As I was preparing for my wine blogging trips to South America and for the Camino later on, I consulted with friends and colleagues of mine about what equipment I might want to bring along. My colleague at Linfield College, Susan Currie Sivek, has had some experience in traveling and blogging in extreme conditions, and she suggested a solar powered batter charger. I was thinking that it would possibly come in handy for the Camino, but didn’t think it too likely for the trip to South America. 6 days into my trip, however, the solar powered batter Nomad 7+ from Goal Zero that I bought at REI came in handy.

The road less traveled

Going Solar for charging a phone.

I rented a car in Neuquén, Patagonia, and was on my way north of there to check out some bodegas, including one called Del Fin del Mundo, or From the End of the World, and within about 5k was off the beaten track on a rock/gravel road, and rattling around, when I noticed that my phone with the map was starting to get a low battery – for some reason it had not fully charged. I began to get a bit nervous, as I gazed across the vista that was pretty much devoid of any buildings or traffic, and I was watching my battery drain. I suddenly remembered the solar charger, and pulled over to get it set up. I was heading directly into the sun, and realized that I could set it up on the dash of the car, and off I went, with the phone charging up as I drove. About 20 kilometers later, I found pavement again, and although my teeth were still rattling hours later, my phone was now fully charged, and getting me to places where there was wine.

I made it to a couple of bodegas, including Del Fin del Mundo, to taste some wine, see a bit of harvesting being done, and then rattled my way back to Neuqéen. Probably the first time, and who knows if it will be the last, where I have needed a solar panel to get to some nice Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir! And I should probably write a note to Hertz and apologize for the fact that the bumpers will probably drop off sooner than expected, because of the experience.

Harvest at the end of the world