Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Holidays

Ladies and Gentlemen Team Bioride2008 once again would like to thank everyone who participated in the project - this story would never have unfolded without you! We are very pleased to announce the happy completion of our journey.

A lot has happened since that first week in September and though the plan was constantly in a state of revision we can sincerely say that the Bioride2008 project was a great success.

Doogie is now in the capable and deserving hands of the American Red Cross and we have just moved onto the next phase: editing and post-production. We look forward to unveiling the full story in all it's cinematic glory after the New Year!

Have a very Merry Christmas and may the coming year bring you and yours wealth and peace.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Over the past few days Team Bioride has become involved in nearly every facet of ranching life here at Cloud Creek Institute for the Arts. From stocking the wood pile in the face of on coming winter to caring for horses and rebuilding hurricane damaged chicken coops - the Team is developing and honing skills and learning to appreciate a lifestyle that is closer to the natural world.

It is not surprising to learn that an understanding of alternative energy and biofuels is an inherent part of the subsistence and rural lifestyle. And while the people living in these settings may lack the scientific lexicon to describe these concepts they are extremely savvy to the processes, requirements and affects that alternative energy and biofuels play in their lives. Fire wood creates energy when it's burned and heats homes and in many places provides the energy needed to cook, brew and produce a myriad of products essential to daily living. In addition, agricultural waste, grass, saw dust and wood chips can be pelletized and turned into a much simpler, and convenient, solid fuel. This is not a new technology for the rural communities of the world it's simply how things are done.

And of course the concept and usage of alternative energy goes hand in hand with the practice of recycling. At Cloud Creek Ranch the Team has learned that nothing goes to waste. Manures are gathered and mixed into the compost, only trees downed by storms are cut and used as firewood and everything is scrutinized for it's re-usability before it is deemed "garbage" and transported to the Yellville recycling collection point.

Recycling, 'Leave No Trace', and environment compassion are the driving principles and inspiration behind the BIOIRIDE2008 Project. Everyday on the road the Team learns a greater appreciation and understanding of these values and the skills that are required to incorporate these principles into our lives. Every community and family that we visit displays an understanding of environment impact and it is heartening to see that everyone, in their own way, are making strides to ensure that that impact is as positive and sustainable as possible.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our new portable biodiesel reactor is nearly complete! Essentially we've taken a 55 gallon oil drum and converted it into a giant blender. The first step was to cut the bottom third off and flip the barrel upside down. We are using the two pre-existing threaded holes as drain points.

Ideally a domed or concave bottom would be best but supplies, tools and most importantly money are in short supply. Access to a welding machine and torch set would have been extremely helpful for this fabrication but Team Bioride continues to happily march on to the tune of "more with less."

Once the barrel was cut down and the edges bent and folded for safety lift points were drilled and mounted and the pilot hole for the 2000 watt heating element was cut out. The addition of lift points on either side of the barrel will make storage and setup a flash and of course the heating element is crucial for the transesterification process.

After wiring our heating element to an appropriately rated plug we'll mount the element to the base of the barrel with a sandwich of washers, nuts and rubber gaskets. Hot oil is the last thing you want spilling out all over the place! The mixing of the oil, methanol and lye will be accomplished by a fixed hand drill mounted to the top of the barrel and fitted with a paint mixing attachment.

A quarter inch thick steel step provides our reactor with a little height and allows us to access the drain plugs on the bottom of the barrel. This will allow us to drain the glycerin followed by the biodiesel from the bottom of the tank - as opposed to scooping or siphoning from the top.

During the past few days our stockpile of oil has had a chance to settle and it is now ready to be cleaned. Tomorrow we will finish construction of our reactor and begin the biodiesel brewing process! Titration, a test for free fatty acids in our waste vegetable oil, will be the first step in our brewing procedure. The test only takes about a minute and will tell us how much Lye we will need for each batch.

Things are coming together and it won't be long until Doogie hits the road again. While we've been "grounded" the Team has adhered to a strict maintenance schedule of morning and evening engine warming sessions and Doogie's block heater has been handling the cool Ozark nights well. Bioride is ready to hit the road and the anticipation is high, but taking a few days to plan and prepare will be key for the successful completion of the second leg of Bioride2008's journey.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

If Bioride has one common element or theme than it is most definitely the people that we've met along the way. Everywhere we've been we have made new friends and Arkansas has been no different. The people, families and businesses of the Ozarks have treated us with an easy and generous hospitality.

And at the fore front of that wave of hospitality we found Gwen and Larry Brody - our hosts here at the Cloud Creek Ranch. Road weary eyes and empty bellies wear no match for the fresh linens and fully stocked refrigerator that we found awaited us at the Ranch. In addition to the luxury of hot food and showers - Larry has been providing much needed creative direction for the Bioride2008 Documentary.

Everyday the Bioride2008 Project evolves and changes. And we are pleased to announce that several new companies, both local and national, have expressed an interest in Bioride. We received the inquiries almost immediately following the printing of our article in the Baxter Bulletin.

So to everyone who's befriended us and to all those new friends just waiting to shake hands - thank you. Working with you is what Bioride2008 is all about. Bioride2008 is still an independent grassroots alternative energy project. And we owe that to all of you!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Doogie received all sorts of attention today!  The Team installed a new thermostat rated to 195 degrees Fahrenheit that will keep Doogie and his fuel warm and running sweetly now that colder temperatures have found us.  A fresh change of oil and oil filter will keep Doogie nice and limber and we are more than pleased to report that the Baxter Bulletin of Mountain Home, Arkansas paid us a friendly visit this morning.

