This past Saturday was the beginning of the “Escape from Berkeley” road race from Berkeley, California to Las Vegas. What made the race so different is that the contestants – five of them, including a man from Alabama – attempted to make the 600 miles on one gallon of any non-petroleum fuel plus whatever else they could beg, borrow, take, or generate themselves along the way.
This is an excerpt from the NY Times article:
Not all of the racers are Bay Area cognoscenti. Wayne Keith, 59, is a cattleman from Springville, Ala., who decided five years ago that he wanted to be independent from gas.
“When gasoline hit $1.75, I bailed out,” Mr. Keith said. “I’m a hostage to no one.”
His adapted lime-green Dodge Dakota pickup burns wood in a pair of burners in the pickup bed and uses the gases created by the combustion — primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide — to drive the engine. He said the ready availability of scrap wood on his farm made his energy expenses almost nil.
On Saturday, Mr. Keith’s truck was also towing a table saw, in case he happened on any particularly large branches. “I don’t know if it makes me good or guilty,” he said. “But the wood’s going to rot if I don’t use it.”
Mr. Keith said the truck’s top speed is about 90 miles per hour, making it a favorite to win the race.
A picture of Mr. Keith’s truck is here.
Guess what? He came in second! At the EfB blog, they posted:
“they competed fiercely for the Grand prize, but the re-route on the second day, a trailer wheel blowout, and fuel issues put them behind, but they just might come back next year, and I put them as a favorite to win.”