Laura and I are staying at a co-housing development in Corvallis, OR and we’ve had the chance to meet some rather interesting people. We sent out an email to see who might be interested in being photographed and the Kimdons responded.

I caught up to them as they were leaving for a few days to go on a bike camping adventure. David is a programmer who works from home, Joey, his wife, has a PHD in electronic engineering. They met while going to school at Harvey Mudd College in California. They’ve been car free for a number of years and did some touring while living in California – jaunts to San Luis Obispo and San Diego.

Not wanting to forsake bicycle vacations they’ve done a few trips with their kids with a tandem (a hand built bike by another resident of the development), a Burley Piccolo and a children’s trailer – the proverbial bicycle daisy chain. They carried everything from their tent, camping supplies, food a bag of apples, water and a small toilet seat for the youngest child, Arbor.

This morning, the destination was a campground at Alsea Falls about 30 miles away. They were riding out with some other residents. As they were packing, Bruce, one of the founding members of the CoHo Eco-Village (and builder of their tandem) helped them out by offering to carry a load up and over the hill to the falls.

I spoke to David about smart grids – more intelligent routing and distribution of electricity. As it turns out, our current network for electricity is about as sophisticated as a Roman aqueduct. “If Thomas Edison were around,” he says, “he’d be able to figure it out.” The thinking behind a smart grid is that the infrastructure would intelligently regulate the distribution of electricity. Appliances or cars would be charged at non-peak usage hours to anticipate peak capacity in the mid-afternoon.

For me, what was fascinating was how nonchalant and utterly normal it was for them to load up the trailer with two kids and camping equipment. In Los Angeles, it would have been a crazy revolutionary act. But here at the CoHo Eco-Village it was just a part of daily life.