Apologies that these blog posts were a long time coming …

We’ve been busy on the road and meeting with some great people from all over the country interested in sustainability and in what we are doing. Also feeling inspired ourselves by other incredible projects we’ve been exposed to along the way.

To pick up where we left off last, after a last conversation of precautions and well wishes with Daniel Doyle back on July 12 , we made our way to Senatobia for some final touches on the bus. Once at Senatobia, we had the vinyl letters put on the bus by Tyler Crutcher’s dad.  Our bus now exclaims Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi in foot tall orange letters.  They look awesome!  Afterwards, we got some coffee and drove all the way to Oklahoma City!

We arrived around 1:30 in the afternoon and headed to Sam’s Club.  There, we stocked up on groceries for the trip as wel as ate a pretty decent Sam’s Club pizza.  Then we hit up downtown Oklahoma City for grease and were not very successful until nightfall when we hit the mother-load.  We filled up all of our tanks as well as our emergency tank to the brim.  With our tanks full, we headed off toward New Mexico.

On July 14th, we got to the Big Sky Learning Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico around 12:30 pm.  Early for once!  We viewed the sunrise over New Mexico which is absolutely gorgeous.  Afterwards, we presented the bus to some really inquisitive kids who knew about Tesla as well as the basics of ac/dc current.  Bobby spotted a tailless lizard indigenous to the area which interested both us and the children.  Then  we headed to the Randall Davey Audubon Center to present to more kids and then hike up a small trail into the mountains.  It was an amazing view.  We found some quartz deposits and Ryan crafted his own arrowhead.  As we headed back down towards downtown Santa Fe, however, our bus began having problems.  The power steering went out and the engine began making awful noises.  After rushing to a mechanic, we determined one of our mounting brackets was cracked.  With all the shops near closing time, we decided to just set up camp in Santa Fe for the night.  Bobby prepared spaghetti and salad which was delicious.  We ate next to our bus and had, all in all, a very nice night.

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The next morning, we woke up right as the shop opened and had our bracket welded.  With our hopes, bodies, and power steering renewed, we headed out towards Arizona.  Along the way, however, our filter system malfunctioned and the vegetable oil system stopped working.  Therefore, we pulled over on the side of the road to look at the system.  As it turns out, too much water from the grease was getting into the engine.  Luckily, Sterling, whose father is a mechanic himself, had previously cautioned us to get an extra fuel/water separator and therefore, we had purchased an extra fuel filter at the Santa Fe Napa Auto Parts.  With the old one removed and the new one in place, our veggie oil bus ran once again!  We got to Arizona and took a picture next to the Welcome to Arizona sign.  At a tourist shop, the guys bought ice cream while David (that’s me) purchased a very useful and very handsome baja jacket. (Arizona gets cold at night, okay)

After driving a few hours, we got bored and decided to pull over at the Arizona Petrified Forest Park where we learned about the petrified forest and got a coupon for a free half pound of petrified wood at Wild Bill’s.  It turns out that Wild Bill is a 3 million year old alligator fossil and the shop has just about everything you could ever want in the realm of petrified wood and geodes.  After the sun had set, we continued driving towards Apache Junction where Bobby’s relatives live.  We arrived there around one o’clock in the morning.

With almost no sleep, we woke up at 5:30 AM just a few hours after arriving in Apache Junction.  Dressed and packed, Bobby’s grandmother’s husband drove our us to the base of the Superstition Mountain range.  There, we hiked a well worn trail up to the top of one of the mountains. The view was astounding.  As for the local fauna, we witnessed a mountain goat not three hundred yards from us walk across our trail.  That afternoon, Bobby’s grandparents treated us to Chinese food and soon, we were on the road again – this time heading towards the Grand Canyon!