Clint Reynolds is a travel and adventure madman! Learn how customizing your own travel machine leads to great times on the road.
This is Clint Reynolds, a travel/adventure madman! I caught up with Clint and his travel machine en route to Austin, Texas. Although it’s upstate NY, the vehicle, and the backdrop could be mid-80’s Yugoslavia. Clint showed up packing a sleeping bag, a BMX bike, a skateboard, a Coleman stove, some food, and a trailer made out of an old Volkswagen Rabbit. The trailer housed barrels of veggie oil, several containers of fuel, a generator/pump combo, and a homemade centrifuge filtering device to turn old vegetable oil into usable diesel fuel. Overnight, he camped out in a sketchy parking lot, in a shitty neighborhood, and had to deal with the questioning of a couple of state troopers, in general disbelief of everything about the situation. Stunned, they let him be. Most people don’t behave like Clint, and most people are a lot less fun to hang out with…
Can you tell us about the van you travel in? Year, make, model…
1982 Mercedes 207D Euro van
What kind of mods have you made to this thing?
Just put in a new power plant (motor) not to long ago. It’s a 5 cylinder turbo diesel and it replaced a 4 cylinder non turbo that was in the van. Installed and welded two veg tanks. The first tank is a 95 gallon dirty tank, and the other is a 25 gallon clean tank. Basically I take the dirty oil from the restaurant and pump it into the 95 gallon dirty tank, and then from there I pump it through a filter into the clean tank. It’s a little more involved than that, but that’s the gist of it.Â
Can you tell some stories stemming from gathering used oil? Any mishaps or people getting upset?
On the first Gypsy tour we were getting some oil from behind this Chinese buffet called China Dynasty. We didn’t ask the place for the oil because we had been turned down a couple times already and we needed some veg. So it’s pretty late at night and we look pretty shady creeping around the back of the Buffet, and as were bucketing the oil out the fuzz shows up. Supposedly a onlooker called the cops on us for dumpster diving. I was stressing bad. We explained what we were doing to the cop, he looked confused but said he was going to talk to restaurant owners to see what they think. Two little vintage Chinese restaurant owners step out of the back door and had no idea what we were doing. They did know that it was their call if we went to jail or not. The one lady owner looks at me and sort of winks, and says I’m going to dial you in because you’re like us. So basically because I’m Asian she let us go. The next day we decided to eat at China Dynasty and say thanks, the food was horrible.Â
What are some of the places you have traveled on alternative fuel?
New Hampshire to Texas twice. Countless trips to Pennsylvania to ride the trails. New Hampshire to Oregon and back, that was heavy. I would say as a rough estimate about 75% of USA.
What motivates you to work on/build your own vessel?
It’s suits my needs to a T, and I love traveling with my friends.Â
What and who are some of the most bizarre cargo you have ever transported?
Nutter is up there on the bizarre cargo scale. On this one trip we had 8 people, 3 motorcycles, 100 gallons of veg, seven bikes, and all our gear. We were so frightened that on long hills we would slow down to about 30 mph on the highway.
Any memorable stories from the road you’d like to share?
The first road trip I was ever on me and all my friends piled into a station wagon and headed to FDR. We broke down and ended up sleeping in a Wawa parking lot. It was kind of cold and we were not dressed properly so we ended up taking some clothes from a salvation army drop box nearby. At around 2:00 am some large lady creeps behind the Wawa where me and my friends are sleeping and takes a piss right next to my friends head. It was so weird. Somehow we ended up talking to her and explained our situation and she ended up giving us $10 because she felt bad for us. Weird stuff like that always happens on the road, and that trip got me addicted to traveling.
How many miles have you traveled since converting the van to run on alternative fuel, and could you estimate how much you have saved on fuel?
I think I’ve put about 25,000 miles on this rig, and that’s a savings of just over $4,000.
Any good travel stories?
Me and five of my friends drove the veg van coast to coast this summer, and along the way the radiator fan blew out. So I ask this local where I could find a junk yard so we could retrofit a fan. The lady directs me to this crazy dudes house and the dude was kooked. He started telling me about how he was working on a magnet that would attract feathers. The whole time we were working on the van these little kids were circling us with riding mowers. Long story short, we spent all day modding the van and ended up not fixing anything, but it was still a very interesting experience.
What are the benefits of traveling on the cheap?
Less work more fun.
Any advice for people interested in learning more?
Check out the internet, and I would recommend the two tank systems where you start on diesel and then switch to veg after the engine warms up. Also it’s a lot of hard work, and you are going to break down, so be prepared to make mods.
To learn more about Clint and his adventures, log on to www.credencebikes.com