Always a ham for attention - Doogie brushed himself off and smiled pretty for the camera.  Too much more attention like this and Doogie is likely to develop a big head!  While Doogie is busy being cooed over the Bioride Team is scrounging  for supplies to fabricate a portable biodiesel reactor.

In the interest of eliminating bad fuel and fuel related mechanical issues the Team has decided to refine their waste vegetable oil (WVO) to a cleaner state.  A one tank reactor design was chosen for it's ease of construction and portability.  This new addition will allow the Team to produce their own biodiesel from WVO.  With biodiesel in his belly Doogie's overall performance will be increased - especially in colder temperatures. 

And on a more entertaining note - stay tuned for the soon to be released teaser-trailer of ALONG FOR THE RIDE    

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


After several mechanical set backs Doogie has finally arrived in Arkansas to a warm welcome at Cloud Creek Institute for the Arts.  Yesterdays departure from Colorado was bittersweet.  Our prolonged stay in Boulder, Ft. Collins and Genoa, Colorado resulted in many new friendships.  

Specifically, Team Bioride owes a sincere debt of gratitude to Emily and Sasha.  Not only are they the proud owners of the friendliest and softest couch in Ft. Collins but Emily's banana pancakes are hands down the best way to wake up when you're stranded with no end in sight.  

And speaking of stranded, if you are ever in need of automotive advice and find yourself in Genoa, Co I truly hope you have the good fortune to bump into Jeff, Taylor and Pauly of Jeffy Lube - the only Garage/Pub in town.  These three roguish Genoa fixtures will keep you laughing and get you back on the road before you can say, "Hey Bartender....."

To Melissa and Rebecca: Ladies your bathroom has never been cleaner and anytime you'd like to host another Chili cook off you just let us know.  Your patience and charity should be the standard.

And of course we can't forget the boys from CU Biodiesel who were the true facilitators of our Colorado excursion.  To all our new friends we say thank you.  Our hearts, doors, cupboards and couches will forever be open to you!

Unfortunately we have the sad duty of reporting that two members of the Bioride Team have returned to Seattle.  Prior commitments and personal obligations have forced Nick and Ryan to return to Washington.  The boys might be gone but their spirit remains - we'll see you in Sea-town boys! 

After a brief refit and refuel in Arkansas, Doogie and Team Bioride will continue South toward New Orleans and then East across the bottom of the United States.  So we're back on the move and once again it's business as usual for this BIOFUELED adventure!  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Update from the road

Date: Thursday, October 17th, 12:29 pm

Boulder, Colorado is going to be achieved TONIGHT. We left Las Vegas at 6:00 pm and did not look back. The Bio-convention at Colorado University at Boulder starts this weekend. We MUST be there. Doogie needs a good scrubbin’ too. Who would’ve guessed that white paint gets soiled easily…?

Las Vegas was best summed up by Ryan, who had never been there before, by stating, “I cannot even begin to describe Vegas. It’s surreal, depressing, irritating, and anxious with all the flashy buzzers and noises. I feel like I’m going to have a seizure at any minute. I’m just too slow for that place. I’m glad I got to see it though. Check that one off the list.” While in Vegas, Team BioRide was down to two members, as Nick had to fly back to Seattle for 15 hours to attend class at Seattle University, and if he did NOT return, he would fail that class. That did not leave many options for him.

As Team BioRide split up for the day, Ryan and Jeremiah went to the Bellagio, drank a beer, blew a dollar in a slot machine, and went back to the hotel room to watch Cool Runnings. Their Vegas tour also included spending 4 hours at the local Schucks fixing up some minor parts on Doogie (running lights, speedometer, changing filters, & fixing squeaks). Early the next morning, Jeremiah challenged Ryan to a friendly eating-contest at a casino diner. Both of them agreed that the biscuits and gravy SEEMED like a good idea at the time. However, the biscuits and gravy resembled the ‘poison goo’ that had to be pumped out of the lines in Ukiah, California. Not letting this stop them, Ryan and Jeremiah not only finished their plate, but had seconds…. And thirds…. Ryan was affected by this the duration of the day, as shown by his sloth-like movements and pallid expression on his face.

Fuel was exceptionally difficult to find in Sin City. As Team BioRide reunited with Nick at McCarran airport, finding oil we could use was number one priority. Cell phones were drawn from pockets. Every restaurant in the Las Vegas area was phoned. One of two things happened. Either the oil was already picked up by a Biofuel company, or the oil was hydrogenated, which was no good for us or Doogie (refer back to previous postings). Finally, we found a possibility… the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

After contacting UNLV’s catering company, we were put in touch with someone who could help us. This contact gave us access to some of the waste vegetable oil in the bins behind their commons area. We decided to thoroughly check the oil before taking any of it. This new batch that we had access to seemed like it was going to work. We had to filter it, put it into our gas tank and start driving. Boulder was quite a distance away. We were facing about a 14 hour drive. Step 1: Stop at Starbucks. Step 2: Purchase a box of coffee. Step 3: Consume.

