Horgan, Ben Shaw, the Norwegian film crew and a garbage collector who had parked his truck in the middle of the street to watch the proceedings stuck their heads in the trunk of the white Mercedes. Shaw glanced up at the onlookers. "How many people can you fit in Ford's Theatre?" he asked. "It doesn't look that big." Inside the trunk, right where a spare tire should be, an elaborate ensemble of tubes and filters and pumps seemed as daunting as the task ahead. No one knew how long the mustard Mercedes would hold up, and the van's reliability was untested; it had just been purchased a day earlier. Only Suzanne Hunt's VW Rabbit seemed fit for the journey.
But if any of the challengers had reservations, none expressed them. "Some people are worried about our safety on the trip," said Hunt. "But most of the response is, I want to come with you." Soon, someone plopped down a black bucket of grease. Without pause, without a moment of hesitation despite the unpredictable road ahead, the biofuel brigade dove right in. A bit behind schedule, but gripping everyone in eyeshot, the challenge had officially begun.
Posted April 20, 2007