January 16, 2007
Bob and Camille Armantrout kicked-off the 2003 Cross-Country rally in their “BioPod”, a 2001 VW New Beetle TDI that has been fueled since day one (over 30,000 miles ago!) on 100% biodiesel made on Maui from waste restaurant fryer oil. The fuel is produced by Pacific Biodiesel who has been producing ASTM-certified quality biodiesel at their plant on Maui since 1996.
We started our leg at “Baby Beach” (just outside Paia) where we were joined by our friend Shaun Stenshol who introduced us to biodiesel three years ago. He is owner of both Maui Recycling Service and Bio-Beetle Rental Car. Shaun runs all of his recycling trucks on 100% biodiesel as well as the Bio-Beetle – the worlds first 100% biodiesel fueled rental car. Shaun, Camille, and Bob, along with their friend Pam have been advocating biodiesel on Maui through their non-profit Maui Green Energy since 2000.
The next stop was Hookipa Beach Overlook. Hookipa is a world class wind surfing beach outside of Haiku. Once we left Hookipa the next stop would be 32 miles and 10,023 feet of elevation later – the summit of Haleakala.
Haleakala means “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian and is an appropriate place to launch the torch to those drivers on the west coast who will carry on cross country promoting the use of biodiesel.
The BioPod **loves** hills and Haleakala is a monster. It is the most massive dormant volcano on the planet. The crater is stark, and otherworldly in its grandeur. We got a great view of the “Big Island” of Hawaii from near the summit and finished the inaugural leg of the relay at the summit overlooking the telescopes mounted in the thin clear air.