Doogie was running well. Until we hit the mountains. Driving a ¾ ton truck takes a large toll on the engine. We had to stop in a few different locations to allow the engine to cool down. Getting over these mountains was going to take some patience. Team BioRide was feeling stressed. This journey was turning out to be much more difficult than any of us originally thought. We just wanted to arrive at a destination without any problems for once. It did not help that we were supposed to be in Boulder at 9:00 in the morning to hook up with Josh and “Ester”, Colorado University’s BioDiesel pet project. We persisted. It was difficult to get over those mountains, but eventually Doogie was successful in getting to the peak at Vail Pass, elevation 10,603 feet. We finally conquered a mountain in more ways than one. We did not end up arriving in Boulder until after 2:00 pm. Though it was later than we had originally anticipated, we had made it. Now, what to expect in Boulder…

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thursday, Oct. 16, 10:16 am

As we drove onward during a spectacular Saturday afternoon, Doogie continued to heal from his nearly fatal wound only a day earlier. The heat of the southern California sun provided assistance in cleaning out the rest of the hydrogenated oil from Doogie’s organs. We were running off of a combination of diesel and rice oil. This tank of fuel allowed us to get to our next destination at Lebec, California. There we were staying with Jeremiah’s close friend Karla and her family, who proved to be an invaluable part of this experience. As we drove through the gate of their magnificent house in the foothills of southern California we were greeted by Karla and her parents. Jeremiah had been greatly anticipating this part of the road trip. Jeremiah, Ryan, and Nick were welcomed with the-best-you-will-ever-have authentic Mexican food with a side dish of enthusiastically-entertaining stories from Horatio. It was immediately apparent that we were going to enjoy our time with these wonderful individuals.

We woke the next morning with a full plate of tamales, rice, beans, and a laundry list of tasks to complete for the day. Team BioRide had received an invitation from Mark Crosby, owner of Crosby’s Foreign and Domestic Service (one of our sponsors who created the component that allows us to run off of veggie oil). The invitation was to attend the “Kick Gas Festival” which was an electric car drag race event in Barona, California. We decided that it was necessary to explore this newer area of alternative energy. With Doogie as our shining steed, the BioRide team, along with Karla, galloped down to this event. It truly was an eye-opening experience. We observed electric cars, trucks, motorcycles, and even Coleman cooler that had been converted to be a mini-bike with wheels and all. We met up with Mark Crosby, who gave us the go-ahead to pull into the ‘pit’ to show off our/his component. We popped the hood and the experience turned out to be a great opportunity to explain to onlookers how Crosby’s component allows us to run directly off of waste vegetable oil. Reinforcing our understanding of the technical aspects of our expedition proved to be quite valuable.

As the sun began to set over the foothills, the group mutually decided it was time to return to the temporary abode to imbibe ourselves on more Mexican deliciousness. The foothills of Lebec, California were treating us well. A long night of sleep was required for the long day ahead of us.

Waking early to the smell of coffee and various spices in the frying pan, Team BioRide wiped the sleep from our eyes. We were eager to see what events would take place in these seemingly longer than normal days. The goal for today was for the team to split up. Horatio was able to draw on some of his connections and get some shop time for Doogie. Thus, Ryan, along with his enthusiastic partner, Karla, spent a majority of the day getting their hands greasy, making adjustments and adding necessary parts to Doogie. Meanwhile, Jeremiah and Nick explored the internal workings of H’ermes Manufacturing, a plant which makes high-end beauty products. There, we had an opportunity to chat with chemists about environmental sustainability and how they address that in their products. The theme was in keeping with our journey.

All the while, there was a raging brush fire in the foothills of where we were. Although roads were closed, and fire trucks aplenty, everyone was just going on with their day, as though this was an everyday occurrence that mattered not to them. It was a strange feeling to think that something that is devastating the countryside, homes, and everything it meets could be ignored by the citizens. The fire was not ignored by Jeremiah and Nick, who happened upon a fueling station with helicopters filling up one after the next. It was an exciting situation to be in. The smell of smoke was prevalent in the air, the sound of helicopters and sirens piercing our ear drums, action everywhere around us. We were soon kicked out of the area by the fire-chief, and preceded on to the next part of our day.

Team BioRide soon met up at the shop where Doogie was getting his improvements. The whole experience reminded Nick of the old Nintendo game “R.C. Pro-am” in which the more you race, the more money you get, the more upgrades you can add to your car. Just like in the game, we were upgrading Doogie to race to our next destination. This was the last night spent with Karla and her ever-to-hospitable and overtly gracious family. As happy as we were in this destination, time was ticking. The next destination had to be met. Next stop: Las Vegas…
Final thought: It has been quite difficult to manage time on this journey. Torn between the updates for the blog, map, website, etc., finding destinations, trying to procure fuel, and having any sort of free time to just relax and enjoy the time spent in each other’s company. Our saving grace has been our persistence. We set out on this journey to complete it. Our resolve hasn’t wavered.

Wednesday, October 15th, 6:30 am

Wednesday morning finds Team BioRide in Las Vegas. As anticipated, but not hoped for, the last five days have been a whirlwind of events. After a great deal of effort from the team, especially Doogie, we made it to San Francisco! After San Francisco, we shot down to Labec, California followed by Lakeside, San Merino, and we currently find ourselves in Las Vegas. Without a doubt, there has been much traveling. Our butts overused, and bodies generally exhausted, this ‘adventure’ has not disappointed.

We arrived in San Francisco just after midnight on Friday night/Saturday morning and the city by the bay treated us quite well. As one of the goals of this adventure was to “crash on the couches of family, friends, and supporters,” we did not disappoint. We arrived just after midnight, and our hosts, Jesse and Brian, provided us food, a place to sleep, a beautiful view of the city, warm showers, beer, and countless laughs. Sleep came easily after our long day.

We abruptly woke to a freshly cooked breakfast burrito being shoved in our mouths. Jesse, pretending to be upset by the multitude of guests, seemingly took some joy from stirring us from our slumber. From that point on, the day passed quickly. We headed over to Mills College, where Brian connected us with the Executive Chef. Mills College had saved over 40 gallons of filtered rice oil for us and we received our first lesson in the filtration process of oils. The rice oil that they used had been filtered and refiltered and used for over 600 meals. Even though it was used, it still looked remarkably better than the ‘poison’ we had filled up with from Jack in the Box. Eagerly filling our barrels to the limit, we subtly celebrated our first large fuel accumulation.

