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.

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