You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Bio Diesel Adventure’ category.

The naysayers said nay.  The skeptics were skeptical.  The pessimists were pessimistic.  Fortunately for me, I don’t know any of those people and with all of your good karma,  I made it to Telluride, Colorado at 5:10pm MT.  Two thousand six hundred and sixty four miles from NYC a truck filled with video gear rolled into this historic little town to do a little job.  It’s a job that’s got to be done one way or another and I’m proud that it was delivered on a biodiesel route.  Personally, I’m nearly as happy about the fact that one year ago I made a big promise and actually carried it out; that alone feels good.  I thank MountainFilm for issuing the challenge – without it, I’d have gone about business as usual.  Now that I’ve come to the finish line perhaps it’s appropriate for me to perpetuate the challenge and ask you: what environmental difference will you make this year?

I’d like to thank you all for your emails and phone calls of encouragement throughout this trip – they all made a great difference and became my mantras going down the road (Bob – I DID the keep the hammer down!) and most importantly: thank you Mary Anna and MountainFIlm!

It’s so strange to not go to a baseball game… I was hoping the Colorado Rockies would be playing at home but they are out east in Pittsburgh, delayed by the same weather system that held up my KC game… My Saturday commute between Kansas City and Colorado Springs was certainly the most uneventful of my 4 days so far – and fruitless, biofuel-wise.  Each station I tracked down had either stopped providing biodiesel or didn’t exist at all!  In fact, the greenest thing I experienced all day was driving through a field of at least one hundred wind driven turbines.  Until that moment, I wondered why all of this power was going unharnessed.  Certainly, these turbines are not an easy or inexpensive project to undertake.  Each blade looks to be over one hundred feet long.  With one day to go, I must admit I’m ready to sleep in the same bed two nights in a row and maybe spend more of my day on feet than on my butt!

We’re happy to have the opportunity to screen Burma VJ this weekend. Check out the review in the New York Times just this week: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/movies/17ande.html

The draw of an evening baseball game in KC was simply too powerful for me to overcome.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Bio FlavorsAwakening in Fowlerville, MI I returned to the most elaborate of all the biodiesel stations I’ve encountered so far.  I filled up with B50 (a relatively strong 50/50 mix: half bio, half petrol) and forged my way towards Chicago.  The weather this day could NOT have been better.  Brilliant blue skies, no humidity and a warming early summer sun to light my way… I stopped in Kalamazoo to top off before getting into Chicago but the station I had looked up on nearbio.com didn’t carry biodiesel anymore.  They claim that the state discontinued its incentives for station owners to carry biofuel.

Alright, let’s get to the good stuff.  Just to be clear, I am STILL a Yankee fan.  HOWEVER – I am “green” with envy over the Cubs’ Wrigley Field.  Sure it’s got some old steel posts that support the upper deck and make for some obstructed views but you know what?  That’s the stuff that makes a place home and gives it character.  I was having a hard time putting my finger on what exactly it was that I didn’t like about the new Yankee Stadium but now I’ve figured it out.  It has no character.  The new Citi field has a quirky right field but I think that’s good – that’s character.  The new Yankee park has wide open space for circulation that guarantees the efficient movement of its patrons in and out of each game.  In the old stadium, after we kicked ourselves some Red Sox butt, we’d all be jammed trying to get down the seven ramps to the exit and invariably someone would start a chant to pass the time “Boston Sucks, Boston Sucks”.  That’ll never happen in the new place.  What I really liked about Wrigley was its architectural connection to the neighborhood on all sides.  The super sweet “Sky Boxes” which appear to be bleachers built atop buildings that have been just beyond the outfield wall as long as the Field has been there (1914, btw).  On the south side, patios are built on top of the staircases that look out onto the surround neighborhood and make for a great place for all the guys’ girlfriends who don’t care too much about the game to get together and sip daiquiris.  Did I mention it was a beautiful day?

