Monday, May 29, 2006

Who I'd like to thank

I'd like to thank:

Work for letting me take this time off.

Bill and Kris for letting us stay even though they were rediculously busy, for taking us to Club Rodeo, also finding us probably the best mechanic I think I've ever run across.

All the people who gave us oil, too many to list at the moment.

Winnie Seto for sharing her oil hookup in Berkeley and writing us a very awesome note in Chinese that we could show to Chinese restaurants that explained what was doing better than I could in english.

All the people at the Biofuels Conference at UC Santa Cruz, you guys were awesome, I'm glad we accidentally found you.

Nathan and Matt in Nederland CO.

My family. Without you this would not have been possible. Thanks for all your support.

Ashley, you made the trip. Without you I'd be lost out west somewhere and I'd have no video to make my film. Thanks a milion girl.

The Trip Home

Final Trip Update, sorry it's taken so long.

So we spent the rest of the day in Moab washing clothes, washing the car, changing filters in the car, and finally onto hiking in Arches National Park. If any of you get the chance to spend some time in this area, you should. Moab is a nice little jump point to Arches, Capital Reef, and Canyonlands National Parks. There are also some really nice state parks nearby. Hwy 70 is an incredible drive too if your into scenic drives or geology. Arches was awesome and there are some nice hikes in the park. Camping is hard this time of year and I'd say you'd be lucky to get a spot at the only camp site int the park.

After leaving Arches/Moab we drove into Colorado and stopped in Grand Junction to see if we could find some decent Burritos, whcih we didn't. We ate at a really horrible Mexican place that made me wishing I was at La Hacienda for those in Charleston reading hte blog. We got back on Hwy 70 and continued driving along side the Colorado River up close to Vail. Ashley saw that there were some camp sites on a highway south of Vail that we could camp so we went exploring. The car at this point was not doing so well. It has continued to make the sound in the rear end that sounds like the ass end of the car is falling off, but then just stops, and now the valves are knocking really bad. I only figured out later that it was running as bad as it was because of the altitude and the lack of O2 it was use to. At any rate we found probably our best campsite of the trip in a National Forest south of Vail, just incredible. It was hard to sleep that night though becasue we had freaked ourselves out about the possibility of bears.

The next day I changed my oil, filter, and air filter at a local parts place and headed to Boulder, where we could buy 100% biodiesel. Ashley has some friends in Boulder that she met in New Zealand, and I have some friends there from my home town of Cookeville, but the sad thing was that neither of us knew how to get hold of anyone. Ashley did manage to get hold of one of her friends, but he was in Charleston visiting. They recommended some places to eat, so we went and got some good food and beer. We made it to the Biodiesel place selling Blue Sun biodiesel and I happened to meet some guys with a car very similar to mine who recommended we camp/visit a town back in the mountains called Nederland. So we filled up and took off for Nederland. We shopped at a nice mineral/fossil store and got some beers at a nearby pub(insert name here). We ended up meeting some guys, Nathan and Matt, who invited us to stay at Nathans cabin that night. It was awesome to hang out and make some veggie chili. Thanks guys if your reading.

We left the next day for home. To make a very long drive short we drove nearly 800 miles, most one veggie oil, to a truck stop in Missouri where we got a very horrible 4 hours sleep in the car and then drove another 500 miles to my dads house in Cookeville Tn, and then yesterday another 465 miles to Charleston. The night in Cookeville was the best nights sleep I think I've had in a week or more.

We are home. Back to routine and school for me. Ashley has her dog, Charlie, back and starts work soon. I start back to work tomorrow and school on wednesday.

Anyone thats been following us, I hope you've enjoyed these limited posts. Thanks for reading.

I will make other posts about the car.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Headed back

So we stayed a rainy night in a hotel in Sacremento and then headed up through Donner Pass and onto Tahoe. Tahoe was cold,but very pretty. We stopped for some shopping and I changed the secondary filter, third time I think, then onto Cedar City Nevada. We found a new biodiesel manufacturing facility south of Carsen City in Minden. We bought a full tank of bio and then talked with the nice people of Bentley Biofuels. We got the tires rotated and balanced, but they didn't stay that way very long. I think the extreme weight of the extra oil has been ahrd on the car. We are also out of the Racor Veggie Filters and I haven't found a truck stop yet that has any Fleetguard semi diesel filters that would work on the vegitherm. We left Cedar City for the "lonelest road in America" as stated by the Lonely Planet guide which is Hwy 50. If any of you get the chance you need to take this road, it is just absolutly incredible. We stayed that night close to the Great Basin National Park.

The next day we hiked for a bit through the Great Basin and then back on the road. The first half of the day was just spent getting to Hwy 70 in Utah. The car is making alot of noise in the rear end. I still haven't been able to diagnose it, but I think it is probably a combination of the weight, need of new rear shocks, and extreme daily mileage. Hwy 70 is also just a "Geologic Wonderland" as stated on a road sign.

