Friday, March 30, 2007
Suzy outside the World Bank in Washington with "Grease Lightening". They had a purge problem this evening we rolled into Memphis - which meant a complete wash out of the back of the truck..and clothes left smelling on diesel. Bing where are you..Suzy needs you.
Inter-American Development Bank send off - Washington
Originally uploaded by Greaseball 2007.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
This is what happens when you find a saggy old heap, heave it off its chocks, wipe off the leaves and mould, and contemplate driving it. It's a free Mercedes!! And with so many surprises inside - rusty old tools in the trunk, hand scribbed yellowed notes in the glove compartment on maximum warp speed and valve adjustments, under the hood there, a mouse's nest, and looky here in the radiator, a honeycomb. Sweet. What else is living in there? Finding Liz and Jon's 1976 Mercedes 240D which had been abandoned for over 6 years was the beginning of a love affair requiring more sweat and tears than a Rocky Balboa comeback. Welcome to The Golden Grease.
Makki came with his tow truck just before Thanksgiving to slog the car onto the back of his truck and whisked it out to Maryland to JK's auto repair shop. And there it remained for several months where JK and the crew got the engine running, flushed out the fuel and cooling systems, 4 new tires, unseized the brakes, new hoses. The next time I saw it, the starter died. Then the brake pads went up in flames. New pads, discs and master cylinder. The racing throttle and the belching black smoke as I wrestled the car around DC like a crazy dog was exciting. Then the transmission died - of course! Throw in some new windscreen wipers, lights, furry seat covers and 6 months later, The Grease is back in action. On its maiden voyage, beyond an electrical short somewhere behind the radio, it drove a 400 miles to Boston for a vegetable fuel conversion by Greasecar (www.greasecar.com). Happy days. Now this cranky 31 year old is on a strict high fat, low carbs diet.
One Mercedes wasn't enough for Greaseball needs, so in January, we bought a white 1984 Merc 300D off Ebay for $750. Bargain. The transaction took place in a sketchy junk yard in some woods in Maryland off a seller from Cote D'Ivoire. The drive back to DC was action packed - bad sleet, no lights, no turn signals, no stop signals, bad brakes and a transmission that never got above 2nd gear. But with just 250,000 miles on the clock, the car was a relative puppy fresh from the Mercedes Benz factory. New lights, tires, transmission flush, throttle adjustments, brakes, and wheel balancing has got this beast workable for a long road trip. The shocks failed back in the 90s so it bounces along like the pimpmobile it was meant to be. The Slug is enjoying its own grease conversion by Greasecar complete with onboard filtering system. We will have to put up some photos of that! It's the envy of all around and Sluggy is now enjoying some yummy grease from an Italian restaurant. We think it has quite a bit more power on grease than on diesel! And smells of donuts..
Monday, March 12, 2007
This audacious 4-wheeled, or any wheeled, grease extravaganza throws down a greasy gauntlet challenging teams to drive 4,500 miles on pure plant power from the US to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. All that in a car bought for the same price as a packet of Reeses Pieces. We'll be using waste grease from restaurants and fast-food joints, veggie oil fresh from farms, markets or supermarkets, and biodiesel wherever we find it. Nasty old fossil fuels are not allowed (except in emergencies, and there will be lots of those). All cars and funds are donated to benefit environmental projects in the destination countries.
Departing April 1, 2007, a merry band of fools will leave the East and West of the US armed with nothing but a socket wrench, a funnel and a sense of adventure. This year's hopeful greaseballers span the nations of the US, UK, Norway, Belgium, Sweden, and South Africa. In 2008, we'll be opening it up to more. Stay tuned.