Argos Meetup 2019

About 30 years ago, I herniated a disc at location L5-S1. I visited two Orthopedic doctors. (The pain was so bad! I couldn’t sit at all. ) One was ready to operate immediately, and the other said I could live with it but I would have to lose the pot belly + 50 #, and start a walking schedule. I decided to lose the weight and walk. It took 9 months to return to almost normal. I think I took one of the pain pills at the very beginning, but I don’t do pills. Before that, I used to jog, and I have not done any jogging since. Also, I used to drive for hours on end without taking any breaks. The recommendation was to stop about every 30 minutes and get out and walk around the car a few times. (Now I have to stop every 30 min., but it is for a different reason.) Getting in and out of bed was very difficult, so I had to roll over (even that hurt) and get to a standing position somehow.
I am now 3/4" shorter, according to the marks on the wall we made when the kids were growing. One theory on pain is that it hurts really bad a first, and then the nerves sort of “get used to it” and stop screaming so loud. Don’t be afraid to ask for help lifting things out of the trunk of a car, such as a 94# bag of Portland Cement, or sacks of feed.
Hang in there! Things can only get better.


I hope you bring some of those Down South Watermelons to Argos. The ones shipped into the stores in the Northwest have no flavor in them yet.
There is nothing better then eating watermelon on a hot sunny day in the shade and seeing how far you can spit the seeds that you don’t swallow.


I second Bob’s comment about bringing up some Alabama Water Melons. I don’t know why, but a guy saw us working in the sun in LA. He came over and offered us an Alabama water melon he had left from a whole trunk full, that he hauled to LA for friends. I have to say, I have NEVER tasted a bad melon, but man, that Alabama melon was out of this world. TomC


Well, fact is, I feel even better this evening than I did when I wrote that earlier today. Good stuff.


Hi Billy, put a mattress in the back of the Suburban a let some one drive. When you get to Argos I want to pray over you for a miracle healing of your back problems. In Yeshua Name. You have been doing the Lord’s work a He has seen it.


Good morning Billy and Jakob.

I was checking to see if JO and Kristijan made it to Alabama OK

Wayne .


They are here and had a safe travel. Jakob


I find ibuprofen good for 99% of what ails me. The little rest, I bear. Good luck, Billy.

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Wonderful advice RayM.
Exactly what I’ve done too.
Some also swear by the inverted whole body spine de-compressor like the Tetter and others.

Hydrotherapy, chiropractor, stretching de-compression are all good for short-term relief.
Long term you do have to strengthen the inner/outer along spine muscles, ligaments and tendons. Acknowledge you will never, ever again be the-kid, or dumb-assed made the injury in the first place anymore. Modify as you say your lifting/bending expectations. Mine, lower back I learned to get down on my knees and sit back onto my heels before lifting.
Learn to live with what you can evolve into.
We actually are very much plastic/mold-able/changeable. Skeletal. Cellular. Neurological. Social. Just like soil. Build it up. Improve it. Remain a life-long work-in-progress.

Best Regards
Steve unruh


If you can get CBD oil, give that a try. Pills do nothing for my back pain and Ive found CBD oil works. Just dont forget your old and cant operate like you used too; because that oil WIll make you feel like you are 20 years young again.


Funny you mention that. Last night I was wound up with energy and felt like splitting wood or something.

Wayne, JO and Kristijan made it here fine last evening. They are planning to head to your place tomorrow morning. Kristijan wants to make us his traditional Slovenian venison meal for supper tonight. We just finished a big training day here with a group from University of Alabama, and several from Central America, Congo, Kenya, India…Adding in the Slovenian and Sweedish touch fit right in.

Tom, you are right. Alabama water melons are about the best, but you’re about 5 weeks early for these parts.


For me, pain is an indicator I need to do something different. I’ve had 3 herniated discs in my lower back for 28 years. If it wasn’t for chiropractors, I’d probably be in a wheelchair. The Dr route wasn’t working. It actually got worse. I, like Steve U, have an inversion table. Amazing. When I hurt, I lay down for an hour or two. If I need to push through, I will take some Ibuprofren.