Once again, we started to run off of veggie oil since the ‘incident’ a day earlier. Team BioRide and friends were offered a meal in the cafeteria, which we humbly accepted. If we can’t turn down one thing, it is free food. We shared a last meal and a great deal more laughs with our San Francisco hosts, and it was time to mosey on down the dusty trail. Good-byes are especially hard when you are leaving a beautiful area of the country with great friends. However, we did not begin the road trip in Seattle to end in San Francisco. We were only a fraction of the way around the country. As we pulled away from our friends, Mills College, San Francisco, and the bay area our heads were swimming with what the next part of our journey would bring us…

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Saturday Evening, October 11, 7:01 pm

...Thirty gallons and twenty-five minutes later led to a major breakdown twenty minutes south of Ukiah, California. The temperature was a brisk 36 degrees. The sun was just peeking out above the hills, and had we picked up a bad hitchhiker. Our ‘pure vegetable oil’ that we procured only a half hour previously, turned out to be a hydrogenated horror. Unbeknownst to us and because of the cold temperature, the oil that we had picked up from Jack in the Box had cooled to the point of solidity. Doogie rolled to a morale-devastating stop on the side of the expressway. With our heads in our hands, we all questioned whether we had reached the end of our journey. The tension was palpable. What had happened? Could it be fixed? We piled out of the car, pumped some oil out of the gas tank and spilled a bit of it on the ground. We stood transfixed as we watched the ‘oil’ turn to a greasy icing on the blacktop. The truth stared us hard in the face. Our fuel was no longer liquid. It had turned to snotty jell-o inside of the fuel lines. Not knowing the extent of the damage, we knew we had to get the fuel out of the tank before it cooled into a solid block, thus rendering our hand-pump ineffective. We began extracting the rapidly cooling oil from the tank as fast as possible into our fuel canisters. We raced to remove the oil. Each man took his turn at the half-inch air mattress-esque hand pump to siphon the 20 plus gallons until our forearms burned with the effort. Finally, we had pumped out all of the bad oil that we could from the gas tank.

We stared at the oil in disbelief. How could we have ever been consuming this product or anything like it, when in less than 20 miles, it had brought Doogie to his knees. All of those dead cheeseburgers and french fry ghosts locked eyes with us, and laughed smugly. Ryan summed it up soberly by stating, “If, in 20 minutes it can clog up quarter inch fuel lines, what is it doing to our arteries?”

A tense discussion arose. We assumed the worst and narrowed down all the parts of the system that could have been effected or damaged. An explosive brainstorming session led to all of the different options we had, from fixing it on the side of the expressway to towing it into town to throwing in the towel. This discussion led to the worst case and best case scenarios. Worse case: If all of those dead cheeseburgers had made it in to high pressure injection pump, Doogie’s heart, what would that have done to Doogie? Is there an afterlife for cars? Best case: The solidified grease did not make it past the fuel filter and into the engine. In which case, the tank lines would have to be cleaned and the filter would have to be replaced. Doogie required both testing and inspection. A complete diagnostic was what we needed, but that was not going to happen because we were stranded on the side of the road. With the sun coming up over the foothills, and the level of traffic thickening by the second, we knew we had to get it off the freeway. We decided we needed to find a better workplace and access to electricity.

On the other side of the road, there was an ancient “Rock Shop” featuring a barren cul de sac and a possibility of electricity. The only problem was that though it was across the road, for Doogie to get to it, driveway access was 400 yards of slanted uphill freeway. Ryan and Jeremiah went to shake hands with Mr. Rock Shop and verify that we could push our car there to work on it. Nick stayed back with Doogie and met our first ‘visitor’, a highway patrolman, who questioned how we had “broken down” and what was in all of the canisters strewn about next to the truck. A quick explanation was obviously in order. He seemed to gain some amusement listening to our past 2 hours of hell. His face was saying “dumb shit” while his mouth said “ok, well I hope you guys figure it out, and make sure you clean up your mess”, and he drove away. Thus ending another run-in with Johnny Law.
Ryan and Jeremiah returned and they presented a Herculean task. We had no other option but to push our 9,500 pound friend with 800 pounds of food and gear and roughly 50 pounds of fuel goo in his veins up the road, across 4 lanes of traffic. As Nick steered, Ryan and Jeremiah took their positions in the back, waited for a break in traffic and pushed with all of their might. We made it about four feet before gravity and the angle of the road began working against us. We waited for another break in traffic and vigorously pushed. This task required every muscle fiber in our bodies screamed with the gargantuan effort. As the truck crested the hill and rolled to a stop in front of the rock shop, Rick the owner supplied us with an extension chord to hook up the power. At first, we powered up the block heater in hopes of melting any goo that made it inside of the engine. Thirty minutes later, the engine was cold and the block heater was not working. We repositioned Doogie so that the engine faced the sun in hopes of allowing some uv rays to further warm the engine.

Meanwhile, our Panamanian friend, David had hitchhiked into the nearest town to get some diesel that we hoped would help break down the rest of the bad oil. Approximately two hours later, he returned with three gallons of diesel and a new starter. His contribution was complete.

