Our Non-Petroleum Adventure- Exploring the U.S., powered by grease
In 2009, we embarked on our first large scale road trip. We initially had intentions of completing the PanAm highway during this trip, but realistically we did not have the mental preparation or financial planning to do so. In addition, situations South of the border were becoming increasingly heated, and last but not least that terrible epidemic H1N1 aka the Swine Flu!
So instead of pressing our luck we decided it was best to keep it in the U.S. and Canada. We modified our truck with a sleeping platform in the back, so we would have storage underneath. We also converted our truck to run on vegetable oil. We have done this before with our 1984 Mercedes 300D and thought that it would be an eco-friendly, money saving way to travel. The 60-gallon vegetable oil tank sat in the back of the truck, towards the cab, and served as our headboard. We took out the backseat in the cab and put our refrigerator and dry food storage in there. It worked out pretty well!
We were able to find vegetable oil along the way by asking restaurant owners for their old grease and using a website online called www.fillupforfree.com where people actually sell used vegetable oil all around the United States for fairly cheap (a lot cheaper than diesel fuel!) We also bought a National Park season pass and were going to make an attempt to visit most of them. We followed Route 70 to the coast of California, spending most of our time in Ohio and Kansas to visit family and Colorado, Arizona and Nevada to do some hiking and sightseeing. We spent a lot of time in Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Boulder and Netherland Colorado, and the Grand Canyon.
We drove in just above Los Angeles. We decided to skip the city because we didn’t feel like immersing ourselves into the chaos and started driving North. We followed Routes 1 and 101, making several stops along the way. We found old logging roads and quiet neighborhood streets to park on and camp. We showered about two or three times a week, spent an adequate amount of time surfing and really got to know the small towns on the coast of California. We went inland a few times to meet with friends, visit Yosemite National Park and go to Mount Shasta. Oregon was one of our favorite states. It reminded us a lot of our home state and was absolutely beautiful! We visited the Northwestern most corner of the mainland US in Washington and started heading back East towards Maine.
We rounded out our trip by visiting Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton. We also stopped in Badlands National Park and Toronto, Canada. By the end of our trip, it started getting really cold (the lowest being 5 degrees Fahrenheit!) and we even got snow a few times! So, we ended up cutting some of our stops a little short because of that.
All in all, it was a great trip. It tested our patience a few times, but it helped us focus on what is important in life. We focused on the beautiful sights our country has to offer, finding ourselves and meeting as many people as we could. We wouldn’t change a thing; in fact, it is what helped us decide to further our life of travels down South
Please check out the photo gallery for ONPA here!