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Driving Toward Sustainability in a Green Airstream

3/17/2011 12:00:00 AM

Tags: sustainability, airstream, vegetable oil, composting toilet, solar panels, natural earth plaster, bamboo, waste vegetable oil, flooring

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnail“There is not just one way to go green,” my friend Cece Reinhardt says. “It's about balance—taking on what you can, depending on your time, resources and passions. We are just two girls with a cat and a dog, trying to find the balance between freedom, sustainability and passion.”

I’m green with envy over how Cece and her partner, Brenda Daugherty, are expressing their balance—by traveling the United States and Canada in a solar-powered Airstream, decked out with the coolest green materials and pulled by a truck fueled with waste vegetable oil. 

Cece and Brenda began their journey—“driving toward sustainability one mile at a time”—by downsizing their lives and selling off everything they either didn’t need or weren’t using. They’re now in the process of rehabbing and greening a 2003 25-foot Airstream Safari and converting a used diesel truck to run on waste veggie oil (to haul it). “This might be more challenging than we think,” the travelers admit, “but that’s part of the fun!”

Cece and Brenda have given their Airstream several green retrofits. A Nature’s Head composting toilet reduces their water requirements, giving them the opportunity to stay off the grid and “boondock,” or park in places without RV hook-ups. The walls and ceiling have been covered with natural earthen plaster from American Clay. They plan to add solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system, cork and natural linoleum flooring, bamboo countertops and Elemental LED lighting before they hit the road in early summer.

“”Our goal is simple: travel and let people see how we live off the grid and learn from others who are on a similar path,” Cece and Brenda state on their website, “Our quest to live outside the lines and explore what it means to be sustainable, comfortable and bold has led us here.” Seeking to partner with businesses, schools and nonprofits, the couple hopes to spread their motto—conserve, explore, inspire—across the land.

I sure do wish I could ride along.

cece and brenda 

Cece and Brenda sold off all non-essentials to make their Airstream dream come true. 

cece airstream 

Cece and Brenda's 25-foot Airstream will soon be equipped with solar panels. 

cece wvo tank 

A 150-gallon tank holds used vegetable oil, which runs the truck that hauls the Airstream. 

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