Wednesday 27 August 2008

Summary of first few days

Here are some notes from the first few days of the journey. Kenny couldn't post them earlier because he had problems with his laptop.

Day 1: Long drive to Speyer in Germany

Day 2: Hung around and went to a Micro Brewery that brewed Weiss Bier - it was wicked! On the way home bumped into some German students who were about 16 years old and hanging in a Roman Church (better than the British Bus Stop!). They had earlier in the day taken their English Vocabulary exam, so they wanted to show off their English Skills. Very funny night and strolled back to camp at 4.30am.

Day 3: With very little sleep drove to Austria. The scenery was incredible, drove through a valley in the Alps and surrounded by Lakes. Arrived in Zell Am and stayed by the waters edge. That evening we were desperate to find something to do as it was pretty out of the way and we came out of campsite and walked 2km to find a bar.

Day 4: We learnt if we had walked the other way there was a Beer Festival only 500 yards away. D'oh! Anthony did his early morning run in the Alps as he is in training for a 1/2 marathon and raising money for a Nottinghamshire Hospice.

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Stewing in Croatia

Kenny is in Croatia now - They arrived in Omiš yesterday, powered by vegetable oil.

He had mounted a cooking pot on the exhaust manifold so he could cook dinner as he drove, which worked up to a point. He cooked a nice vegetable stew in it but later the mounting broke, so they will have to resort to more conventional cooking facilities.

Friday 15 August 2008


I had a message from Kenny this morning to say he is in Speyer in Germany.
He can't pick up any legal Internet connections with his wok-fi at the moment, so he asked me to post this for him.

The car is running fine, but the fuel consumption is impaired by of the roof box and extra weight. There's an electrical problem which means that occasionally the windows and sun roof open by themselves. When it is raining that is quite refreshing - just what he needs to keep him awake after getting very little sleep last night.

Sunday 10 August 2008


I have now finished making the WokFi antenna booster for the wifi dongle. £1 for the wok strainer.

Initial tests show its a great success. Using the device from my window I can pickup 6 access points when I normally only get 1, mine. Should be able to blog from anywhere now !

Friday 8 August 2008

Almost ready for the next big trip

Modifications to the 300td have been going well. Its now running well and ready to take us over to Croatia again on the 14th August. Not long now !!

I have replaced all the fuel lines with clear pvc ones so I can have full confidence and can see what's going on. I have also mounted a pressure cooker to the side of the engine (above the exhaust manifold) so in theory we can cook food as we drive along. I am having trouble getting the pot up to temperature due to the cold air coming in from the front but I hope to have that sorted by the time we leave by shielding it.

The route will be similar to last time although we will be staying a couple of days in the black forest in order to sample more of the weissbiers. And we don't plan to stay in Belgium or Austria.

In Croatia Last time, due to weather issues, we mainly stayed in Zadar and the inland parts of Croatia. This time we will be checking out the Croatian part of Istria. Its had an interesting history and been part of many countries over the years. The varied influences apparently go to make it quite unique.:-

From there we plan to head right down the coast down to Split and Dubrovnik. We had planned to get to Montenegro but the vegetable oil laws are proving hard to find. We may park up and walk across the border.

We are taking a laptop so blogging should be a bit easier. I am also making up a homebrew 'wok-fi' antenna for finding access points, more details of wok-fi can be found here :-

Here is a very rough idea of the route out. Once we get to Istria we will take our time exploring the coast.

Friday 1 August 2008

BBC Panorama / comparison with electric cars

I just saw an episode of Panorama that was first broadcast last week.
They took an electric G-Wiz up the strip at Santa Pod, a similar idea to what we did a few weeks ago with my vegetable oil car.

I bet mine was a lot quicker than the G-Wiz, although they didn't show their time.
My car is also a lot better for the environment and cheaper, which is what the TV program was about.

My car runs on a waste product (cooking oil) which was going to be disposed of in a way that produces carbon dioxide. Instead of disposing of it that way, I collect it, filter it and put it into my car. In the Santa Pod example, I dispose of the waste by turning it into carbon dioxide whilst also accelerating along a quarter mile track from a standing start. No more carbon dioxide is produced than if I had not intervened in the process. I pick up the waste oil from restaurants using my car, so there's no source of net carbon there either, and there is no cost.

The G-Wiz runs on electricity which comes from the National Grid. A large proportion of electricity in the National Grid comes from fossil fuels, which is a separate problem that I'd like to see addressed. If you plug your G-Wiz into a wind turbine, then well done - you've found a good way to power your vehicle (albeit very slowly, over a short range). If you plug it into your home power supply, then you are responsible for adding extra load to a stretched grid, burning fossil fuels, emitting carbon dioxide and costing yourself money - you are just doing it in a way that isn't immediately obvious.