Take the Train to the Pogo Stick...

Going Green: Boaz Frankel took an airboat across Florida’s Lake Okeechobee.
Going Green: Boaz Frankel took an airboat across Florida’s Lake Okeechobee.

By Eleanor Goldberg

Published May 21, 2009, issue of May 29, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Since April 19, 26-year-old filmmaker Boaz Frankel has been traveling across the United States, equipped with all the road-trip essentials — iPhone, camera, backpack and a list of contacts.

All the essentials, that is, except for one: a car.

Frankel is videotaping, Tweeting and blogging each moment of his “Un-Road Trip,” as a way to promote sustainable transportation. He plans to compile the footage of his alternative travels into a documentary film when he has completed the journey. But to Frankel, who is originally from Portland, Ore., “alternative” means exploring every possible non-gas-guzzling option — from pneumatic pogo sticks to camels to amphibious canoes.

The Shmooze caught up with Frankel recently by phone while he was resting on a dock in Labelle, Fla., admiring a lizard. As he does most days, Frankel had trudged through land and water using borrowed vehicles from those eager to contribute to the Un-Road Trip cause. The Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida, just outside Clewiston, lent him a horse for a 9-mile ride down the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, and Uncle Joe’s Fish Shack, in nearby Moore Haven, set him up on a flats boat, normally used for big-fish hunting, to get down the Caloosahatchee River.

But this wasn’t his most rigorous day. While in Los Angeles, Frankel walked 40 miles and biked about 30 over the course of 48 hours. “I’ve always been a walker,” Frankel said, “but it was walking to work and to the supermarket, perhaps a total of 8 miles in a day.”

Whether it’s running in Kangoo Jumps (low-impact, rebound sports shoes); riding a tandem bike with the mayor of Portland, or testing the Pi Mobility, an electric bike, on the Golden Gate Bridge, Frankel can’t anticipate what will transpire from Sunday through Friday on this 10-week trek. Come Friday evening, however, he always knows what to expect: Frankel has mapped out his course so that he’ll end up in Jewish communities like Fort Myers, Fla., where he can cease all traveling and observe the Sabbath. “It’s really nice to have one day a week where I get to unwind a little bit,” he said. For Shavuot, Frankel is headed to a Kehilat Hadar retreat in upstate New York. To get there, he’ll take a train to New York City’s Penn Station from Charlottesville, Va., and travel onward to the town of Wingdale. He’ll then embark on a 5-mile bike ride (assuming he’s able to find a bicycle to borrow).

So what does Frankel hope his followers will learn from the Un-Road Trip? “So many people pop into a car to drive a mile, or 10, because they think, ‘What else can I really do?’ he said. “At this point, I can give you a list of 40 things.”

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.