It turns out the RV may not happen for me. My father-in-law said I could borrow it, but the tires are a bit questionable and I don’t know if I want to be the one to find out what happens when/if they fail. The plan before the RV was for me to bring my rather large tent (12ftx20ft). If that happens, I have two questions: First, will there be space for a tent of that size in the non-RV area? Second, could I still get an electrical hookup for my tent? I have phones, cameras, and a laptop that I would like to charge.



No problem on both or either. Billy

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There is enough room. Bring a long extension cord if you have one. The ground might be wet, it keeps raining…

Thanks guys. I’ll make sure to bring my 100ft extension cord.


The local paper printed an article about the Argos trip. They got some of the details wrong and changed what we told them quite a bit. They mixed up some numbers from my truck and Dad’s(Daniel hightower’s) truck. Here it is, enjoy


I just posted the article on my FB page. Good job Jacob you are now the youngest person I know to give wood gasification recognition to the world and a goal to help others in this world through your Love to them that are in need. You are Blessed by Yehovah God.


Welcome to the club Jakob :smile:

Unfortunately we can’t read the article from EU due to some data regulation crap, but we’re still proud of you :smile:


This is a copy of the article without the pictures.

Jakob North, a Randolph/Clay County native, strikes again with his environmental creativity.

As previously seen on the front page of The Randolph Leader in May 2018, North made a riding lawn mower and a 70-year-old tractor run on charcoal alone at just the mere ages of 13 and 14. Now, at age 15, he goes beyond what some hope to accomplish in their lifetime. Jakob North sees no limitation to what he is capable of as he recently built a wood gasifier that allows his truck to run on woodchips and other bio matter alone with no fuel necessary.

North set a goal for himself to successfully complete a trip in his 1992 Dodge Dakota pick-up truck using the wood gasifier to Argos, Ind., to attend the Drive-On-Wood conference. His goal consisted of successfully making it home from the trip, and to his excitement, he completed this goal with little to no issues at all.

North, a homeschooled student, began working on the gasifier in October 2018. The task took many hours of strenuous work and dedication. Seven months and nearly 350 hours were spent working on his wood gasifier contraption. Jakob was so determined to meet his goal that he would often wake up at 4:00 in the morning in order to complete his school work before breakfast time, so he could have more time to work on the truck throughout the day.

North knew he was onto something when he successfully fired up his first container of wood on Feb. 22, 2019, just 99 days before the start of the conference in Indiana. For the next 13 weeks, he spent his time mastering the operation of the mechanism, learning how to operate it, working out any concerns, and processing wood for his upcoming journey to Indiana. With beaming pride and a smile from ear to ear, Jakob met his goal as he safely arrived back to sweet home Alabama from Indiana at 4 a.m. on June 4. Not only did he accomplish what he set out to, but he also is able to proudly say that he drilled every hole, welded every weld, connected every cable, and built every valve to make this project work.

Upon speaking with Jakob North, I was able to learn about the ins and out of the wood gasification process (see pictures). I learned how intricate and well thought-through this entire operation is. The large oil drums are where the chips are burned, and the large tubes seen are used to allow the smoke to cool off. As many conversions and actions take place, the wood chips eventually act as fuel.

With terms used such as “hopper” and “firetube,” I was relieved when Jakob noted that in order to truly understand the process, one would most likely need to know auto mechanics. North is working to make the process much simpler and create a smaller contraption. However, once the gasifier is mounted to your vehicle, you are good to go with only minor tweaks and fixes as needed, as with any machinery.

Jakob drove his wood-fueled truck across five states from Randolph County, Ala., to Argos, Ind., and back. Those 1,540 miles consumed 1,385 pounds of wood. That’s 0.9 pounds/mile hauling two people, luggage, a trailer and as much as 1,200 pounds of wood at a time.

North was accompanied on his trip by mechanical engineer Dr. Larry Winiarsky of Oregon, inventor of the famed Rocket Stove and friend of the family. Also, along for the trip in other vehicles were the modern American inventor of the technology from Springville near Birmingham, Wayne Keith, and his wife Lisa. Others in the country for the convention from Sweden and Slovenia joined the trip. Jan Ola Olson and Kristijan Letinger are both expert wood gas operators in their respective countries.