Using a camp stove, we boiled water, placed the filters in the boiling water, and most of the oil embedded in the filters dripped out. Next we used the hand-pump to push the grease out of the lines. Alhough the entire process was extremely difficult, we had to persevere. We poured in the three gallons of diesel and slowly Doogie began to come alive. He coughed. He sputtered. It was apparent that Doogie needed that good fuel. He turned over, came to life, and it was go time. We needed to get to a gas station AS SOON AS POISSIBLE to fill up on diesel which would help us dilute the remaining goo in the system and burn it through. We DID make it back to Ukiah, and as we, once again, passed the Jack in the Box that was the bane of our existence, we hissed, we scowled, we cussed at it. Even Doogie growled a bit.

Diesel made it into our gas tank, and as we filled up there seemed to be a united sigh of relief. At least we are no longer broke down on the side of the road. There was a parts store within range. It was at this point that we could begin to check the systems, fix the problems, and get some real food. After a few hours of work, we decided to make a ‘run for it’ to San Francisco. The city was a 3 hour drive away, and we felt like Doogie could make it. If we could get there, we had friends, support, and resources.

Afterthought: Days no longer seem like days. Nothing is planned any more. Structuring our time has become difficult, because we have to deal with each event as it comes along. We are not able to concentrate on the future as much as we hope to, because we need to focus on the problem at hand.

More updates to come…

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Lengthy, yet educational Thursday

Friday Morning, October 10th, 6:42 am – A Lengthy, Yet Educational Day

A wise man once said, “The secret to life is not timing, it’s learning how to choose the clock.” The past 24 hours have been in true BioRide fashion. A flurry of events have occurred, none of which were ever in our control.

A 36 degree, 5:30 am Friday morning, has found us in northern California, 150 miles north of San Francisco, after several run-ins with local law enforcement, a magnificent drive down the Oregon coastline, and numerous repairs on Doogie. We are pleased to report that we are continuing to receive support from the communities that we are visiting, and the good folks from pig n’ pancake donated 15 gallons of waste vegetable oil, without which, we would have never made it where we are now. In addition to making friends with Kelvin, the manager at Pig N’ Pancake, we also had the auspicious opportunity to be introduced to local law enforcement of Eureka, California, who, after the obligatory identification check, actually turned out to be most helpful by recommending several local sources for waste vegetable oil. Since crossing the border into California, we have found it exceedingly difficult to locate waste vegetable oil (WVO). Plenty of veggie oil receptacles and bins abound in this region of the country, but local biodiesel manufacturers have this area on lockdown. And after checking in with the Eureka police department, several miles down the road, Nick was pulled over again for ‘erratic driving’. It turns out that trying to take a sweater off because you are too warm is not the best practice at 2:00 in the morning when ‘Johnny Law’ are actively pursuing drunk drivers.

THIS JUST IN: After stopping in Ukiah, California, we actually drove thru a Jack in the Box and had an “odd request” for the lone employee that was working for 5 gallons of Veggie oil from their waste containers out back. She asked us how long we would be. Our response, in unison was “10 minutes. Tops.” She complied. Thirty gallons and twenty-five minutes later has found us pushing hard to San Francisco for our first ‘educational stop’ at Mills College.

An update from the mechanical front: Ryan has been pampering Doogie with general maintenance and a watchful eye. Every time Doogie required attention, a brief, but intense burst of inclement weather found us. A small fuel leak in our biofuel component was discovered and confidently resealed with a quick change to a more suitable size of o-rings.

After the initial 30 hours, the moral is strong, and the crew and vehicle are adapting well to one another.
Next stop: The Bay City.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pics from Road


BioRide 2008 – ‘Doogie’s Log’
Wednesday, October 8th – Day of Departure

After beginning this project just over a month ago, we have obtained, fixed, painted, tweaked, altered, and named the vehicle which we now know fondly as ‘Doogie’, our wheels around the country. In addition to that, Team BioRide has managed to gain sponsorship from Cloud Creek Institute for the Arts, Propel fuels, City Hardware, Kavu, The Cellar, Whole Foods, Mona-Vie Energy Supplements, Outdoors for All, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Feathered Friends, Garcia Family Coffee Farms,, and Hurricane CafĂ©. We have also gained support from a number of local companies and individuals. In all honesty, I am blown over by the generosity of individuals.

This is day one of the road trip adventure and we have had some difficulties. T he conversion process was actually quite simple. The mechanical ‘problems’ we have had are because we driving a 1985 Chevy Suburban. Ryan and Jeremiah have spent numerous hours fixing, replacing, and adjusting various parts. We are all learning the personality of ‘Doogie’, our 4th companion on this trip.

Lately, I have had to come to terms with is my expectations for this experience. My ideas of grandeur are consistently met with the hard face of reality. Funding this has been very difficult. I need to do homework for my grad school classes while we travel. I even need to leave the team two times throughout this to fly back to Seattle to attend class. Total Bummer. It will be difficult to concentrate on anything but the here and now of this amazing opportunity.

We even picked up a PANAMANIAN on our first day! I received a call from David Garcia (old roommate& close friend of the group). “Hello, Niick. I haave decided to come with you for a few days.” Now, because David’s presence is welcome, it required us to pick up another seat to install. David’s demeanor and verbal communication really help keep things light, even when a storm cloud approaches. He will ride with us to Los Angeles, where he will then fly back to Seattle.

We are currently on I-5 heading south down into Oregon. The initial excitement of departing Seattle is slowly being met with the onset of fatigue. We hope to get past Portland tonight. Let’s see how that goes. More later…

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Some night shots of the new paint job. Doogie's makeover is coming along!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just a blip in time!

Remember the Rolling Stones song "Time is on my side"?

