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People Other Than Our Moms Read Our Newsletters!

And, Apparently People Find Them Helpful, Too.


I'm writing this in response to your latest Kicking Ashpalt Newsletter. You solicited a review from you customers on High Milieage Bio-Diesel cars. My husband and I recently rented a Bio-Beetle from Bio Beetle Maui. (LA division) We rented it Sept 28-October 2nd.

First of all, I don't even have a car. I ride my bike to work every day, and while my husband enjoys your roadside service, I enjoy knowing that as I ride across Downtown Los Angeles traffic everyday, I have bicycle roadside assistance through you. I'll never utter the letters AAA ever again. It takes a lot for me to have to pay to be in a car, but as a trip to Yosemite to go camping seemed like an irresistable idea, we took advantage of your discount with Bio-Beetle.

Joe Blackburn, self proclaimed "West coast grand poobah" personally delivered the Beetle to us then took the bus back! He gave us an extra rented day, when unable to fulfill with the originally desired Jetta. To top it off, he picked the car up from us, after the trip was over! I would rent again in a heart beat. It goes to show that like minded people who have the environment foremost in their hearts go the extra mile with graciousness and consideration. But I digress.

The reason we are writing this is to share our story of leaving Los Angeles with a 13 gallon tank filled with walnut oil, and 10 more gallons in the back, just in case, as we wound our way to Yosemite, 350 miles away. Joe mentioned to us, that we could toss in Diesel, if we got desperate. We were determined not to. SOMEWHERE, between here and East Central California, there would be a vendor.

So far, so good, as we cruised in our lime green Bio-Beetle, that had "Powered by 100% BioDiesel Fuel" painted on both the driver and passenger door.

The burn of the oil smelled sweet, I'm still trying to get that Thai restaurant peanut smell out of our laundry and hair. Somewhere outside of Modesto, we stopped at a prereserved motel for the night. This is the first stop off the I-5 for us so far.

In this stop alone, 12 people approached us, intrigued by the lettering on the sides of the door. Genuine curiosity flashed on these total strangers faces, asking all the usual questions... "what does it smell like?" "How is the gas mileage?" "Where do you come from, and how did you rent it?" "Are you nervous you'll run out of fuel?"

We told the same answers over and over again. It smelled slightly sweet and nutty. Its a 2002 V W TDI Diesel, and they average 35 mpg, we drove up from Los Angeles, and no, we rented it, and YES, we are nervous about finding the next fuel source.

Waking the next morning, Paul and I took a hard look at the remaining walnut oil we had. We decided that if we were going to tool around Yosemite and have any leftover oil to get home, we would have to supplement the 3/4 tank that we burned. Time to call Joe.

Joe gave us the number of a small time independant Bio-Diesel dealer that he thought was somewhere off highway 120. "Is that anywhere near where your going?" he asked. The most momumental coincidence had just occurerd. Evergreen Bio-diesel, just happened to be located off Highway 120 only a mere two miles out of our original path of travel!!! Luckily, they were open by appt, and Chris, the manager in charge at the time, happened to be there. A few more minutes, and he too, was out the door, heading out to start his long weekend as well.

We skated into Evergreen Bio-Diesel, literally on fumes. We met Chris, and in him found a lively animated and passionate advocate for Bio-diesel. Chris and the owner Mike make the Bio-diesel out of a tank and hose operation under a warehouse roof. Paul and I were the only ones he was scheduled to see, and he was more than happy to suggest a tour! We took pictures of the operation, then saw the veggie oil collection bin, then learned how they transformed it using methanol and lye to produce Bio-Diesel. I had to ask were they acquired their veggie oil from, and I let out a chuckle as yet another coincidence occured when he said they have the Yosemite contract, and the oil he was pumping into our tank that instant came from the Yosemite National Park restaurants!

As we entered the park, I had so much fun then, telling everyone that were sure to ask those same questions, we were running on used Yosemite restaurant oil!!

Yes, Yosemite was gorgeous and lovely, but really, the trip was all about the car.

Celeste and Paul: members as of this year.