Updates on how the bus work is going:

June 30 2005

Today was our fifth day in Moose Jaw. Everyone seems to be having great time hanging out in town and at the campsite; we have even christened a coffee shop in town as ‘Collis – Moose Jaw’. Eventually though, people are starting to realize that when all is said and done we will have spent about 1/8 of the trip here… not exactly what we had planned.

We are planning on leaving this afternoon, since the mechanic finished replacing the #2 and #3 pistons earlier today. (For those people who don’t know what happens when a piston goes bad, here it is – extremely long wear, caused by a lot of use, or in our case very high heat, can cause deformation of the pistons. When pistons go out of round they scour the piston sleeves which leads to very very fast wear and high temperatures. The wear can reach such a point where the piston can get jammed in a cylinder and break a component like the con-rod, or can cause coolant to leak into the engine oil (that’s what happened to our bus). For now, we’re just glad we can get on the road again.

- Mike
June 28 2005

The bus continues to go nowhere. Today we learned that the bus has a second broken piston, and we will be in lovely Moosejaw until at least Thursday night, leaving us with a mad dash to Washington to get to Potlatch.

This morning, the group woke up to the pitter-patter of raindrops against our tents. Although quick action by Crank managed to avert disaster, I know that most of my stuff has a nice damp quality to it.

We spent a lot of time doing various errands. First, douge shuttled us all to the mall to do our long awaited group dynamics meeting, where we tried to deal with some of the issues that inevitably come up when 14 strong personalities (and me) are put in such tight quarters.

After a lovely lunch in the supermarket parking lot, most of the group spent the afternoon either at a coffee shop with wireless or at the public library waiting for time on the public computers. At around 5, we had our second practice in Moosejaw. We focused on break throws and offenses. At night, most of the group went to the Moosejaw movies bargain night to see the entertaining Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

June 26 2005

Fifteen bodies crammed into newly-rented “mid-sized” cars felt quite different from sprawling across a 37-foot school bus, but regardless of our physical comfort, we were incredibly excited to be driving through the prairies towards Calgary. Although astounded en route by the vast skies, buffalo sightings, and indoor waterslides, we were shocked to see the huge city of Calgary in the midst of so much emptiness.

Early Saturday morning, we were somewhat surprised to be placed in the elite division of the tournament, coming out on our first game against the number one seed Cradle Robbers, a flair-tastic team from Portland. This team ended up winning the tournament, but they said that we scored the most points on them of all the teams in our pool. We lost but had a great time on both sides. We continued the trend, doing our best to play strong and hard all day against talented club players. Feeling a week without exercise, sleep, or proper diet catching up to us, some of us struggled a little with focus and intensity, but all of our opponents were impressed by our spirit. We played up to the level of all of these elite teams, relishing the challenge of defending some of the best players in the sport.

During a fourth-round bye, we drank some beer (given out for free!) and practiced our presentation, working out kinks. Then, we played a team called Jebus, tons of fun and everyone really worked together, through rain, shine, and mosquitoes, to pull out a victory, ensuring our place in the elite division. In high spirits, we rehearsed the presentation again, stuffed ourselves silly on a delicious steak and buffalo dinner, and prepared to party. The party involved a hoe-down-esque band, lots of local beer, and smashing of toilets, microwaves, and televisions (stunning, simply stunning).

Sunday morning we got off to a rocky start against 3rd Grade Ant Farm, our crossover game, but came back hard after the half as the Bus really tried to refocus and step up intensity. We ended up losing by one point, which ended up giving us 9th of ten teams in the elite bracket. Just before the finals game, we rallied the crowds to watch our presentation. We got a few dozen spectators and a lot of positive feedback on our first official presentation. We also sold a good number of discs and shirts, making our trip not entirely un-profitable.

The cars split up, driving to Moose Jaw or hanging out in Calgary and Medicine Hat for the night, a good end to the weekend.

- Haley
June 24 2005

Well, its been quite the exciting week so far. After getting into Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan late Thursday, we camped out for the night. The next morning we took the bus into a service station to have the mechanics take a quick look at what looked like a leaky coolant system.

Three hours later, the mechanics came back with a frightening diagnosis; the heater hose incident had allowed the engine to overhead and deformed the number two piston. The bus couldn't be moved for at least five days, meaning we would have to skip both our trips to Glacier National Park and Bozeman, Montana. Faced with the dismay prospect of missing the tournament in Calgary, we rallied together and rented some cars so that we could still make the tournament. After a beautiful drive through the Canadian wilderness, we arrived in Calgary late Friday night. The tournament party was raging, but we decided to head to bed after the six hour drive.

- Ariel
June 23 2005

Fargo, ND to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Today was the second day of our three-day trip to Calgary. We spent most of the day on the road. The morning was unusually hot, and an hour into our trip we blew a radiator hose. Within a few minutes, a few local farmers and townspeople had stopped on the side of the road to offer their help. Cliff and Mike quickly rigged up a fix and we made it down the road to a service station. The hose was replaced, and we were on our way. The road was flat, seemed to stretch on endlessly at times, and was bordered on both sides by fields of yellow canola. At one pit stop along the way, we got out of the bus, wandered around in the windswept fields, and took in the breeze and the landscape. After dinner in South Portal, we crossed the border into Saskatchewan. The sun was setting as we entered Canada and the clouds were radiantly pink. The winds continued to blow across open fields. Around midnight, or maybe a little afterwards, we came to a stop, pitched tents and fell asleep in the crisp air.

It was a nice day off from the busy schedule of the past week.

