You can help support the work the Upmobile does by contributing to the support of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit on Act Blue. This will free William Hamilton’s private funds to return the Upmobile to the road. Charleston needs this ride.
Thus might have been the sad and quiet end of the Upmobile
which appearance at countless progressive events in Charleston, crammed with
gear and activists, roof rack loaded up with tents, was the arrival of our
small, but determined Lowcountry Up is Good and Best Friends of Lowcountry
Transit cavalry. It was the Upmobile which brought out people to the reelection
of Obama, to the fight for the transit referendum, the fight against Trump, the
long and unfinished push to force local government to stop stealing our transit
funds for road construction and lastly carrying Marvin Pendarvis through a contested
primary in 2020 to reelection.
It outlived its driver nearly two years. It kept our activism on life support during the Pandemic with Chris Jackson at the wheel. When he left to lead the national Jackson Traction effort and drive a long haul truck, Rose Peltz took the wheel, piloting it to that last, little sad stop in the West Ashley Parking lot.
I am a transit advocate. I am legally blind and I cannot drive. I wanted to make a radical commitment to a lifestyle free of the automobile. I have retained many of Julia’s cherished things: her 1806 violin, her Ivers and Pond Parlor grand piano, her modest treasures and the golden hoard of her memory. I did not need her car. I take the bus. I live of things delivered. I would be OK.
However, just as the Ukraines need armored SUVs welded together in the junkyards of the Czech Republic to carry the fight to the Russian army, we have struggled to maintain progress against the creeping flood of cruelty which is life in SC. We have spent too much on Uber, which is just seeing your dealer more often for your car fix. Reaching the rural areas that are the edge of the transit fight is expensive and unreliable. We hauled a trailer full of gear. Our backs hurt from carrying too much too far. We won’t win unless we roll heavy, or at least heavy for us. The little Upmobile carries more and does more damage to SCs occupation of cruelty than most of those right wing pickups with trump flags ever could.
This morning we ordered a near heart of electricity and fire
for the Upmobile. It is sourced from Japan where they attempt to keep their economy
alive in the face of a plummeting birth rate by taxing cars heavily as they get
older. The new/used engine will have less than 35 thousand miles on it and cost
$3,500. It lives within the massive aluminum alloy case which protects its gas
motor, generator, electric motor and hybrid drive transmission, all now linked
to one solid, reliable planetary gear, the one ring to rule them all. Installation and testing will cost more.
As large as this worn, blue Prius stands in our community, it is no powerhouse. The total horsepower available with gas and electric power pushing is less than 100 horsepower. It struggles to go over 70 miles per hour. It’s an uncomfortable ride on the interstate. It will however, return the activists of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit and Up is Good to full capability. Tell the Russians and the rednecks to get ready.
Someone suggested we bang out the dents and paint it. How little they understand. We cherish those scars, these wounds we had on Crispin’s day. Those keying scars administered by the Trumpers. Those big magnet signs don’t some off you know. They were long ago welded to the sheet metal by the heat of the Southern sun. There is always more tape to hold the stern cowlings to the rear quarter panels. We like it this way.
We are repairing the car, reusing the motor and recycling the old motor, which ought to count for something. We could retrofit for full electric, but this is our hurricane evacuation ride as well.
It is our intent to return the Upmobile to service with some ceremony. On the appointed day, we invite you to join us at Fred Anderson Toyota some workday evening soon. We shall set up a popup, Have refreshments, cake the occassion and roll the Upmobile out of the service lot and back on to the battlefield. We do not believe we shall do that alone but expect to be part of a caravan that will carry her to the next engagement in our shared struggle for social justice, joined by people who keep fliers in the glove compartment and a bull horn in the trunk.
I remain a dedicated transit advocate. I am a fan of the battery electric full sized Proterra Transit bus, shiny with chrome and computer driven LEDs. I am a loyal friend to the 3700 series American Flyer buses which are our legacy of the 2000 Atlanta Olympics and are rolling into their two million miles. I continue to believe that the massive red articulated Toronto streetcar, now retired, was and ought to be the Queen of the North American urban roadway.
Since Jack is spending his money on a new hybrid drive, you can help pay for more activism for better transit by donating to Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit on Act Blue.