Following the defeat of the Padres I fought the rush hour traffic to make my final pickup of gear and passed a Penske service station.  Since there was literally no inspection of my Journey-mobile before my departure from NYC (I’m still bitter about wasting 4 hours of my life in a double-wide in Hell’s Kitchen) I wanted the Penske guys to do a check-up.  I told the head mechanic that I might want to have the fuel filter looked at and he said, “now why would you want us to do that?”  And no sooner did the words “biodiesel” pass my lips that he began shaking his head back and forth (much like people who just don’t want to hear the truth) and told me, “we do not recommend the use of biodiesel under any circumstances – it’s not regulated by the government”.  My mom’s cooking isn’t regulated by the government – but I guarantee it’s good for me.  My tires got a fresh breath of air and I was once again on my way west and landed in Sterling, Illinois – birthplace of the great Bill Hill.  Somewhere between Ronald Reagan’s and John Wayne’s birthplace is where you’ll find Sterling…

So now we’re caught up through Friday morning – which is when I turned to the Weather Channel only to find them really excited about all the possibilities for tornados in the Midwest.  It was when I was only 8 miles outside Des Moines that I decided to roll the dice and dive down into the belly of the beast and head south towards Kansas City instead of west to Nebraska.  Zack Greinke, the hottest pitcher in baseball, was pitching tonight, after all.  I braced myself for an intense day of rain driving but its bark was much bigger than its bite.  Along the way I stopped at a BP station that offered B2 fuel – 2% Soybean derived Biodiesel.  I suppose 2% is a world better than 0%, but I’m not sure why they wouldn’t just go with a 5 or 10% mix.

Mmmm BeerKansas City greeted me with a fantastic lightning display.  One bolt charged down from the heavens and landed not half a mile from me as I drove around the outskirts of town.  It looked like an extra thick bolt that found a great place to discharge at the top of a radio tower.  The big lights of Kauffman Stadium loomed in the distance and I was happy to be on time for the first pitch AND not have to drive several hours afterwards.  Not only was I on time, but we were rain delayed for 2 hours and 35 minutes.  The barbeque was great and the beer was refreshing – and my fifth row seat, which cost a whopping $43, would have cost at least $450 in the Bronx.  It really was nice to see the expressions on the players’ faces for once…

Alright – my inner trucker is telling me we’ve got a long day of convoying tomorrow and it’s time to retire – for now.  But first, I’ll have to wish Mary Anna HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Karl Mehrer
K2imaging, Inc.
voice: 917-952-9589
www.k2imaging.com

I’m watching local Doppler radar and I think that it might be prudent for me to get out of Dodge… or Sterling, Illinois.  I’m aborting my plan to head into tornado alley to see the Kansas City Royals game (get rained out).  I’ll provide great details about my fabulous experience at Wrigley in my next entry but in the meantime check out this great info from a friend of my sister:

Hey Karl.
Great thing you are doing.
You can use B99 in your diesel truck as long as it’s not ten years old.  The reason being that biodiesel breaks down the rubber in fuel hoses.  Ten years ago they stopped making the hoses entirely out of rubber and started using a metal weave as well as other products.

However the biggest thing to keep in mind when using biodiesel in an engine that has mainly seen petroleum diesel is that biodiesel has a very high lubricity.  That means the biodiesel is going to flush all that petroleum gunk out and into the fuel filter.  So have plenty of fuel filters on hand to get yourself going.

Many people that begin using biodiesel in this application start to get engine failure so they think.  “It must have been a bad batch of biodiesel”.  No, it’s actually the biodiesel working and flushing the engine.  In fact the engines love biofuel.  Just look into that first fuel filter when you change it.  You’ll wonder how the engine ran in the first place with all that gunk in it.

On your endeavor don’t lose sight of the big picture.  In other words don’t drive 50 miles out of your way to get biodiesel over petroleum to try and clean up your carbon footprint.  Those extra 50 miles could actual make it bigger.

I assume you have been using the great www.biodiesel.org site to track down retail biodiesel pumps along the way?
Safe travels.

Chris Fussell
www.fussyintl.com

Running on FumesWhat a day – running on bio fumes, Ohio State Troopers, U turns through the median – and it wasn’t even noon yet.  The search for biodiesel can sometimes take you farther than your gas tank will let you go; and I’ll thank my lucky stars I made it just in time to the Jefferson, OH biodiesel filling station!  Oh but no – they only take truckers’ fuel cards – a prepaid gas card that I neglected to acquire prior to my departure.  I’m not quite sure why there needs to be such an exclusive form of currency but I’m going to find out…  Luckily for me and my timeline, there was a diesel station another mile away.