I wish that was the case. However, this is obviously NOT our theme for preparing BioRide 2008. We have had a little over one month to prepare for a one-month journey around the United States. I am so impressed with the way things have gelled together, and the large amount of hurdles we have surmounted. The BioRide idea started full steam and has been consistent since the very inception of it.

Today, on September 30th, we are hosting our second fundraiser of this adventure at the EASTLAKE GRILL at 7:00 (

Other news: "Doogie" (our ride) has had a make-over! 'She' is a lovely pearl white and eagerly awaiting graphics!

Furthermore, we have the itinerary completed, and it is going to be tough! Apparently, there is going to be a large amount of hours logged driving around the country. Who would've guessed...

Here is the scheduled itinerary:

BioRide Itinerary for October (subject to change)
Wed. 8 – Seattle, WA to Portland, OR
Th 9 – Portland, OR to San Francisco, CA
Fr 10 – Day in San Francisco, CA
Sa 11 – San Francisco, CA to L.A., CA
Su 12 – Day in Las Angeles
Mo 13 – L.A. to San Diego, CA

Tu 14 – San Diego, CA to Las Vegas, NV
We 15 – Day in Las Vegas (Nick flies back to Seattle)
Th 16 – Leave Las Vegas (Wait for Nick’s return flight from Seattle), drive to Bullhead City, AZ (give presentation to school)
Fr 17 – Bullhead City, AZ to Boulder, CO - Bio Convention!
Sa 18 – Day in Boulder – Bio Convention!
Su 19 – Day in Boulder – Bio Convention!
Mo 20 – Boulder, CO to Austin, TX
Tu 21 – Austin, TX to Little Rock, AR
We 22 – Day in Little Rock, AR (Nick flies back to Seattle)
Th 23 – Little Rock, AR to New Orleans, LA (pick Nick up in New Orleans)
Fr 24 – New Orleans, LA to Jacksonville, FL
Sa 25 – Jacksonville, FL to Virginia Beach, VA
Su 26 – Virginia Beach, VA to Baltimore, MD (day trip to Washington DC)
Mo 27 – Baltimore, MD to Portland, ME (day trip to Manhattan, NY)
Tu 28 – Portland, ME to Detroit, MI
We 29 – Day in Detroit, MI
Th 30 – Detroit, MI to Minneapolis, MN
Fr 31 – Minneapolis, MN to Billings, MO
Sa 1 – Billings, MO to Seattle, WA

The BioRide team is still finalizing stops along the way at various schools and universities. Although we will be pressed for time, stopping to spread the word about alternative energies and the accessibility of biofuels is the most important part. I greatly anticipate these stops along the way...
I'm out. -Nick

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ryans update

So were two days away from the fundraiser,Right now, this project has left our hands and been given to the people we love and trust to decide weather or not this dream will become a reality.
I can only hope that enough people show up to support our cause as we have anticipated. Regardless of how this all turns out, I would just like to say that I have seen how passionate and enthusiastic my comrades have been over the last two weeks, and nomatter how this turns out, I would just like to say how proud I am to have been involved in this, and how honored I am to call myself part of the bioride team!!!
With this kind of teamwork and perseverence there is no limit to what we can accomplish.
Ryan McLeod

Sunday, September 14, 2008

BIORIDE 2008!!

BIORIDE2008 is an independent grassroots alternative energy project.
The Goal: Convert a 1985 Diesel Suburban into a biofuel vehicle that runs solely on waste vegetable oil and drive 10,000 miles around the perimeter of the United States.

Who is BIORIDE 2008?

The BIORIDE 2008 Support Crew, Ground Crew and Road Crew are members of a global community that recognize a need for new and alternative energy solutions. Friends and members of BIORIDE 2008 come from a wide variety of personal, geographical and professional backgrounds.

What will the BIORIDE 2008 Road Crew do in the communities it visits?
The BIORIDE 2008 Road Team will be visiting schools, fundraisers, rallies and sporting events and discussing the benefits of alternative energy.

What happens after the BIORIDE 2008 Tour?
The BIORIDE 2008 vehicle will be raffled off for charity.

What is waste vegetable oil?
Waste vegetable oil is the by-product left over from restaurant deep-fryers. Typically after the close of business the fryers are cleaned and the old oil is thrown away.

Where will the BIORIDE 2008 Road Crew be staying?
The BIORIDE 2008 Road Crew will be staying with friends, family, and supporters from the communities that BIORIDE 2008 visits.

I want to be involved. How can I help?
Visit the BIORIDE 2008 websites and show your support! If you have equipment, advice, knowledge or words of encouragement log onto the BIORIDE 2008 websites listed below and let the world know!

What does “SMELL THE ADVENTURE™” mean?
The BIORIDE 2008 motto refers to the peculiar odor of waste vegetable oil – it smells like French Fries when it burns.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 12: It's almost too easy...

We are up to day 12 on this project. BIORIDE IS BLOWING UP!!! I can't believe the developments we have had in the past few days. Currently, BioRide is in the process of obtaining sponsorships from 20 companies. These sponsors range from non-profit organizations to small local businesses and even large nationwide chains! As things proliferate, more details will come.

Additionally, we are having a fundraiser at the Spitfire Grill on Thursday, September 18th @ 7:00 All proceeds go to... well... THE PROJECT! Obviously... For address go to

We have a goal of $10,000.

Final note: the "ride" for BioRide has been named DOOGIE.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 9: Seattle Sponsor Search and such...

Here's where the day started. Jeremiah and I were searching for more sponsors.

During our 'sponsor-search', we went to Kavu. For those of you who are curious what Kavu is, google them like we did. No free rides.

