Thanks to the Majestic Diner, refuel biodiesel, mechanic Dan Halfhill and his wife Sabine, my flexible boss Marty Padgett, and a rock-solid reliable 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300TD turbodiesel with 330,000 miles, Hugh and I made it from Atlanta to Los Angeles fueled by about 105 gallons of waste vegetable oil and about 10 gallons of diesel #2. Arrival: 3 a.m., Thursday, December 11.
Well, actually, Hugh bailed in Tucson, Ariz., rushing back to business and other responsibilities in New York. But not before proving himself an invaluable mechanical assistant, navigator, and co-pilot.
Guadalupe Mtns #2Enlarge Photo
I learned the hard way about the importance of thorough veggie oil filtration. Either my process was not good enough, leaving too many particles in the oil we used, or somebody sent me the wrong filters, because we were grounded multiple times with clogged fuel filters. Imagine: You're climbing a hill, the engine starts shuddering, the car slows, you floor the go pedal, and suddenly--nothing. Nothing but a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, and the thought of wolves and gathering as the sun sets on a lonely two-lane somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
grounded in AlabamaEnlarge Photo
New Mexico SunsetEnlarge Photo