As guilty as I felt for filling up with the pure petrol-type stuff, I was relieved to not be stuck in NW Ohio at the Dairy Dream for an unknown period of time.  But now I’ve got a baseball game to get to!  I tuned into a Cleveland radio station to get a preview of what I was about to get into – with my delays in refueling, I’d be lucky to make the 7th inning.  The Ohio State Troopers and Cliff Lee (the Indians ace pitcher throwing a 1 hitter through 5 innings) decided to stack the odds against me.  One thing I discovered though is that biodiesel journeys make for good excuses to get out of speeding tickets.  That, and appealing to the inner baseball fan that lives inside nearly every police officer.  I was only going 7 mph over anyway…

Catching a gameSo after finding parking behind the Hilton outside Progressive Field, I paid my 8 bucks and got my ticket into the park.  I walked in through the outfield entrance and beheld the glory of afternoon baseball.  As much as I hate to say it, I think the Yankees really screwed up the design of their new stadium.  One visit to the Indians park in comparison will tell you why… the Yanks lost the spaciousness, the monumentality and the electric feel of their old stadium in the process.  After watching the Tribe seal the White Sox fate with a 4-0 victory, it was on to Detroit to pick up some additional gear for the festival.

The Benefits of BiodieselWithout significant incident I made my pickup from the great folks at Nationwide and dialed in my next biodiesel station on the GPS.  Another hour away I found my destination: an unmanned (after 6pm) Mobile station that offered five different flavors of biodiesel!  I could choose from B5, B20, B50 and B99 – they also carried “off road” diesel (and I’m not sure what that is yet).   I eagerly placed the nozzle in my truck’s thirsty tank and swiped my credit card to begin the delivery of liquid gold.  Alas, as luck would have it, the pump was not to up to the task.  Beginning to feel weary, I decided to retire at a nearby Best Western and return at dawn to hopefully, with the assistance of a friendly station manager, fill my tank for another day’s adventure!

Karl Mehrer
K2imaging, Inc.
voice: 917-952-9589
www.k2imaging.com

I’ll do my best not to put the “blah” in blog so here goes: after waiting 4 hours for Penske to get me the right truck, I loaded up my gear and got on the road.  There really are many fewer biodiesel outlets than I thought there would be.  After checking out the population map on http://www.nearbio.com I found it interesting that the highest concentration of biodiesel stations is BY FAR in the Midwest.  My first biodiesel fill up was in Millville, PA, about 170 miles outside NYC.  I only had to drive 8 miles off Route 80 to find it.  The guy who runs the station can get you some B99 (that’s nearly pure biodiesel) but the commercial stuff that he mixes himself is between 5% and 10%, depending on the season.  Tonight I’m shacked up in Sandy Point, PA and I’m hoping I’ll get to see a few innings of the Indians game which starts bright and early at noon.  I’ve got 180 miles to go and I’ll be stopping in Jefferson, OH to refuel on the way.  Thanks for everyone’s best wishes and be sure to check in tomorrow for more planet-changing news!

K2 in NYC
photo was taken by Andreas Wagner

Tomorrow I embark on an adventure that can only be described as “the salvation of Mother Earth through prudent fuel selection”.  In fact, I will not be changing the world in 6 days but I hope to shrink the carbon footprint just a little bit, starting with MountainFilm of Telluride 09.

One year ago, MountainFilm issued an environmental challenge to all its attendees.  Reducing my bottled water intake didn’t seem noteworthy enough for me so I figured I might do something a bit different and drive all 4,000 lbs. of digital gear to Telluride on a biodiesel truck route from New York City.  Along the way, I just might happen to catch a few baseball games;  it seems to be no coincidence that Cleveland, Chicago (Cubs), St. Louis and Kansas City are all at home as I pass through.  But I digress…

To follow my progress, simply return to blog.mountainfilm.org and check out my daily updates with text and photos.  I’m hoping to meet some great people, learn all about biodiesel and eat a hot dog at Wrigley.  The trip will be over 2200 miles and concludes Sunday in Telluride, Colorado at 9,000 vertical feet.  Wish me luck and safety and check out the blog every morning!

Post History

May 2017
M T W T F S S
« May    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Our Twitters