Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Where Are The Birds?

Driving my Wyoming/Nebraska route I've had a nagging feeling of something missing. Realized yesterday I'm missing magpies.

For as long as I can remember where there was road kill there was magpies but this year I've not seen a single one.

I've seen a few crows or ravens, I really don't know the difference, and a few raptors but no magpies. Puzzling.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

More Prius

Ready to offer some more comments on the Prius I'm driving.  The route is 489-496 miles a day, Monday through Wednesday. Another driver covers Thursday through Saturday. I leave at 0330, go to Wheatland, WY by 0600, Torrington, WY by 0715, Scottsbluff, NE by 0830 and Denver International Airport airfreight by 1245. Back to Greeley, CO by 1430.

What do I like about the Prius? Bluntly, nothing. It is adequate, nothing more, and nothing special. Rough ride, little adjustment available in the seat and little aural and tactile feedback. Without cruise control, keeping a steady speed is difficult. More time is spent glancing at the digital readout than focusing on the road. You steer it constantly; no centering or holding a line. Take your eyes off the road to pour a cup of coffee and it immediately drifts out of your lane. Surely isn't one of my Lincoln Towncars.

It has adequate passing power and decent headlights.
We flog the little dear hard and rarely see more than 40 mpg economy. Our route is fairly flat and it climbs the few hills at cruising speed. We do eat up tires, especially the rears. Brakes are adequate and it has a deceleration downshift available which is useful. Otherwise, it is D only and a CCVT automatic transmission.

It offers a techie's delight information center which interests this Latter Day Luddite not at all. You can watch power flow displays and calculate your fuel costs in real time. Me, I don't care. What I do care is the short legs, about 350 miles range with a full 8 gallon tank. I fill it twice on my route. This old Rocky Mountain driver considers a half full tank to be empty. The two trip odometers I do use and, per my GPS readout, the speedometer is very accurate.

It has some tech stuff, phone pairing, etc.,  which I don't use and don't care to learn.

As couriers, we often carry bulky boxes. The rear seat stay folded flat. On two occasions I've need to use the front passenger seat to carry cargo but most times the available cargo space is adequate. We carry three 2'x3'x5' shipping boxes and a small picnic type cooler. We carry a lot of dry ice in the shipping boxes so the rear windows are always open about 1". Noisy, but we don't want to nod off while we are driving.

The A/C is marginal and rarely feels cold. More like cool. Today saw 94 degrees on the OAT. The cabin was bearable but not cold even with system in the maximum setting. I remember from last winter the heater and defrost were adequate. The rear wiper on the hatchback models we use keeps an area clear no greater than a large bandana.

My opposite number loves the car. To each his own. YMMV. Would I ever spend my own money on a Prius? Uh, no.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Western Fires II

Hopefully a better picture than yesterday. This was taken just West of Guernsey, WY. Speaking of Guernsey, I'm glad I go through there at about 6:20 am. Here we are nearly into September and the North Platte is running full. Guess Glendo Reservoir has filled.

Today at about 9:30 am there wasn't a cloud in the sky. In Wyoming and Western Nebraska that means 100 mile visibility. Not so with the smoke. Scottsbluff.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Western Fires

Lots of smoke drifting into Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado. This was taken early this morning North of Wheatland, WY on Hwy 26 just East of Interstate 25. Not my best effort. My excuse, a small handheld point and shoot at extreme zoom and a low light situation. Yes, I know, it is a poor workman that blames his tools. Didn't quite capture the Sun's Japanese Flag Red that I saw with my eyes.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Molesting Electrons

Broke down and got a new (refurbished) desktop with Windows 7 Professional 64 bit with legal software. It is a HP 8000 bought through AAA Members program. $195 delivered.

Have it up and running. Being bombarded with ads and all the Windows Explorer crap. I use Google because that is what I know and all I am interested in learning. 

I use my AAA membership a lot. While it takes forever, it seems, to get through to the dispatcher, and longer for the tow truck to arrive, it does save a hit on the wallet. I like the free maps and avail myself.  A GPS is useful but I like to plot out my trips and Microsoft no longer supports Streets and Trips. 

When I was deciding on the computer, I asked an expert (my sister's assistant). She assured me the computer has far more capacity than I will ever use (1.8T). Hope she is correct.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Seems people are having trouble posting comments. Will work on the problem in the next couple of days.