC. Both states have been in a major drought for several days and begging for rain. They have gotten what they asked for and then some. I have not seen the sun since it went down as we traveled to SC. Luckily, tomorrow is supposed to see a reprieve from the rain.
Today we stopped at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, where Kyle Dell, a member of our board, is a professor. It rained all day again, yet our turnout increased as the day went on, as it usually does.
Currently, we are sitting in parking lot C of the University of North Carolina at Asheville where they have a farmers market on Saturdays. We hope to have a good turnout. We are beginning to get anxious for our stop next Tuesday at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA at the democratic debate. We have been granted access to a primo location and look forward to getting possible national media coverage in addition to a huge turnout.
On a personal note the road seems to get longer and longer as we continue this leg of the tour. We have entered a stage with long travels in addition to long stops. However, every day we are rewarded the opportunity to present a free service too so many that long for what we provide. The rewards of our troubles are seen in the eyes of those that seem almost overwhelmed to have been enlightened to such a useful resource. Most times, it is as if we cannot provide enough brochures and Voter's Self Defense Manuals to please everyone. We have had people travel as far as an hour and a half (that we know of) just to check out the bus and what we are about. Today a woman left a check in her seat on the bus without even telling us before she left. I can only imagine how many more have received the gift of information that is Project Vote Smart through the dozens of media outlets that have covered the tour. As someone who invested so much in this tour I must thank Mike Wessler and Dyana Thomas for everything they do from the home office to make each of our stops as productive as possible. I truly consider myself blessed to be here. I would be remised if I did not admit that I miss my friends, my bed, home cooked meals, and especially my girlfriend, but have learned to balance the difficulties of being away from those I care about with the importance of our still few accomplishments.
I am surprised with how well JJ and I have gotten along thus far. To give you an idea of what it is like out here, imagine yourself and two others living in a space about the size of your kitchen, and you do not go more than 100 ft. from that space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This still does not seem like an adequate analogy but it is the best I can come up with.
Luckily JJ and I have enough in common that we have found a way of adjusting to life on the road; not too mention, if it weren't for him, I would not be here. It just so happens that he was the human resources director when I applied to work for Vote Smart. In essence JJ hired me to work here. Moreover, I consider myself blessed even more. As I see the expression of so many faces when we tell them about Vote Smart I can't help but think of the thousands of Staff, Interns, Members, Mr. Kimball (our President) and Adelaide, our National Director Lisa Coligan, even our cook and maintenance man Dave; so many have worked to produce what we are telling the world about. I have not ceased to be thankful that I arrived at Vote Smart when I did and proved myself enough to be entrusted with so much responsibility for this tour.
I bid you all farewell and look forward to giving you great news about the next few days.
National Bus Tour Coordinator
Project Vote Smart