The first person we met in the office was Stephanie. She was exceedingly friendly and helpful. She described to us how the outdoor sporting industry is drooling for projects and ideas like BioRide 2008. After a very engaging discussion, she gave me and Jeremiah a tour of the facilities. We WILL be in touch with Kavu. Side note: Judging by Stephanie's amiable personality, the little bun currently in her oven is going to have some great genes. Congratulations Stephanie!

On another positive note, we have gotten word from team-member Amber, our "Hollywood connection", that Firewater the band ( ) will be producing our soundtrack.

This means that all (or most) of our actions on film are going to have music to them. That will be a strange feeling knowing whatever I might be doing at the time is going to have a specific song chosen for that moment. I hope for inspirational music similar to the theme from
Rudy or Robin Hood the Prince of Thieves! More on that as it develops...

Team BioRide has the website up!!! ( ) Alright, alright... It's not fully functioning yet, but it's a creative process. Our webmaster is Justine Gordon, she's located in San Francisco and she's been working triple-time on getting the website up and running. There are many talented, intelligent, hard-working, kind individuals who are making all of this possible. This project is enthralling.

-Nick (a.k.a. Chili)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

BIORIDE 2008!!!

BIORIDE2008 is an independent grassroots alternative energy project.

The Goal: Convert a 1985 Diesel Suburban into a biofuel vehicle that runs solely on waste vegetable oil and drive 10,000 miles around the perimeter of the United States.


Who is BIORIDE 2008?

The BIORIDE 2008 Support Crew, Ground Crew and Road Crew are members of a global community that recognize a need for new and alternative energy solutions. Friends and members of BIORIDE 2008 come from a wide variety of personal, geographical and professional backgrounds.

What will the BIORIDE 2008 Road Crew do in the communities it visits?

The BIORIDE 2008 Road Team will be visiting schools, fundraisers, rallies and sporting events and discussing the benefits of alternative energy.

What happens after the BIORIDE 2008 Tour?

The BIORIDE 2008 vehicle will be raffled off for charity.

What is waste vegetable oil?

Waste vegetable oil is the by-product left over from restaurant deep-fryers. Typically after the close of business the fryers are cleaned and the old oil is thrown away.

Where will the BIORIDE 2008 Road Crew be staying?

The BIORIDE 2008 Road Crew will be staying with friends, family, and supporters from the communities that BIORIDE 2008 visits.

I want to be involved. How can I help?

Visit the BIORIDE 2008 websites and show your support! If you have equipment, advice, knowledge or words of encouragement log onto the BIORIDE 2008 websites listed below and let the world know!

What does “SMELL THE ADVENTURE™” mean?

The BIORIDE 2008 motto refers to the peculiar odor of waste vegetable oil – it smells like French Fries when it burns.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Culmination of Day 8

I have to admit, I am caught in a tornado of emotions. There is anticipation, worry, excitement, doubt, bliss, confusion, exhiliration and there goes the cow flying past me too...

Team BioRide (sans Dr. Wrench because he had to work... lame) met up with Sir Hugh Barber to discuss the idea in detail. I have nothing but admiration and respect for this stand up gentleman. Hugh provided a fresh perspective to the team tonight. Additionally, he reinforced our excitement and pure enthusiasm about this project. That is just one of the myriad of reasons why we are embarking on this mission. Everyone who touches this project seems, to put it simply, pumped. People really respect what we are doing.

Personal update: I presented the idea to the teachers that I work with during the school-year. To my surprise, and despite all of my worrying, they are supportive of it. Granted, I need to train a substitute to 'do what I do' before I leave for 3 weeks. Now, I need to talk to administration to make sure I am allowed the time off. In typical fashion for this adventure, one step at a time, one day at a time. It is day 8 and we are rockin' like Eddie Van Halen in his prime.

-Nick (a.k.a. "Chili" as I have named by the fellow team members. I think it's because I am darker-skinned than the others.)

P.S. Stay tuned. We have some bios for Team BioRide 2008 coming up after these messages!!!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Saturday, 6:49pm BIORRIDE2008 HQ

The house is quiet. The excitement is fading, no - strike that, it's just transforming. The entire project is solidifying. When I look at my cohorts I see determination - infectious determination.

Four more sponsors have come forward and the old war cry of, "We can do this!" Has evolved into, "We are doing this." We don't have much time - our departure date has been set: Wednesday, October 8th - but a comfortable blanket of resolve has wrapped itself around our team. And goddamn - what a team it is! We have everything from special-needs educators to former military to musicians and every other background in between.

Each hurdle is a challenge and after each one is met, no matter the outcome, we face the next with more experience, more knowledge and rock solid confidence. This is happening. In thirty-two days we will climb into the BIORIDE2008 vehicle, fire up that big bad 6.2L newly converted BIOENGINE and turn our backs on petroleum for the next 10,000 miles.

This is happening.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday night. 11:59pm. A one-room studio apartment.

I sit here at the end of yet another long day. We are creating our tour dates. Yes, this is a tour. The team voted on 6 cities, which we are planning various engagements. These cities were chosen because a member of BioRide 2008 has a specific connection to that city for a specific reason. Other cities will be visited along the way, but those will be based on the discretion of Ryan (a.k.a. Dr. Wrench), who will be closely monitoring the vehicles condition.

The 6 cities that are absolute are: (drumroll please........)

1. Detroit
2. Manhattan
3. Washington D.C.
4. New Orleans
5. Las Vegas
6. San Francisco

Tonight is another momentous occasion because we set a date for departure. October 8th. October 8th. October 8th! October 8th! October 8th!

