Sunday, July 25, 2010
Same Sentiment, Fewer Obscenities
Many thanks to Texas Ghostrider for providing FOCUS! Very useful stress reliever.
My part time job is evaluating preproduction cars and trucks. The requirements are to drive specific routes in specific ways while performing various tests and recording and reporting results. The vehicles have numerous “black boxes” and are GPS equipped. Everything is recorded; no excuses. The job is not overly difficult unless you take pride in doing it well.
The other day, the task was driving a SUV pulling a trailer. The trailer is equipped with a “sail” to increase wind resistance and loaded with weights to bring the whole load to the maximum rated vehicle gross weight capacity. The route includes Vail Pass, altitude 10,603 feet. The temperature at the summit was 73 degrees F. That put the density altitude at 14,000 feet plus (I don’t have the barometric pressure). Engines operate on density altitude and lose about 2% rated power per thousand feet. On this day, my vehicle’s engine, and all others not turbo or supercharged, was putting out about 60% rated sea level standard day power. In summary, the SUV was loaded to the max, pulling a 6% grade, automatic transmission, with slightly more than half the usual power. This resulted in 42 mph, 1 st gear, 400 rpm from red line. Perfect conditions for overheating and mechanical breakdowns and nothing in reserve.
Enter please my fellow travelers.
Two men, older POS, having a spirited conversation as evidenced by four hands waving around. FOCUS
Marlon Brando wannabe Harley pack riders, graying hair, Billy Bad Boy attire, out for an excellent putt, at 5 mph under the speed limit, spread out for a half a mile on a two lane mountain road. FOCUS
Any vehicle with a Nebraska plate - county 21. FOCUS
Any Gold colored Toyota Camry. FOCUS
The driver occupying the middle lane with vehicles passing on both sides. FOCUS
The motor home driver with a 5 mph speed differential passing the 18 wheeler doing 35 mph, looking at the sign saying, “Minimum Left Lane Speed 55 mph." FOCUS
Tourists that have been seeing the signs every ten miles since crossing the state line saying, “Keep Right except for Passing.” FOCUS
The list can go on and on but, thanks to Texas Ghostrider, I only need to shout one word instead of several. Yes, they don’t hear me. Yes, it is immature and probably a character defect. For those who think that, FOCUS!
It is always a joyful moment when we pass the red and blue lights and know someone is receiving a good citizen award. (Unless those lights are in my rear window)
Oh, and welcome to Colorado, where our motto is, "Spend your Money then Git".
On a kinder note, visitors from lower elevations should note their lungs are operating at about half capacity. Altitude sickness can ruin your vacation. Feels like flu. Take it easy, keep drinking liquids until you are peeing every thirty minutes, wear sunscreen regardless of your complexion (UV radiation above 8,000' is greater than sea level by a factor of four or more) and seek shade where you can,