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May 19, 2009

The NOLS Buz from NOLS on Vimeo.

In 2009 Emanuel Rosen, author of The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited, joined the NOLS Bus for its spring mid-west tour. Powered by recycled vegetable oil (RVO) and solar power this educational program on wheels provides an active, environmentally conscious way to learn about the outdoors and celebrate leadership.

May 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (5)

April 16, 2009

We had a blast participating in the Rat Race Parade with Spalding University in Louisville Kentucky! They have a 37 year tradition of training rats to compete in races. This parade kicks of the event.

Rat Race Parade from NOLS on Vimeo.

April 16, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 15, 2009

Today we are working with the good folks from Angie's List in order to help raise funds for a local school as well as promoting our environmental ethics. We had fun spending time with the kids while enjoying our smoothies.

Angie's List Day - Do It For The Kids! from NOLS on Vimeo.

April 15, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 14, 2009

In Ann Arbor we spent the afternoon and evening hanging out with the good folks at the University of Michigan Outdoor Adventures program. They were braving the chilly spring weather and having a camp out on Elbel Field, and their director, Jeannette Stawski, was kind enough to invite the bus along. It was one of our best events of the trip, and we talked to tons of excited students and quite a few NOLS alumni, including a couple of Rocky Mountain grads from 1985 and 1978.

NOLS grad and son climb the wall

In addition to once and future students, we also had a couple of special visitors come to the event. Bus alum and Michigan native Jared Pangretic stopped by to hang out with the crew, and Brian's dad drove in from Toledo, Ohio to see the bus and experience a part of Brian’s life with NOLS. It was a great location, great atmosphere, and the whole team at Outdoor Adventures showed us a great time. We wish them the best of luck with their programs!

The next morning the four of us (Matthew, Brian, Christi and Emanuel) went into downtown Ann Arbor to have a late breakfast at Zingerman’s, the Jewish deli to end all Jewish delis. We feasted on what we unanimously agreed were some of the best sandwiches on the planet after fighting and clawing our way through a line that stretched out the door and around the corner (the girl at the door handing out free samples was another NOLS grad!)

Lunch at Zingerman's!

On our way south to Bloomington, Indiana we picked up a gentleman by the name of Michael Mandlin who is hitchhiking around the country and writing a book on professional basketball. We were able to give him a ride into Fort Wayne, and before saying goodbye Michael suited up with the rest of us to collect a tank full of veggie oil. He’s been on the road for a while, but assured us that we were the first veg-powered bus that had ever offered him a ride. 

It's the best part of being on the road...sharing unique experiences with people you encounter entirely by chance...leaving yourself open to the random moments that add spice to the journey.


April 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Another vlog post from the road. Brian Hensien, Video Intern and member of the bus crew, uploaded a new video describing the difficulty in finding usable oil for the bus. Check it out!

"... after a few disappointing experiences, we finally hit gold in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Finally, I had a chance to get my first lesson in greasing." - From Emanuel Rosen's Greasing 101 blog entry.

Greas'n It from NOLS on Vimeo.

April 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 10, 2009

The Midwest has been treating the NOLS bus very well. Even driving in downtown Chicago didn't slow us down from performing our events at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and University of Illinois, Chicago.  Now we our in Michigan for the next leg of the tour. We were able to set up the bus yesterday at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

The event went over our 6 pm scheduled end time. Luckily, we had the help from a current NOLS instructor who is attending MSU for her doctorate studies. Lissy Goralnik, has taught courses for NOLS since 2004 and is going to be instructing one of our Salmon Backpacking and Rafting courses this summer out of NOLS Teton Valley. She was able to talk to potential students, get on the climbing wall, and even spend dinner with a bus crew. 

Parent and Husband

Brian Hensien, Emanuel Rosen, Lissy Goralnik, Christi Van Eyken and Matthew Celesta after a fun event in the Mitten.

Thanks to Lissy for coming to help out on the bus. We wish we could have spent more time in the Lansing area, but the bus has more adventures coming in Ann Arbor. Try to catch us at an event near you!

