I Can’t Believe It’s Actually Working!!!
I still can’t believe its actually working. To explore Australia whilst only spending our time to cover distance was always the plan. A grand plan admittedly, but one that we were not really sure would work until we were underway. Sure, I had faith in Bluey’s oil burning ability. We have dealt with a few teething issues as expected, but the system is well thought out and well put together. The big unknown though, before we hit the road just in time to escape Melbourne’s horrible winter was…..will we be able to find enough oil? And that leads us back to…. I still can’t believe its actually working!
Thus far, the BluePrint Adventure has taken Myself, Clara, Bluey, Number 12 and The Boat, 6’500 k’s of leisurely meandering up the east coast, with a total diesel usage of only 176 litres! With the exception of our start stop cycles, and driving up Mt Tamboreen that 1 time (we were only running at 1/2 power on veg at the time due to a partial blockage, and the very steep incline forced us to flick back to diesel, which has of course now been fixed) we have done the whole lot on free veggie oil. That puts our diesel milage at 2.7 ltrs per 100 k’s! If we were driving a scooter around the country we would have good reason to be proud of that fuel bill, let alone a massively heavy 40 year old landcruiser!
Its all possible because of that sweet sweet dirty oil that has been kindly donated by some of the most wonderful and generous small business owners around the country. Our usual spiel goes like this…”Hi, I’m Sam, and this is Clara, and were on a pretty epic trip around Australia, with the main difference being that we are running our old landcruiser on waste veggie oil” and that’s usually all it takes. The friendliness and enthusiasm we generally receive, really make us feel lucky to be travelling in the way that we are. This month, those awesome businesses that have fueled our epic journey with their waste veggie oil have been…
GinGIN Hotel (QLD) 100LTR = 555km
The Gin Gin Hotel, in, you guessed it, Gin Gin. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of the head chef who let us raid his waste oil drum, but the food he was putting out looked delicious. He let us know that when the drums full, he gets 60 bucks for it, but he liked the idea of helping us out, allowed us to fill Bluey up.
Bucca hotel (QLD) 80LTR = 444KM
Next up we stopped off at the Bucca hotel as we heard there would be some live music on what was a sunny Sunday afternoon. We weren’t greeted by any live tunes, but got a very friendly greeting form the proprietor, Chris. As we were chatting he commented on the awesomeness of our four wheel drive, and no sooner as we mentioned it runs on waste veggie oil, he offered to look out the back to see if he had any. When he took us out to show us the stash (5 20 ltr drums) he also waved a hand at the big flat field behind the pub and said we were welcome stay there for the night. What a champion!
the travellers rest cafe (QLD) 80LTR = 555km
About 3 weeks later we rolled back through Gin Gin to restock at the best local produce market we have found so far, and this time we headed into the Travellers Rest Cafe. Tim informed us that he used rice bran oil in his fryers, and if its of any use to us we’d be welcome to have a few drums. A quick Google search later had me informed that rice bran oil makes great fuel, and Tim then upped the two offered 2 drums to 4. Knowing that he had just given us around 500k’s of free travel, Clara and I thanked him warmly, and supported his business by buying, eating, and thoroughly enjoying to of the best pies we have ever had. Really, they were, the man must be a genius, because nowhere else have I seen a garlic prawn and a curried scallop pie on the menu.
the left bank cafe (QLD) 140ltr = 777km
From Gin Gin we headed south via the Isis hwy, stopping at a beautiful riverside campsite for the rest of the week. As we left, I figured we had enough clean veg to make it to the sunshine coast where we could stop and clean off the 80ltrs from the Travellers Rest. Passing through Kilkivan, I noticed this nice little town had a pub, two cafés and a takeaway shop. 80ltrs is a good amount of fuel to be cleaning off in a session, but 120ltrs is even better, so we doubled back to search for a little top up. The first café loved the idea of supplying us with free fuel, but had just recently disposed of their oil. The publican was lovely, chatty and helpful, but used animal fats in her fryers, and although once in our heated tanks it will be a great fuel, its a little awkward to get in there, being solid at room temperature. The kid looking after the takeaway shop was very interested in our setup, and asked heaps of intelligent questions, but after checking out the back he informed us that theirs too had just been chucked out. Its a real shame to think of how much valuable energy must wind up in landfill. That left only the Left Bank Café, and from there we picked up the largest and cleanest oil score to date. Bruce and Rae’s initial question was how much can we take, because they had a huge stash out the back they couldn’t get rid of, and must have been collecting it there for years. Only having enough room in the dirty oil tank for measly 40ltrs seemed like a wasted opportunity, so we parked up in their shady back yard, fired up the centrifuge and spent the next few hours relaxing while we cleaned off a batch of oil, making room for more. Topping up the holding tank towards the end of the run, saw our driving tank full to the brim, and before we left, our holding tank was re filled also. It’s a bit hard to measure the volume exactly, but I figure we must have filled up with at least 140ltrs.
That feeling of excitement that comes with a new fuel score has not diminished at all over the months, nor has the feeling of slight nervousness as the veggie oil tank starts to run low. Its going to hurt the first time we can’t replenish the big tank with veggie oil, and have to resort to running diesel for longer than the warm up cycle, but until that time we will have our adventure BluePrint style, and will continue to scavenge free fuel wherever we can get it.