We finally made it to Moab Utah whcich is very close to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Bucks Grill is a must eat in this town, enjoy the Buffalo or Elk dishes. Arches is next and then on to Boulder.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, May 22, 2006

To the Coast

Ok so where were we?

Bryce, wow that seems like so long ago at this point. So my last update was leaving Bryce Canyon and on to Parowan Utah which is about 100 miles north of Saint George. This was a place that we went in Geology Field studies and was one of the harder mapping areas that we had. My boss at the College of Charleston wanted me to stop by and get some shots of students and teachers working together in the field for some new promotional videos for the school.

So we arrive and see all our geology friends. The two professors are Dr Bob and Dr Doyle. Apparently that morning a local historian/archaeologist/falchoneer stopped by and gave everyone a lesson on the petroglyphs in Parowan Gap. Very nice, there are differing calenders like a owl over a chart for a lunar calender, solar calenders for planting crops etc. I'll post pics later.

That night we stayed at Yankee Meadows campground close to Brians Head ski resort in Parowan. It was really cool to see all our old friends and Chris Stubbs helped me do some basic turbo diagnostics to see if it was still functioning properly.

The next day we got some shots for Tim's promo vids and left south for Saint George. We ate at a Mexican Restaurant and then began going from place to place looking for oil. It was too hot for Ashley so I dropped her off at the grocery store as I went to several places lookign for oil. One Chinese place told me "no", which is a first for the trip. Another told em that I could take it but it wasn't their oil, which technically they are correct. Once the oil is placed in the bin it's the bin owners oil, so I guess I am stealing. I was as fast as I could be to finish collecting and got out of there. We repacked the car and took off for southern Nevada.

We traveled through Vegas, which I hate, and onto Barstow in southern California which we got our first hotel room. I changed out all of the fuel filters the next morning, and filled up with oil that we had gotten in Saint George. We left north and decided not to go through Death Valley because it was about 120 degrees and I didn't want to test the car in that environment. We went through Sequoia National Forest and then onto Sequoia National Park which is north of the forest. It was great that night because the campsite was full and there were some kids that stayed up most of the night playing music and lighting fire works.

That next morning we went through and saw General Sherman, which is the largest living thing on earth. Leaving the Park we saw a brown bear adn in our scramble to find the 4 cameras in the car, it ran off. It was awesome to see a bear in the semi-wild though.

That night we landed on the coast in New Brighton Beach just south of Santa Cruz, but their campsite was full. So we had to drive about 30 minutes to Henry Cowell State Park, which was an excellent place to stay, but it rained all night and the tent got wet.

We got up and drove through Santa Cruz. Ash wanted to go see the campus of University of California at Sant Cruz, as were were driving by a parking lot we saw a sign for "Biofuels Conference Parking". So we parked and went up to the "Farm". We meet so many cool people and they fed us breakfast and lunch. It was really rainy, but there was a car show with many people using veggie oil and many others with diesel vehicles using biodiesel. We fueled up there and then went to Berkeley and got oil at "Taiwan Restaurant". Now we are getting ready to leave Sacramento Ca.

Update soon hopefully.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Leg 3,4,5

Update 5/15/06

Well we left Bill and Kris’s house in Norman with the car “fixed” and drove about 500 miles to Cimarron Canyon state park, about 30 miles east of Taos, New Mexico. We got in pretty late and set up camp with the headlights and slept very soundly with the stream flowing by.

The next morning the car was running really rough and had no acceleration at all. We stopped in a little town just a few miles away and I changed the secondary spin on fuel filter and that helped a great deal, but it was my last spare. I also changed it in Tennessee at my father’s house. We went into Taos NM and shopped around and some neat little shops and had Sunday brunch. We then went to Taos Pueblo out north of town, consisting of all reconstructed and restored buildings of the Pueblo Indians. We continued out south of town and proceeded to Santa Fe NM. It was raining really hard so we didn’t explore much, but did find some much needed oil. We continued on west to Chaco Canyon, a place that I have always wanted to go. The road to Chaco was aweful, but once your in the park it’s awesome. The place is exactly as I had always read and there aren’t many people there, probably discouraged by the road. That night it was so windy that we couldn’t use my new Snow Peak stove. I went to dismantle it and the can stuck open instantly freezing my finger. I thought for sure I was going to need some medical attention the next day but luckily that wasn’t the case as I was able to get it under warm water pretty fast. And then the wind kept Ash up all night.

The next day we hiked around Chaco and drove around a bit, but we didn’t have long because we needed to get to Mesa Verde and then on into Utah. We ate lunch in Colorado and then spent a very rainy day traveling around Mesa Verde down close to the four corners. We left late in the evening and drove most of the night to Hanksville, Utah. It’s a small town outside of Capital Reef National Park. We got in really late and all of the hotels were booked so we luckily found a campsite for $12 and ate there the next morning.