- Saulius
June 20 2005

This morning we rolled out of Cleveland after saying goodbye and thank you to Saul’s incredibly hospitable family. Did we notice a tear in Mrs. Kliorys’ eye? A few hours into the drive we stopped up to give the one of the veggie oil filters some attention and then five hours later we arrived at Chicago summer league and met our host Rob, a 1995 Dartmouth ultimate alum. A special thanks goes out to Bill, the owner of Piece the rockin’ pizza place for hosting our dinner, Rob and Beth who opened up their home and garden to us for sleeping space, and Cheetah Gym who hosted our chic showers, delicious breakfast (supplied by Goddess and Grocer) and packed lunches. The tastiness has lasted us well into the next day on our way to Minneapolis.

- Lorraine Ferron
June 19 2005

S’up ya’ll! Beep Beep! The Big Green Bus and its members are currently in Cleveland, Ohio, after leaving Ann Arbor trey early on Saturday morning. The past two days we’ve been playing in the “No Surf” ultimate tournament here as a co-ed team, playing 5 fellas and 2 ladies at a time versus teams of all men. Things were shaky at first as the past few weeks have been filled with graduation, finals, and getting the bus drivable! Mad props to our women for stepping up and schooling some of the guys we were playing, eliciting many compliments! On Saturday we were 2-2, finishing the day higher than our original seeding in the tournament. After a thrilling game of cower, we rolled off to the party where hosted several lively folks on the bus and continued to spread the message of alternative fuels.
Later, we crashed hard at Saul’s house, getting rest for another day of ultimate. Sunday we rolled out with a new filter in the bus and sore bodies from 4 games the day before. We went 1-1 on the day with some more hot play from the ladies. Thanks to Pov and Elliot for helping us out on the weekend as well.
Throughout the weekend we were visited by numerous alums and friends interested in both seeing us play and also checking out the bus. Between subbing in and out of games I found myself giving tours of the bus and tossing with alums kids, reminding me that our definition of “team” extends far beyond just playing disc to the realm of the so-called “Fellowship of the Veggie and the Disc”. Right- I’m a big fan of that but I don’t speak for everyone! I’m psyched to see what the next few weeks bring us as we meet new folks through ultimate and the Bus. So thanks to all those who came to watch- I’m out for now to get some sweet lovin’ Lithuanian cuisine provided by Saul’s parents- yumliscious. Happy Fathers Day to those males with children! Next stop Chicago.

June 17 2005

The first major stop for our bus was the Ann Arbor Green Fair. There were about 10 vehicles at the fair that ran on a variety of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen internal combustion and natural gas, plus a bunch of other tables promoting greener fuels. We parked our bus right in the middle of downtown and talked to people about our project. We gave tours, sold merchandise, and let children draw pictures of the bus.
I had a great time talking to people about our project. Everyone I talked to was very interested in the Bus and very supportive of us, offering us money and potential help later. All in all, a great first public event for the bus.

- Kevin Garrity
June 10 2005

Report from the Logistical side of things

As the Mechanical/Engineering Crews are working hard all day, everyday getting the bus up and running, Logistics Crew (or Log Crew as we call ourselves) has been a group of networking fiends.

The typical day of a Logistics crew member goes like this:
*Wake up
*Check email, respond to people interested in helping us out/seeing us in various cities
*Get food
*Go down the the bus; do various tasks (Painting, detail work, setting up the stereo system, etc)
*Come back to campus, get on a computer/phone and talk to contacts from all over the country
*Grilling and dinner with other bussers
*Bus Meeting
*Work on Presentation for the Bus
*More emailing with contacts

The bus has been keeping all of us out in the hot sun and pulling late nights and early morning. But, recieving emails from people across the country showing their encouragement and support has been amazing, and is truly what keeps us going!

- Aekta
June 7 2005

Without the added distraction of classes, we've been able to devote many more hours to working on the bus, and it's paid off. Yesterday the group spent more than 6 hours working on the bus outside of Robinson Hall in the middle of campus. Not only did the central location make taking breaks, eating, and getting supplies much easier, it also allowed us to talk about the bus with the steady stream of curious onlookers. Two of our sponsors, Prof. Friedland from the ENVS department and Dean Lord from the Tucker Foundation, also stopped by for a quick tour.
And for the work: we finished applying the second coat of green paint to even out the bus's color, and did a lot of paint detailing that got overlooked on the first coat. It looks great! The perfect weather helped the paint dry quickly but made the inside of the bus pretty unbearably hot (of course, the windows were masked shut so they wouldn't get paint on them). Despite the stuffy heat, Cliff, Mike, Saul, Andrew, and Dave spent the day inside fixing the wiring to the stereo system, installing tables between the bus seats, and designing the kitchen and storage compartments.
To top it off, we set up a booth near the bus to sell t-shirts and discs. Both were a huge hit on campus -- we're running dangerously low on t-shirts, and discs are selling like hotcakes (since the discs are black, they are actually pretty hot in the sun.)
All in all, a very successful and fun day on the bus.

- Orsi
June 5 2005

And just like that, Dartmouth's spring quarter finals are coming to a close. While this generally means rejoicing and relaxing for the average college student, for the Bus team it means that all of our energies can finally be focused on bus work. Since the last update, the Bus has gotten the vegetable oil conversion kit installed, taken a trip to the mechanic to get tuned up for the long drive, filled up with the very first load of vegetable oil, and made her first public appearance, at Big Splash River Festival in Wilder, VT.
Meanwhile, Aekta, Andrew, Haley, Lorraine,and Doug successfully defended their theses, and 12 of the 15 Bussers ended their undergraduate careers (Cliff and Mike will stay at Dartmouth for Engineering degrees, and Crank is now a senior but still the brunt of many age related jokes).
So, we have ten days left to tie up our loose ends, pack, work on the Bus, and then get on the road. And that's slightly terrifying but very exciting.

- Orsi