Just another day on the bus with Matthew Celesta

April 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 09, 2009

The NOLS Bus Spring 2009 Tour Day 6: Notre Dame from NOLS on Vimeo.

Today we were at the University of Notre Dame talking to students about NOLS, sustainability practices, and how our bus operates. This video provides a general explanation of what a typical event setup is like for us.

Learn more about the NOLS Bus at

April 9, 2009 in Video | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 08, 2009

On Friday morning the NOLS bus and its crew bid farewell to Lander and began the 1,231 mile journey to Chicago. We listened to copious amounts of the Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones. We debated the cultural implications of chocolate's powerful hold on the human psyche. We discovered that our ability to name every U.S. president in order goes to pieces after Alexander Hamilton and recovers itself somewhere around Herbert Hoover. And most importantly, we took every opportunity to practice the fine art of greasing.

Filling up on veggie oil

I will never look at a Chinese restaurant the same way again. In fact, I may have a hard time passing any eatery without trying to spot their grease trap and wondering whether they toss bacon fat away with their vegetable oil. And with the memory of $4.50 gasoline still fresh in people's minds, I will never lose my sense of amazement that it's possible to pull up to a restaurant, pour someone else's slimy, sticky, smelly waste product into my fuel tank, and drive away. The entire process is dirty, time consuming, exhausting and completely awesome.

As someone who grew up in a family that did its best to recycle and compost, ride bikes or walk whenever possible and all the other everyday conservation techniques, it's cool to participate in an effort at sustainability that is definitely out of the ordinary. At our very first grease stop, the Hoot & Howl in Rawlins, Wyoming, the manager and most of the kitchen staff came outside to learn about what we were doing. They thought it was just about the coolest thing they had ever seen, and it kind of made me feel like a rock star. Which is not an easy way to feel in a baggy, grease-stained orange jumpsuit.

I still have a lot to learn, and fortunately, Matthew is a great teacher who has done his best to make the entire process comprehensible to my mechanically-challenged brain. There's a whole crazy cool world of alternative fuels out there, and while recycled veggie oil will never be able to power all the vehicles in the world, or even most of them, it should get the NOLS bus everywhere it needs to go.

More adventures to come!


April 8, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 06, 2009

The Bus Crew spent the last few days getting the veggie bus ready to roll. Here is a short vlog, or video blog, about the days before departure. Check out our events page for locations throughout the Mid-West! Next stop: Picking up or new bus crew member Emanuel Rosen in Chicago, IL!

NOLS Bus Prep Day from NOLS on Vimeo.

April 6, 2009 in Video | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 03, 2009

The NOLS bus is shaking off the dust after a long winter and heading back out on the road. She missed the lights, the sounds, and the magic of life on tour, so she's chugging veggie oil and soaking up the sun for her encore visit to the great American Midwest.

Lovin' the bus

Along with Emanuel Rosen, the bestselling author who says some lovely things about the NOLS bus in his new book The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited, the newly minted bus crew is greasing up and preparing to spread the word. And the word is NOLS.

Leading the way is our demonstrative captain Matthew Celesta, who mans the helm of the bus with a pirate's flair. Brian Hensien, our videographer extraordinaire, will do his best to record our journey for posterity. NOLS instructor, bus veteran, and all around rock star Amy Rathke will be joining us for the first week to lend a little dazzle to the proceedings, while our very own marketing director Matt Copeland will be whooping it up on the road for week two. And then there's me. Christi van Eyken. I'm really looking forward to some good pizza.

Our first stop will be Chicago (extra pepperoni please) from whence we will travel to Ann Arbor, through Indiana, down to Louisville and finally to St. Louis before we make the long voyage home to Wyoming to plan for the summer. We will be sharing our adventures with you through words, pictures and video. If we're heading your direction, be sure to come and say hello. For a detailed look at each of our stops, check out the NOLS events page.

We're going to get on the bus!


April 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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