Here is the final post from the I-CARE Cross Country E85 Trip last week. The students who took part in the last half of the journey were Brad Westrum, Pat Lennon, Nate Marean – the post is written by Brad.
The end of the road…. Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11. After uncovering our truck from the snow, we took off around 7:15 from Cedar City, Utah and continued to head south hoping for some warmer weather. The roads started to clear after about 45 miles, and we were on our way to Nevada and California. Leaving the great state of Utah, we passed through Arizona for about 15 miles, just snipping the North West corner of the state. Knowing that this was going to be a big day, we knew we had to break it up a little bit. So we stopped at Zion National Park, which is on the edge of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona and is really close to the Grand Canyon. We stopped to take pictures of the truly inspiring scenery and took deep breaths of the clean, crisp mountain air.
After making our way into Nevada, we stopped in Las Vegas to drive down the strip. After making a nice loop down and back we stopped to eat – where else but the Hooters Hotel and Casino! None of us are old enough to gamble so we had to be sure to stay off the carpet. When in Nevada, you also have to make a stop at the marvel called the Hoover Dam.
Now for the sad part. We had no trouble finding our refueling stop in Las Vegas. Huey’s Mart # 1 was right where our computer program said it would be. We were a little concerned that we didn’t see an E-85 sign promoting Ethanol and we soon found out why. THERE WAS NO E-85 AT Huey’s Mart! They had run out of E-85 about 10 days before we got there and they weren’t able to get a shipment until March 16. There are two other stations in the Vegas area that carry E-85 but they are all owned by Huey so they were ALL out. We handed them a pamphlet for Verasun, one of our major trip sponsors who could probably help them with their supply problems. Later after arriving home we would find out from Verasun that Huey’s had indeed already contacted them and inquired about supply. The owner of the Huey’s chain of stations (Huey?) said that as soon as they got some more E-85 in it would be gone as they have over 100,000 flex-fuel vehicles in their area. If we remember right there are only 93,000 in all of Iowa. Shall we stay another week until they get re-supplied, or utilize our flexibility and fuel up with the dreaded fossil fuel? Mr. Richardson’s credit card was almost maxed out so in went the non-renewable, air polluting, highly subsidized, highly addictive REGULAR GASOLINE! We consoled ourselves with the fact that our trip plans were viable (3 stations- all temporarily out of E-85 due to high demand and supply problems that were out of our control) and that on almost any other week we would have filled up as scheduled and been on our way. THIS IS WHY WE DRIVE FLEX-FUEL VEHICLES !
After seeing the sights we decided to go on to L.A. for the night so that we could have some time in the big city to see sights that most of us had only seen on TV. We got to Ontario, California which is a suburb of L.A. at about 9:00 pm and there we stayed the night.
Waking up around 7:00 am, we got ready, ate breakfast, and then loaded the truck. We drove around seeing all the sites like Hollywood Blvd., where we saw the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Kodak Theatre, and many stores that sold a lot of junk!!! We drove around attempting to see the big celebrities houses, which turned out to be almost a total waste of time. We drove down the beach and stopped on the beach to eat, where we also watched the Iowa Hawkeyes win. After the meal, we had to hurry to the airport to catch our flight. We dropped off the car, got through security and caught our flight. We got back to Fort Dodge around 3 in the morning. Let’s just say that as rewarding and great as this trip was, we were all ready for a good night’s rest!
Goodnight! Bradley Westrum
Here is a final footnote from trip organizer Jim Richardson, Ag Coordinator, Iowa Central Community College.
We definitely can say that we “Saw the USA in our Flex-fuel Chevrolet” Thanks to all our sponsors: Chevrolet & GM NCR, GM R*Works, Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition, Iowa Farm Bureau, the American Lung Association, Iowa Renewable Fuels, Karl Chevrolet, Verasun Energy, FC Coop, Star Energy, Casady Bros. Implement, Wells Fargo of Ft. Dodge, and W&H Coop. Thanks to everyone who helped along the way from Senators Grassley and Burns, Bob Dineen, Gilbert at Joe’s Junction, Iowa Senator Beall, Jessica Zoph @ Iowa Lung, Laurie Groves @ Farm Bureau, Terry Seehuisen @ our Local FB’s, Kellie Walsh at Central Indiana Clean Cities, Erika Wiggins @ Ohio Clean Cities, Mark Picker @ GM, the Illinois Corn Growers, Jim Kersten @ Iowa Central, and especially Doug Dittrich and his staff at GM who really helped pull this all together. And thanks to everyone who I may have left out but please excuse me as I’m still experiencing jet lag.
Editor’s note: An explanation for some of our YOUNGER readers might be in order for the Dinah Shore star from the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Check out this website, to see and hear clips and pics from The Dinah Shore Chevy Show which ran on NBC from 1956 until 1963 – with the theme song “See the USA in Your Chevrolet.” I’m thinking it was Jim who came up with that connection, not the youngsters who are not old enough to gamble!!!