Ed Walkinstik, Hope and The Amazing Solar Chariot

.... from Mother Earth News

TOP: The Amazing Solar Chariot, Ed Walkinstik, and Hope. LEFT: One of the collectors of the sun's energy that Ed uses in his solar workshops. ABOVE, LEFT: Collectors built into the Solar Chariot's roof heat all of Ed's water. ABOVE, RIGHT: A close-up of Ed Walkinstik himself. BELOW, LEFT: A demonstrator selenium photovoltaic setup spins a black propeller with electricity it generates directly from the sun's rays, while a silicon photovoltaic generator whirls a red blade. BELOW, CENTER: One of the several solar ovens that Walkinstik uses in his workshops... and which he cooks a good many of his meals on too! BELOW, RIGHT: The End... of The Amazing Solar Chariot... and The Beginning of the Solar Age!

The next time you're toolin' down the of Interstate and you come up behind (or are passed by!) some thing that looks like a cross between Noah's Ark, a redwood sauna, and a vintage Winnebago ... consider yourself privileged. 'Cause that contraption is Ed Walkinstik's Amazing Solar Chariot, and it—just like its owner and operator—is, to say the least, unusual . . . and just a little hung up on the sun and what its energy can do for mankind.

Ed—who's half Choctaw and grew up on a reservation in Oklahoma—says that he first became aware of Ol' Sol's power when, as a boy, "I burned my bare feet on a blacktop road during the summer."

Apparently that lesson stuck, even through growing up and the 16 years that Walkinstik spent working with the Department of Defense. Because—back in about '72 or '73—Ed paid $25 for the chassis of a 1946 Chevrolet truck (which he had to dig out of a field), got permission to tear some well-seasoned wood out of an old art studio, rounded up a bunch of other recycled materials . . . and set to work.

Two years later he was ready to put the Solar Chariot—complete with shower, toilet, refrigerator and kitchen, dining and sleeping areas, you name it—on the road. And just not so incidentally: Walkinstik's rolling home is also outfitted with a solar-heated water supply, solar ovens, and a whole gob of sun-powered parabolic troughs and photovoltaic cells and other equipment that Ed can use to show people just how easy it is to harness OI' Sol's energy in a number of ways.

And that, of course, is exactly what Walkinstik, his little dog (Hope), and the Amazing Solar Chariot now spend all their time doing: Racking up 70,000 miles annually simply going from place to place conducting solar workshops for schools, colleges, environmental organizations, and other groups (even individuals!).

Ed has also lobbied in Washington ("a waste of my time") and California (Jerry Brown is "Alice in Wonderland") . . . but he finds his message is best received by the "salt of the earth" folks—people like you and us—that he talks to.

So: If you or your organization would like to have Ed drop in and set up a solar energy workshop for you the next time he's passing through your area (or you'd like to have Walkinstik run a product test on a sunpowered piece of hardware for you), write and ask. His address is Mr. Ed Walkinstik, The Solar Chariot, P.O. Box 511, North Highlands, California 95660. And don't forget to include a dollar or two and a stamped, self-addressed, long envelope with your query . . . just to help Ed out a little with the cost of sending you a reply.

..solar showers...
I and a young fellow from England ( Jeremy Strangward from Essex) designed and built  showers and a young fellow by the name of Dove put up the basic money for the matreials. We spent nearly a month in the broiling sun building it and setting it up..... The reason for the system was that the public shower house that Spokane wanted us to use was a total heath hazard, dark and gloomy with black and green slime growing on the walls and all over the floor. It was a cold water shower only. The Solar Shower could bath a few thousand hippies a day and it produced very hot water almost as fast as you could use it. Yes, you could even regulate the water temp. in the shower so that you wouldn't get scalded, the system worked so well it was capable of producing steam. ...I've built a few hundred systems since then and most are still working. ...Those that are not working is due to neglect by the owners for the systems have no moving parts but do need sesonal attention.

You missed out on the construction and 10 year tour of the Solar Chariot. It was built from Lou's Studio at Morningstar ( you can see a picture of it in issue 62 or 63 of Mother Earth News, I think). You would have loved it, cooking with the Sun but it also had a four burner range and eye level oven,
Solar hotwarer and electricity, large bedroom over the cab ( with satin sheets and Emine fur quilts), shower with large skylight, toilet, kitchen, dinette. It was insulated so well that a candle could heat it. The engine ran on different fuels --- gasoline, propane, alcahol. The alcohol I could make myself and had a experamental fuel licence from the US Govt.to do so and was able to produce it with a solar operated still. There were to many extra things and backup systems to mention. It had a quadrafonic sound systen, TV and etc. It even had 'mood Lighting', hot and cold running water, and Window Flower boxes.

My dream is to return to the States and get a house with enough property for a large biodynamic natural garden and a house that I can convert to Alternate Energy for most of its needs and hold conventional energy as a backup system. I hope I am still young enough to do it when I get back. I
have all the tools one would need and the knowledge. If I can build a system that will work when it is rolling down the road a stationary system would be a piece of cake to build.
Well, I can dream, can't I?


Ed Walkinstik

Ed Walkinstik, Hope and The Amazing Solar Chariot