Bio-buses on the road to disaster areas

PORT TOWNSEND — Fueled by vegetable oil and enthusiasm, two converted buses loaded with supplies and volunteers left town Wednesday for the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast.

“I want to help, and I want to see what’s going on firsthand,” Bill Dentzel said.

Dentzel is a carpenter who along with five other volunteers is not just talking about helping the people left homeless by Hurricane Katrina, they are leaving their homes to do something about it.

And they are doing it on a few days’ notice.

“I decided to go Monday, at the fundraiser,” Tara Dirth said, referring to a Labor Day concert that raised $2,000 for relief help.

Dentzel, Dirth and four other volunteers — Scott Landis, Bill Dwyer and Mariah Blanchard of Port Townsend and Scott Durkee of Vashon Island — are traveling in two buses.

One bus is a converted troop bus that is sponsored by the Port Townsend Peace Movement and the New Old Time Chautauqua.

The other is a former transit bus Durkee converted for camping.

Buses stocked with stuff

Both are stocked with cartons of clothes, food, medical supplies and camping gear, including donations from the local Goodwill.

“We went up there this morning, and the manager gave us bags of children’s clothes and cooking equipment,” Landis’ wife, Kathleen Mitchell, said.

When the buses arrive in Texas — one is going to Houston, one to Dallas — they will hook up with the Katrina Caravan Rescue to help tranport people from evacuation centers in Shreveport and Lake Charles, La., to other cities.

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