Due West, our on-the-road home and office, is stuck in Denver with a busted engine. Help fix DW so we can complete the nation's first cross-country litter pickup.
Picking Up America
For three years we have walked with very limited resources. None of our crew members are paid to be on the road. We walk our talk - conducting the nation's first coast-to-coast roadside litter pickup - because we are passionate about our planet and we feel a sense of urgency to fight for its future. We eat an incredible amount of peanut butter and we live out of a school bus named Due West. Well, usually...
Due West is standing still. Unfortunately, the waste veggie oil system we installed caused coolant to leak into the engine, which destroyed it over time. We had to borrow money set aside for our walk across California to pay for the repairs and now the future of our project is in jeopardy.
Our lives are challenging and yet incredibly charmed. We are putting a lot of good energy into this country. We have pulled over 170,000 pounds of litter off the roadways and we will not stop picking it up until we reach San Francisco, for a projected 100 tons of litter removed. That’s 100 tons of litter that will not be ingested by animals, pollute our waterways, or sit and fester all over the land.
Homeless Trash Gypsies
We can do this campaign without the bus. We are doing it right now. We have been couch surfing and camping for the past two weeks while we raise money to fix DW’s engine. We have continued to clean roads, give presentations, and put on performances. However, this method of picking up America puts a lot of our energies into figuring out our day to day logistics and less time is spent on planning future events.
We Love DW
The bus is our home. It is a place to keep our belongings and a place to sleep consistently, which keeps us sane while we nomad around the country. It is a place to keep a kitchen pantry, cookware, office and first aid supplies. It is our shelter from the rain and wind. DW is an important member of our team. She is a visual conversation starter, giving us an opening to tell more people about our mission. Pick Up America just isn’t the same without Due West.
This is the third and final year of Pick Up America. We have 850 miles left. Additionally, we have 12 volunteers to keep fed and safe while doing this important work. Our volunteers are environmental soldiers working in the trenches of our trashy nation.
Won’t you help us get DW moving?
We are so close we can taste the San Francisco air and yet there are very real miles and tons of trash that stand in our way.
Pick Up America needs financial help to get Due West, our on-the-road home and office, back on the road.
We will use the vast majority of the funds to repair DW. We estimate that if we're crafty and buy a used engine and get the "friend rate" on labor, this cost will be around $3,750.
We will use any additional funds to feed and move our crew while we pick up Colorado. To keep it simple, we're asking for $1,250. Any funds raised above our goal will cover our basic living expenses as we pick up litter through California.
Currently, we're borrowing a friend's car for a few weeks. The pick up crew is split into two groups, each camping in national forests and picking up different sections of Colorado. It's not ideal (imagine four people and all their food and gear stuffed in a standard sized car), but we're not about to give up.
If we reach the tipping point without reaching the goal, we will use the funds to sustain our team while we pick up Colorado and explore every option we can think of to raise the money we had to borrow from our California travels. If we don't reach our goal, we will probably have to reduce the size of our team (right before we reach litter-ridden densely populated California) and the scope of our outreach efforts.
When the campaign is simply funding food and fuel, we can average $25 per mile of clean road. When that average includes our repair and maintenance costs, this number increases to $40 per mile over the course of the whole campaign. This is significantly cheaper than having either the Department of Transportation or prisoners clean roads which average $77 and $123 per mile respectively.