by Jason Fagone
The nine-day INGENIOUS road trip and book tour, featuring me and Kevin Smith of Illuminati Motor Works, is over. Thank you to all who spread the word on Twitter and Facebook, to those who hosted us, and to those who attended the events. Thanks as well to Crown Publishers for supporting us. Some of the positives:
we reconnected with old friends
we saw Twitter friends in real life
we met many kind and interesting strangers
this hilarious post on Jalopnik, which briefly crashed the Illuminati site
And the one big negative:
the fucking weather
A few images will stick with me. Sports-car enthusiasts huddled around “Seven” at a classic-car meetup in New Jersey. Kevin delivering a soliloquy on rule-of-thumb engineering to students at MIT. Illuminati team members Nick Smith and George Kennedy, stoic and silent, trailering the car in the cold. Kevin standing next to the car in the dark outside a warehouse in Hoboken and explaining its features to 10 enthusiastic Hobokenites as I mentally begged him to wrap up because I was freezing. Scrambling to find parking for a 42-foot-long truck-and-trailer combo in New York City. Kevin zipping through Brooklyn traffic in the electric car so we wouldn’t be late to meet a reporter. The beauty of the powerHOUSE Arena in Dumbo and the shocking and uncharacteristic brevity of Kevin’s talk there. Jen making a surprise appearance at powerHOUSE, holding a cardboard sign that said “207 MPGe or Bust.” Kevin stopping at a gas station in Red Oak, Virginia, where the owner emerged and told us, laughing, “Sorry, we don’t sell spaceship fuel.” Kevin hawking the book in rest-stop parking lots. Kevin inspiring the children at my daughter’s school with a story about how he and my daughter made a farting My Little Pony doll out of LittleBits. Finally, I’ll always remember the wonderful tour-capping event in Charlottesville that brought together many of the people in the book: Kevin and Oliver Kuttner and Ann Cohen and Brad Jaeger and David Brown.
One final thank you: Thank you to my travel companions, Kevin Smith, Nick Smith, and George Kennedy. And especially Kevin. He was game for everything. He did his best to lift my spirits when I was stressed and worried. He was charming and funny and he made the whole thing work. It was inspiring to watch him speak about this car of his, this dream.
Who knows what will result? We stirred some things up, anyway.