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A Carbon-Neutral Road Trip in a Cruiser

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Adventure Vehicles 101 profiles the Clean Cruiser Project and its two founders, whose goal is to drive to Panama in a 1982 BJ42 Land Cruiser that runs on biodiesel. 

Video Transcript

NATHAN STUART: Since I saw a first 40 Series Land Cruiser, I loved them. It brings back all those safari adventure, old school, 70s footage you see of guys back when it was really adventure. 

BRYAN ROGALA: This series is all about adventure vehicles. So buckle up, because we got a lot to talk about. To me, driving is not just about getting from point A to point B. It's about how you get there, and what you find along the way. And that is the whole point of a good adventure mobile. It's something that enables you to get outside more often and do the things you love. 


OK. So we are walking around at Overland Expo West. As you can see behind me, there's a lot of really cool vehicles and awesome adventure rigs here. But it's also a little excessive. And it's easy to go too deep with this stuff. Now, we found two guys who are doing it a little bit differently. 

They're leaving tomorrow on a trip to South America, in old 40 Series Land Cruisers. Still really cool trucks, but they're using biodiesel. They're planting trees along the way. And they're trying to do the whole trip carbon neutral. So we're going to go talk to them, hear what they have to say, and see a little bit different perspective on all this stuff. 


So tell me about The Clean Cruiser Project and what you guys are all about. 

NATHAN STUART: We leave today for Panama, and we're driving the whole way down carbon neutral. The only way we can do that, since we're on the road, is by planting trees along the way. So we've contacted several reforestation groups, along the way. And we're going to show up and plant trees. The whole idea is to show people how, no matter what you're driving, you can offset your carbon emissions. 

Our point is not to say that these are the most efficient ways to travel. This is an old truck. We're going to get 21, 22 miles to the gallon, because we've done an engine conversion to the Cummins. But that's not the point. It'd be, obviously, more carbon efficient to walk to Panama, but what we're trying to show people is that no matter what you're driving, if you're willing to do a little extra work on your trip, you can be conscience clean about it. 


NATHAN STUART: Now, we're not doing anything that you can't do at home. We're running B20, because you can get B20 at the pump, which is a big deal. We could have ran B100 and been way cleaner with our emissions, but the average person is not going to run B100. And then, long term goals, we'd like to create a video series where we're just touching on topics of how to be sustainable, how to be less impactful on the environment, while we're doing the things that we love outdoors in our vehicles. 

BRYAN ROGALA: I love it. All right. So now, we are sitting in, tell me what this is. Is this a 19-- 

NATHAN STUART: 1982 BJ42 from Canada. So this model of Land Cruisers only went to Canada. So I had a 72 before this, and it was the original six. And I think that got like, eight or 12 miles to the gallon. And then I found out they made a diesel one, and we started hunting for that. We wanted something simple, and something we could work on. We restored these ourselves. When I say ourselves, I mean all of our friends helped us a lot. 

Steve's truck, my partner, the other Land Cruisers a 1979 from Costa Rica. We went with the R2.8 conversion from Cummins. 

BRYAN ROGALA: So new diesel engine. 

NATHAN STUART: New diesel engine, clean diesel. There's no black smoke coming out the back. They're super efficient. We could probably get up to 25 miles to the gallon. We're tweaking things. But right now, we're running on 21 miles to the gallon. 

BRYAN ROGALA: And so you sleep in a little trailer. 

NATHAN STUART: Yeah, so we chose to do the trailers, even though we don't really like trailers. And not having a roof top tent on the top of the truck is a huge benefit for when you're camping. You can run off and go get groceries, or whatever, and come back to camp, and hopefully your chair is still there. 

BRYAN ROGALA: Yeah. Always a good thing. 

NATHAN STUART: Yeah. So when we were thinking about doing this adventure, we were like, what can we do different? It was like, everybody's doing these Overland, Instagram's, and these things, and it's all about them. It's just like, look how cool I am, and look I'm this white, upper class person that gets to go on vacation, while you guys work. 

So it's kind of irritating. And we thought, well, let's try to make it about something more than just us. Which sounds cliche, but there's a huge disconnect between all these people at this event, that are educated, upper class people that know about the environment. They know that they should be responsible. 

But they're doing long road trips, and nobody's talking about the emissions of their vehicles. And there's nothing we do on the planet worse than driving our vehicles. Everybody, I don't care what you drive, Prius, 1965 whatever truck. We just want to start talking about it. And we don't want to feel guilty about liking trucks. And we don't want to feel guilty about having the trucks that aren't getting 95 miles to the gallon, right? 

So how can we do this? And the only way you can do it is be responsible for the emission made. You put out more carbon emissions, clean up more carbon emissions. And there's so many carbon sequestering companies out there, where you can offset your carbon emissions for dirt cheap. You should definitely pay attention to who you're supporting, and who you're giving the money to. And we need everybody involved, if we're going to make any kind of. impact. 

BRYAN ROGALA: Well, these guys are great. Clean Cruiser Project. We're going to keep following along as they head down on their adventure but Nathan, thank you think this is awesome thanks for stopping Yeah absolutely now I have another project the last thing I want I'm going to hang on these. 


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