By Greg Melville
Review by Sybil DiMaggio
This book starts out as an argument between a husband and wife about a large purchase, which is not surprising given today’s world wide economic situation. The author wants to purchase a second car because his wife, Anne Marie has been accepted to medical school and will need a second car. I was captivated at this point. How many couples do you know, married or not, that are able to survive on one car? Much less the fact that the author, Greg, would expect to win a fight against his wife.
They found a 1985 Mercedes 300TD wagon and turned into a grease burner. Literally. The primary fuel of this car comes from Alex’s Restaurant, Home of the Vermont Soup Company. Greg Melville is a journalist and work-at-home father of two children. Therefore when opportunities arise to go out and spend time with his boys he jumps at them. After one of his hockey games in his home state of Vermont, he was bullshitting with a teammate after a few beers who suggested he go coast to coast with it. The teammate then mentioned H. Nelson Jackson who was the first person to drive coast to coast in an automobile from San Francisco to New York City. At this point I feel the need to explain the difference between biodiesel and grease. As he did in the book. “Biodiesel is basically vegetable oil that’s refined so it gels at a far lower temperature and has the same watery consistency as regular diesel” pg 9. Grease is FREE and is found at your local McDonald’s or other stop the heart and go place. This grease is paid by the companies to be hauled off. You might have smelled it while you were waiting through drive-thru yesterday?
The adventure truly begins. Greg finds a mechanic friend to travel cross-country with him, Iggy, and performs his internet research to provide credence to his book. He researches several places to stop at on the way, and although this takes him off of H. Nelson Jackson’s route, it allows him to research environmentally friendly alternatives to oil based fuel alternatives that are prescribed by the American government. As he travels with Iggy, we are occasionally provided with the treat of conversation between the two men. His traveling companion, Iggy, the mechanic is a college buddy with very bad taste in music. Unless you are into eighties pop sensations such as Van Morrison and the Cure.
As the two travel together, reintroduced, after years apart it becomes apparent that Iggy doesn’t believe in the fact that they are both trying to save the environment. Iggy’s thoughts on God are nowhere near Greg’s.