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…

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