The trip north was successful in spite of an air leak in the gasifier caused by a large pothole in Chattanooga, Tenn. A repair was made with a discarded beer can and some glue to complete the trip north. The trip and the conference were a huge success. Jakob’s truck was among the vehicles showcased at the conference, which wound their way through the streets of Argos for the annual wood-gas parade.

After the four-day conference, the long trip home was just as fun. A rest stop in Kentucky had the family collecting dried grass from the roadside to replace the clogged fuel filter made from straw and hay. A minor problem occurred when Jakob climbed over Monteagle, Tenn., on wood. The gasifier got a little too hot and a small crack slowed the trip for about 100 miles. Simple repairs and an hour’s sleep in Gadsden allowed them to finish the trip as planned.

North is able to save up to $500 on gas each month with the use of this gasifier. He was able to create the gasifier for roughly $2,000, and thanks to his knowledge of the trade, he did not have to pay anyone for labor. North states he has never cut a tree just to get woodchips either. There are enough left over from nearby resources, and North always finds himself with plenty to spare.

Unfortunately, the truck that made the trip to Indiana was totaled in an accident the day after returning home. However, Jakob was able to fix the gasifier and attach it to another truck. The gasifier itself has now traveled 14,000 miles. A final attribute of this system is that it allows automobiles to become hybrid. Meaning that a switch can be flipped near the gear changer allowing the vehicle to operate on fuel. Therefore, if you are running low on woodchips but are stuck in traffic, an easy transition can be made to simply use fuel (like most operating vehicles today).

As previously mentioned, attending the trip to Indiana with Jakob, Wayne Keith, an Alabama cattle farmer and inventor of the gasifier system that bears his name, is arguably the United States’ foremost authority on the subject. Keith holds the landspeed record for a wood-gas powered vehicle and has recorded more than a quarter of a million miles on wood crossing the U.S. numerous times. As expected, it was an honor for North when he received the statement from Keith revealing, “I think we may have made history on a couple of categories. Until I am proven wrong, I say Jakob North is the first 15-year-old that has built a wood-burning truck and practically driven from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes and back on wood. We are all very proud of him. He is an exceptional young man.”

Upon such a wonderful compliment as that, North was asked what his encouragement would be to other young people. He responded, “Go beyond the status quo. Don’t be afraid of your young age. You can do a lot more than what the people around you are telling you is possible, and certainly a lot more than they are modeling to you because most people aren’t doing anything worth noticing. Don’t be arrogant about it; humbly seek out the help you need to get it done from God and other people who can help you and do it.”

His family is proud of his determination, character and skill demonstrated in accomplishing this task. If you’re familiar with the organization in our community called ADAPTech, then you are familiar with this family. ADAPTech is short for Advancing Development with Applied Practical Technology and is the technological department for SIFAT. The North 10-acre family homestead is also home for ADAPTech where they work to build technology models aimed at meeting basic human needs. Its located near SIFAT in west-central Randolph County. Their goal is to create technologies that are sustainable and ecologically sound. They are motivated to change the world for the poor and to teach models of providing our daily needs that protect the earth from degradation for future generations. The Norths welcome any group, club or church to come for a tour or for classes on how to incorporate some of these useful, ecological, low-cost technologies into our homes and gardens in Alabama. To visit this dynamic project here in Randolph County, make an appointment by email to [email protected] or call 256-252-2133 for more information. You could even check out the wood powered pick-up truck while you’re there!

Be on the lookout for North’s next move as he is already making plans for what he will accomplish next. North hopes to use this technology in his work with the family ministry (ADAPTech) to aid in their development projects in Africa. He hopes to incorporate the technology into light industrial machinery, such as sawmills and power generators to help the people of the D.R. Congo develop some local industry. The people there have an average wage of about 10 cents a day. He hopes to help change that with his skills. He also has set a goal to build his second wood-burning truck before his 16th birthday. Then, he hopes to work on the development of the process of converting plastic into diesel fuel.

We look forward to seeing all the Norths will accomplish in the future. Keep your eyes peeled as you’re traveling the streets of Randolph County - you never know who or what you may pass!