Low-Carbon Holidays Through Skype

 My wife Laura and I are in the same holiday predicament as many – how can we visit all of our extended family in one short holiday season when everyone lives so far away? We could fly here and there, spend a thousand dollars on airfare and blow a few thousand extra tons of carbon into the atmosphere, or we could use free technology to have a “virtual x-mas.” Since Laura’s dad lives in Salt Lake and she has other family in Ft. Collins, CO, we decided to attempt a winter-time Fossil-Fuel-Free-Roadtrip in the Vegfalia. My parents and grandmother, however, live in Maryland and we can’t make it out there for x-mas, so we set up our Skype video call for 9am Mountain Time. Some sound issues aside, we were able to open presents from each other across the country using this fantastic free technology. My sister and her husband came up from Mexico to see my parents as well and although we couldn’t give holiday hugs, but we were able to laugh and talk and appreciate being “together” as best we could.  We managed to see more family, save time, money, and CO2 – it was certainly a special holiday despite the distance.
Although a full report will be coming for the Vegfalia trip itself, I winterized the biodiesel system with a 110V fuel filter heater and a magnetic block heater, plumbed up our Roadside Filtration System to filter WVO on the fly, and headed out with 2 full tanks and an extra 30 gallons of filtered oil. Unfortunately along the way, we’ve run into cold weather issues with the lower quality oil, and although we found B20 at the pump in Ft. Collins and SLC, the Cardwell Distributing’s B100/B50 pumps were gelled up and not functioning at all. The Roadside Filtration System we’ve discovered is also not able to filter at these temps. So, we’ve been using what fuel we brought, a little petrol diesel, mostly B20, and we hope to fill up with B100 and some virgin VO from Costco before we leave SLC. Not as fossil-fuel-free as we’d hoped, but still better than flying or driving on all petrol, plus we got to bring our dog Marley and our eco-friendly presents for the families.

Peace and goodwill to all!

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