Before heading out from California, we drove to Berkeley where we collected vegetable oil before heading East. After a couple of successful collections we headed towards Salt Lake City and Tahoe where we were to do some hiking. Unfortunately halfway in-between Sacramento and Reno (aka the middle of nowhere) the bus started to overheat. After popping the hood we found that our upper radiator hose had ruptured. We waited for the engine to cool, duct taped the hose, added water, and drove to the nearest rest area to stock up on water. Ryan had already bought a plane ticket and Tyler a bus ticket out of Reno. So as not to miss their flight/bus they hitchhiked the rest of the way to Reno. The few, the proud, and the possibly slightly stupid drove to the nearest Napa which was in a town called Colfax, CA.

Of course the Napa was closed until Monday morning so we camped in the parking lot. David, who’s fishing bug was itching, walked to the nearest river where he fished and camped for the night. Meanwhile, Daniel, Sterling, and I grabbed a burger and played card games in the bus. The next morning we ordered the part but had to wait until two PM for the delivery truck. After an arid morning, the hose finally came in and we were able to install it. By this time a dirty and battered David had returned and we were able get back on the road. To our enthusiasm, the leak we had been experiencing had stopped. We figure that the hose had been our leak all along but it just waited until we were in the middle of nowhere to get worse.


After we fixed the hose, we headed towards Denver. We had agreed to skip hiking in Tahoe and go ahead to a family member of Daniel’s, Diede Arnholz’s home, in Colorado. Sterling drove overnight until right outside of Salt Lake City where he pulled over and went to sleep. When David woke up a few hours later he took over driving. At some point I woke up to find two new hitchhikers on board, Jeremy and Meghan. The young couple were traveling around the country via hitchhiking, freight jumping, food stamps, and panhandling. They were an interesting pair to say the least. Once we arrived Denver we parted ways with our fellow adventurers and slept in a parking lot. The next morning we drove on to Diede’s where we showered and enjoyed a nice lunch. We went out and searched for oil but our efforts were of no avail. That night Diede prepared a wonderful feast and Daniel had a small family reunion. There was a mini jam session, many talks of politics, physics, and warships, and a three course meal. After everyone left, Deide gave us unlimited access to the man cave where we watched TV, played ping pong, and slept with very full stomachs.

The next morning Diede sent us off with sandwiches for lunch and a plethora of food to finish our journey with. From there we drove straight to Oxford where we dropped the bus off, got in our individual vehicles, and drove home. The adventure ended for me by crashing into my own familiar bed at about 4 AM exhausted with yet another lifetime experience in the filing cabinets of my mind.

Next week, the bus will make its way to Starkville where we hope to make plans for the completion of Phase II – turning our model of sustainability and renewable energy into a working “farm on wheels”. I know we are all excited to get started and will be hitting the ground again throughout Mississippi to continue raising money to make this happen! By January, it is our hope that we can be taking the completed bus to schools throughout the state and teach our next generation about renewable energy, organic gardening, rainwater harvesting, soil building and so much more!

Be sure to email us at if you are interested in making a donation, volunteering, or would like to see the bus come to a school, organization or event near you!