We spent the morning exploring Capital Reef and then onto Bryce Canyon National Park. It is the longest 112 miles I’ve ever gone. We set up camp and made a good Indian dinner, with a six-pack of Polygamy Porter. There is a sunset point that if any of you make it here, you have to see, it’s awesome.

The next morning we made coffee and went on a short hike around the rim trail at Bryce. Now we are leaving and going on to Parawan Utah to stay with College of Charleston’s Geology Field studies. I hope to get some footage for Tim, my boss for some promo videos for the college.

I’ll update soon.

Stay tuned: Next Parawan, Utah then through Las Vegas to Death Valley and hopefull land in Monterey California and stay in San Fran.

The hardest part about the trip is not being able to filter oil properly. We just don’t have the time and the temperature is just too cold to filter it in any reasonable amount of time.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Leg 2 continued

Still in Norman, OK at Bill and Kristinas.

We took the car to one mechanic and he claimed he couldn't find the parts and didn't want to do the work on the axel. So Bill and Kris called their friend Bo who has a 79 240d and asked where he gets his worked on, so we took it there. The guy was awesome claiming he can either get it done tonight or tomorrow. We will see.

The front right ball joint is making alot of noise, but this guy I just took it to says don't worry about it, it will get you through the rest of the trip. I just hope when we have this one axel done that the rear end "noise" doesn't come back.

We have enough oil to get somewhere in New Mexico, not filtered yet though, and Biodiesel to do whatever. We plan to stop in Amarillo TX at Bio Willie, but it will only be B20. We have to stop at BioWillie though, it's BioWillie.

Look for an update tomorrow.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Leg 2

Hello Everyone!

Leg 2

Well it was rather difficult finding oil in Cookeville TN, but finally we did. It looked as though we were going to get yelled at by a lady whose oil we were gathering, but she was suprised when I showed her the car. I think she thought we were putting something in her oil bin. It was nice though because she told us we should use the Chinese oil next to hers becuase hers had animal fats in it. So we gathered about 25 gallons and went back to my dads house and filtered it most of the night.

So we loaded up and were on the road the next morning by 8:00am, but only 50 miles into the trip there was a loud roaring sound in which it sounded like a flat tire. We get out and look, no flat tire. It goes away and go up the road another 20 miles and it starts again. I think back to an old Saab I had that made this same sound and it was a dust pan on the brake rotar, no problem right? Well it was loud enough though that I decide to stop in Mt Juliet TN, about 15 miles before you get to Nashville. We waited for a couple of hours for a guy to drive it and he's convinced it is the luggage carrier on top. It was plauseable at the moment, but going up the road it gets worse. I think if it was a wheel bearing it would be doing it all the time, or even a axel, but the sound comes and goes.

We got to Arkansas and I filled up with oil, Ashley noticed on the biodiesel distributors info sheet I printed out there is a place that sells 100% bio close by. So we take the 45 minute detour and go fill up, $52 worth.

Back on the road, the noise doesn't happen for over 100 miles, but back occassionally, louder. We go through sleepy, awake stages all the way through Arkansas and finally get to OK City/Norman around 1:30am local time, and Bill and Kristina's house by 2:00am.

Kris didn't get home until early in the morning and slept in. Bill had a final today at 1:30 pm so Bill, Ash, and I went to Turquiose, a trendy little place to eat close by, very good food. We went back and I called around to mechanics to see if they can look at my car, finally one at 3:00pm, soon actually. We went probably 10 places lookign for oil and finally an awesome little chinese restaurant here in Norman. The people were very interested in the car, and gave us their oil. We plan to go back for dinner.

When we got back I thought what the hell I'll look under the car and see if I can see anything, and there it was, a broken axel boot. That means it's the axel. We'll see how much that costs. That guy in Mt Pleasant at East Cooper Mercedes said they looked fine before we left. Oh well, if you want something done right do it yourself.

I'll update as soon as I can, maybe tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Leg 1

Hi everyone!

Well Leg 1 is complete. We have made it to Cookeville TN on nothing but veggie oil. The diesel tank only has about 5 or 6 gallons of 30% - 40% biodiesel in it so I wanted to fill up on 100% biodiesel in Maryville TN, but the place was closed when we got there. The car did alright with the exception of going up large hills. I'm not sure if the oil is not hot enough or if the oil just doesn't have as power as biodiesel or dino-diesel.

We are going to go and see what oil we can get in Cookeville and come back and filter today. I am also going to print out some flyers to give to store owners so that they will better understand what their oil can be used for and what we are doing.

So far we have used 30 gallons of veggie oil and have gone 500 miles. Thats only about 17 miles to the gallon, but there is a signifigant amount of weight in the car and the luggage carrier on top. I was getting close to 30mpg around Charleston after I got the valves adjusted.

Leg 2 is Cookeville TN to Norman OK. We are leaving out early Wednesday morning, it about 600 miles so that will be about 10 and a half hours.

Stay tuned!