America’s Backroads with Jeff Bezos: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Boulder Creek, CA

Mercury News image of an old growth redwood in Big Basin smoldering after the 2020 CZU Lighting Complex fires scorched the park. https://images.app.goo.gl/f4tfnXxxcR8ik72Z8

Episode 2: Bosch Icon wiper blades.

Unofficial transcript of a conversation between Amazon.com  founder, Jeff Bezos, and sempervirens117.com founder, Brett Winters.  

Jeff: Hi everyone, and welcome to Episode 2 of “America’s Backroads with Jeff Bezos,” a new Amazon Studios documentary series in which I explore the hidden corners of the American landscape in search of automotive adventure. I travel to a remote location to meet with an aspiring young American entrepreneur, who introduces me to an automotive-related product purchased on Amazon that is particularly useful in the backroads of this amazing country of ours. 

Today, we’re at a Big Basin Redwoods State Park, outside of Santa Cruz, California, staring up through a morning fog hundreds of feet into the air, searching for the top of a 1,000 year old giant redwood. The air here is wet and soothing, and inside the redwood grove it’s as quiet as a cathedral or temple. Wow! Simply stunning natural beauty. 

This area was devastated by massive wildfires in 2020, and the park isn’t open yet to the public. We’ve been given special access to tour the site in an effort to help raise public awareness of the need to protect and restore such fantastic natural spaces for future generations to enjoy. And I, personally, have taken an interest in this subject as part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge.

I’ve flown in from Amazon HQ in Seattle to speak with Brett Winters, a local resident of the Santa Cruz Mountains who runs a small eco-consultancy, sempervirens117.com, in Woodside, CA   about Bosch Icon wiper blades, which claim to last 40% longer than less expensive, competing replacement brands. They cost around $20 per blade, so definitely an investment for most car buyers who aren’t multibillionaires like me. Let me get to the point, Brett. Are these German-designed wiper blades really worth it?

B: Yes, Jeff. In fact, these Bosch Icon wiper blades are the best I’ve ever encountered when it comes to smooth, quiet windshield cleaning power. In light snow, heavy rain, road dust, and morning fog, they work perfectly, assuming you keep the blades clean of debris before leaving the driveway and have some good quality washer fluid topped off under the hood before you begin longer trips.

J: I think those are important points you make. The blades are obviously not self-cleaning, and for them to keep in contact with the windshield glass, they need to be well maintained. That seems to the case with many German-designed products we sell on Amazon, actually. If used properly, and treated well, they function as advertised. 

B: My friends who are BMW drivers tell me the same thing. As long as you do regular maintenance, and as long as you have some technical knowledge (or a dependable mechanic who does), they are the ultimate driving machines.

J: Well, I have a whole team of people who maintain my fleet of cars and trucks, but I definitely want to check to make sure they are using Bosch Icon wiper blades on all my vehicles. In fact, I’m having my assistant look into this right away. But let’s get back to this amazing setting: the redwoods, they are so mighty but also so calming. It’s as if the stress of being the world’s wealthiest man is just melting away. Big medicine, wouldn’t you agree?

B: Sure, Jeff. These ancient redwoods have amazing therapeutic effects that scientists are only now starting to realize, but that spiritual healers and indigenous peoples in the area long understood.. But these gigantic trees can be incredibly dangerous in winter storms, and even heavy fog can cause branches to break. If your car is parked near them, you’ll get lots of debris all over, so cleaning your windshield and wiping the Bosch Icon wiper blades with a cloth or even your fingers before leaving is recommended.

J: But how do Bosch icon wiper blades work in the snow and other adverse cold climate conditions? I like to ski in the Washington Cascades, and my family loves visiting Yellowstone in winter with other kids of Amazon executives. Would these wiper blades work equally well in sub-zero weather?

B: That’s a great question, Jeff. I’ve been to Yellowstone in winter when it was -10F in the morning, and I’ve gone cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the Cascades in near blizzard conditions, so I speak from experience. These Bosch blades are made to resist freezing and don’t warp or lose their effectiveness when it’s cold. But again: use a winter washer fluid rated to -20F or lower, and have a good ice cleaning tool at your disposal, like those by Mallory that are made in the U.S.A. and have serious leverage for getting ice and slush off the glass. Bosch Icon wiper blades are really good as designed, but they aren’t snowplows; they are wiper blades.

J: And I assume they also work well with heavy rain and thick ocean fog, of the sort you encounter often on the northern California coast?

B: Oh yes, as long as the rubber blades are free of things like redwood needles, branches, and the like.

J: And they look really stylish, too. For wiper blades.

B: Bosch is really good that way. Design matters for Germans, no question.

J: I’ll say! This seems like a great product. Let’s wrap things up, why don’t we? Got anything for us to snack on at the picnic area? I’d love to sample some local food and wine.

B: I brought a Weber grill, which I’ve loaded with Royal Oak natural lump charcoal that is all ready to go. I’ll be grilling Pomponio Ranch pastured raised beef ribeye steaks as well as Markegard Family organic pork tenderloin. We’ve also got heirloom polenta cakes, fresh sourdough farmhouse bread from Backhaus Bakery, heirloom tomato salad, lemon cucumbers in a fresh dill vinaigrette, mixed organic greens, and ripe sliced melon from Blue House Farms. We’ll serve Big Basin Vineyards 2012 Odeon Cabernet-Syrah red blend, along with their 2015 Alfaro Family Vineyard Pinot Noir – all from the local area. And we have local strawberries, organic vanilla ice cream, and blackberry pie for desert, with French Press coffee from Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz.

J: Sounds delicious! Have anything we might start with, cocktail-wise?

B: How about some nice gin and tonics, using Gin #1 from the Venus Spirits Distillery in Santa Cruz? Some of the best craft spirits in the county, I’d say. 

J: Cheers, Brett! Here’s to clean windshields and lots of great road trips ahead.

J: Cheers, Jeff! I can definitely drink to that.

[end of transcript].

Published by Sempervirens117

I am a writer, blogger, and founder of sempervirens117.com, an environmentally conscious Silicon Valley consultancy based in Woodside, California.

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