Chase Jackson ’13 and the Locavaux bus

Chase Jackson ’13 transforms the Locavaux bus into a mobile home and video editing studio (Photo by Andy Daddio)

“Not all who wander are lost,” according to J.R.R. Tolkien. This summer, Colgate alumni will prove the point as they roam across America, driven by wanderlust and a higher purpose.

Chase Jackson, Hallie Kohler, and Katie Scribner — all members of the Class of 2013 — are touring the country on a converted school bus, shooting a documentary film about local music scenes from Vermont to California. Their Locavaux Project will explore the symbiotic relationship that exists between small-town bands and their communities.

“At first we were worried that people would think we were just trying to hit the road in a bus,” said Scribner, a sociology major and the group’s lead interviewer. But as she talked to faculty and gained insights from their suggestions, her fears subsided. “They said, ‘you really are trying to do something serious, to research and discover something.’”

Jackson, a sculptor with an art degree, is in charge of converting the school bus into a home, and Kohler, also an art major, is lending her own touches to the interior.

Colgate alumni and friends, who discovered Locavaux through word of mouth and via a successful $6,000 Kickstarter campaign, have helped provide gas money, camera equipment funds, and destination suggestions. “They always say that, when you graduate from Colgate, you’re in a tight-knit group,” said Scribner. “I’ve seen the truth of that — we can’t say thank you enough to the Colgate network.”

While Jackson, Kohler, and Scribner ride the northern interstates, Ben Rich ’99 will guide his electric motorcycle along a southerly route between Charleston, S.C., and Mountain View, Calif.

Rich is part of Ride the Future, a trip that will set world records for distance traveled in electric vehicles — his own Zero S ZF9 will caravan with a Nissan Leaf, a Xenon scooter, and several electric bikes. The crew will stop in 44 cities from coast to coast to recharge their batteries and raise awareness of zero-emission transportation. Rich is hoping to see Colgate friends at any and all of his waypoints.

The high school science teacher and sustainability coordinator already has experience with large-scale team rides. Last month, he was the first to bring a whisper-silent electric motorcycle to Rolling Thunder in the nation’s capital. The reception among Harley Davidson afficionados was more than cordial.

“They know their stuff, and they were interested,” said Rich. “Motorcycle riders want to be in touch with the elements. When you don’t have a wall of sound surrounding you, you can experience even more — people are beginning to understand that now.”

Jennifer Schwartz ’97 is also broadening perspectives, but she’s focusing on photography rather than electricity. She has been on sabbatical from her Atlanta, Ga., art gallery this spring, cruising around the country and hosting impromptu art exhibitions out of her 1977 Volkswagen van, a.k.a. Lady Blue.

The Crusade for Collecting was founded on the notion that “art should not just be talked about – it should be experienced,” says Schwartz in her mission statement.

Rather than selling photographs, Schwartz puts local work on display, hoping that her pop-up events will inspire passers-by to become collectors. Her tour has taken her from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. by way of Seattle, Chicago, and other cities.

Schwartz wrapped things up in Richmond, Va., last weekend after logging 10,000 miles since April 6. Her final stop, though, will be in the Summer edition of the Colgate Scene — watch for her Tableau essay in print and online this August.

Is the road rising up to meet you this summer? Tell your Colgate friends about it here, on Twitter, or on Colgate’s Facebook page. Safe travels.