My story: The length of the journey actually depends on how long I am able to get off classes at Seattle University. It sucks knowing that I am the one setting the limitation of the length of the trip. There are so many places to stop along the way! There are going to be unforeseen situations which we will encounter. I LOVE THAT STUFF! My personality thrives in the midst of chaos around me. Unlike many people I have known, I really dig on the unknown. I digress...

I hate having to set a limitation on the trip, but I have too much invested into getting my degrees to skip even one quarter of classes. Arrrrgh. The real world.

More progress is made today. This feels good.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Mechanical Marvel

Wakey-Wakey eggs and bakey! Bioride comes home today. Our future "green-machine" will be relocated to mission control and the technologically sophisticated biofuel conversion will begin. Suspension, drive -train, engine and baby-blue-body will all be lovingly massaged, molded and sculpted into a more nature friendly and eco savvy roadwarrior!


Thoughts after a productive day!

There has been so much accomplished in such a short time. Just today, we have:

  1. Began to refine the blog (our main way to spread the word)
  2. We went to look at the possible vehicle for this adventure... spot on.
  3. Created a profile on myspace ( )
  4. Created a group on facebook (BioRide 2008)
  5. Utilized advice, information, and suggestions from friends
  6. About a thousand various other small things...

The most interesting thing I am learning is there is no way to do this alone. This project necessitates the involvement of the surrounding community. We are embarking on a mission to get sponsers. Although there is some cost involved (bound to happen), the goal is for the local buisinesses to assist us in any way that they can. Whether that is day-old bagels from a bakery or putting a blurb about us on their website, anything helps.

Team BioRide 2008 is doing this. The positivity, motivation, drive and excitement of possibility is overwhealming. In fact, in one day of being "online" we have already tripled our friend base and received offers to stay at "friends" houses as we travel around the perimeter of the country.

It is all of these small steps that will add up to make this a successful journey. I am anticipating the next hurdles tomorrow will bring. This could be big.


The 3rd Day.

Dr. Wrench says,
"Im callin shinanigans right now!"
I'm gonna make a truck thats older than me, travel the outline if the country!?
This is gonna be awsome!
I could not have asked for a better opportunity to exercize my professional abilities,
as well as bring inspiration to the rest of my community. Its been a whirlwind experience from day one!
I have no idea where this will lead, butI have accepted the fact that we have passed the point of no return.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A day of accomplishment!!

Day 3:
Jeremiah and Nicholas have been charging hard and the tick list is getting smaller!

The Team has a vehicle picked out that will be thoroughly inspected by 'Chief Engineer', Ryan McLeod.

Make: Chevrolet
Model: Suburban
Year: 1985
Vital Stats: 6.2 Liter diesel engine, 3" lift, 4x4, WITH a CB Radio!
And the color is a dreamy spot-rust sky blue.

This is the major step in the process. Without a proper vehicle, this road trip could prove to be quite difficult. (a weak attempt at subtle humor)

Here's the hopeful starship that will transport us around the wide expanse of the United States.

Just another step in the process...

Additionally, we now have created a myspace page ( ) and are in process of creating a facebook page. Between the blog, the myspace page, and the facebook group, we are spreading the word across the electronic community.

This project is evolving rapidly. More updates to come...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

One Biofuel Vehicle, Ten Thousand Miles

BioRide 2008 is an independent grassroots project based on a simple idea:

“Travel as far as we can for as little as possible.”

1. Drive 10,000 miles around the perimeter of the continental United States in a converted vehicle that operates solely on BIOFUEL.
2. Promote and explore BIOFUEL and alternative energy in the communities that we visit.
3. Promote community involvement and community networking.
4. Share the story.

1. Locate and secure a suitable donated vehicle and perform the BIOFUEL conversion.
2. Along the way interview people who have and have not been affected by, or exposed to, alternative energy resources.
3. Find lodging in local people’s homes and meet and interacting with people along the way.
4. With the use of sound, film and photographic equipment we will record and document the BioRide 2008 journey with the intent of producing a documentary film that will be distributed to various film festivals.

The Nitty-Gritty:

A donated vehicle will be converted to operate on waste vegetable oil. All fuel will be procured from restaurants and lodging will be provided by a network of friends, family and supporters.

The final product will be an edited film featuring the people, places and situations that we encounter along the way. In the midst of a historic presidential election, where alternative energy is a key issue, the BioRide 2008 Team feels that there will be plenty of source material.

After the trip is completed the vehicle will be raffled off as a fund raising event.

The BioRide '08 vehicle will be driven around the perimeter of United States starting in Seattle, WA and stopping at the following tentative way-points:

Missoula, MT - Bismarck, ND - Duluth, MN - Green Bay, WI - Chicago, IL - Detroit, MI - Cleveland, OH - Buffalo, NY - Montpelier, VT - Bangor, ME - Boston, MA - New York, NY - Washington, D.C. - Richmond, VA - Raleigh, NC - Columbia, SC - Savannah, GA - Macon, GA - Atlanta, GA - Birmingham, AL - Hattiesburg, MS - New Orleans, LA - Shreveport, LA - Memphis, TN - Little Rock, AR - Dallas, TX - Phoenix, AZ - Sandiego, CA - San Francisco, CA - Astoria, OR - Portland, OR and back to Seattle, WA.

Current Sponsors:

Cloud Creek Institute for the Arts - Film equipment and Creative Direction

Monday, September 1, 2008

The beginning.......

“BioRide ’08 - Smell the Adventure” is about telling the story of getting there with less. There isn’t important - it’s all about the journey.